Category: Politics


If you’re a #TLDR person, here’s the shortest answer- $$$

To elaborate- as I posted yesterday, there are numerous studies that say marijuana is firmly between benign and beneficial- a small sampling of them, many performed by the US Government, are available on yesterday’s post (http://wp.me/paRLC-3T).  So, setting aside the benefits of marijuana, (medical uses, from cancer helping to pain relief, a self-medication for stress, mental stimulation, etc…), and the few side effects that actually do matter, (impairment- seriously, don’t toke and drive), which mirror our society’s favorite* drug alcohol, and we have laws to deal with them that can be expanded to cover MJ.

If Marijuana has not be proven harmful- and seriously, check the studies- then why does the government and “moral authorities” pour so much time and effort into stopping it? Essentially, it comes down to money- there have been a few industries that have a vested interest in fighting this “vile scourge”.

Originally, the main player in starting the Prohibition of Marijuana was the lumber industry- now, I know its hard for young people to understand, but before e-books, there were books, and they took a lot of paper to make.  The lumber industry, which has a large portion of its goods dedicated to taking trees and making paper from them, didn’t like hemp- which can be used for paper quite easily and is a seasonal crop, as opposed to a multi-year investment as are trees.  This effort was spearheaded by Harry J. Anslinger, then head of the Federal Narcotics Bureau, who has conflicting interests with the lumber and other industries, such as cotton.  His tireless efforts in ignoring the science and beating the drums of fear paid off with the banning of the use of marijuana, and its eventually classification as a Schedule-1 drug, (in the same camp as Herion and Meth- ironically, COCAINE is Schedule-2)

Now, we have the lumber industry, with some collusion from the cotton and various chemical industries, having significant interest in keeping their competitor hemp/marijuana illegal.  Since the 1980s, there have been two more players- the first is Reagan’s War on Drugs.  This made the usage of marijuana a significantly more painful offense, often with mandatory prison time.  Concurrent with this was the rise of the private prison industry.  Now, take note of the word “private”- these prisons, which need to be stocked, are run on a profit model.  In other words, more Americans incarcertated, regardless of the crime, is more money they prisons and their stockholders can make.  As of 2006, roughly half of state prisoners, and 90% of federal prisoners, were in prison for non-violent offenses, the vast majority of them for drug possession, with the vast majority of the drug in possession being marijuana.  As of 2003, in fact, more than 58% of women in federal prison were there for possession of drugs, with it being estimated that 50% were in prison for marijuana possession alone.  That’s a lot of money, and a lot of lives ruined.

Taken all together, it makes sense that these industries, and their money, speaks quiet loudly to our politicians.  Individual citizens and states have taken to decriminalizing and/or legalizing medical marijuana, and in the rare case, marijuana outright.  And yet, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) continues to exercise federal laws in those states- leading to more arrests, more repression of medical and overall industrial benefits, and more ignoring of the people’s will.  Because of money speaking louder than the people to the politicians, (I know, the sky is still blue too).

 

Which really means, we need to talk louder.  Whether you enjoy smoking marijuana to relax or to expand your mind, (there is quiet a variety, after all), because you or someone you love is suffering from cancer, or you just think its frakkin’ stupid that we make a greatly useful plant illegal instead of gaining the benefits from it- keep speaking- louder, clearly and consistently- to those in power and those who will listen to you.

 

*Okay, caffeine might be the favorite- seems to be stiff competition…

…  before they decided to ignore science, (a shocker, I know)

 

Happy 420, my toking friends.

Now, I am not a recreator of the Mary Jane- but, I know enough people who are to know that the horror stories are just that- stories.  In fact…

10) MARIJUANA USE HAS NO EFFECT ON MORTALITY: A massive study of California HMO members funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found marijuana use caused no significant increase in mortality. Tobacco use was associated with increased risk of death. Sidney, S et al. Marijuana Use and Mortality. American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 87 No. 4, April 1997. p. 585-590. Sept. 2002.

9) HEAVY MARIJUANA USE AS A YOUNG ADULT WON’T RUIN YOUR LIFE: Veterans Affairs scientists looked at whether heavy marijuana use as a young adult caused long-term problems later, studying identical twins in which one twin had been a heavy marijuana user for a year or longer but had stopped at least one month before the study, while the second twin had used marijuana no more than five times ever. Marijuana use had no significant impact on physical or mental health care utilization, health-related quality of life, or current socio-demographic characteristics. Eisen SE et al. Does Marijuana Use Have Residual Adverse Effects on Self-Reported Health Measures, Socio-Demographics or Quality of Life? A Monozygotic Co-Twin Control Study in Men. Addiction. Vol. 97 No. 9. p.1083-1086. Sept. 1997

8) THE “GATEWAY EFFECT” MAY BE A MIRAGE: Marijuana is often called a “gateway drug” by supporters of prohibition, who point to statistical “associations” indicating that persons who use marijuana are more likely to eventually try hard drugs than those who never use marijuana – implying that marijuana use somehow causes hard drug use. But a model developed by RAND Corp. researcher Andrew Morral demonstrates that these associations can be explained “without requiring a gateway effect.” More likely, this federally funded study suggests, some people simply have an underlying propensity to try drugs, and start with what’s most readily available. Morral AR, McCaffrey D and Paddock S. Reassessing the Marijuana Gateway Effect. Addiction. December 2002. p. 1493-1504.

7) PROHIBITION DOESN’T WORK (PART I): The White House had the National Research Council examine the data being gathered about drug use and the effects of U.S. drug policies. NRC concluded, “the nation possesses little information about the effectiveness of current drug policy, especially of drug law enforcement.” And what data exist show “little apparent relationship between severity of sanctions prescribed for drug use and prevalence or frequency of use.” In other words, there is no proof that prohibition – the cornerstone of U.S. drug policy for a century – reduces drug use. National Research Council. Informing America’s Policy on Illegal Drugs: What We Don’t Know Keeps Hurting Us. National Academy Press, 2001. p. 193.

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10021&page=193

6) PROHIBITION DOESN’T WORK (PART II): DOES PROHIBITION CAUSE THE “GATEWAY EFFECT”?): U.S. and Dutch researchers, supported in part by NIDA, compared marijuana users in San Francisco, where non-medical use remains illegal, to Amsterdam, where adults may possess and purchase small amounts of marijuana from regulated businesses. Looking at such parameters as frequency and quantity of use and age at onset of use, they found no differences except one: Lifetime use of hard drugs was significantly lower in Amsterdam, with its “tolerant” marijuana policies. For example, lifetime crack cocaine use was 4.5 times higher in San Francisco than Amsterdam. Reinarman, C, Cohen, PDA, and Kaal, HL. The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy: Cannabis in Amsterdam and San Francisco. American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 94, No. 5. May 2004. p. 836-842.

http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.94.5.836

5) OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER (PART I): Federal researchers implanted several types of cancer, including leukemia and lung cancers, in mice, then treated them with cannabinoids (unique, active components found in marijuana). THC and other cannabinoids shrank tumors and increased the mice’s lifespans. Munson, AE et al. Antineoplastic Activity of Cannabinoids. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Sept. 1975. p. 597-602.

http://drugpolicycentral.com/bot/pg/cancer/THC_cancer_sep_1975.htm

4) OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER, (PART II): In a 1994 study the government tried to suppress, federal researchers gave mice and rats massive doses of THC, looking for cancers or other signs of toxicity. The rodents given THC lived longer and had fewer cancers, “in a dose-dependent manner” (i.e. the more THC they got, the fewer tumors). NTP Technical Report On The Toxicology And Carcinogenesis Studies Of 1-Trans- Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, CAS No. 1972-08-3, In F344/N Rats And B6C3F Mice, Gavage Studies. See also, “Medical Marijuana: Unpublished Federal Study Found THC-Treated Rats Lived Longer, Had Less Cancer,” AIDS Treatment News no. 263, Jan. 17, 1997.

http://www.thebody.com/content/art31497.html#medmar

3) OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER (PART III): Researchers at the Kaiser-Permanente HMO, funded by NIDA, followed 65,000 patients for nearly a decade, comparing cancer rates among non-smokers, tobacco smokers, and marijuana smokers. Tobacco smokers had massively higher rates of lung cancer and other cancers. Marijuana smokers who didn’t also use tobacco had no increase in risk of tobacco-related cancers or of cancer risk overall. In fact their rates of lung and most other cancers were slightly lower than non-smokers, though the difference did not reach statistical significance. Sidney, S. et al. Marijuana Use and Cancer Incidence (California, United States). Cancer Causes and Control. Vol. 8. Sept. 1997, p. 722-728.

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1018427320658

2) OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER (PART IV): Donald Tashkin, a UCLA researcher whose work is funded by NIDA, did a case-control study comparing 1,200 patients with lung, head and neck cancers to a matched group with no cancer. Even the heaviest marijuana smokers had no increased risk of cancer, and had somewhat lower cancer risk than non-smokers (tobacco smokers had a 20-fold increased lung cancer risk). Tashkin D. Marijuana Use and Lung Cancer: Results of a Case-Control Study. American Thoracic Society International Conference. May 23, 2006.

1) MARIJUANA DOES HAVE MEDICAL VALUE: In response to passage of California’s medical marijuana law, the White House had the Institute of Medicine (IOM) review the data on marijuana’s medical benefits and risks. The IOM concluded, “Nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety are all afflictions of wasting, and all can be mitigated by marijuana.” While noting potential risks of smoking, the report acknowledged there is no clear alternative for people suffering from chronic conditions that might be relieved by smoking marijuana, such as pain or AIDS wasting. The government’s refusal to acknowledge this finding caused co-author John A. Benson to tell the New York Times that the government loves to ignore our report; they would rather it never happened. (Joy, JE, Watson, SJ, and Benson, JA. Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. National Academy Press. 1999. p. 159. See also, Harris, G. FDA Dismisses Medical Benefit From Marijuana. New York Times. Apr. 21, 2006)

http://www.csdp.org/news/news/nyt_fdamedmj_042106.htm

So, a brief, scientific look at MJ- will have some editorializing tomorrow…  Ya know, here- http://wp.me/paRLC-46

One week ago, we celebrated May Day 2012 across the world.  May Day has many origins, most dealing with Spring- but in the late 19th Century, the Haymaker Incident in Chicago occurred; since then, May Day has also been known as International Worker’s Day.  However, instead of standing with the American Worker in solidarity, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation on Loyalty Day, the government’s answer to citizens demands for working rights.

This isn’t the first time a US President has tried to disentangle May Day from the struggle for worker’s rights.  In 1887, just one year after the Haymaker Incident, Grover Cleveland moved to support Labor Day in September as the only official holiday in recognition of the American Worker.  During the 20’s, groups promoted “Americanization Day”, which became Loyalty Day in 1959, as a way to encourage what they deem as loyalty.

And yet, when Eisenhower signed the Loyalty Day holiday into law more than 50 years ago, he simply provided further evidence of a concerted lack of respect towards America’s working class.  There were (and are) three holidays that already make much better overlays for a day of professing loyalty to crown** and country, one of which is even in May: Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veteran’s Day.  The first and last are a testament to those who serve in the military, demonstrating loyalty, while Independence Day, being a celebration of America’s birth would have great synergy with a renewal of loyalty to the nation.  So, let’s take a short, logical look at the reason for proclaiming a 4th day to say “I Am a Loyal American”.

The people in power are often kept there by the people with money.  In fact, there is often a revolving door between the two.  To this rarified group of people, the working class tends to be a headache.  THEY want health care, THEY want safe working conditions, THEY want fair wages, THEY want this and THEY want that- the wealthy want to deny them that, for two reasons.  First, what they, the working class, wants, costs money- money most easily, and by the definition of society, reasonably, procured from those with the most money.  The wealthy didn’t magic into their money- they earned it, but from the people who paid for their products, the people who made them, etc…  (Assuming they didn’t inherit it- which is a common wealth transfer method, synonymous with royalty.)  In other words, the wealthy and the powerful are often the same group- the “Us” to the working class “Them”.

Several studies have looked at the massive rise in income inequality since the 1970s, when the trade unions were at their zenith in America.  A few recent ones have even pointed out that unions have become non sequitors in American politics, with SuperPACs and lobbyists completely usurping the collective say of the working class by the will of those who can pay for the most influence.  Labor union membership has diminished for various reasons, many of them directly caused by the executives in the board rooms who care only for greater profit margins.  Outsourcing, union busting, “right to work” legislation- all of this has had the effect of gutting unions, to the benefit of wealthy individuals who can now monopolize access to politicians- who then pass laws benefitting their rich friends and contributors.  This cycle of donation to access, as well as wealthy individuals being the politicians, has squeezed the working class citizen from true political participation- or either party.

Which brings us to a week ago:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/05/01/presidential-proclamation-loyalty-day-2012

Instead of taking the time to issue a proclamation in support of the working class, the working poor, the unemployed mere weeks away from losing their benefits, in the midst of one of our nation’s greatest economic crises, the President instead reminds us to be loyal to our country.  That we must rededicate ourselves to service of our nation, and by extension, our nation’s masters- the wealthy.

A quote from President Obama’s proclamation stands out: “On Loyalty Day, we rededicate ourselves to the common good, to the cornerstones of liberty, equality, and justice, and to the unending pursuit of a more perfect Union.”  Where is the justice for the working class?  While do thousands have to protest to even get a blip on the 24-hour news cycle, is there is equality, or even equity, in this country? And the liberty of those peaceful protestors being harassed, pepper-sprayed and arrested en masse for demanding the rights their forefathers fought and died for?

The President of the United States doesn’t say one thing about the millions of able-bodied men and women who want to work, but can’t find a job.  Nor does he speak of the millions more who work, but are denied a basic, living wage, let alone reasonable health care or other benefits.  He reminds us to be, not good citizens, but to be good servants to our political masters, who run the nation.

May 1st is a day celebrated worldwide by and for the workers who sweat and bleed to bring progress and provide for their family- don’t allow any government nor politician to take that away from you.