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Lock 'Em Up Nation


How did the United States, land of the free, become the world’s top jailer? It’s a question asked by visitors from other democracies, and the American citizen who wakes from a stupor to find that our prisons are stuffed with people serving interminable sentences for nonviolent crimes.

For the answer, you need look no further than the real America, the sparsely settled, ruggedly beautiful, financially struggling eastern third of Washington State. There, 70-year-old Larry Harvey, his wife, two family members and a friend are facing mandatory 10-year prison terms for growing medical marijuana — openly and, they thought, legally — on their farm near the little town of Kettle Falls.

To get a sense of the tragic absurdity of this federal prosecution, reaching all the way to the desk of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., consider what will happen next month. Pot stores will open in Washington, selling legal marijuana for the recreational user — per a vote of the people. A few weeks later, the Feds will try to put away the so-called Kettle Falls Five for growing weed on their land to ease their medical maladies. Federal sentencing guidelines, which trump state law, call for mandatory prison terms.

Harvey is a former long-haul truck driver with a bad knee, spasms of gout and high blood pressure. He says he has no criminal record, and spends much of his time in a wheelchair. His wife, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, is a retired hairdresser with arthritis and osteoporosis. Mr. Harvey says he takes his wife’s home-baked marijuana confections when the pain in his knee starts to flare. The Harveys thought they were in the clear, growing 68 marijuana plants on their acreage in northeast Washington, one of 22 states allowing legal medical marijuana. (Federal authorities say they are several plants over the limit.)

Link to information on reform of mandatory sentencing - The Smart Sentencing Act from Durbin and Lee

Regular Cannabis Smoking not associated with lung cancer

More than 2000 controls and nearly 3000 subjects were included in the study from 4 different English-speaking nations.

Their findings are similar to those of a 2013 review published in the journal Annals of the American Thoracic Society, which concluded: "[H]abitual use of marijuana alone does not appear to lead to significant abnormalities in lung function. ... Overall, the risks of pulmonary complications of regular use of marijuana appear to be relatively small and far lower than those of tobacco smoking."

An accompanying commentary appearing in the same journal affirmed, "...Cannabis smoking does not seem to increase risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or airway cancers. In fact, there is even a suggestion that at low doses cannabis may be protective for both conditions."

Preclinical studies have documented that cannabinoids possess potent anti-cancer properties, including the inhibition of lung cancer cell growth. To date, however, scientists have yet to conduct controlled clinical trials replicating these results in human subjects.



To investigate the association between cannabis smoking and lung cancer risk, data on 2159 lung cancer cases and 2985 controls were pooled from 6 case-control studies in the US, Canada, UK and New Zealand within the International Lung Cancer Consortium. Study-specific associations between cannabis smoking and lung cancer were estimated using unconditional logistic regression adjusting for sociodemographic factors, tobacco smoking status and pack-years; odds-ratio estimates were pooled using random effects models. Sub-group analyses were done for sex, histology, and tobacco smoking status. The shapes of dose-response associations were examined using restricted cubic spline regression. The overall pooled OR for habitual vs. non-habitual or never users was 0.96 (95% CI: 0.66-1.38). Compared to non-habitual or never users, the summary OR was 0.88 (95%CI: 0.63-1.24) for individuals who smoked 1 or more joint-equivalents of cannabis per day and 0.94 (95%CI: 0.67-1.32) for those consumed at least 10 joint-years. For adenocarcinoma cases the ORs were 1.73 (95%CI: 0.75-4.00) and 1.74 (95%CI: 0.85-3.55), respectively. However, no association was found for the squamous cell carcinoma based on small numbers. Weak associations between cannabis smoking and lung cancer were observed in never tobacco smokers. Spline modeling indicated a weak positive monotonic association between cumulative cannabis use and lung cancer, but precision was low at high exposure levels. Results from our pooled analyses provide little evidence for an increased risk of lung cancer among habitual or long-term cannabis smokers, although the possibility of potential adverse effect for heavy consumption cannot be excluded.

A 2008 study concluded: Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol inhibits epithelial growth factor-induced lung cancer cell migration in vitro as well as its growth and metastasis in vivo



Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary cannabinoid of marijuana and has been shown to either potentiate or inhibit tumor growth, depending on the type of cancer and its pathogenesis. Little is known about the activity of cannabinoids like THC on epidermal growth factor receptor-overexpressing lung cancers, which are often highly aggressive and resistant to chemotherapy. In this study, we characterized the effects of THC on the EGF-induced growth and metastasis of human non-small cell lung cancer using the cell lines A549 and SW-1573 as in vitro models. We found that these cells express the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, known targets for THC action, and that THC inhibited EGF-induced growth, chemotaxis and chemoinvasion. Moreover, signaling studies indicated that THC may act by inhibiting the EGF-induced phosphorylation of ERK1/2, JNK1/2 and AKT. THC also induced the phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase at tyrosine 397. Additionally, in in vivo studies in severe combined immunodeficient mice, there was significant inhibition of the subcutaneous tumor growth and lung metastasis of A549 cells in THC-treated animals as compared to vehicle-treated controls. Tumor samples from THC-treated animals revealed antiproliferative and antiangiogenic effects of THC. Our study suggests that cannabinoids like THC should be explored as novel therapeutic molecules in controlling the growth and metastasis of certain lung cancers.

Support the Smarter Sentencing Act!

via the Marijuana Policy Project:

The Smarter Sentencing Act (S. 1410), sponsored by a bipartisan coalition including Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mike Lee (R-UT), would bring real change to destructive mandatory minimum sentences in our criminal justice system. Aside from saving billions of dollars spent on incarcerating nonviolent drug offenders, the bill would give judges more flexibility in sentencing those with minor criminal records.

More specifically, some current mandatory minimum sentences would be cut in half. That means that if this bill passes, we could potentially see 10 and five-year mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana offenses cut to five and 2.5 years, respectively. This would be a huge victory, and we need your help to secure the votes.

Tell Congress to pass the Smarter Sentencing Act!

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently announced that he wants to bring the Smarter Sentencing Act up for a vote in the Senate this summer. Twenty-four senators have co-sponsored the bill already, but we need to secure 60 votes to pass the bill on the floor. The House companion bill, H.R. 3382, already has a bipartisan coalition consisting of 33 co-sponsors.

Link to MPP support letter here.

Summary of the bill here, at the Congress.Gov website.

Update: Austin, TX PASSES resolution supporting medical marijuana

Updated: Thursday, June 26 2014, 01:39 PM CDT UPDATE: The Austin City Council voted Thursday to support legislation in the next Texas legislative session to legalize medical marijuana.


Read More at: http://www.keyetv.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/updated-austin-council-back-medical-marijuana-legislation-18974.shtml


Two council members are sponsoring the resolution, and an Austin mother says she'll be watching this item closely.

...Thalia Michelle, believes medical cannabis could help her (autistic) son. "It could help with his hyperactivity, cognition, focus [and] even speech," she said. "This isn't just about smoking for nausea and pain anymore."

She says in states where medical marijuana is legal, parents are giving autistic children cannabis oil. She says the plant-based extract is giving many hope for the future.

For Vincent Lopez, living with muscular dystrophy means pain 24-hours a day, and he says medical marijuana is the only way to ease his agony.

This article, from the autism support network, talks about one mother's use of marijuana for her son's autism.


...she typed “autism and medical marijuana” into an internet search engine and the name Dr. Bernard Rimland popped up. Rimland is a former director of the Autism Research Institute who wrote about using medical marijuana to treat autism.

“I’m not pro-drug, but I am very much pro-safe and effective treatment, especially in cases when an autistic individual’s behaviors are devastating and do not respond to other interventions,” Rimland once wrote. “Early evidence suggests that medical marijuana may be an effective treatment for autism, as well as being safer than the drugs that doctors routinely prescribe.”

According to the Autism Research Institute, some of the symptoms marijuana has improved in children with autism include anxiety, aggression, panic disorder, tantrums and self-injurious behavior. Though Rimland died in 2006, his ideas continue to draw interest from parents with children on the spectrum.

The improvements continue to be evident, she says, as Joey is now smiling and even attempting to talk—things he never did before. Having appeared on Good Morning America and other media outlets, Hester-Perez is spreading the word about medical marijuana and autism. She has even started her own website, uf4a.org. “There are definitely other parents who are using it but I’m just the only parent that’s gone public,” she says.

Bernard Rimland, a doctor of psychology, was also the founder of the Autism Society of America. After his son was born with severe autism, Bernard directed his research toward autism. Rimland challenged the prevailing view that autism was a result of defective parenting, a view the person who first coined the autism dx shared with pop psychologists such as Bruno Bettelheim (whose views came out of Freudian theories.) Rimland's work changed the focus of autism research and thinking about the issue to a view that autism has neurological (biological) foundations, not psychological.

Dr. Lester Grinspoon, mentioned in the video, above, was close friends with Carl Sagan. Both were professors at Harvard. While Sagan was an enthusiastic supporter of cannabis for its value as a spur to his thinking, Grinspoon was much more reserved - even opposed, initially, to the widespread use of marijuana on Harvard's campus by students and faculty. Then Grinspoon's son was dx'd with leukemia. His wife acquired marijuana for their son and his oncology team told the Grinspoons they could bring the cannabis to the medical center and their son could smoke there, before his chemotherapy, rather than in the car, because the doctors were so amazed at the positive effect of marijuana for wasting and nausea.

Scientists Study mmj for Sickle Cell Disease Pain


As researchers continue with the study’s next step — conducting human trials — they’re heading to California, as Minnesota doesn’t easily allow testing cannabis on people. The state’s recently passed medical marijuana law doesn’t include sickle cell disease as a qualifying medical condition, but the University's current research could play a role in how that law changes in the future.

“We find that cannabinoids have good outcomes in treating pain [in mice with sickle cell disease],” said chief researcher and associate professor of medicine Kalpna Gupta.

Gupta said the researchers are now ready to expand their study to patients. And in doing so, they will move to California, where medical marijuana became legal nearly two decades ago. Minnesota’s stricter version of that law will take effect next summer.

Right now, the Minnesota Department of Health is working to appoint members to a task force that will oversee medical cannabis therapeutic research in the coming months. The department is also fine-tuning the rules that outline patient access and qualifications.

The researchers are looking at marijuana for pain relief from sickle cell disease pain because opiates tend to depress the respiratory system and may be "overkill" for certain types of pain.

This is something others doing research into pain management have mentioned in relation to other illnesses and medications - it's better to use marijuana than an opiate whenever possible to avoid the problems associated with opiates. If someone finds the marijuana is not sufficient, a low dose of opiates can be added. Since marijuana helps to facilitate opiates, a smaller opiate dose may be sufficient in such cases.

Republican Andy Harris, from Maryland, seeks to prevent implementation of D.C. law

Contact information for Harris: https://harris.house.gov/contact-me

Rep. Andy Harris, a conservative Republican from Maryland, will propose a spending rider on the District of Columbia’s annual funding bill Wednesday that would deny funding for implementing the city’s recently passed marijuana decriminalization law.

...(Harris, a doctor), will seek to block the implementation of the District’s newly passed decriminalization law that would limit punishments for small amounts of marijuana to a civil infraction of $25 — among the laxest in the nation. While Congress has 60 legislative days to review D.C.’s decriminalization proposal, Harris is choosing to instead just cut off its funding. “Probably too late to affect anything because of the deadlines. But there will be a limitation amendment,” Harris said. “I would suspect it will pass the committee.

There’s a long history of Congress taking their pet issues and applying them to D.C., which is still in many ways overseen by Capitol Hill. Republicans have attached riders to spending bills that prohibited city money from being spent on providing abortions, and an amendment that loosened the city’s strict gun laws torpedoed Democrats’ attempt to give the District a congressional seat when Nancy Pelosi was speaker.

“[Harris would] have a whole lot of push-back in his own district if he tried that. I mean, they may be conservative but he’s got a whole lot of people in his district smoking pot, and they’d be incensed,” said Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) of Harris’s Eastern Shore district. “It’s like kicking somebody when they’re down. Invariably, we have amendments to pick on D.C. because you can get away with it and they figure D.C.’s politically powerless to do it. And it’s wrong.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/andy-harris-marijuana-washington-dc-108259.html#ixzz35cENqOR5

To add insult to injury, Harris' own state decriminalized marijuana this year. He can't be a petty despot there, but, because of the rules of Congress concerning D.C. law - he gets to stomp all over the rights of citizens who live in D.C.

D.C. passed a medical marijuana law more than a decade ago, iirc, and, in that case, Congress refused to fund the implementation of the law until this year.

What a little fascist fuck.

David Blight lecture series on the Civil War

This link should lead to 26 other lectures, as well. Recommended by TNC at The Atlantic Monthly. Posting here to share - I haven't listened to them all.


Another nonsensical editorial spin


First, the REEFER MADNESS omg headline: Candy’s Dandy, but Pot’s Scary: As Marijuana Laws Ease, the Risks Grow

This headline reflects little of what the editorial writer says, but does refer to the Maureen Dowd Experience™ of someone acting irresponsibly then blaming a bad experience on the cannabis, not the person who chose to ignore the WARNING that she was told about and that was on the candy - even tho Dowd elided this information in her editorial.

The editorial says:
Marijuana is more dangerous than many of us once thought. For one thing, cannabis use is associated with schizophrenia, an often devastating disorder in which people can hear disembodied voices that sneer, hiss and command.

This cant goes on for quite a bit before the person, in order to not totally invalidate credentials as a scientist, has to admit that correlation does not equal causation. In other words, people with schizophrenia may self-medicate.

This is an anthropologist at Stanford, so he or she is going for science since the drug warriors know how badly they come off when people cite their poor relationship with reality in regard to research. What the anthropologist talks about is increased schizophrenic diagnoses related to marijuana. Studies are cited. The editorial left out these LATEST studies, and the long-term meta analysis of marijuana and schizophrenia studies, and leaves out the remarks of Roger Pertwee - who happens to be the leading pharmacologist in the UK in regard to cannabis research and who spoke about the issue of schizophrenia in 2010 at GB's largest medical/scientific conference and noted there is no causal relationship. But don't let the expert in the field of study in this regard stop you, New York Times, from yet another reefer madness moment.

The causal arrow is complicated here. This does not prove that marijuana brings on schizophrenia. It could be that people with incipient schizophrenia are drawn to cannabis. But it is clear that cannabis can lead to passing paranoid and hallucinatory experiences, and a 2014 psychiatric overview argued that cannabis could not only cause those symptoms to persist, but to develop into a condition that looks like schizophrenia. Jim van Os, a leading European schizophrenia researcher, suggested that marijuana might be responsible for as many as one in seven or eight cases of schizophrenia in the Netherlands.

To elide a moment of passing paranoid feelings or hallucinatory experiences that only last as part of intoxication at some levels for some people with a permanent mental disorder is breathtakingly dishonest. The equivalent is to say "it is clear that alcohol can lead to disturbances in balance and disinhibition" and claim that, once someone is no longer tipsy, this is a state of being that is permanently changed in the alcohol user. If anyone made such a statement about alcohol, would anyone think this person has something worthwhile to contribute to a discussion of the issue of alcohol use?

Yet this passes the smell test for the New York Times. Shades of Judith Miller and Aspen trees when you have a war you want to promote, whether it's one on drugs or one on Iraq, I suppose.

This person cites research from 1987, when recent research, from 2013, 2009, 2006, etc, is seemingly ignored.

Harvard research from 2013 indicated no link between marijuana and schizophrenia. Iow, NYTimes, Harvard sneers in your general direction.


Harvard: Marijuana Doesn’t Cause Schizophrenia
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on December 10, 2013

...The new study is the first family study that, according to the researchers, “examines both non-psychotic cannabis users and non-cannabis user controls as two additional independent samples, enabling the examination of whether the risk for schizophrenia is increased in family members of cannabis users who develop schizophrenia compared with cannabis users who do not and also whether that morbid risk is similar or different from that in family members of schizophrenia patients who never used cannabis.”

...The researchers recruited 282 subjects from the New York and Boston metropolitan areas who were divided into four groups: controls with no lifetime history of psychotic illness, cannabis, or any other drug use; controls with no lifetime history of psychotic illness, and a history of heavy cannabis use during adolescence, but no other drug use; patients with no lifetime history of cannabis use or any other drug and less than 10 years of being ill; patients with a history of heavy cannabis use and no other drug use during adolescence and prior to the onset of psychosis.

Information about all first-, second-, and third-degree relatives was obtained, as well as information about any other relative who had a known psychiatric illness. This resulted in information on 1,168 first-degree relatives and a total of 4,291 relatives. The study gathered together information regarding cannabis use, and family history regarding schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and drug abuse.

...“While cannabis may have an effect on the age of onset of schizophrenia it is unlikely to be the cause of illness,” said the researchers, who were led by Ashley C. Proal from Harvard Medical School.

Then there's this meta-analysis


A recent systematic review concluded that cannabis use increases risk of psychotic outcomes independently of confounding and transient intoxication effects. Furthermore, a model of the association between cannabis use and schizophrenia indicated that the incidence and prevalence of schizophrenia would increase from 1990 onwards. The model is based on three factors: a) increased relative risk of psychotic outcomes for frequent cannabis users compared to those who have never used cannabis between 1.8 and 3.1, b) a substantial rise in UK cannabis use from the mid-1970s and c) elevated risk of 20 years from first use of cannabis. This paper investigates whether this has occurred in the UK by examining trends in the annual prevalence and incidence of schizophrenia and psychoses, as measured by diagnosed cases from 1996 to 2005. Retrospective analysis of the General Practice Research Database (GPRD) was conducted for 183 practices in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The study cohort comprised almost 600,000 patients each year, representing approximately 2.3% of the UK population aged 16 to 44. Between 1996 and 2005 the incidence and prevalence of schizophrenia and psychoses were either stable or declining. Explanations other than a genuine stability or decline were considered, but appeared less plausible. In conclusion, this study did not find any evidence of increasing schizophrenia or psychoses in the general population from 1996 to 2005.

Cannabis use does not cause schizophrenia

What research has found is that family members of people who have used cannabis who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia are ALSO more likely to have mood disorders themselves. This finding aligns with the research that indicates cannabis use may lead to earlier onset of schizo-affective disorders, but not the development of schizophrenia. But no one wants to legalize marijuana for children or adolescents for recreational use, and any medical use would include a cost/benefit analysis for anyone, whatever their family medical history might be, just as is the case with any other medical treatment.

Knowing the attempt to elide science and reefer madness will not pass the smell test for many who are informed about this issue, the anthropologist has to admit..

To be sure, that increased risk is pretty low: About one in 100 people will develop schizophrenia. The unnerving question is whether in this country, with its history of gun violence and its easy access to guns, a person with a paranoid reaction is more likely to act violently.

BE AFRAID. BE VEWY, VEWY AFWAID. Legalization of a substance that people have used by the millions for decades is suddenly going to change them all into psychotic Elmer Fudds.

The editorial writer draws inspiration from the Washington Times, the Rev. Moon propaganda organ, to note that, because cultures have different expectations of behaviors based upon setting, since America is a gun nut culture - we should worry that cannabis legalization will lead to shoot outs and people engaging in incidents they already engage in, such as going to an elementary school and murdering children. Or going to a movie theater and shooting people. This was the exact tact of a recent editorial in the Washington Times that disputed the meme of the "mellow stoner."

The Washington Times scooped the NY Times on this b.s. one by a week.

Then, as an anthropologist, the person does talk about a reality. How someone responds to the influence of a substance is not just physiological. Culturally-learned behavior is also part of the expression.

As Eugene Raikhel of the University of Chicago summarizes the literature, drug experience is determined not only by the body’s chemistry but also by local ideas about what those drugs should do.

Since this anthropologist acknowledges cultural expectation - is it not the height of irresponsible behavior to suggest those who use marijuana should exhibit the violence that is already epidemic in this culture?

I see no value in the editorial other than as an attempt to provide a counter-narrative to the overwhelming cultural view that marijuana mellows. Since cannabis is recognized as an anxiolytic in medical uses, this cultural narrative has a foundation. But, as with any substance, no two people respond exactly the same. The composition of the marijuana matters, as well, and marijuana with a lot of THC to the exclusion of CBD is going to be more likely to precipitate rather than ameliorate anxiety. The amount consumed in one setting matters (c.f. The Maureen Dowd Experience™). Some pharmaceutical drugs have vastly different effects for people. We don't call for the prohibition of pharmaceuticals or make claims that people who use pharmaceutical drugs under a doctor's supervision are more likely to go out and get a gun.

But for some reason (reefer madness) it makes perfect sense to imply just such a scenario as New York State has to deal with the reality that people who live there want to have medical access to marijuana - and recreational access as well - as do the majority of adults in the American population - whether they intend to actually use marijuana or not.

Here's a tip for newspapers: Publish articles that provide accurate information about marijuana related to the way it is used and the amount that is used. Explain the importance of set and setting for the experience. Note that marijuana ingestion has not been linked to any deaths... other than two related to marijuana ingested (we don't know if alcohol was as well, or anything else) and one person harmed himself while another harmed his wife. This never happens outside of marijuana use, of course...

Stop the drug warrior cant and fear mongering. You sound like abstinence-only advocates telling teenagers they will be permanently damaged if they have sex before marriage. Really. As with the issue of sex education, we know fear-mongering and false information causes more harm than good. Papers of note, such as the New York Times, would never print such b.s. uncritically. But if the issue is marijuana, apparently accurate information is less important than appeasing the positions of those in power (cough, Cuomo, cough).

NIDA official admits agency has harmed scientific inquiry


Go to the link to read part of her exchange with Virginia Democrat Gerry Connelly.

Volkow acknowledges that the NIDA places tighter controls on marijuana than it does heroin or meth, and that the agency holds a monopoly on production of cannabis only, while other drugs the U.S. creates for studies are produced by license to other entities.

Further, in order for clinical investigators to access NIDA’s limited pot supply, researchers must first obtain permission from multiple agencies, including the US Food and Drug Administration, the US Public Health Service (a division of the Department of Health and Human Services), NIDA, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Yet federal approval of all of these multiple agencies is not a necessary requirement for researchers seeking to clinically investigate any substance besides cannabis.

Rep. Connolly: “But (in) studies involving marijuana, additional approval also has to be sought from NIDA and HHS. Is that not correct?...Is that true about heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines? Do they have to go through that triple-tier approval process for research as well for human studies?”

Nora Volkow: “No. The approval for those human studies mostly comes from review committees at the NIH and if the DEA approves of giving them the drug (then) it’s a simple, it’s a different process.”

Rep. Connolly: “Yes, it’s a different process and it’s less cumbersome.… And we’ve created all kind of special barriers with respect to marijuana as if it was the über alles of all drug abuse when, in fact, it is not. And we’ve impeded the ability to have legitimate research that could benefit human health. And it’s very hard for me, frankly, to understand why we continue to insist it is a class I substance.”

Connolly also noted Volkow's agency is not dedicated to scientific inquiry. Its entire goal is prevention of drug use. Therefore, it's goal is not aligned with reality - because reality doesn't require suppression of evidence in order to be "true."

As has been noted here, the NIDA cannot even mention a possible benefit from a drug that has been restricted by Congress. This is also the case with the Drug Czar's office.

We have entire bureaucracies whose purpose is to propagate a drug war, not seek out truths that may be contrary to their mission statements.

Why does the U.S. taxpayer fund agencies whose sole purpose is to create propaganda directed at them?

This is craziness. This is reefer madness.

It seems to me Congress needs to change the law regarding various federal agencies to align with reality-based views of scientific inquiry. More to the point, Congress should dissolve the Drug Czar's office and remove cannabis from the oversight of any political entity, since Congress has demonstrated it was willing, in the past, to use federal agencies to target populations in the U.S. for arrest based upon Congress' own willingness to suppress evidence available from scientific research, as well as prevent the research itself.

Let the National Academy of Sciences have oversight on drug policy and access for research, as well as licensing. Decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and allow states to make their own laws, as was the case with the end of prohibition of alcohol.

Interestingly, spite of various agencies tasked with suppressing evidence or preventing research, a body of research exists. As one doctor who has done research into the therapeutic value of marijuana explained in a video (Donald Abrams), scientists and doctors have to word their grant and research proposals in such a way that they indicate their goal is to show harm, not merely test a hypothesis based upon observable evidence.

Nevertheless, when your research indicates no harm, as PhD/Dean of Nurses Melanie Dreher found in her studies of children in Jamaica whose mothers used cannabis throughout pregnancy as part of folk medicine, your research may often be denied future funding.

That's not how good science operates.

Pope Francis is on the wrong side of history (again)

It's really irksome to see someone who supposedly cares about harm reduction and that sort of thing to come off as a typical posturing jerk wad drug warrior.

But drug warriors are using Francis to bolster their claims.

So, since you drug warriors want to use this institution to bolster your claims, let's take a look at the institution, shall we?

Where was the church when it knew priests were molesting children? For.. how many decades? At least four. How many children's lives were destroyed while the church looked the other way? Where was the church when children were being starved by nuns and thrown into a septic tank in Ireland? Where were they when right wing dictators were murdering students in Argentina by throwing them, live, out of planes into the ocean, merely for their political positions? Oh, that's right. They were assisting in these atrocities. They were the progenitors of them.

If this is the sort of institution that you rely upon for guidance, well, I feel sorry for you.

I rely upon science to inform my opinions about issues related to science. The science is clear that marijuana has medical use. The science is clear that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol as a recreational drug. Oh, is the Pope calling for alcohol to be prohibited, since he spoke against drugs? Alcohol is the most widely used drug in the western world. Let's hope our politicians get going on that re-prohibition of alcohol, right? No double standards, please.

We saw how well that drug war turned out, amirite?

I think a definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

You know what does work to decrease the harm of drug abuse? Openness. The ability to seek help without fear of criminal conviction.

The ability to face problems without shame from assholes who make their living shaming others.

Simply by eliminating needle sharing among addicts, we save lives. And not only lives. We save money that would go toward treatment of HIV/AIDS. Of course it's anathema to choose policies that both improve qualities of lives and save money. Not when there's something to call "evil."

If you are a "culture of life" you don't support policies that absolutely create a culture of death. Unless, of course, you're good buddies with Frank. (Or his protestant wannabes).


Francis said: “Let me state this in the clearest terms possible,” he said. “The problem of drug use is not solved with drugs. Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise.”

RainDog said: Let me state this in the clearest terms possible. The claim that addiction is an evil is straight out of medieval Compton. Only the most regressive and stupid among us think that calling a physical illness an evil makes sense.

Maybe the Vatican is worried they'll lose market share for exorcisms if people can use cannabis to stop seizure activity? I dunno. But, frankly, Francis, you have demonstrated you have nothing of worth to say on this issue by calling a physical illness an evil.

Is there any kickback from the faithful for spouting these sorts of lies? This lie is so heinous, it could come from the father of lies. Cancer is also evil, right? It's also a medical issue that may stem from bad choices. So people should suffer rather than have relief through medical marijuana, right, Frankie? But it helps to bolster bigotry among the faithful, so no doubt we'll continue to hear this sort of father of lies talk.

Here's what Frankie is really saying - he and his followers think those who abuse drugs are sinners and should suffer. There's nothing godly about this pov. It's sort of like the father of lies would have the view that he should impose further suffering on those already suffering. I don't remember the story were Jesus did that. Must be in the gospel of Lucifer. (stated without apologies to those of you who worship satan - I find all sides of that argument creepy.)

“We have seen the evil that drugs cause to every segment of society and contrary to what opponents say, we agree that any type of unauthorized drug use leads to problems,” said Wayne Sampson, executive director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association. “Anybody in a position of leadership that recognizes the dangers of drugs to our community, we certainly appreciate that support.”

Another sheriff believes allowing the legalization of marijuana would further open the door to a life of drug abuse and crime.

“Being sheriff of an institution that has more than 1,200 inmates today, with 80 percent who are drug- and alcohol-addicted, I’m a firm opponent of legalization myself,” Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis said. “Inmates tell me daily that marijuana was a gateway drug for them. I hear that every day.”

Funny that Sheriff Evangelidis takes the imprisoned at their word in this case. I wonder how often that's his fall back position otherwise? Is it any wonder that drug warriors have stated this lie for so many years that those who are under their control repeat it?

Isn't it odd how stupid the arguments from the marijuana prohibitionists are?

This is why I say that drug warriors are the creationists of bureaucrats. I guess, tho, they gotta believe or they may not be able to continue to earn enough money to go out and buy a six pack on a Saturday night. Cheers!
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