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Journal Archives

Holistic Biochemistry of Cannabinoids

41 Minutes
Robert Melamede, Professor of Biology

Cannabis and Cannabinoids in 21st Century Medicine: Medical Marijuana in the Clinic

49 Minutes
University of Wisconsin Medical School
David Bearman

Cannabinoid System in Neuroprotection - Raphael Mechoulam

49 minutes long

The Moral Case for Legalizing Marijuana


I'm part of (a) moral majority. But unlike Jerry Falwell's version, my values system is based on the multi-religious mandate to "love your neighbor as yourself." I've even written a book, The Compassionate Community, which applies Bible lessons and other religions' texts to advocate for progressive policies that promote the common good.

And I've recently concluded that these same enduring moral values compel me to support legalizing marijuana.

The politician in recovery from KY goes on to state his case...

...It's always important to scrutinize any efforts to solve our economic and social problems through the legalization, taxation, or expansion of so-called "vices" that, when abused, can impair the lives of addicts and their families. That's why it's critical for any cannabis legalization regime to be strictly regulated, and that significant sums be set aside for drug treatment programs. Additionally, local governments must leverage their recent experience with tobacco to provide adequate public protections against secondhand smoke.

But as a matter of public policy, our focus shouldn't be on the private morality of individuals who choose to smoke pot, but on the public morality of the nation. And the beneficial impacts of legalizing marijuana -- for our neighbors who struggle with serious illness; for our heavily-burdened system of criminal justice; and for the job creation and economic opportunity it would bring to our nation -- would only serve to strengthen America's moral fiber.

Canada's Liberal Party to vote on cannabis legalization resolution at convention

Here's the resolution: http://convention.liberal.ca/justice/117-legalize-and-regulate-marijuana/

The proposition was one of the "Leading resolutions" among Liberal party members on the party's official website, ranking fourth behind "Democratic Renewal", "Preferential Balloting System," and "Accelerated Development of Clean, Renewable, and of conservation and energy efficiency in Canada."

"What's interesting in this case," long-time marijuana activist and current Liberal Party delegate Marc-Boris St-Maurice told Cannabis Culture, "is there have been similar resolutions in the past but the difference this time is the level of support from leadership of the party, who have been pretty vocal about their support for getting this on the convention floor. That's a first. After doing this for 20 years, to see the leadership of the Liberal party finally developing an appetite for this kind of policy is a big deal and a new development."

(Bob) Rae (current leader of the Liberal Party in Canada) was a vocal opponent of Conservative crime bill C-10, which was passed by the House of Commons in December of 2011 and now heads to the Senate for approval before it can become Canadian law.

"This bill will impose mandatory minimums that will turn young offenders into hardened criminals," Rae said. "It fails the mentally ill, aboriginal people, visible minorities and the poor. It repeats the mistakes of failed, expensive and discredited American crime policy. ... At the end of the day we will have more crime, less justice, skyrocketing costs, prison overcrowding, less rehabilitation for the offenders, less protection for victims and less protection for the public. Liberals are committed to pursuing a crime and justice approach that is evidence-based, cost effective and focused on preventing crime and victimization.”


Links to DU threads in other forums regarding cannabis issues

This post/thread is here for anyone who wants to post links to stories in other threads related to cannabis issues. Please feel free to post a link from your own post or from someone else.

War on the War on Drugs

Top 10 Science-Related Cannabis Stories: 2011

'I just planted seeds, I thought they were flowers': Grandmother, 67, busted for growing marijuana

"Surprise, Surprise: Black Market Cashes In On Pot Crackdown"

Now that Obama has caused the price of pot to skyrocket, we can fire up the 1000 watt lights again.

Feds Shut Down Marin Pot Club, (California's) Oldest

Please help build this link list as you see stories. thank you!

Top 10 Science-Related Cannabis Stories for 2011


Here are a few of them:

8. Two-thirds of patients surveyed substitute marijuana for prescription medications

7. Oxycontin is five times the “gateway drug” as marijuana

6. Drug testing is still unreliable, inaccurate, unnecessary, invasive, and counter-productive

5. For past two years, more Americans arrested for marijuana than all other drugs combined despite arrest protection for America’s One Million Legal Marijuana Users

When somebody mentions “The War on Drugs”, remind them what we’re really talking about is a “War on Marijuana”.

Nationally, there were 1,638,846 drug arrests reported to the FBI, with 52.1% of those arrests for marijuana charges. Last year, 51.6% of all drug arrests were for marijuana, showing a slight increase in marijuana as the majority of all drug arrests. The last time marijuana made up a majority of the “War on Drugs” was 1985, when 55.6% of all drug arrests were for marijuana.

Keep in mind that these annual marijuana arrests continue to climb even as we reduce the number of marijuana users eligible for arrest in the medical marijuana state, users who grow and use the most marijuana.

Between one to one-and-a-half million people are legally authorized by their state to use marijuana in the United States, according to data compiled by NORML from state medical marijuana registries and patient estimates. Assuming usage of one-half to one gram of cannabis medicine per day per patient and an average retail price of $320 per ounce, these legal consumers represent a $2.3 to $6.2 billion dollar market annually.

I included the text of this last one to demonstrate to those who want to claim arrest for possession is no longer an issue in the U.S. Even with medical marijuana, more people were arrested on marijuana-related charges in the U.S. than at any time since Ronald Reagan was in office and moved from "It's no one's business if they choose to use cannabis" to "Cannabis is dangerous and not an issue of personal freedom while driving without a motorcycle helmet must be protected as an important infringement of liberty." (If you wonder about why that quote - check out "Quote/Unquote" in the Drug Policy Forum.)

more at the link above...

Dr. Lester Grinspoon: On The Pharmaceuticalization of Marijuana

Dr. Grinspoon, a medical doctor and professor of psychology at Harvard, has long been on the front lines fighting the propaganda war against cannabis. His initial response to cannabis, as a professor who saw so many students using marijuana in the 60s, was to study it to show them the harm. Instead, he became a courageous spokesperson for the use of cannabis in both medical and personal life. He has real world experience with the use of cannabis medicine through his son's chemo treatment for leukemia.

The following article was published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, 12 (5-6) (2001) pp. 377 - 383.


Abstract: Given the very limited toxicity of marijuana and the growing appreciation of its therapeutic value, it will undoubtedly find increasing application as a medicine in the coming years. But there is uncertainty about the forms in which it will be made available. Governments are hesitant to approve it because of concern about its use for nonmedical purposes and the difficulties of distributing as a medicine a substance that is already easily available. An alternative is the development of commercial cannabis pharmaceuticals that can be regulated and controlled. But pharmaceutical firms will be reluctant to invest the necessary money if they believe they cannot compete successfully with marijuana. Some of these products may have advantages over whole smoked or ingested marijuana, but most will not, and they will all be quite expensive. Ultimately, we can anticipate two medical distribution networks, a legal one for cannabinoid pharmaceuticals and an illegal one for street or homegrown marijuana

Under public pressure to acknowledge the medical potential of marijuana, the then director of the Office of National Drug Policy, Barry McCaffrey, authorized a review by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science which was published in March of 1997 (Joy et al. 1999). The report acknowledged the medical value of marijuana, but begrudgingly. One of the report's most important shortcomings was its failure to put into perspective the vast anecdotal evidence of marijuana's striking medicinal versatility and limited toxicity. The report states that smoking marijuana is too dangerous a form of delivery, but this conclusion is based on an exaggerated evaluation of the toxicity of the smoke. The IOM would have patients who find cannabis helpful when taken through the respiratory system wait for years until a means of delivering smoke-free cannabinoids is developed. But there are already prototype vaporizers which take advantage of the fact that cannabinoids vaporize at a temperature below the ignition point of dried cannabis plant material. The report's Recommendation Six would allow patients with what it calls "debilitating symptoms (such as intractable pain or vomiting)" to use smoked marijuana for only six months, and then only after all other approved medicines have failed and the treatment is carefully monitored with "an oversight strategy comparable to an institutional review board process." (Joy et al. 1999: 7-8). This makes legal use of medicinal cannabis practically impossible. The authors of the report are treating marijuana as if it were a drug like thalidomide, with well-established serious toxicity (phocomelia) and limited clinical usefulness (leprosy). This is inappropriate and unworkable for a drug with limited toxicity, unusual clinical versatility, and easy availability. At least the IOM Report confirms that even government officials no longer doubt that cannabis has medical uses. Inevitably, cannabinoids will be allowed to compete with other medicines in the treatment of a variety of symptoms and conditions; the only uncertainty involves the form in which they will be delivered.

Dr. Grinspoon goes on to note that he assumed, after studying cannabis for decades, that all that is necessary to make it possible to allow U.S. citizens to utilize this "useful and benign" (according to the DEA's own judge, Francis Young) plant-based medicine would be to have the DEA reschedule marijuana. Now, he says, this assumption was wrong.

Today, transferring marijuana to Schedule II (high potential for abuse, limited medical use) would not be enough to make it available as a prescription drug. Such drugs must undergo rigorous, expensive, and time-consuming tests before they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This system is designed to regulate the commercial distribution of drug company products and protect the public against false or misleading claims about their efficacy and safety. The drug is generally a single synthetic chemical that a pharmaceutical company has developed and patented. The company submits an application to the FDA and tests it first for safety in animals and then for clinical safety and efficacy. The company must present evidence from double-blind controlled studies showing that the drug is more effective than a placebo and as effective as available drugs. The cost of this evaluation exceeds 200 million dollars per drug. Case reports, expert opinion, and clinical experience are not considered sufficient.

It is unlikely that whole smoked marijuana should or will ever be developed as an officially recognized medicine via this route. The extensive government-supported effort of the last three decades to establish a sufficient level of toxicity to support prohibition has instead provided a record of marijuana's safety that is more compelling than that of many, if not most, approved medicines, while thousands of years of medical use have demonstrated its value. The modern FDA protocol is not the only way to establish a risk-benefit estimate for a drug with such a long history. To impose this protocol on cannabis would be like making the same demand of aspirin, which was accepted as a medicine more than 60 years before the advent of the double-blind controlled study. Many years of experience have shown us that aspirin has many uses and limited toxicity. Even if we thought that this experience was insufficient to establish its credentials by modern standards, it would not be possible to marshal it through the FDA approval process. The patent has long since expired, and with it the enormous economic incentive to underwrite the cost of this modern seal of approval. The plant cannabis too cannot be patented, so the only source of funding for a "start-from-scratch" approval would be the government, which is, to put it mildly, unlikely to be helpful. Other reasons for doubting that marijuana would ever be officially approved are today's anti-smoking climate and, most important, the widespread use of cannabis for purposes disapproved by the government.

It appears, then, that in the United States two powerful forces are colliding over the issue of medicinal cannabis. On the one hand, there is a growing interest in and acceptance of the medicinal importance of cannabis, and there is every reason to believe that this development will continue to gain momentum. As it does so it increasingly confronts the proscription against any use of marijuana. At the same time, there does not appear to be widespread interest in moving from an absolute prohibition against cannabis to a regulatory system which would allow for the responsible use of this drug. The federal government, until recently has denied any medical utility to cannabis, and it appears to be vehemently opposed to any relaxation of the prohibition.

We see this issue is being played out in the U.S. at this time with the issue of Sativex's planned entry into the U.S. drug market compared to the federal govt's continued insistence that marijuana has no medical value.

The only way to undo the harm of the drug war is for the federal government to decriminalize cannabis entirely and remove it from the drug schedules.

We have massive civil disobedience at this time as millions ignore the propaganda of the drug warriors, just as we saw during alcohol prohibition.

The refusal to accept the medical value of whole-plant cannabis will continue to burden Americans with prescription drug prices that are beyond the reach of many, while criminalizing their actions to mitigate the effects of chemo, epilepsy, migraines, HIV drugs, CP, MS, rheumatoid arthritis and alzheimers via affordable practices.

And so, America continues a class and drug war on its people, no matter which political party is in office. I thought we were better than that. Apparently not.

Netherlands to Close Prisons For Lack of Criminals


"The Dutch justice ministry has announced it will close eight prisons and cut 1,200 jobs in the prison system. A decline in crime has left many cells empty.

During the 1990s the Netherlands faced a shortage of prison cells, but a decline in crime has since led to overcapacity in the prison system. The country now has capacity for 14,000 prisoners but only 12,000 detainees.

Deputy justice minister Nebahat Albayrak announced on Tuesday that eight prisons will be closed, resulting in the loss of 1,200 jobs. Natural redundancy and other measures should prevent any forced lay-offs, the minister said.

The overcapacity is a result of the declining crime rate, which the ministry's research department expects to continue for some time. "

On the other hand, Belgium has a surplus of prisoners, so The Netherlands will house some of the Belgian prisions for them.

I would like to point out that The Netherlands has more progressive drug policy than Belgium, for what it's worth.

Andrea Barthwell: Deputy Drug Czar turned lobbyist for Bayer/GW Pharma/Sativex

h/t to fredamae for this excellent information.

Here's what Barthwell had to say when she was being paid to promote prohibition:

...You won’t find any commercial development of plant-based marijuana medicines being pursued in the United States. Andrea Barthwell, a deputy director in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and President Bush’s point person on medical marijuana, says cannabis medicines aren’t compatible with modern science. They do not constitute “a serious line of research,” she says.

“The people who are advancing marijuana as a medicine are perpetuating a cruel hoax that exploits our compassion for the sick,” Barthwell says. “They are using patients’ pain and suffering in an attempt to change America’s drug control policy. Marijuana is a crude plant product that most definitely is not a medicine.”


More from Barthwell:

"Having this product available will certainly slow down the dash to make the crude plant material available to patients across the country," said Barthwell, an addiction medicine specialist.

Some medical marijuana activists suggested that Sativex could help spur efforts to legalize medicinal use of leafy marijuana.

"In practical terms," said Mirken, of the Marijuana Policy Project, "Sativex is to marijuana as a cup of coffee is to coffee beans."

Barthwell drew a different comparison.

"Comparing crude marijuana to Sativex is like comparing a raging forest fire to the fire in your home's furnace," she said. "While both provide heat, one is out of control."

(From Kirk Tousaw, Campaign Manager, BC Marijuana Party via the BCMP Website cache)

This is, again, pure propaganda to sell a product and make inexpensive medicine unavailable to Americans - and Canadians, for that matter.

Barthwell showed up at a conference sponsored by Americans for Safe Access and claimed that Sativex is not cannabis...and she's a doctor? An advocate from ASA noted her appearance.

After I pointed out to the few reporters that she was not JUST a private citizen, but the ex-Deputy Drug Czar, a representative of GW, and the failed Republican nominee for IL Senate, she told the press that rescheduling marijuana would not make it available to patients. I concurred. Then she asked me how I could say that Sativex was marijuana. I asked her if it was not marijuana, what was it? She rattled off her sound byte "If your grandmother was in pain would you give her opium?"

I am writing this list because I have major concern for the future of Sativex. Barthwell looked ridiculous. All the reporters kept asking her "They are here in support of Sativex, what is your problem?" And she just kept giving her sound bytes about how Sativex was not marijuana. Luckily Matt Atwood, Executive Director of IDEALReform, also a chemist was present and challenged her on the "compound level" to which her only response was "What are you a scientists?"

Directly after the press conference, I received a "Cease and Desist" order from the Bayer attorneys over a domain name ASA purchased but had yet put up the content www.SativexInfo.org , www.SativexInfo.com, and www.SativexInfo.net which is a pro-Sativex website they also found out about from Don Wirtshafter's e-mail. We have kindly told them we will not be giving over the domains and we will end up in court in the next 20 days or so.

So, we see that, yes, indeed, drug warriors like this woman are working with Bayer and GW to pull some slick shit and make Sativex legal while keeping the cannabis plant illegal by pretending that a medicine made from WHOLE-PLANT CANNABIS, not a synthetic, is not WHOLE-PLANT CANNABIS.

I suppose that's why the Drug Czar amended his pronouncement that there is no medical value to cannabis to "smoked" cannabis. He may soon have to start saying... smoked, buttered, baked, vaped, tinctured or any other way... if not done by the big pharma the government favors.

You know, long ago, some people in Boston had a tea party because their government favored a corporation, The East India Company, over those who lived in this nation who produced their own tea. King George ruled that the colonists must purchase the product that favored him, economically, rather than those who lived and worked here and often scraped by to eke out a living. The current teabaggers misrepresent this moment - this moment was a riot against corporate favoritism, not taxation. Now the tea is of a different blend.

Here's Barthwell on Morning Talking Heads TV

The host of the show failed to mention that Barthwell had worked as a lobbyist for a company that would benefit from keeping cannabis illegal.

In addition, the host didn't understand the difference between a synthetic and natural plant-based entity.

In addition, the crawl says 25 million have treated for marijuana abuse but failed to indicate that the majority of those entering rehab for cannabis had not used it for more than a month prior to rehab (which indicates they were not addicted), or that the majority of people in the U.S. who go to rehab for marijuana in the U.S. do so to avoid a criminal record for simple possession. iow, that stat is part of prohibition propaganda.

From Saturday, April 16, 2005 The Pharmaceuticalization of Marijuana: G.W. Does the "Right" Thing - Fred Gardner at CounterPunch

G.W. has also hired John Pastuovic, who headed the Bush-Cheney campaign in Illinois in 2000, to handle public relations in the U.S. The implication of the hires is that G.W. founders Geoffrey Guy and Brian Whittle will use any means necessary to push their products as alternatives to smoked marijuana.

Olsen v. DEA, according to the MPP, may provide a route for Bayer/GW to obtain special treatment for Sativex to allow it to be made legal while whole-plant cannabis that is not supplied by a pharmceutical company remains illegal.

The corruption, the pure financial consideration over the welfare and civil rights of Americans is, once again, is illustrated by a government that implements policy based upon lies. Who, with the power to do so, has the courage to stop this assault on Americans? Are we governed by cowards and liars who enrich themselves at the expense of the American people? I wonder, more and more.

The cycle of deceit continues, from Anslinger's Marihuana Tax Act legislation of 1937 to favor forestry paper pulp over hemp, to Barthwell's attempt to create a two-tier class of Americans based, again, upon lies.

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