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

The sentencing reform act would have been a great time to invest in any goods/services for prisons.
I couldn't resist ...

I do agree that the medical way is more then likely a back-door attempt to legalize it, good on them, ram it through anyway you can.

Soapbox... I have a standing objection to the whole "war on drugs".

Rather then dealing with drugs and the issues that sometimes surround those that use them (poverty, stress, physical illness, mental health issues, etc) they instead choose to jail drug users in cells with real criminals, drug users who for the most part harm no-one but themselves. As well the sentence you receive for using drugs is usually in direct proportion to how much money you make, and how good your lawyer is.

It is a waste of a governments time and money to fight a "war on drugs", when there are far more serious crimes and social issues to deal with.

It would be a better policy to legalize it, regulate it, commercialize some and help those who use drugs as a substitute for something else get what they really need.

I should add for bias sake that I have been know to use caffeine, alcohol, pot, and others drugs on occasion.

In reference to marijuana specifically here in Canada the possession laws have essentially been ruled unenforceable and according to the last poll 47% of Canadians support legalization.

According to our own Senate.

A long-standing special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs, headed by Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, held hearings on the issue as well. In May 2002, the committee presented a "discussion paper," summarizing the scientific evidence and opinion on marijuana, including:

* Marijuana is "not a gateway" to harder drugs, such as cocaine and heroin
* Fewer than 10 per cent of users become addicted
* A lot of public money is spent on law enforcement, even though public policies don't seem to discourage use of drug

In September 2002, the committee released its final report saying, in part, that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and should be governed by the same sort of regulations.

"Scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that cannabis is substantially less harmful than alcohol and should be treated not as a criminal issue but as a social and public health issue," said Nolin.

Despite that recommendation, it is still an illegal substance here in Canada, I often suspect it is pressure from our largest trade partner which keeps it that way.
To smoke marijuana for pain is not really what it's medical use is intended for other than a pleasant side effect some people may experience through the distraction of an altered state, but it really is not meant for that nor does it target pain receptors.

A true use is mostly for combating nausea and vomiting, which it actually does target and inhibit. The most valuable use would be for it's appetite stimulation.

Chemo therapy can leave you with no appetite at all, as well as depression and other illness.
The reason it is preferred to Marinol is it has not only an instant effect, it is simple to get it into your system by smoking when you cannot manage to hold anything down. It is a miracle drug in this regard, and it has nothing to do with new age holistic medicine and their usual claims.

Regardless of the fact most people are using medical issues to simply bypass the law, it's a stupid law and a tragic misuse of tax payer money, as well as a tragedy against liberty and reason for the effect it's prohibition has had on society.

Nixon created a commission of mostly right wing conservatives in the 70s, the Schaefer Commission I believe, which to his great annoyance found the prohibition of cannabis to be without merit and unconstitutional. It's time we did away with this archaic idea.
Nice summary Nick Altman. Welcome to No Nonsense. I completely agree 100% and I have no interest in marijuana myself, none whatsoever - I do not like the way it makes me feel, but I will fight for the right of others to be able to use it without fear of prosecution.
Thanks for the welcome, I live in Oklahoma City, and finding a haven of sorts here on the site from the babble I am surrounded by here on the Earth is a miracle unto itself :)
Amen to that! (Sorry, but I was raised Southern Baptist and just think there is no end to the humor of an athiest saying things like "amen" or "you're preaching to the choir", etc) I'm from out in the sticks about thirty miles north of Houston, so I definitely "feel your pain". Man, before I got on the internet, in say, 97 or so, I thought I was the only atheist alive down here.
I would be absolutely astonished if pot were not effective for neuropathic pain.
Conspiracy theories about lobbyists for Dupont and other chemical and paper manufacturers aside, the marijuana (and the modern drug) war was birthed by Harry J. Anslinger.


Basically, after the prohibition of alcohol was repealed, there was a government agency out of the job. At the time, there was an issue with Mexican immigrants illegally crossing the border for employment. Cannabis was used at the time in America by some doctors for nausea and appetite, medically. But African Americans and Mexicans were known to use it to inebriate themselves, and it was a stereotype that fit perfectly. The trade of alcohol and drugs was also considered a loss of revenue because as illegal substances they could not be taxed. In 1930, Anslinger was appointed to the newly-created FBN (Federal Bureau of Narcotics) as its first Commissioner. The FBN, like the Bureau of Prohibition, was under the auspices of the US Treasury Department. At that time Anslinger was appointed by Secretary of the Treasury, Andrew W. Mellon and given a budget of $100,000.

Ansliger demonized the substance almost overnight with laughably false accusations on the dangers of the dreaded drug, marijuana. He claimed it led to psychosis and murder and rape.

It's just ridiculous to see this lapse of logic endure for over 80 years, the crime that illegal alchohol distribution gave rise to is small potatoes compared to the amount of violence and death now caused by the war on drugs.

Thousands are dying in Mexico EVERY MONTH and it is spilling over into the American southwest.

I truly hope it is only a matter of time before the issue of personal liberty over mind and mood altering substances is realized in America with a rational and logical eye. The abuse of these substances are not inherent, it is the fault of the individual and should be treated as a health problem. The criminal associations with substance abuse are one of the greatest tragedies of western reason, we need to catch up to northern Europe in our policies. Fallacious reasoning, like the idea of gateway substances, has no place in rational deduction.

With thousands dying a month from spill over violence, it's got to only be a matter of time now.

its madness...




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