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Medical Marijuana – Just Say No

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Medical Marijuana - Just Say No
Photo credit: Brett Levin Photography/ Flickr

A bipartisan draft called “The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act,” introduced into Pennsylvania’s Senate as SB 1182 by Senators Mike Folmer (R) and Daylin Leach (D), has many crying foul. The fear is that it is using a “noble cause” to sneak in an unpopular political agenda item. States have done this before with issues such as gambling, bringing in $1 Lotto play as a way to “help the elderly”; from there came slot machines, and then table games to “help reduce taxes.” Soon enough there were full blown casinos and the resultant crime and other issues associated with them.

The GOP fears that the introduction of legalized medical marijuana nationwide could have the same gradual, insidious effect. What starts out as an honorable mission to assist the medically-challenged in their time of need could eventually lead to all sorts of societal ills. Republicans feel it’s time to invoke that famous slogan from the D.A.R.E. for the last three decades and “Just Say No!” to legalized marijuana use in any form.

Marijuana trafficking has been historically linked to a wide spectrum of crimes, from assault to murder to smuggling and money laundering. The GOP believe that the legalization of marijuana would inevitably increase demand for the drug and by extension exacerbate drug-related crime. There could also be a myriad of unforeseen consequences.

An astonishingly high percentage of criminals happen to be marijuana users. A study by the RAND Corporation found that about 60% of those arrested test positive for marijuana use in the U.S. While some studies show marijuana reduces violent and aggressive behavior, the National Research Council found that long-term use of marijuana could alter the nervous system to actually promote violence. Amsterdam is often cited as an example, a city known for its relaxed attitude toward drugs. However, it is also one of Europe’s most violent cities.

California allows the sale of medical marijuana with a prescription and it is already showing Amsterdam-like effects. Neighborhoods surrounding “cannabis clubs” in Los Angeles have experienced a 200% increase in robberies, 52% increase in burglaries, 57% more aggravated assaults, and 131% increase in automobiles break-ins with theft. Full legalization of pot would likely exacerbate this trend even further.

From Around The Web

  • 1CityZen

    As usual, the posters of this disinformation have [deliberately] confused the effects of the plant’s illegality with the projected results of its being accepted for its useful benefits. Regulating it would actually counter-effect the negatives listed which have been the disastrous results of keeping it tainted by criminal cartel rule; much like the effect prohibition had on alcohol use and sales, a folly that was discontinued as should happen with the entire sativa plant species. The real consideration: Legalization could literally save our planet from deforestation and hideous fossil extraction processes by opening up a yearly renewable crop source for everything from paper goods to textiles and possibly fueling vehicles as well as, of course, the medical research and usage maligned by the authors of this propaganda. Time to stop listening to the self-proclaimed moralists and enemies of scientific discourse and go with what has become known and add to that empirical pursuit.

    • talinmaplewood

      You hit the nail on the head 1CityZen. I have to laugh when they say “it might get into kids hands”. Go to your kids school, he has no problem getting pot. As a matter of fact its a lot harder for them to get alcohol than weed, which is another reason to legalize it. And when weed is sold in a legal store they aren’t going to be selling crack and meth too. The only reason weed leads to harder drugs is that the person selling weed sells the other drugs too, I know that for a fact. If pot were legalized other drug use would go down along with hitting the cartels in the pocketbook. And don’t even start with hemp, it isn’t even POT. No kid would smoke hemp, if they did they would get nothing but a headache. But big lumber is afraid of hemp so it won’t happen. Hemp grows in one season and makes better paper and clothing than wood or cotton. Big money is promoting making it illegal including, booze, private prisons (70% of inmates are in jail for non violent drug offenses, how would they make that money if it was legal?) and the lumber barons.

  • Maynard

    They should approve of not only medically needed pot but pot as a recreational substance. Why not? Then, instead of the drug dealers making a mint the fed/state could impose a tax to relieve my tax burden.

    • mdd4890

      the rotten government shouldn’t make a dime off of mj no matter what we use it for. leave the money with the people inside of the economy instead of giving it to the private federal reserve to pay back a debt that they created for us. we need to rip their heads off and drag them through the streets.

  • Occam’s Tool

    THC is already available by prescription in pill for for HIV wasting and chemotherapy induced nausea—it is called Marinol. Doesn’t get you high much.
    This is a garbage argument for legalization.

    • John Doe

      Dronabinol (Marinol) is used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. It is usually used when other drugs to control nausea and vomiting have not been successful, and also in HIV……whereas medical marijuana is also used successfully in many other applications. You really need to research the medicine before you tout it as the cure-all.

      • Occam’s Tool

        John: CBDs may be useful, but smoking the weed is a great way to create new onset psychoses in adolescents. I am a board certified psychiatrist who does chemical dependency work.

        • John Doe

          I am friends with a number of psychiatrists…and with at least two who have gotten themselves in trouble by self-prescribing. Everybody has an opinion on the medical marijuana issue. Granted, some are less informed than others. I guess that really does come down to the financial core of the issue…does big pharma want the competition? My guess is no. With the FDA firmly in the pocket of big pharma it seems that medical marijuana still has a long hard road ahead.

        • Smoky Smith

          I personally suffer from scizzoaffective disorder which brings on psychosis when under a lot of stress even when medicated with seroquel, Haldol, and other psychoactive drugs. I have found that when these drugs aren’t working to elleviate the underlying stress/paranoia leading to pschycosis, I can smoke a couple of marijuana cigarettes and stop my pscychosis in it’s tracks. It allows my mind to calm down and my symptoms (Hallucinations, delusions, and depression) seem to just disappear making it easier to live as normal person. My real concern is the penalties for possession are the same as violent crimes in Alabama where legalization is almost impossible. I am now looking at a felony possession charge myself for possessing just 1 gram of marijuana which could land me in jail for 1 to 10 years (second offense). Taxpayers will be paying to house, feed, and medicate me during this time period. Wouldn’t you guys rather make a little money on the sale of a substance that is already widely available and stop waisting money on “The Drug War” which is not even putting a dent in the marijuana sales on the streets. I think the police should concentrate on the drugs that are harmful and bring about violent crimes (Meth, Crack, Cocaine, Heroine, and pcp.) This is just my opinion.
          PS. Marinol had no affect on my mothers side effects when undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer, but a joint I shared with her allowed her pain medication to be more effective and she actually ate food afterwards. She weighed all of 80 pounds when she died after marinol was ineffective and my father wouldn’t allow pot use.
          Just imagine a world where we are allowed to do what we want with our bodies, as it is our own personal life we are discussing.

    • BrewersFan_7

      Marinol is also far less effective in the treatment of the various ailments that medical marijuana is used for. Research, some of it dating back to the 80s shows that it’s not a single ingredient but the combination of ingredients in the whole that makes marijuana effective. So, no Occam’s Tool, this is not a garbage argument for legalization.

      • Occam’s Tool

        Problem with “Medical Marijuana” is that the THC is concentrated to the point of inducing psychsosi easily. You really haven’t lived until you have tried to medicate a psychotic Maori with full facial tattoos whose only substance on the urine tox screen in MJ.
        Thanks for playing, but I have forgotten more on this as a boarded psychiatrist than you guys know.

        • mdd4890

          there are plants that don’t produce any thc only cbd and they are still illegal. seems like the only thing you are talking about is smoking pot??? it is the oil that works best. what have you not forgotten about the oil?

          • Occam’s Tool

            Not talking about synthesizing CBDs. No problem with that. But the majority of medical MJ users are smoking or otherwise consuming the plant. Further, diversion to adolescents occurring.

    • munchma cuchi

      Physican viewpoint. So lissen-up: Marinol is difficult to titrate closely. Likewise, Other cannabis constituents likely have more antinausea activity. So, paradoxically from the statists’ POV, patients on Marinol go around more stoned than they need to be.

    • mdd4890

      cbd is the real medical component of mj. they never tell anybody about cannabis oil because it cures cancer among other things..and it leaves the pharmaceutical companies out of the mix. There is more money to be made treating cancer than curing it.

  • silversailer .

    “An astonishingly high percentage of criminals happen to be marijuana users.”

    With at least 75% of the US prison population, you could also say “An astonishingly high percentage of criminals happen to be christians.” So I guess you would want to make christianity illegal??

    I also find it odd that Republicans are often for small government, but only when it suites them, otherwise they want total government intrusion. I guess I just don’t understand that mindset. I know there aren’t a whole lot of Black and White situations for that to apply, but there should be at least some consistency in the stance of limited government, if that’s what is really wanted.

    • BrewersFan_7

      Agreed. So many Republicans, like their Democrat counterparts, feel that government intrusion is just fine as long as it lines up with their values and goals. That’s not liberty.

  • Rebut Ifucan

    Most Republicans are just conservative on the outside, yet as conflicted as Gollum on the inside.

  • 1bimbo

    are these comments for real?

  • James Phillips

    Unless the GOP softens its anti-marijuana position, it will have no future. Younger Americans will never vote for any candidate who supports Federal marijuana prohibition.

    • munchma cuchi

      I also worry that we may see the last of the GOP unless it goes back to its libertarian roots. The problem is the necessity for appealing in the primaries to the 30% of the population who feels it is just fine to interfere in peoples private lives. A recipe for permanent minority status. Small, limited gummit is the proper stance. This is not it.

    • mdd4890

      that’s why the republican party is being taken over by libertarians.

  • munchma cuchi

    I’m an MD, PhD drug expert and the above is so much nonsense. Wrong in so many ways that I cannot even begin to list them. What happened to Republican small gummit? As for crime, these days beer distributors solve their commercial disputes in court.

    • kingdiamond

      Republicans only cry for smaller government when it something they approve of when its something they are against they are just fine when the Feds come tear lives apart that’s why you shouldn’t believe a thing that comes out of a politicians mouth especially Republicans.

  • Occam’s Tool

    Lissen up yourself, young man: I have prescribed Marinol, and it isn’t difficult to titrate at all.

  • Diane Win

    You only want Cannabis to remain illegal because prohibition threatens at least 8 other industries to the tune of severe loss of profit. This includes pharma, oil, timber, fabric, tobacco, alcohol, private prisons and rehab facilities. Drug testing centers could take a profit hit as well. Cannabis fell under the draconian hammer of prohibition because William Randolph Hearst invested heavily into timber for his yellow sheet publishing and hemp threatened that. DuPont had just invented Nylon and was threatened with how Hemp was far superior to the nylon fibers. So, what did they do? They hired Harry Anslinger to promote racist propaganda to go after marijuana and slipped hemp into the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act of 1937. Even the American Medical Association protested after they learned that Marijuana was being used to describe Cannabis, as it was in their Pharmacopia due to its wondrous medicinal benefits that was widely recognized and used for numerous ailments and diseases.

  • Occam’s Tool

    Mr. Doe: I have prescribed marinol for my patients. I have no chronic pain, nor nausea. I don’t self prescribe. Thank you for playing.

  • Roger Densley D.D.S.

    I try to keep an open mind about marijuana legalization, but when people twist the statistics to serve an agenda it is aggravating. Yes, a high percentage of criminals may test positive for marijuana, but this doesn’t mean recent ingestion. What percent of criminals have had any alcohol in the last month? I dare guess a very high percent. A more telling statistic would be if legitimate medical marijuana patients were more prone to criminal behavior than the general population. I doubt such a correlation exists. States with medical marijuana laws are not suffering from a crime or automobile accident surge. I live in Nevada, where there are medical marijuana laws recently introduced and I certainly haven’t noticed anything change. I don’t know about areas around cannabis clubs but those statistics sound extremely fishy to me. Do criminals move to these places just because medical marijuana is available, or do they just prefer to perform criminal acts there? Or could it be that only questionable neighborhoods are willing to tolerate the clubs presence? I suspect the later.

  • Jaybone

    Genie’s out of the bottle on this one. Drug prohibition in general creates more crime than drug usage itself. Look at the Mexican and South American cartels. Colombia almost became a true narco state in the 80s and 90s because of the billions raked in by the cocaine cartels there. Make marijuana legal, and decriminalize other drugs of abuse.

  • Patrick McMahon

    this is total misinformation and fear propaganda. you’ve clearly never smoked a joint before and if you did you’re probably so high strung that you thought the walls were melting and you were dying so you had to be rushed to the hospital and when you asked the doctor how to stop “tripping” they handed you a bag of doritos and told you to get the hell out of the ER.