Tag Archives: marijuana legalization

An interesting read about marijuana legalization and politics.

Admin; Worth a read. One item left out is the lobbying efforts of the the liquor industry, police unions, private prisons, pharmaceutical corporations, and prison guard unions to prevent marijuana legalization has been  lucrative incentive for the White House, local, state and federal legislators to prevent legalization efforts in the past.  Let’s change this.

Here’s the real reason why marijuana is illegal in the US

ATTN:

  • Jul. 3, 2015, 4:11 PM

marijuana Mark Leffingwell/Reuters

It is hard to imagine a time when most pharmacies carried cannabis and farmers were required to grow hemp, much like they are given incentives to grow corn these days, but that is a significant part of the history of the U.S.

From the 1600s to the late 1800s, hemp (a cannabis plant containing very little THC) was harvested on U.S. soil to create materials such as rope, paper, and clothing.

In 1619, the Virginia Assembly decided to require farmers to grow hemp for these purposes, according to PBS. Hemp was also used as legal tender in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland around that time. During the 1800s, cannabis products became a popular medicinal substance found in tinctures that were sold in many pharmacies across the nation. It became a requirement to label these over-the-counter medicines containing cannabis, including cocaine and heroin, with the Federal Food and Drugs Act of 1906, but these things were still legal.

Around 1910, the Mexican Revolution was starting to boil over, and many Mexicans immigrated to the U.S. to escape the conflict. This Mexican population had its own uses for cannabis, and they referred to it as “marihuana.” Not only did they use it for medicinal purposes, but they smoked it recreationally, which was a new concept for white Americans. Even the term, marihuana, was unfamiliar to them, as they called it cannabis.

Southern states that were receiving the Mexican immigrants became concerned with this growing population. Newspapers ran headlines speaking of the “Mexican menace” or the “marijuana menace” and claimed Mexican men were going crazy from smoking marijuana and were killing people. El Paso, Texas became the first U.S. city to ban marijuana in 1915, and city officials started rounding up Mexicans who smoked marijuana and had them deported.

“A widow and her four children have been driven insane by eating the Marihuana plant, according to doctors, who say that there is no hope of saving the children’s lives and that the mother will be insane for the rest of her life,” read a New York Times story from 1927. It was clear the newspapers and tabloids were building a campaign against the plant, and much of it has been said to be based on racist ideologies against Mexican immigrants.

“Reefer Madness,” the anti-marijuana propaganda film, came out in 1936. By 1937, 46 of the 48 states passed laws banning marijuana use. That same year, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed, which made it so it was illegal to have marijuana unless it was for specific medical or industrial reasons. That law was eventually ruled to be unconstitutional, but it would be replaced later on. Fast forward to the Boggs Act of 1952 and the Narcotics Control Act of 1956, which was when the federal government started requiring minimum prison sentences for drug crimes, such as possessing marijuana. In the 1970s, President Nixon declared his war on drugs.

The Controlled Substance Act of 1970 initiated the scheduling of drugs by how dangerous they were perceived to be. Marijuana was made a schedule I drug, which meant it has no “accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was created under Nixon in 1972. The way the federal government handles punishing marijuana crimes was inspired by the Rockefeller Drug Laws, created by New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1973. He made it so there would be strict mandatory jail sentences for possession of drugs and led a harsh campaign against them. In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan borrowed from these laws and created similar mandatory sentences at a federal level and started pursuing drug users more fervently.

As ATTN: reported before, Reagan’s escalation of the drug war led the U.S. to go from 150 people in prison per 100,000 to where it stands now, just over 700 per 100,000. The motivations were originally aimed at the Mexican population, but now people of all ethnicities have suffered from harsh drug laws. That said, minority communities are still disproportionately affected by drug laws. Marijuana may be getting closer to where it was in the 1800s, with it becoming used as medicine and grown legally, but there is still progress to be made in terms of the justice system and federal law.

Read the original article on ATTN:. Copyright 2015. Follow ATTN: on Twitter.

Read more: http://www.attn.com/stories/2116/reason-marijuana-illegal-united-states#ixzz3f0uKTT67

Marijuana legislation milestone is tomorrow

Admin; Now is OUR time to see the PEOPLES will impacting funding of federal enforcement of the outdated Schedule 1 classification…

Lawmakers brace for marijuana vote-a-rama

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By Tim Devaney – 06/01/15 02:26 PM EDT

Lawmakers are prepping for what could turn into a marijuana vote-a-rama Wednesday, sources say.

Pot advocates expect lawmakers to introduce at least half a dozen marijuana-related appropriations amendments that would roll back the Justice Department’s authority to enforce drug laws around the country.

The marijuana amendments would handicap the Department of Justice (DOJ) in its fight with states over the enforcement of local pot laws.

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“The politics have continued to shift in favor of marijuana law reform,” said Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority.

“For a long time, lawmakers treated marijuana as a third-rail issue that was too dangerous to touch,” he added. “But now that polling shows a growing majority of voters supports ending prohibition, more and more elected officials are starting to realize that demonstrating leadership on this issue has political benefits instead of harms.”

The marijuana amendments come as part of the Justice Department’s funding bill, which dictates the terms in which the agency can use the money.

Pot advocates are making a big push in advance of the vote to rally lawmakers to their side.

The Justice Department would be prohibited from using federal funds to interfere with states’ medical marijuana laws under an amendment expected from the California delegation — Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R) and Sam Farr (D).

The measure was approved by Congress for the first time in 2014 but it must be renewed each year when the DOJ’s spending bill expires.

Some lawmakers hope to push the boundaries even further.

An amendment from Reps. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) would prohibit DOJ from using federal funds to interfere with any state marijuana law, including laws permitting the recreational use of pot.

“This amendment will not only protect critically ill medical marijuana patients from federal prosecution but, unlike previous versions, will also apply to adult [recreational] use of marijuana in states where it is legal, like Colorado and Washington,” wrote Dan Riffle, director of federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project, in an email to supporters asking them to lobby their congressmen on the issue.

Another amendment, from Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), would protect state hemp laws from DOJ interference. This would pave the way for farmers to grow hemp in the U.S.

Hemp comes from the same plant as pot, but it does not have the same intoxicating effect, Angell said. Instead, hemp is used to make things like paper, rope and textiles.

“You don’t smoke hemp,” Angell said. “It wouldn’t get you high.”

Several other pot amendments are still in the works, including one that would shift money in the Drug Enforcement Agency’s budget away from enforcing marijuana laws toward solving the rape kit backlog and funding treatment programs for veterans, Riffle said.

http://thehill.com/regulation/legislation/243632-lawmakers-pushing-for-marijuana-vote-a-rama

Marijuana Legalization now decidedly favored by U.S. Citizens.

Admin;

An array of polling company’s are coming up with the same results when voter age citizens are quizzed about their opinion on legalization of marijuana.

This makes Chris Christie out of touch with his public relations team; apparently they are “yes” people wanting to save their jobs instead of having the fortitude to point out to the Govenor that he’s about 30 years behind public opinion.

What we have in America is Baby Boomers that were “there” at Woodstock and share a common belief with their children and grandchildren in marijuana needing to be legalized. 

So you now have 3 generations in America that are aligned in their opinion to legalize.

When you drill down into the details this poll shows that even if the people asked do not consume marijuana they still think it should be recreationally available.

 

 

There is a term “the quickening” and it means that the time has come, the turning point has come. 

Guess what; the proof of the quickening was Colorado and Washington.

No turning back.

The hypocrisy of Schedule one designation is trending to end.

Medical and recreational marijuana is legalizing right before our very eyes.

Thanks to common sense by the citizens.

Marijuana legalization in Texas.

Admin; Amazing read about the shift to logic, reason paved by successful legalization in California and Colorado. The last two paragraphs are an excellent critique of the future of marijuana legalization in America.

Medical marijuana in Texas: ‘The wind is shifting’

A Q&A with drug-reform advocate William Martin

By Claudia Kolker, for the Houston Chronicle

April 7, 2015 Updated: April 7, 2015 5:41pm

What makes people change their minds about drugs? Specifically, what has prompted political leaders, voters, law enforcement officials, and even the medical establishment to so alter their views that marijuana is now decriminalized in more than 20 states and has been made legal for recreational use in Colorado?

For sociologist William Martin, one of Texas’ strongest advocates of drug-law reform, the answer lies in a compelling new mix of research, the experience of people who have used marijuana for medical purposes, and steady work by scholars and activists that has revealed the failures of drug prohibition.

Faith in the cause might also help. Martin, an emeritus professor at Rice and a senior fellow at the Baker Institute for Public Policy, is currently best known for preaching drug policy reform. But he first appeared in the public eye as a different type of preacher: At 14 he was a child evangelist in the fundamentalist Church of Christ. Two years later, at Abilene Christian University, Martin was still preaching on weekends. But he was also beginning a career as a scholar. His studies led him to question the fundamentalist world-view and to focus more on Biblical principles of justice and compassion.

Martin went on to earn a seminary degree at Harvard Divinity School as well as a doctorate in sociology and ethics. Returning to Texas, he became one of Rice University’s most popular professors. During those years, he also maintained an unusual connection with mainstream readers, authoring seven books and writing regularly for publications ranging from The Atlantic to Texas Monthly.

Martin says that his own experience with illegal drugs was limited to a few timid tokes of marijuana in the early 1970s; his advocacy is based on the public health and economic fallout of decades of failed drug policy. As director of the Baker Institute’s Drug Policy Program, he has written, testified, and worked in favor of projects such as the needle exchange program proposed by Legacy Community Health Services in Montrose.

“This is not something I expected to be doing in my old age,” he says. “But it’s pretty interesting.”

Q: What drug-policy reforms do you advocate?

A: First, regulation is better than prohibition. Drug prohibition causes more problems than it solves. That’s not to say that drugs don’t cause problems. I’m not saying we should put rocks of crack in gumball machines at McDonald’s. But we have regulation already for much stronger substances than marijuana. We’ve already regulated drugs like amphetamines — there are many problems with their use, but at least they’re not contaminated with lye and people don’t blow themselves up making them.

Perhaps most important, we need to reform our approach to alcohol, which is the number one drug of abuse in the country. Absent criminal behavior, we ought to treat all drug use as we treat alcohol: as a medical and public health problem, rather than a crime. I think most scientists and medical people who work in the field of addiction agree on that. At one point, the National Institute for Drug Abuse and the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse seriously considered merging. They decided not to because people do not like to give up their fiefdoms.

We also should study the examples of other governments to see what works. Switzerland and the Netherlands provide addicts with pharmaceutical-grade heroin in a sterile environment with a nurse present in case of overdose. Participants in those programs can live a reasonably normal life and their participation in crime has dropped by more than 70 percent. Portugal has decriminalized all drugs. If someone gets in trouble, they deal with it as a social problem, with a three-person panel to decide on proper measures. I was in Portugal recently, and visited with the police there. It hasn’t been the chaos that people predicted, and no one has gone to jail for simple possession or use in fifteen years. Other European countries are looking at as a possible model.

The best thing we can do is to focus on adolescents and drug abuse. This is difficult. Part of the problem is genetic. Part is family and environment. But we have spent a trillion dollars on what doesn’t work. We’ve now got four decades of mapping illicit drug use. We know that about 7 percent of adolescents under 18 have a substance abuse problem.

Between 18 and 25 years old, 20 percent have a problem. Then, after age 26, it’s about 7 percent. As many as 90 percent of substance abusers in that older group developed the problem in adolescence before age 18. This is where we need to focus.

Finally, we need to reform the criminal justice system and the penalties for drug possession. One of the worst things that can happen to a young person is getting a criminal record. You lose a scholarship, your family can lose access to public housing, it’s difficult to find employment. In fiscal year 2011, nonviolent drug offenders who were incarcerated in Texas state jail or prisons cost us $725,000 a day — that’s $264 million a year. I think pretty much everyone agrees that drug policy reform is going to save or make money.

Bill Martin in his office. Photo: ©ev1pro.com

Photo: ©ev1pro.com

Bill Martin in his office.

Q: What drew you to studying drug policy?

A: When I came to Rice in 1968, I was assigned to teach a course in American social problems. I had never taken a course on American social problems! But I had seen the issue through reading and in projects such as starting a settlement house in Boston in the mid-1960s. Early on, I started bringing in people like gay and prison activist Ray Hill, prostitutes, police officers to speak to the class.

Also in 1972, a book came out, Licit and Illicit Drugs, published by Consumer Reports. It was a wonderful book: It talked about how heroin could be dealt with by providing addicts with pharmaceutical-grade heroin in a clean, medical environment, thus taking the criminal aspect out of it. It talked about how marijuana was not as harmful as it was portrayed to be. It was the early ’70s, a lot of my students were using marijuana, and I started paying attention to it.

I also taught criminology for 35 years. I thought that instead of saying drugs cause crimes, it is more accurate to say people who commit crimes also use drugs. Personal and social factors are more important than the drugs themselves. That’s not to say that drugs cannot cause serious problems.

Meanwhile, I’ve been involved in the Baker Institute since it began. In 2000, I was asked by Jerry Epstein and Dr. Al Robison of the Drug Policy Forum of Texas if the Baker Institute would be interested in drug policy. I knew we were needlessly packing our prisons for drug offenses. Fortunately, others agree.

Q: You recently wrote an article for Texas Monthly about veterans’ efforts to obtain medical marijuana.

A: Many veterans find medical marijuana more effective than conventional medications for PTSD and chronic pain. When a guy has done four tours in Iraq and been shot in the chest, it’s hard to look him in the eye and say, “You just want to smoke pot because you’re a slacker.”

Different strains of marijuana are more likely to create anxiety or paranoia than others. Dr. Raphael Machoulam, the Israeli professor of medicinal chemistry who identified THC, the component in marijuana that creates a high, discovered that we have an “endocannabinoid system.” We manufacture cannabis and we have receptors for it. For people who don’t have enough or who get overwhelmed by trauma such as war, an outside source can bring them back into balance.

Q: Have you always specialized in marijuana policy?

A: No. One of the first things I took on was not marijuana, but a needle-exchange program for injecting-drugs users favored by the Legacy Clinic in Montrose. This is essentially a freebie. The science is clear: It prevents blood-borne diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C without increasing drug use. We weren’t asking for any tax money: Charities would cover the exchange. We came quite close a couple of times, but never got it through.

In March, I testified in favor of a bill co-sponsored by San Antonio Representative Ruth McClendon Jones and Houston Representative Garnett Coleman that would allow pilot programs in at least seven of the state’s largest cities. Taxpayer funding would be allowed, but not required.

"Iran has needle exchange programs!" says Martin. But in Texas, "fundamentalist Christianity is preoccupied with 'bodily sins.'" Photo: Melissa Phillip, Staff / © 2012 Houston Chronicle

Photo: Melissa Phillip, Staff

“Iran has needle exchange programs!” says Martin. But in Texas, “fundamentalist Christianity is preoccupied with ‘bodily sins.'”

Q: Texas is the only state that makes needle exchanges impossible, by banning purchasing syringes for illegal drug use. Is there something in Texas culture that reinforces this position?

A: Even the conservative mullahs in Iran has permit needle exchange programs, to combat an AIDS epidemic spread by heroin users!

There’s an ascetic quality that one often finds among evangelical and fundamentalist Christians, who have considerable influence in Texas politics. They are often preoccupied with “bodily sins.” Personal morality figures very highly. Sex. Dancing. Drinking. That is often accompanied by a punitive streak: ”We’re denying ourselves. You’re not denying yourself, so you should be punished.”

When I was at Abilene Christian in the 1950s, I never felt personally repressed. But a girl I knew got expelled for going to a dance during Christmas vacation. A guy was suspended for a year for drinking wine while he was in Europe in the summer. There is a belief in “mortification of the flesh.” That has eased up considerably in many quarters, including Abilene Christian, and the popular “prosperity gospel” does not emphasize self-denial. But that ascetic quality still plays a role in resisting changes to our drug laws.

Q: Does the Baker Institute support your advocacy for drug-policy reform?

A: I’ve never had anything but encouragement. I have lobbied and testified before the Texas House and Senate. I have written in the mainstream press about reform. I’ve organized conferences and worked in coalitions with a wide range of people. I know it does help that this initiative for reform is coming from the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy.

Q: How have the supporters of reform changed in recent years?

A: They’ve really diversified. Some think of drug policy reform as a liberal cause, but this movement is supported by the Koch brothers, Grover Norquist, Newt Gingrich, Ron and Rand Paul, and many others. I’m in touch with two women, conservative Tea Party members and members of a Bible church in Austin, who are fierce advocates for medical marijuana for autism and epilepsy.

The Texas Association of Business and Legislative Budget Board has called for lowering the penalties on things like cocaine possession. [Former District Attorney] Pat Lykos didn’t want to prosecute cases involving minute traces of drugs, and was supported by the command structure of the police department, but not the union. HPD Chief Charles McClelland made headlines last December by calling the War on Drugs a failure and calling enforcement of laws against casual marijuana use a waste of time and other valuable resources.

The organizations range from the Drug Policy Alliance, the Marijuana Policy Project, the ACLU, and NORML to Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, Mothers Against Teen Violence, and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

Q: What are the chances for legislative reform in Texas?

A: For the first time, the a major reform coalition, Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, has come together in an impressive way, including hiring a lobbyist and having professional organizers working in Austin for much of the last year. More than 300 people gathered at the Capitol on February 18 to visit every legislative office and distribute materials supportive of reform — including a document, Marijuana Reform: Fears and Facts, that our program’s Alfred C. Glassell, III, Postdoctoral Fellow Katharine Neill and I prepared. Other smaller groups have followed up since.

Bills currently before the 2015 session of the Legislature include the needle-exchange bill I’ve already mentioned, several bills that would lower or remove criminal penalties for possession and use of small amounts of marijuana, and a comprehensive medical marijuana bill. On April 8, the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee will hear testimony on four such bills in a single session.

Reform has a better chance in initiative states such as Colorado and California, where voters can gather enough signatures to put issues the ballot. In Texas you have to convince legislators to draw up a bill and then move it through a complicated process, with possible roadblocks at every turn. But if other states relax their laws without falling into ruin, and people see pressure builds, and more people recognize multiple medical uses of cannabis and the financial benefits of lowered law enforcement costs and a legal marijuana industry, Texas will eventually come on board.

For this session, I think some form of decriminalization has the best chance, and perhaps a modest medical bill. Whatever happens, the wind is clearly shifting, and is finally at our backs.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/gray-matters/article/Preaching-past-the-choir-6182391.php

Marijuana choice from Pediatrician’s perspective.

Admin; Excellent information, well balanced regarding pros and cons.  Well worth the read to educate yourself.

Alcohol or Marijuana? A Pediatrician Faces the Question

MARCH 16, 2015

Aaron E. Carroll

As my children, and my friends’ children, are getting older, a question that comes up again and again from friends is this: Which would I rather my children use — alcohol or marijuana?

The immediate answer, of course, is “neither.” But no parent accepts that. It’s assumed, and not incorrectly, that the vast majority of adolescents will try one or the other, especially when they go to college. So they press me further.

The easy answer is to demonize marijuana. It’s illegal, after all. Moreover, its potential downsides are well known. Scans show that marijuana use isassociated with potential changes in the brain. It’s associated with increases in the risk of psychosis. It may be associated with changes in lung function or long-term cancer risk, even though a growing body of evidence says that seems unlikely. It can harm memory, it’s associated with lower academic achievement, and its use is linked to less success later in life.

But these are all associations, not known causal pathways. It may be, for instance, that people predisposed to psychosis are more likely to use pot. We don’t know. Moreover, all of these potential dangers seem scary only when viewed in isolation. Put them next to alcohol, and everything looks different.

Photo

Andy Eidinger, chairman of the D.C. Cannabis Campaign, held a joint on Feb. 26, on the first full day of marijuana legalization in Washington.CreditRobert Macpherson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Because marijuana is illegal, the first thing I think about before answering is crime. In many states, being caught with marijuana is much worse than being caught with alcohol while underage. But ignoring the relationship between alcohol and crime is a big mistake. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports that alcohol use is a factor in 40 percent of all violent crimes in the United States, including 37 percent of rapes and 27 percent of aggravated assaults.

No such association has been found among marijuana users. Although there are studies that can link marijuana to crime, it’s almost all centered on its illegal distribution. People who are high are not committing violence.

People will argue that casual use isn’t the issue; it’s abuse that’s worrisome for crime. They’re right — but for alcohol. A recent study in Pediatricsinvestigated the factors associated with death in delinquent youth. Researchers found that about 19 percent of delinquent males and 11 percent of delinquent females had an alcohol use disorder. Further, they found that even five years after detention, those with an alcohol use disorder had a 4.7 times greater risk of death from external causes, like homicide, than those without an alcohol disorder.

When I’m debating my answer, I think about health as well. Once again, there’s no comparison. Binge drinking accounted for about half of the more than 80,000 alcohol-related deaths in the United States in 2010, according to a 2012 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The economic costs associated with excessive alcohol consumption in the United States were estimated to be about $225 billion. Binge drinking, defined as four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men on a single occasion, isn’t rare either. More than 17 percent of all people in the United States are binge drinkers, and more than 28 percent of people age 18 to 24.

Continue reading the main story

Binge drinking is more common among people with a household income of at least $75,000. This is a solid middle-class problem.

Marijuana, on the other hand, kills almost no one. The number of deaths attributed to marijuana use is pretty much zero. A study that tracked more than 45,000 Swedes for 15 years found no increase in mortality in those who used marijuana, after controlling for other factors. Another study published in the American Journal of Public Health followed more than 65,000 people in the United States and found that marijuana use had no effect at all on mortality in healthy men and women.

I think about which is more dangerous when driving. A 2013 case-control study found that marijuana use increased the odds of being in a fatal crash by 83 percent. But adding alcohol to drug use increased the odds of a fatal crash by more than 2,200 percent. A more recent study found that, after controlling for various factors, a detectable amount of THC, the active ingredient in pot, in the blood did not increase the risk of accidents at all. Having a blood alcohol level of at least 0.05 percent, though, increased the odds of being in a crash by 575 percent.

I think about which substance might put young people at risk for being hurt by others. That’s where things become even more stark. In 1995 alone,college students reported more than 460,000 alcohol-related incidents of violence in the United States. A 2011 prospective study found that mental and physical dating abuse were more common on drinking days among college students. On the other hand, a 2014 study looking at marijuana use and intimate partner violence in the first nine years of marriage found that those who used marijuana had lower rates of such violence. Indeed, the men who used marijuana the most were the least likely to commit violence against a partner.

Most people come out of college not dependent on the substances they experimented with there. But some do. So I also consider which of the two might lead to abuse. Even there, alcohol fares poorly compared with marijuana. While 9 percent of pot users eventually become dependent, more than 20 percent of alcohol users do.

An often-quoted, although hotly debated, study in the Lancet ranked many drugs according to their harm score, both to users and to others. Alcohol was clearly in the lead. One could make a case, though, that heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine would be worse if they were legal and more commonly used. But it’s hard to see how pot could overtake alcohol even if it were universally legal. Use of marijuana is not rare, even now when it’s widely illegal to buy and use. It’s estimated that almost half of Americans age 18 to 20 have tried it at some point in their lives; more than a third of them have used it in the last year.

I also can’t ignore what I’ve seen as a pediatrician. I’ve seen young people brought to the emergency room because they’ve consumed too much alcohol and become poisoned. That happens thousands of times a year. Some even die.

And when my oldest child heads off to college in the not-too-distant future, this is what I will think of: Every year more than 1,800 college students die from alcohol-related accidents. About 600,000 are injured while under alcohol’s influence, almost 700,000 are assaulted, and almost 100,000 are sexually assaulted. About 400,000 have unprotected sex, and 100,000 are too drunk to know if they consented. The numbers for pot aren’t even in the same league.

I’m a pediatrician, as well as a parent. I can, I suppose, demand that my children, and those I care for in a clinic, never engage in risky behavior. But that doesn’t work. Many will still engage in sexual activity, for instance, no matter how much I preach about the risk of a sexually transmitted infection or pregnancy. Because of that, I have conversations about how to minimize risk by making informed choices. While no sex is preferable to unprotected sex, so is sex with a condom. Talking about the harm reduction from condom use doesn’t mean I’m telling them to have sex.

Similarly, none of these arguments I’ve presented are “pro pot” in the sense that I’m saying that adolescents should go use marijuana without worrying about consequences. There’s little question that marijuana carries with it risks to people who use it, as well as to the nation. The number of people who will be hurt from it, will hurt others because of it, begin to abuse it, and suffer negative consequences from it are certainly greater than zero. But looking only at those dangers, and refusing to grapple with them in the context of our society’s implicit consent for alcohol use in young adults, is irrational.

When someone asks me whether I’d rather my children use pot or alcohol, after sifting through all the studies and all the data, I still say “neither.” Usually, I say it more than once. But if I’m forced to make a choice, the answer is “marijuana.”

Aaron E. Carroll is a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine. He blogs on health research and policy at The Incidental Economist, and you can follow him on Twitter at @aaronecarroll.

Medical marijuana legalization and military veterans.

Admin;  I see the politicians steadily coming around to the poll results of voters across the nation.  Notice how there is a steady direction toward legalization for medical and also recreational is following the same trend. Once in a while you will see the odd medical or politico throwing up some fear tactic wordage but that is definitely in the minority as time goes on.

Senate bill would give military vets access to medical marijuana

By Tim Devaney – 03/10/15 01:02 PM EDT

Military veterans would no longer be denied access to medical marijuana under sweeping new legislation before the Senate.

The medical marijuana legislation introduced Tuesday would lift the threat of federal prosecution from people who use it in states where it has been legalized.

The bipartisan Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act is backed by Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and would partially legalize medical marijuana at the federal level, though it does not address recreational marijuana.

“This bill seeks to right decades of wrong and end unnecessary marijuana laws,” Booker said.

“Right now, our veterans are prohibited from getting the medical marijuana they need to alleviate their pain and suffering,” he added.

The Senate legislation follows two House bills introduced last month that would legalize and tax recreational marijuana.

The federal government would recognize states’ rights to legalize medical marijuana under the legislation, but it would not unilaterally legalize it across the country.

Currently, medical marijuana is legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

One of the biggest winners would be military veterans, marijuana advocates say.

Doctors at the Department of Veteran Affairs are currently prohibited from prescribing medical marijuana to patients — even if they live in states where it has been legalized — because it is a federally banned drug.

This prevents many veterans from receiving medical marijuana, because they cannot afford to go outside the military system to seek treatment.

“We don’t want doctors to be punished for trying to help people,” Paul said.

VA doctors would be allowed to recommend medical marijuana as a treatment option for patients in states where it has been legalized under the new legislation, which would reschedule it out of a list of federally banned substances like heroin and cocaine.

However, other military veterans who live in states without medical marijuana laws would still be prohibited from seeking such treatment options.

The legislation highlights the difficulties many veterans face in obtaining medical marijuana recommendations from their doctors.

“The government shouldn’t prevent doctors from prescribing medicine that has been shown to work,” Gillibrand said.

The pot paradox that has seen medical marijuana patients arrested for violating federal law, even though they were in compliance with state law, would meet a swift end under the new Senate legislation.

In some cases, federal prosecutors have charged medical marijuana patients who were following their states’ rules.

The Obama administration has said it will no longer enforce the federal laws against medical marijuana. However, any future president could change that policy.

Last year, Congress adopted a policy in the appropriations bill saying it would not fund federal enforcement against medical marijuana patients.

However, the new proposal is the first fully-fledged legislative attempt at the federal level to allow medical marijuana in some states, sources say.

http://thehill.com/regulation/legislation/235208-senate-bill-gives-military-veterans-access-to-medical-marijuana

Marijuana Legalization for Vermont recreation update.

Thanks to Matt Ferner’s concise articulation when he is  reporting on the movement to legalize nationwide…                                            Matt Ferner Headshot

Matt Ferner Become a fanMatt.Ferner@huffingtonpost.com

Vermont Could Be Next State To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Posted: 02/17/2015 4:09 pm EST Updated: 02/17/2015 4:59 pm EST

Vermont could become the first state in history to legalize recreational marijuana via state legislature with a new bill submitted Tuesday that aims to end prohibition of the plant.

Senate Bill 95 would legalize the possession, use and sale of recreational marijuana in the state for those 21 and older. Adult residents could possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to nine plants (two mature, seven immature) for personal use, including any additional marijuana produced by those plants. Personal cultivation would be limited to secure indoor facilities.

Non-residents could also enjoy the new laws, legally purchasing up to one-quarter of an ounce of marijuana from a licensed retail shop.

The bill also proposes an excise tax of $40 per ounce of marijuana flower, $15 per ounce of any other marijuana product and a $25 tax on each immature cannabis plant sold by a cultivator.

Forty percent of revenue brought in through marijuana taxation would be earmarked for substance abuse treatment services; public education programs about the risks of using various drugs; law enforcement; and academic and medical research on the plant.

Marijuana would remain banned from being smoked in public.

A Marijuana Control Board would be established to oversee the state industry and enforce regulations.

To date, four states and the District of Columbia have already legalized recreational marijuana use (sales remain banned in D.C.) — all via a referendum process where voters passed ballot initiatives aimed at loosening their marijuana laws. What makes Vermont unique is that lawmakers have the opportunity to legalize the federally banned substance directly through the legislative process.

Sen. David Zuckerman, sponsor of the bill and member of the state’s Progressive party, told The Huffington Post that he’s pursuing legalization because it’s simply a more rational approach to a substance that is in such widespread use today.

“One can experiment with alcohol, as many do, and use marijuana, as many do, and turn out to be a positive and productive member of our society,” Zuckerman said. “Certainly, I’ve not hidden the fact that I recreationally used while I was in college, and yet I turned out to be a productive business person.”

Medical marijuana has been legal in Vermont for more than a decade, and Zuckerman says that experience has led to years of “thoughtful dialogue” that has helped inform state lawmakers substantially on the issue of expanding into recreational legalization. But Zuckerman said that while a vote to legalize could take place as early as this year, he expects discussion of the bill could push the vote to 2016.

Last week, a group of Vermont lawmakers, lobbyists and law enforcers spent three days in Colorado on what was billed as a “fact-finding” trip to learn more about the effects recreational legalization has had on the Centennial State. Colorado, along with Washington, became the first state to legalize and regulate retail marijuana for adults in 2012.

If the measure passes, it’s likely that Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) would sign it into law.

“My bias on legalization is toward legalization,” Shumlin said in January. “Let’s remember, we have this conversation and we pretend that you can’t get marijuana now. In the real world, folks, if you want to get marijuana in Vermont, we’re in Lala Land if we’re pretending you can’t. The question is how do we move to a smarter approach that doesn’t promote addiction, that doesn’t promote abuse and really accepts the reality.”

Earlier this year, policy research group RAND Corporation released a detailed reporton the myriad marijuana legalization and regulatory options available to the state. The report noted that Vermonters in 2014 likely consumed 15 to 25 metric tons of marijuana, spending between $125 to $225 million on marijuana. If lawmakers wind up legalizing the drug, taxed it and successfully squashed the black market, the report estimates that the state could bring in $20 to $75 million in revenue.

The regulation and taxation of marijuana appears to be supported by a majority of Vermonters — a 2014 poll found 57 percent were in favor of changing the state’s marijuana laws.

Vermont isn’t alone in its legislative route to legalization. Lawmakers in Rhode Island are also expected to consider a similar bill this year. In Maryland, bills to regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol have already been introduced.

Legal marijuana is the fastest-growing industry in the U.S., according to a recentreport from industry analysts ArcView Group. Their recent report predicts that over the next five years, 14 more states will legalize recreational marijuana. Along with Vermont, at least nine more states are expected to consider recreational marijuana legalization by 2016.

“Vermont legislators have a great opportunity to show leadership by passing a marijuana regulation bill in 2015, and they should seize it,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for drug policy reform group Marijuana Policy Project. “Most Vermonters understand that marijuana is objectively safer than alcohol, and they know it makes no sense to punish adults who choose to use the safer substance.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/17/vermont-marijuana-legalization_n_6662426.html

Marijuana legalization discussed in this balanced opinion by a retired banker.

Admin; Excellent article well written to present both sides of the argument. Bob Roper makes the case that civil liberties for Americans have also been eroded and money wasted on the war against marijuana.

Should we legalize marijuana?

By BOB ROPER

Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (1)

On Nov. 4, voters in Oregon and Alaska passed initiatives legalizing recreational marijuana. This, of course, follows Colorado and Washington state, whose voters did the same not long ago. The trend is obvious — and hardly surprising considering in a recent poll Americans said, by 56 percent to 44 percent, that marijuana should be legalized provided it is appropriately regulated, as with alcohol.

There is a great irony here. Just as the legalization trend accelerates, maybe to the point of being unstoppable, the accumulated medical and scientific evidence proving marijuana is in fact a dangerous drug is overwhelming. Here are some of the studies and useful facts: Continue reading

Insightful marijuana comments by Houston Police chief Charles McClelland.

Houston police chief sounds off on pot arrests

Chief Charles McClelland also takes aim at decades-long war on drugs

Author: Keith Garvin, Anchor/Reporter, kgarvin@kprc.com

Published On: Dec 05 2014 10:54:42 PM CST Updated On: Dec 05 2014 11:02:04 PM CST

HPD chief sounds off on pot arrests

HOUSTON –

Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland is making national headlines after indicating it may be time for marijuana use to be legalized not only in Texas but across the country.

“We cannot criminalize such a large population of society that engage in casual marijuana use,” the chief said in the radio interview. The topics were wide-ranging — but the chief was largely asked about marijuana use. McClelland made it clear he believes enforcing marijuana laws is wasting time and other valuable resources.

“Taxpayers can’t afford to build jails and prisons to lock up everyone that commits a crime,” said McClelland. “We must put more money into crime prevention, treatment, education, job training.” Continue reading

Marijuana legalization may be coveted by Big Tobacco.

Admin; Big Tobacco may very well welcome marijuana legalization.  This articles documents that Big Tobacco has been interested in marijuana since 1969.

Here’s What It Will Take For The Marlboro Of Marijuana To Emerge

 

YzU1Y2EzZGZiNSMvbWhWWGMyLWlaMDdtcDFyY2VONkFOa0U5WDlZPS8weDY3OjcwMHg1MDgvODQweDUzMC9zMy5hbWF6b25hd3MuY29tL3BvbGljeW1pYy1pbWFnZXMvZmU5MWFlNzg5ZGMzZDVmZWNlY2JlNDFmMDMxNTQzZDI0MmZiNDI4ODIyZTc1MzgzMWIxYTFlYWQ5ZTQ2NWZjNy5qcGc=Abril UnoFake news website ‘Abril Uno’ recently published a story titled ‘Phillip Morris Introduces Marlboro Marijuana Cigarettes’

 

The legal cannabis industry is run by minnows. As liberalisation spreads, that may not last

“FRESH and fruity, right?” says a bright-eyed young man behind the counter, wafting an open jar of something called “AK-47” under Schumpeter’s nose. “Whereas with this one”,–unscrewing another jar, fanning the scent up to his nostrils and closing his eyes in concentration–“I’m getting notes of dill.”

Drug dealers aren’t what they used to be.

In Colorado, which in January became the first place in the world fully to legalise cannabis, buying a joint feels more like visiting a trendy craft-brewery than a drug den. Dispensaries along Denver’s “green mile” are packed with young, bearded men earnestly discussing the merits of strains with names like “Bio-Jesus” and “Death Star”. Some varieties claim to be inspirational, while others say they promote relaxation, or “couch-lock”, as the tokers call it.

Colorado’s pot industry expects to rack up sales of $1 billion this year. Across America the market is reckoned to be worth about 40 times that much. Most of it is still illegal, of course. But slowly, entrepreneurs are prising it out of the hands of crime gangs. Nearly half the 50 states permit the sale of marijuana to medical patients, which in practice may include anyone willing to fake a back problem.

This week Oregon and Alaska joined Colorado and Washington in legalising it for recreational purposes, too. If other countries legalise, as Uruguay already has, it could open up a global cannabis market worth perhaps $100 billion a year (by the best guesses, which are stabs in the dark). Continue reading