I just finished watching a documentary, "The Union, the business behind getting high", on Netflix (Netflix is my addiction).  Damning as far as setting forth an argument against prohibition, showing the societal costs of prohibition as opposed to lack of known negatives.  To be transparent about my own situation, I used as a teenager, thought better of it after getting some heroin-tainted product (which was too amazing), and never used again.  Didn't like getting high anyway.  I don't smoke, almost never drink, and it took a major disc problem before I was willing to take vicodin, and then only very briefly.  I really hate what oxycodone has done to our medical system and to management of pain in the susceptible, addictive-prone populations.  Purdue-Pharma has destroyed many lives, and made megabux, on oxycontin.  But I certainly don't care if other people use marijuana. 


The documentary set forth arguments for medical benefits in certain settings.  In some ways, they sound like "cure-all" benefits of other herbs, vitamins, and "natural products".  The costs of prohibition are significant, including infrastructure, outlays for employment of enforcing personnel, adding to distrust of government, and restriction of individual freedoms for little reason.



Costs of prohibition:

High incarceration rate.

Diversion of resources from other needs.

Miseducation of the public.

Deprives citizens of a generally safe product for entertainment and palliation.


Benefits of prohibition:

Certain industries benefit - private prisons, employment of prison guards, pharmaceutical industries.

Certain politicians benefit.  Plus, they're afraid that if they support repeal of prohibition, they'll lose the next election.

Parents get to have a soothing, false sense of security that their kids aren't using weed.  Just ocycontin and heroin.



It bothers me that marijuana is promoted as medicinal.  Even with certain benefits, the doctor is currently put in the impossible position of either being a 'go-to' person for "marijuana cards" - potentially putting their license at risk, and swamping their practice with people who want it for their 'headaches', 'back pain', and other real or not-real symptoms.  In addition, with increasing issues of oxycodone and other narcotic diversion, the DEA requires drug testing of some pain patients and if marijuana is present, their legal narcotic prescriptions must sometimes be cancelled.  With no quality control, safety regulation, dose management, it's impossible for the doctor to know what they are prescribing, or if it is safe or effective.  Not to mention, there is no training in use of marijuana and it doesnt come with long, lawyer-written disclaimers about the zillions of potential side effects that you get with, say, your cholesterol or blood pressure pills.


Really, medical marijuana seems like a 'back-door' route to  legalization.  But it's no more honest than people who want it illegal to "limit use", since it certainly hasn't eliminated use.



The primary use of marijuana is and should be recreational.  As for actual scientific trials of marijuana - I'm not sure there are any, or many, good clinical trials.  If someone wants to use it "medicinally", it should be in the same category as naturopathy or herbalism, unless controlled trials are able to demonstrate specific benefits in specific medical scenarios.  What is so bad about people having some fun?  It's safer than booze.  It's already illegal to drive while intoxicated, wehther with ethanol or marijuana.


What would happen if we eliminated the prohibition?



1 - Monsanto would make genetically engineered marijuana, and drive small players out of the market.  The Monsanto product would be Roundup-Ready, contain B. thuringensis as a pesticide, and contain zero (as opposed to almost zero) THC.  This would be a better renewable product than some of our other fiber and paper products.  (That being said, most of the hemp clothes that I have seen are really scratchy - maybe Ive just seen the wrond ones).  The tobacco companies, with existing manufacturing and marketing infrastructure, might dominate the market.


2 - Large scale use of hemp as an agricultural commodity, for fabric, fiber, and other uses, would make available billions of acres of plant material, and swamp the market with fake marijuana, resulting in sales of non-intoxicating hemp as bogus marijuana.  The only way for people to be sure that their weed is good, will be development of brand name products. 


3 - Companies like Marboro would get into the recreational marijuana industry, developing trusted brand names so that people could be reassured that they are buying "the real deal" instead of hemp intended for T-shirt manufacture or paper.  Some people would grow their own.  The plants do look pretty. 


Where is the nonsense in discussion of marijuana?

-claiming It's incredibly harmful.

-claiming Dire consequences would occur if prohibition ended.

-claiming It's a cure-all for anything that ails you.

-claiming It's a medicinal product and should be treated as medicine.


So that's my 2¢

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Replies to This Discussion

I would first like to point out I am a "medicinal user" although some recreational use as well....how many drink a glass of red wine a day for "heart health" but knock back a bottle on their anniversary? As far as my medical use, I'm a long term crohn's patient (19 years and two bowel resection surgeries, short bowel syndrome, nutritional b-12 deficiancy) and the studies are out there, (why do you think at the top of almost every "med legal" state's list of medicinal needs diseases is .....TaDa! crohn's disease. http://www.state.mi.us/orr/emi/admincode.asp?AdminCode=Single&A...
note 333.101 rule 1 subsection 5 part a
I also take exception to your math, as 2 oz a day is somewhat excessive it is not by any means a year's supply. My wife (fibromialgia/degenerative disk disease/3 time cancer survivor) and I share a bowl a night (approx. 1/2 gram, 1 oz ='s 28 grams 28 divided by 1/2 ='s 56 days of 1 bowl a night) as pot tends to be a social recreational activity people tend to share so a casual user can easily go through an ounce in a month or less unless they are greedy bogarting s.o.b.'s.
I have never seen it claimed that marijuana is a cure-all. Just that it is an effective pain medication.
Actually Susan - you say that one of the "nonsense" arguments (your word there) is that "-It's a medicinal product and should be treated as medicine."

When did I say this?
No prob.
In general, you are right - most people claim that it's helpful in pain disorders, although also treatment of nausea and cancer- or -chemotherapy- induced anorexia.

However, there are people who then start making a number of claims, in support of legalizatio, based on incomplete research, such as "This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidoil, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention."

"Cannabinoids, the active components of Cannabis sativa and their derivatives, act in the organism by mimicking endogenous substances, the endocannabinoids, that activate specific cannabinoid receptors. Cannabinoids exert palliative effects in patients with cancer and inhibit tumour growth in laboratory animals.

"The best-established palliative effect of cannabinoids in cancer patients is the inhibition of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. ....

"Cannabinoids inhibit tumour growth in laboratory animals. They do so by modulating key cell-signalling pathways, thereby inducing direct growth arrest and death of tumour cells, as well as by inhibiting tumour angiogenesis and metastasis."Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties

However, the articles cite "cannabanoids" - in other words, stating that there are various substances that they are claiming usefulness for. How can someone ensure that any particular marijuana preparation will have some of the substances in the right amounts, but not others that might be useless or harmful? As a medicine, you need to know what you are giving, not just assume that some plants, grown in some conditions, have the substance, but not necessarily all plants grown in all conditions.

I would be fine with the use of substances, obtained from marijuana as the source, a medicines. That's not the same as claiming that marijuana, the plant, is a miedicine.

You need to watch this. Then search YouTube for Jacquelin Patterson.

Marijuana is know to suppress most if not all symptoms of Cerebral Palsy. It is also known for the suppression of certain symptoms of Glaucoma.

You may want to read the following sites:
Cannibinoid action induces autophagy-mediated cell death through st... (< scientific paper)
More Evidence Suggests Marijuana Slows Alzheimer's
Marijuana Health Mythology

Now, you agree that it should be legalized. I have to admit that, while I agree, I have one fear: that the tobacco companies will get their hands on it, and people will not be allowed to grow it. This would destroy Marijuana and simply turn it into another tobacco product. My hope is, if they legalize it, they legalize the selling of pure seeds so those of us that want to can grow for personal use.

This is actually a reason I want to leave America (besides it being too Conservative and too religious).
I wonder if it would ever be completely out of the hands of regular people. Prohibition wanted it eliminated too, but that didn't work. It's been such a tradition for people to grow their own!
You are probably right, when it comes to someone's personal use, or for friends. But I suspect that deprohibition would lead to dilution of "good" product with "bad" because farms would be growing industrial hemp that would be readily available. People being people, it would be a form of "hemp spam", overwhelming the market with bogus goods. That's just my personal idea, I've never seen it discussed.
Daniel, if you were a pot smoker, you would know this is not a likely scenario. The stuff has been getting more and more potent over the past 20 years. It's ridiculous how little you need to smoke now compared to in the '70s. The other thing you need to remember is that the active ingredient concentrates in the femlae flowers - hemp is made from the stalks of the male plants. Almost all cultivation is done by taking cuttings from a 'mother plant' of proven quality. Provided this plant is not allowed to flower, it is virtually immportal.
Being able to keep and grow the marijuana seeds would fit well with the present laws on alcohol, in that the individual can still make wine and beer, at their homes, legally.
Other "nonsense" in the discussion of marijuana:

The statistics of alcohol- and tobacco-related deaths, meanwhile the claim that no one has ever directly died from marijuana. They are two different things. I'm sure there have been marijuana-related deaths.

Not mentioning responsible use. It may be slightly safer than alcohol for driving but I still think it is not safe.
It is impossible to directly die from pure marijuana. You cannot get poisoning nor can you overdose on pure marijuana because you would have to inhale twice your own body-weight at once.

Anything that burns gives off carcinogens, and carcinogens increase your risk for cancer (in other words, you could smoke Rosemary leaves and increase your risk for cancer). But studies are being done to see if marijuana may, in fact, fight cancer, and if this is true (studies done so far suggest it is true, but not enough studies have been done for final analyses and conclusions, yet, and many more are still being conducted), the effects may counter, if not entirely negate, the effects of the carcinogens.

Not once in its recorded history has pure marijuana directly killed someone.

Yes, obviously, there have been marijuana-related deaths. Driving under the influence of any drug, be it alcohol or even marijuana, will increase your chances of getting in an accident, killing others and maybe yourself. So you would be right that driving while high on marijuana is as much of a bad idea as driving drunk is. Marijuana laced with other substances has killed people who ended up overdosing on either too much of the other substance, or a sensitivity to the combination. And, obviously, drug deals go wrong.

But again, pure marijuana has not been directly responsible for the deaths of a single person in its recorded history. Of all the illegal psychedelic drugs, and even in comparison to some legal drugs, pure marijuana is one of the safest. In fact, more people die from prescription medications.

On the flip side, you can die very easily from alcohol-poisoning, and cigarettes cause cancer not just because of the carcinogens, but because of the numerous poisons and other toxins the tobacco companies put in to their cigarettes.




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