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Vancouver Sun op-ed: Canadians decide it's time to legalize marijuana


A new poll suggests Canada may have reached the tipping point and a 66-per-cent majority favours legalizing marijuana.

Conducted Dec. 13 by Toronto-based Forum Research Inc. and released Tuesday, the latest poll of 1,160 respondents 18 or older showed that residents of B.C. were the most likely to support pot-law reform, with 73 per cent wanting change. Quebec had the lowest support for reforms at 61 per cent.

Who's leading the way? Those aged 55 to 64.

Why? Yes, there are a lot of old hippies. But of all the age cohorts, the middle-aged and elderly, the late-boomers are learning faster than most that marijuana may be the Aspirin of the 21st century.

Earlier this month the Canadian Liberal Party decided, by 77% of delegates, to include legalization in its political platform. The New Democratic Party (Democratic Socialists) and the Greens also support legalization.

Go Canada!

Good Science Always Has Political Ramifications (Scientific American)

Why? Because a scientifically testable claim can be shown to be either most probably true or false, whether the claim is made by a king or a president, a Pope, a Congressperson, or a common citizen.


Knowledge is DEMOCRATIZING political power

Let's consider the relationship between knowledge and power. "Knowledge and power go hand in hand," said Francis Bacon, "so that the way to increase in power is to increase in knowledge."

At its core, science is a reliable method for creating knowledge, and thus power. Because science pushes the boundaries of knowledge, it pushes us to constantly refine our ethics and morality, and that is always political. But beyond that, science constantly disrupts hierarchical power structures and vested interests in a long drive to give knowledge, and thus power, to the individual, and that process is also political.

Why did the church go to such absurd lengths to deal with Galileo? For the same reasons we fight political battles over issues like climate change today: Because facts and observations are inherently powerful, and that power means they are political.

Failing to acknowledge this leaves both science and America vulnerable to attack by antiscience thinking—thinking that has come to dominate American politics and much of its news media coverage and educational curricula in the early twenty-first century. Thinking that has steered American politics off course and away from the vision held by the country's founders.

Great essay that is an excerpt of a book that discusses the anti-science issue in the U.S. and is also a complement to this article and the other information included in this post:

Religious belief interferes with people's understanding of evolution (NPR)

Religious belief interferes with people's understanding of evolution (NPR)


21 percent of people with a high school education or less believed in evolution. That number rose to 41 percent for people with some college attendance, 53 percent for college graduates, and 74 percent for people with a postgraduate education.

Another variable investigated by the same poll was how belief in evolution correlates with church attendance. Of those who believe in evolution, 24 percent go to church weekly, 30 percent go nearly weekly/monthly, and 55 percent seldom or never go

The evidence for evolution is overwhelming. It's in the fossil record, carefully dated using radioactivity, the release of particles from radioactive isotopic decay, which works like a very precise clock. Rocks from volcanic eruptions (igneous rocks) buried near a fossil carry certain amounts of radioactive material, unstable atomic nuclei that emit different kinds of radiation, like tiny bullets. The most common is Uranium-235, which decays into Lead-207. Analyzing the ratio of Uranium-235 to Lead-207 in a sample, and knowing how frequently Uranium-235 emits particles (its half-life is 704 million years, the amount half a sample decays into Lead), scientists can get a very accurate measure of the age of a fossil.

But evidence for evolution is also much more palpable, for example in the risks of overprescribing antibiotics: the more we (and farm animals) take antibiotics, the higher the chance that a microbe will mutate into one resistant to the drug. This is in-your-face evolution, species mutating at the genetic level and adapting to a new environment (in this case, an environment contaminated with antibiotics). The proof of this can be easily achieved in the laboratory (see link above), by comparing original strands of bacteria with those subjected to different doses of antibiotics. It's simple and conclusive, since the changes in the genetic code of the resistant mutant can be identified and studied.

From this article I learned that creationists deny microbial mutation!!! I didn't know they went this far out into the realms of utter stupidity, but they do!

Of course, the person making this claim has NO EVIDENCE to back up her hypothesis - just a desire to maintain an unsupportable belief.

And this reality - the denial of reality, my fellow DUers, is why we can't have good govt.

Support for evolution based upon religious body

edit to add this graph - which is only Christian religious groups, not others mentioned - but others are minorities.

and a graph of the 2008 presidential election - corrected

Importance of religion by state

The percentages of high school graduates.

Political Ideology and Religion:

Income level and religious belief:

(Edited to add other graphs/info in this thread)

Acceptance of Evolutionary Theory by Nation

This link comes from this interesting article excerpted below: http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/bloom07/bloom07_index.html

The nations that think religion has a positive impact are also the nations with the most people who do not accept evolutionary theory in the original link in this post - I don't think Indonesia was included, however, but the U.S., South Korea, South Africa, Brazil and India are all nations with the most people who deny evolution is real.


...there are cultural factors that need to be explained. Americans are not more resistant to science in general. For instance, 1 in 5 American adults believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth, which is somewhat shocking—but the same proportion holds for Germany and Great Britain. But Americans really are special when it comes to certain scientific ideas—and, in particular, with regard to evolutionary theory. The relevant data are shown below, from a 2006 survey published in Science. What explains this culture-specific resistance to evolution?

When faced with this kind of asserted information, one can occasionally evaluate its truth directly. But in some domains, including much of science, direct evaluation is difficult or impossible. Few of us are qualified to assess claims about the merits of string theory, the role in mercury in the etiology of autism, or the existence of repressed memories. So rather than evaluating the asserted claim itself, we instead evaluate the claim's source. If the source is deemed trustworthy, people will believe the claim, often without really understanding it. As our colleague Frank Keil has discussed, this sort of division of cognitive labor is essential in any complex society, where any single individuals will lack the resources to evaluate all the claims that he or she hears.

This deference to authority isn't limited to science; the same process holds for certain religious, moral, and political beliefs as well. In an illustrative recent study, subjects were asked their opinion about a social welfare policy, which was described as being endorsed either by Democrats or by Republicans. Although the subjects sincerely believed that their responses were based on the objective merits of the policy, the major determinant of what they thought of the policy was in fact whether or not their favored political party was said to endorse it. More generally, many of the specific moral intuitions held by members of a society appear to be the consequence, not of personal moral contemplation, but of deference to the views of the community.

Adults thus rely on the trustworthiness of the source when deciding which asserted claims to believe. Do children do the same? Recent studies suggest that they do; children, like adults, have at least some capacity to assess the trustworthiness of their information sources. Four- and five-year-olds, for instance, know that adults know things that other children do not (like the meaning of the word "hypochondriac", and when given conflicting information about a word's meaning from a child and from an adult, they prefer to learn from the adult. They know that adults have different areas of expertise, that doctors know about fixing broken arms and mechanics know about fixing flat tires. They prefer to learn from a knowledgeable speaker than from an ignorant one, and they prefer a confident source to a tentative one. Finally, when five year-olds hear about a competition whose outcome was unclear, they are more likely to believe a character who claimed that he had lost the race (a statement that goes against his self-interest) than a character who claimed that he had won the race (a statement that goes with his self-interest). In a limited sense, then, they are capable of cynicism.

Canada’s Liberal Party backs legalization of marijuana


MONTREAL — Canada’s Liberal Party overwhelmingly passed a motion Sunday proposing the legalization of marijuana on the last day of its national convention, at which Michael Crawley was chosen as its new leader.

The motion says that, if elected, a Liberal government “will legalize marijuana and ensure the regulation and taxation of its production, distribution and use, while enacting strict penalties for illegal trafficking, illegal importation and exportation, and impaired driving.”

Under the motion, the Liberals also promised an amnesty for all Canadians previously found guilty of simple or minimal possession of marijuana and to clear the offenses from their criminal records.

The motion passed with 77 percent of the vote.

Congrats to the Liberal Party of Canada for choosing sane and progressive policy for their platform. The Liberal Party is centrist in Canada -- to the right of the social democrats of the New Democratic Party.

The New Democratic Party won enough seats in the 2011 election to be considered the opposition party to the Conservatives. I suppose the Liberals decided it was time to step up their game to address issues that matter to their citizens after the social democrats received more support.

It's good to see CENTRISTS come out in favor of rational actions to end the prohibition of cannabis. It would be nice to see more representation for a variety of political views in the U.S. at the national level as well, rather than two parties fighting to pander to a vocal minority.

Cannapedia: a Cannabis wiki

[div class="excerpt" style="border-left: 1px solid #bfbfbf; border-top: 1px solid #bfbfbf; border-right: 1px solid #bfbfbf; border-radius: 0.3077em 0.3077em 0em 0em; box-shadow: 2px 2px 6px #bfbfbf;"]http://cannapedia.me/HomePage
[div class="excerpt" style="border-left: 1px solid #bfbfbf; border-bottom: 1px solid #bfbfbf; border-right: 1px solid #bfbfbf; border-radius: 0em 0em 0.3077em 0.3077em; background-color: #f4f4f4; box-shadow: 2px 2px 6px #bfbfbf;"]a wiki for cannabis information

here's a list of documentaries compiled on this wiki via the "culture" tab. If you click on the title at the wiki, there's a synopsis and a link to the documentary from an online source.


A Norml Life
AKA Tommy Chong
Adventures In Cannabis Hemp
American Drug War: The Last White Hope
Aphrodisiac!: The Sexual Secret of Marijuana
Biz Ivol, Drugs War Victim
California's Cannabis Culture
Cannabis Rising
Cannabis: What's The Harm?
Cash Crop
Clearing the Smoke: The Science of Cannabis
Emperor of Hemp
Grandpa's Marijuana Handbook The Movie
Hemp Hemp Hooray The Growing Industrial Hemp Market
Hemplands Conspiracy
Hempster: Plant the Seed
Hemp For Victory
High: The True Tale of American Marijuana
How Weed Won The West
In Pot We Trust
It's Not Just A Plant
JOHN SINCLAIR Guide To Amsterdam
Marijuana: A Chronic History
Marijuana Inc. Inside America’s Pot Industry
Marijuana: It's Time For A Conversation
Medicinal Cannabis and its impact on Human Health
Run From The Cure
Science vs. Stigma
Should I Smoke Dope
Stoned in Suburbia
Strain Hunters: Africa Expedition
Strain Hunters: India Expedition
Strain Hunters: Morocco Expedition
Super high me
The Call - Medicinal Cannabis Australia
The Doper's Guide To Amsterdam
The Fight To Be Well
The Green Rush
The Hemp Revolution
The Life and Crimes of Citizen Ming
The Magic Weed: History Of Marijuana
The Nature of Things - Reefer Madness 2
The Pot Republic
The Prince Of Pot Marc Emery
The Principle Of Pot
The Union: The Business Behind Getting High
Totally Baked: A Pot-U-Mentary
Vitamin Cannabis
Waiting to Inhale
What If Cannabis Cured Cancer
When We Grow

Busted: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters

Romney Meets Dying Medical Marijuana Patient

The larger issue, however, is that the ENTIRE FEDERAL GOVT is willing to let people die in order to continue failed policy.

Shame on you, Congress - most especially Lamar Smith (R) Texas, who is keeping a bill in his committee to decriminalize marijuana. Smith is also the jerk behind SOPA.

Stop this insanity now.

O’Shaughnessy’s News Service: The Journal of Cannabis in Clinical Practice


When Tod Mikuriya, MD, founded the group that became the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, he saw the need for a journal in which doctors monitoring cannabis use by patients could share their findings and observations, and be kept abreast of relevant scientific and political developments. Fred Gardner, a former editor of Scientific American who had just finished a stint in law enforcement (as public information officer for the District Attorney of San Francisco), helped Mikuriya launch the paper in 2003.

Many of the articles available at this link are in .pdf format.

This is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to find out about cannabis medicine from those who are involved in research and practice.

if you're interested

Here is a doctor who talks about current uses at a conference at UW-Madison Medical School in 2007.

David Bearman M.D., Santa Barbara, California, is one of the leading physicians in the U.S. in the field of medical marijuana. He has spent 40 years working in substance and drug abuse treatment and prevention programs. Dr. Bearman was a pioneer in the free and community clinic movement. His career includes public health, administrative medicine, primary care, pain management and cannabinology.

Bearman's not a pulmonary specialist, however. Dr. Tashkin is.

Tashkin recruited 400 people for an experiment (beyond the ones I linked to initially here.) These people had various levels of usage, including heavy usage.

Part 1 looks at overall lung function and various studies.

Donald P. Tashkin, MD - Medical Director of the Pulmonary Function Laboratory, Professor of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles. Presented to Fifth Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics held in Pacific Grove, CA, April, 2008

His findings in this study replicate his earlier studies. He includes a study from 2007 in New Zealand, another study in Arizona...

regular heavy smoking of cannabis is asso. with coughing and sputum. bronchitis. inflammation of the bronchia. that is not the same as lung disease.

he notes COPD, i.e. emphysema, is not evidenced with cannabis but it is with tobacco. loss of lung function...all lung function for the cannabis users was within the normal function in his large study. The New Zealand study confirmed this. The Arizona study found it might, in the future, lead to COPD.

COPD tends to occur later in life. This is why the study in the OP, a twenty-year study, is considered important b/c of the normal onset of COPD - or decrease in lung function.

Part 2 looks at emphysema

The New Zealand study only found emphysema in the tobacco smokers.

He talks about 4 individuals who were reported with billae (not generalized emphysema) and those people were also associated with cigarette smoking.

Marijuana smokers, even if they smoked tobacco as well, as the same rate of lung function, over time, as non-smokers of any kind. Only tobacco-smokers had decreased lung function.

Part 3 looks a lung cancer

I think what you find, often, is that the govt. has so consistently lied about the properties of cannabis, in general, that people in the U.S. who know about this history begin to have a "the boy who cried wolf" reaction.

The govt. has hurt its capacity, or anyone else's, to make a case about real issues concerning cannabis b/c of this long history of lying about the same.

People know about the bad studies the govt has done and tried to hide - like the one in which they suffocated monkeys and claimed mj causes brain damage - and then tried to deny access to others who wanted to look at the study. (That was in the 1980s.)

People know that the govt tried to make it hard to obtain early studies that other researchers sought out later b/c they didn't like the positive results of those studies. That's not science. That's politics.

This is why prohibition is such a bad idea. In order to maintain it, the govt has been so willing to lie or obscure that they have lost their authority among a population and have created disrespect for institutions that are supposed to exist to provide information, not support for bad law.

The Botany of Desire (PBS, 2009)

Based upon Michael Pollan's Book of the same name.
Four plants: Apples, Tulips, Cannabis and Potatoes and their evolution with human populations


Medical Ethics and Cannabis Prohibition, by Richard Bonnie, JD

40 Minutes
Professor Richard J. Bonnie, University of Virginia Law School;
In October, 2007, Professor Bonnie was awarded the 2007 Thomas Jefferson Award, the University of Virginia's highest honor

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