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RainDog's Journal
RainDog's Journal
December 31, 2011

Top Ten Reefer Madness Stories of 2011

I already noted the one flawed data study - now for the real crazies


American Cancer Society
Marijuana use can lead to amputation

UK Daily Mail
Cannabis Kills 30k a Year

Florida Woman Arrested At Work, Body Cavity Searched, Forced to Spend the Night in Jail... for possession Sage
aka most common test for cannabis results in wrongful arrest

and more at the first link...

December 31, 2011

86 that Rand 420 study: 5th worst of 2011

from Scientific American

Doh! Top Science Journal Retractions of 2011

#5: Los Angeles marijuana dispensaries lead to drop in crime.

Keep smoking. The RAND Corporation retracted its own report in October after realizing its sloppy data collection.

Crime data compiled from neighborhoods with these highly contentious medical marijuana dispensaries supposedly revealed slightly lower crime rates. The authors attributed this decline not to marijuana itself but rather the presence of security cameras and guards in and around the dispensaries, having a positive effect on the neighborhood. [The History of 8 Hallucinogens]

The L.A. city attorney's office was incensed with the report, having argued the opposite — that the dispensaries breed crime. The city's lawyers soon found critical flaws in RAND's data collection, largely stemming from RAND's reliance on data from CrimeReports.com, which did not include data from the L.A. Police Department. RAND blamed itself for the error, not CrimeReports.com, which had made no claims of having a complete set of data, and, in fact, didn't even know about the study.

This was posted here before. Just wanted to make sure it got notice.
December 21, 2011

Controlled Substances Act (1970) and its Consequences

The CSA is Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 that was created by Congress to serve as federal policy on drug enforcement.

The act created 5 schedules for drug classification. Although Congress created the drug schedules, they appointed the DEA and the FDA to decide which substances to add or remove from schedules.

Therefore, changing a substance from one schedule to another, or removing a substance altogether does not require the passage of a law by Congress.

Instead, such as in the case of the scheduling of cannabis, a rescheduling hearing may be called to correct mistakes made by politicians in their haste to declare themselves enemies of this or that.

Marijuana was provisionally placed as a Schedule I substance based upon the recommendation of Assistant Secretary of Health Roger O. Egeberg. This classification was pending the outcome of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, led by Republican Raymond P. Schafer.

Egeberg wrote:

...This communication is concerned with the proposed classification of marihuana.

It is presently classed in schedule I(C) along with its active constituents, the tetrahydrocannibinols and other psychotropic drugs.

Some question has been raised whether the use of the plant itself produces "severe psychological or physical dependence" as required by a schedule I or even schedule II criterion. Since there is still a considerable void in our knowledge of the plant and effects of the active drug contained in it, our recommendation is that marihuana be retained within schedule I at least until the completion of certain studies now underway to resolve the issue. If those studies make it appropriate for the Attorney General to change the placement of marihuana to a different schedule, he may do so in accordance with the authority provided under section 201 of the bill...

What did the Schafer Commission find?

You can read the full report here: http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/studies/nc/ncmenu.htm

Schafer's commission funded 50 studies.

Through formal and informal hearings, recorded in thousands of pages of transcripts, we solicited all points of view, including those of public officials, community leaders, professional experts and students. We commissioned a nationwide survey of public beliefs, information and experience . . .

“In addition, we conducted separate surveys of opinion among district attorneys, judges, probation officers, clinicians, university health officials and free clinic personnel."

What did these DA's, judges, clinicians, and health officials lead Schafer to recommend?

The criminal law is too harsh a tool to apply to personal possession even in the effort to discourage use. It implies an overwhelming indictment of the behavior which we believe is not appropriate. The actual and potential harm of use of the drug is not great enough to justify intrusion by the criminal law into private behavior, a step which our society takes only 'with the greatest reluctance.

While the judiciary is the governmental institution most directly concerned with the protection of individual liberties, all policy-makers have a responsibility to consider our constitutional heritage when framing public policy. Regardless of whether or not the courts would overturn a prohibition of possession of marijuana for personal use in the home, we are necessarily influenced by the high place traditionally occupied by the value of privacy in our constitutional scheme.

We have carefully analyzed the interrelationship between marihuana the drug, marihuana use as a behavior, and marihuana as a social problem. Recognizing the extensive degree of misinformation about marihuana as a drug, we have tried to demythologize it. Viewing the use of marihuana in its wider social context, we have tried to desymbolize it.

Considering the range of social concerns in contemporary America, marihuana does not, in our considered judgment, rank very high. We would deemphasize marihuana as a problem.

Additionally, Schafer noted: Marihuana’s relative potential for harm to the vast majority of individual users and its actual impact on society does not justify a social policy designed to seek out and firmly punish those who use it.

Nixon did not bother to read Schafer's report because those clinicians, health care officials, DA's and judges did not come to the conclusion Nixon wanted to hear. In addition, Nixon punished Schafer for not coming back with the findings he wanted by not appointing Schafer to a pending federal judgeship.

What is the outcome of Nixon's refusal to acknowledge that marijuana should be decriminalized? (i.e. removed from the Drug Schedules?)

$1 TRILLION dollars wasted.
Hundreds of thousands of deaths
There are more people now in federal prison for marijuana offenses than for violent offenses.

In 2005, 800,000 people were arrested for marijuana charges.
The cost for incarceration, according to the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics for that same year was $1BILLION PER YEAR.

It's time to end the war on cannabis.

December 21, 2011

FDR and the End of Prohibition

During the election campaign, FDR made one unequivocal speech endorsing repeal. Otherwise, both candidates successfully avoided the issue, despite- or perhaps because of- their having taken opposite positions. "Politics is the art of changing the subject," observed Walter Mondale many years later.

When the only thing standing in the way of repeal was the election of FDR, thousands of "wets" and hundreds of "wet" organizations moved unambiguously behind the Democrat. The message was clear: Roosevelt meant repeal, and repeal meant Roosevelt.

People wanted both, and Roosevelt triumphed in the election. The Number of "wets" in Congress grew significantly. In the nine states, voters passed referenda repealing the state prohibition laws.

This is when the VCL stepped forward and took on the remarkable leadership and responsibility for which they were so uniquely equipped. It required no particular insight into the nature of democracy to know that when the weight of public opinion demanded repeal of Prohibition, Prohibition would be repealed

The VCL served the same purpose as various groups now who lobby for the repeal of prohibition of cannabis.

Oh, but let's just see what FDR himself had to say:

The number of states that have now legalized medical marijuana is analogous to the number of states that repealed alcohol prohibition.

FDR was inaugurated on March 4, 1933. On March 13 he called for the repeal of prohibition. He signed the Harrison-Cullen Act on March 23 - legalizing alcoholic beer and then noted, " I think this would be a good time for a beer."

He dealt with the banking crisis in his first week, CALLED FOR THE REPEAL OF PROHIBITION IN HIS SECOND WEEK, and went on to work out the New Deal with huge public support.

The repeal of prohibition came about on Dec. 5th - Congress did that, but FDR claimed full credit for the same. He popularity increased with the repeal of prohibition.

He started as a "dry" but moved to a "wet" in order to gain the nomination from the Democratic Party. Repeal of prohibition was an economic spur. Yet fewer people drank after the repeal of prohibition than before - prohibition increased the use of alcohol, increased crime, glutted the courts, cost millions in law enforcement.

December 20, 2011

Legalizing Marijuana is Not a Far-Leftist Position

when 500 economists sign a petition to legalize marijuana the position is not far leftist.

when Joe Klein, in Time Magazine (which is considered centrist at most) writes about legalizing marijuana, it is not a far-left position.

when a Gallup poll finds 50% of Americans favor legalization (vs. 46% opposed) - it's not a far-left position.

As you see from this survey, support for legalization is the majority opinion among liberals, moderates, independents, Democrats, people from ages 18-49 (with 49% support for ages 50-64.)

Instead, what this poll indicates is that a failure to take action to legalize marijuana is a conservative and Republican position - the one group that does not favor the Obama presidency without doubt.

Obama's refusal to address this issue puts him in the same camp as the far right.

December 20, 2011

Study: 1 in 3 American Youth Are Arrested By Age 23

By age 23, at least a quarter of all youth in the U.S. — and perhaps as many as 41% — are arrested at least once for something more serious than a traffic violation, according to a new study of American teens.

Researchers have not completed an analysis of the data by race, but prior studies suggest that minorities are arrested more frequently than whites. Previous research finds, for example, that black youth are arrested at double the rate of white youth for drug crimes, even though a larger proportion of white youth actually use and sell drugs.

Although it may seem shocking that at least one-third of U.S. youth has an arrest record, those who study juvenile crime don’t find the figure to be out of line. Since the 1970s, America has become much tougher on crime, lengthening sentences, increasing the police force and quintupling the number of people incarcerated. During that time, the number of Americans in prison has gone from half a million to 2.3 million, with approximately 93,000 incarcerated youth. Given the changes in the criminal justice system, some increase in youth arrests was to be expected.

Although the literature is mixed, several previous studies indicate that kids who are incarcerated do significantly worse later on, compared with those who are given alternative sentences that allow them to remain in their communities. One study, for example, compared children who committed the same crimes but wound up with harsh or lenient sentences: those who were sentenced to juvenile detention were three times more likely to be re-incarcerated as adults, compared with those whose judges gave them lighter, alternative sentences


Raw Story's Headline Puts the Blame on Harsher Drug Laws

Tougher drug laws mean nearly 1/3 arrested by age 23

A study analyzing data from the federal government’s National Longitudinal Survey of Youth found that 30.2 percent of 23-year-olds reported being arrested for something more serious that a traffic violation.

It’s the first time since the 1960s that researchers have tried to determine how often young people are arrested. A similar study in 1965 found that only 22 percent reported being arrested by age 23.

“I was astonished 44 years ago,” Carnegie Mellon University professor Alfred Blumstein told USA Today. “There’s a lot more arresting going on now.”

Researchers believe that a toughening of drug laws and the increased size of police forces contribute to the the increase. Five times more Americans are incarcerated now than in the 1960s.

Steve Cohen (D-TN) is a member of the House who has signed on with Barney Frank, Ron Paul, Democratic Reps. John Conyers (MI), Jared Polis (CO) and Barbara Lee (CA) to reschedule/decriminalize cannabis via HR 2306. In addition, the 40th anniversary of the WoD led to a tremendous outcry from leaders around the world to end the failed war on drugs.


Cohen noted:

"Marijuana use has not skyrocketed in the last year, but arrests are vamped up and they use arrest as a basis to get people, particularly people of color where it’s 7 times more likely you’ll be arrested if you’re African American and 4 times more likely you’ll be arrested if you’re Latino and more likely if you’re African American or Latino that you’ll spend a night in jail than if you’re Caucasian,”

December 20, 2011

President Obama's puzzling silence on marijuana policy


"Dance with the One that Brought You" is the title of a well-known song. But the Urban Dictionary offers a deeper meaning: "The principle that someone should pay proper fealty to those who have gone out of their way to look after them."

But what about President Obama? In 2004 he endorsed marijuana decriminalization. He was candid about his early pot use and in 2006 told a group of magazine editors: "When I was a kid, I inhaled, frequently." By his run for president in 2008, he was slipping away from decriminalization but at least talked of a "public health" approach, emphasizing drug treatment instead of prison, giving drug-reform advocates hope for a new day in national policy.

But Obama as president has been a clear disappointment to reform forces. In White House-initiated electronic town halls, respondents — heavily weighted to original Obama supporters — have repeatedly put marijuana at the top of their issue lists. But the White House has either laughed off or provided dismissive retorts.

Obama's Drug Policy Office claims the drug war is over, replaced by a focus on shrinking demand, "innovative, compassionate and evidence-based drug policies." But Obama has not once singled out marijuana — a substance arguably far less harmful to the human body than alcohol — for special consideration. Nor has he spoken to the harm to youth caused by 800,000 yearly arrests. Or moved to stem the billions of dollars a year spent on marijuana-related arrests.

The editorial writer notes that Obama can reignite the youth vote by making a statement that marijuana policy needs to be revisited - not even actually do anything before an election - while Ethan Nadelmann, of the Drug Policy Alliance, wonders if the Obama administration has been co-opted by holdover appointees (he's talking about you, Michele Leonhart.)
December 18, 2011

The Truth About Medical Marijuana

Series: "Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley" (2008)
December 17, 2011

How the DEA, the Attn General or Congress Could Reschedule Cannabis

Drug Schedules are part of the Controlled Substances Act, passed by Congress in 1970, that defines federal drug policy. There are five schedules, or classifications for drugs, to determine federal policy on those substances. Cannabis is currently listed as a Schedule I substance.

Schedule I.—

(A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.

(B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

(C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision."

No prescriptions may be written for Schedule I substances, and such substances are subject to production quotas by the DEA.

Other schedules and substances designated for various schedules are available here:


The DEA and the FDA determine the scheduling of various substances, although Congress scheduled a substance via legislation in Feb. 2000. The Attorney General of the United States may also initiate a drug rescheduling hearing.


Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute provides this information about the way in which a rescheduling may be put in motion, in this case, by the Attorney General:

...Proceedings for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of such rules may be initiated by the Attorney General

(1) on his own motion,
(2) at the request of the Secretary, or
(3) on the petition of any interested party.

The Attorney General shall, before initiating proceedings under subsection (a) of this section to control a drug or other substance or to remove a drug or other substance entirely from the schedules, and after gathering the necessary data, request from the Secretary a scientific and medical evaluation, and his recommendations, as to whether such drug or other substance should be so controlled or removed as a controlled substance.

...if the Secretary recommends that a drug or other substance not be controlled , the Attorney General shall not control the drug or other substance. If the Attorney General determines that these facts and all other relevant data constitute substantial evidence of potential for abuse such as to warrant control or substantial evidence that the drug or other substance should be removed entirely from the schedules, he shall initiate proceedings for control or removal, as the case may be, under subsection (a) of this section.

Factors determinative of control or removal from schedules

In making any finding under subsection (a) of this section or under subsection (b) of section 812 of this title, the Attorney General shall consider the following factors with respect to each drug or other substance proposed to be controlled or removed from the schedules:

(1) Its actual or relative potential for abuse.
(2) Scientific evidence of its pharmacological effect, if known.
(3) The state of current scientific knowledge regarding the drug or other substance.
(4) Its history and current pattern of abuse.
(5) The scope, duration, and significance of abuse.
(6) What, if any, risk there is to the public health.
(7) Its psychic or physiological dependence liability.
(8) Whether the substance is an immediate precursor of a substance already controlled under this subchapter.

In 1992, DEA administrator Robert Bonner created 5 criteria for determining whether a substance has medicinal value.

The DEA claims that cannabis has no accepted medical use because it does not meet all of these criteria:

* The drug's chemistry is known and reproducible;
* There are adequate safety studies;
* There are adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy;
* The drug is accepted by qualified experts; and
* The scientific evidence is widely available.

(Information on Drug Schedules and Information on attempts to reschedule cannabis via the Wiki link, above.)

On October 18, 1985, the DEA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to transfer "Synthetic Dronabinol in Sesame Oil and Encapsulated in Soft Gelatin Capsules" — a pill form of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive component of cannabis, sold under the brand name Marinol — from Schedule I to Schedule II (DEA 50 FR 42186-87). The government issued its final rule rescheduling the drug on July 13, 1986 (DEA 51 FR 17476-78). The disparate treatment of cannabis and the expensive, patentable Marinol prompted reformers to question the DEA's consistency.

In the summer of 1986, the DEA administrator initiated public hearings on cannabis rescheduling. The hearings lasted two years, involving many witnesses and thousands of pages of documentation. On September 6, 1988, DEA Chief Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young ruled that cannabis did not meet the legal criteria of a Schedule I prohibited drug and should be reclassified. He declared that cannabis in its natural form is "one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. (T)he provisions of the (Controlled Substances) Act permit and require the transfer of marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II".

Then-DEA Administrator John Lawn overruled Young's determination. Lawn said he decided against re-scheduling cannabis based on testimony and comments from numerous medical doctors who had conducted detailed research and were widely considered experts in their respective fields. Later Administrators agreed. "Those who insist that marijuana has medical uses would serve society better by promoting or sponsoring more legitimate research," former DEA Administrator Robert Bonner opined in 1992.

So, what has medical research into the use of cannabis revealed since 1992? Because of the Federal Scheduling, much of the legitimate research has gone on outside of the United States.

(This article includes links to information about cannabinoid research for 19 different health issues, with links to the studies relating to the medical condition.)

Recent medical research on cannabis, via NORML:

...There are now more than 17,000 published papers in the scientific literature analyzing marijuana and its constituents...Whereas researchers in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s primarily assessed cannabis' ability to temporarily alleviate various disease symptoms — such as the nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy — scientists today are exploring the potential role of cannabinoids to modify disease.

Of particular interest, scientists are investigating cannabinoids' capacity to moderate autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as their role in the treatment of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's disease.)

Investigators are also studying the anti-cancer activities of cannabis, as a growing body of preclinical and clinical data concludes that cannabinoids can reduce the spread of specific cancer cells via apoptosis (programmed cell death) and by the inhibition of angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels). Arguably, these latter trends represent far broader and more significant applications for cannabinoid therapeutics than researchers could have imagined some thirty or even twenty years ago.

December 17, 2011

Beginning January 2012, people in Switzerland may legally grow 4 cannabis plants at home

if they want to grow more than 4, they have to receive permission and register with their canton.

edited to note: this is for 4 French-speaking cantons, cheri.

(the link is in French - 420 has the article available via google translate in the link below - not exactly smooth but it does get the general idea across)


Earlier this month, Copenhagen put together a proposal to legalize cannabis in that city. The proposal has to be approved by the Danish Parliament, which will meet on this issue early in 2012.

The Basques are moving to legalize cannabis in their region.

"It's better to regulate than to ban," said Jesus Maria Fernandez, second in command at the region's health authority. Regulating "the growing, sale, and consumption of cannabis" is a better approach to pot smoking, he said, calling it "a practice that is already consolidated."

More and more cities, regions and nations are pushing back against zero tolerance that is the failed legacy of Ronald Reagan. Since Reagan's actions, cannabis has become an even bigger worldwide industry that generates ever greater profits that are not taxed for use by the states in which they are made.

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