Medical marijuana is just a backward strategy to get recreational marijuana legalised. It’s like the potheads twenty years ago who would praise hemp’s excellent properties as a fibre and fuel source. They didn’t care about any other fibre crops. It was a transparent ruse.

A medical intervention’s legality should be pushed by worldwide medical consensus, not by a regional cultural predisposition to enjoy the compound’s recreational use. Medical marijuana is a non-issue in European medicine.

That said, I believe the enormous public money put into the customs, legal and punitive systems to combat marijuana is pretty much thrown into the sea. A society with legal hard liquor will not have much comparative trouble with legal cannabis. Legalise it, tax it and put the money into alcoholism prevention & rehabilitation, I say.

So, USA: your medical marijuana policies are kind of childish. You’re transparently not promoting them because of any greater medical insight than the rest of the world has. You’re promoting them because you have a century-long solid cultural tradition to smoke weed recreationally. Just own it, OK?

This outburst was inspired by the current episode of the excellent Planet Money podcast from NPR.

Comments

  1. #1 PhDScientist
    February 9, 2015

    I’m a Scientist with a strong interest in Cancer research. The evidence of the value of Marijuana as a life saving medicine is now so strong that the need to remove Marijuana from Schedule 1 has become a moral imperative.

    This weekend over 3,000 Americans died, in pain, of Cancer. Today, tomorrow and every day after that, 1,500 more Americans will die, after suffering horribly, from it. Every single minute another American dies of Cancer. Every American Cancer patient deserves the right to have safe, legal, and economical access to Medical Marijuana. Every single one.

    Americans who need Medical Marijuana shouldn’t be used as “Political Footballs” Please call the Whitehouse comment line at (202) 456-1111 and ask that the President take immediate action to remove Marijuana from Schedule 1 so American Physicians in all 50 states can prescribe it.

    Oncologists have know it for more than a quarter of a Century that Marijuana is a “wonder drug” for helping Cancer patients.

    The American Society of Clinical Oncologists wants Marijuana removed from Schedule 1. So does the American Medical Association, the professional society of all Physicians. A strong majority of Americans want Physicians in all 50 states to be able to prescribe Medical Marijuana. So do their Physicians., Cancer patients can’t wait.

    The need to immediately, completely, legalize Marijuana throughout the world is one of the most pressing moral issues of our time, because of its medical benefits and because of the damage prohibition causes to America and to the world.

    Complete legalization is critical — its vital that there aren’t “strings” or “hoops” that Cancer patients and others who need Medical Marijuana are forced to jump through.

    “Charlottes web” is NOT the solution. Cancer patients and people who suffer from chronic pain need THC, not just CBD. The “Berkeley study”, where 96% of stage 4 Cancer patients who had a wide variety of Cancers achieved remission, used high dose Medical Marijuana oil, 72% THC, 28% CBD, 1 gram/day (oral) over a 90 day course of treatment. It was a small study, and not placebo controlled, but those kinds of results are clearly remarkable, have been widely reported on in the press, and demand the need for immediate large scale clinical trials.

    More and more present and former members of law enforcement agree about the need to end prohibition, and have formed a rapidly expanding group of current and former undercover cops, FBI, DEA, prosecutors and Judges, from all over the world, called

    LEAP — Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

    because they’ve seen the damage prohibition causes to America and the world.

    See http://www.leap.cc/

    I’m a Scientist. Not a politician, not a cop.

    But as a Scientist with a strong interest in Cancer research, I feel even more strongly about the need to ensure that no Cancer patient is denied it, because I’m so impressed with its benefits for Cancer patients.

    I urge everyone reading this to PLEASE call and email the Attorney General, the press, Congress and the President today.

    Medical Marijuana helps with Alzheimer’s, Autism, Cancer, seizures, PTSD and chronic pain, and has helped many Americans, including many veterans, stop using Alcohol, and hard drugs, both legal and illegal ones.

    Every minute an American dies of Cancer.

    Every 19 minutes an American dies of a prescription drug overdose.

    Many vets become addicted to prescription opiates and die from them.

    NOBODY has ever died from smoking too much pot.

    Cancer patients are seeing remarkable results using high dose Medical Marijuana oil, in many cases achieving complete remission, even for stage 4 cancers — there are many excellent articles on the web, and videos on youtube with patient’s personal stories about their experiences with it — and every Cancer patient that uses Marijuana to ease their suffering benefits greatly from doing so.

    It is immoral to leave Marijuana illegal, for anyone, for even a second longer.

    For Cancer patients, its a matter of life and death.

    Cancer patients can’t wait.

    Medical Marijuana has an unmatched safety profile, and for people who suffer from so many diseases, of so many kinds, its a medical miracle — and the scientific evidence behind it is rock solid.

    For Cancer patients, Medical Marijuana encourages apoptosis and autophagy of Cancer cells, while leaving normal cells untouched, is anti-angigogenic, anti-proliferative, and is anti-angiogenic.

    Its also synergistic with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, making both more effective.

    For many Cancer patients its meant the difference between life and death.

    For everyone else, its a far safer alternative to Alcohol, and infinitely safer than Cigarettes.

    Either take them off the market too, or legalize Marijuana right now.

    2016 is too far away, Its too long to wait. Every year we lose more Americans to Cancer than died in WWII.

    Between now and the 2016 elections, roughly 1 MILLION Americans will die of Cancer.

    And Its a horrible way to die!

  2. #2 PhDScientist
    February 9, 2015

    No. It really is medicine. I’ve submitted a more detailed comment, which is awaiting moderation.

  3. #3 Eric Lund
    February 9, 2015

    The US was down this road before, with Prohibition: a constitutional ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages. It was repealed after people noticed that all it did was encourage lawlessness. People who wanted to drink were going to find ways to drink, no matter what.

    But the no-fun crowd has to have something to oppose. Shortly after Prohibition was repealed, they started to campaign against marijuana use. Reefer Madness was first released in 1936. I’ve never seen that movie myself, but many people put it in the “so bad it’s wonderful” category.

  4. #4 Martin R
    February 9, 2015

    Regardless of marijuana’s medical properties (that are not apparent to medical researchers outside marijuana-smoking cultures), the US political push for med-MJ legalisation is driven by the recreational demand.

  5. #5 BossIlluminati
    February 9, 2015

    Fastest growing industry in America? Legal Marijuana, coming to your town very soon….#1 crop in California and LEGAL in ALL west coast states…..#$$$GrowsOnTrees

    not just winning, DOMINATING

  6. #6 BirgerJohansson
    February 9, 2015

    The legalisation drive in the USA may at least in part be motivated by the need to push back the ludicrous consequences of the “war on drugs” that has seen a militarisation of the police force, grotesque high sentences for carrying small amounts of cannabis, the tendency of the police to “stop and frisk” african-americans at a much higher rate than whiites et cetera.
    Cannabis is mostly a poor peoples’ drug, unlike alcohol, so the great disparity in how society treats users of different mildly addictive drugs has a social dimension.
    “Medical marijuana” is seen by many as a wedge strategy to shift an issue that is otherwise too inflamed for rational debate.

  7. #7 jane
    February 9, 2015

    Marijuana (the plant) *is* more effective for some people at relieving pain than things like the spray that’s legal in Sweden, for example. Whether that’s because they expect a spliff to work better than a spray, I don’t know. But cancer sufferers have enough shite to deal with – if it works for them I don’t see why it shouldn’t be legal. The fact that a substance is abused by some people shouldn’t be a reason to deny it to others who really need it.

  8. #8 Martin R
    February 9, 2015

    Particularly when none of the United States’ many problems seem to be due to the fact that so many of their citizens already smoke weed regularly.

  9. #9 Craig Thomas
    February 9, 2015

    I think maybe the very first step to turn this into an honest discussion would be to call it by its real name – “cannabis”.

  10. #10 BirgerJohansson
    February 10, 2015

    Jane,
    Seconded. Cancer is the crappiest way of dying. And even for the surviving patients, it is no walk in the park.

  11. #11 BirgerJohansson
    February 10, 2015

    “Stoned drivers much safer than drunk drivers, and setting legal limits for pot basically useless” http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/02/stoned-drivers-much-safer-than-drunk-drivers-and-setting-legal-limits-for-pot-basically-useless/
    -I suppose stoners mainly hurt their own brains, while alcoholics can seriously mess up people around them.
    I would want to un-invent *all* addictive substances, but this is not an option. If people are determined to ingest psychoactive substances, maybe cannabis is less damaging than ethanol.

  12. #12 jane, the other one
    February 10, 2015

    I agree with jane, naturally! Epilepsy, glaucoma, or chronic musculoskeletal problems are no fun, either, and plenty of pharma drugs – including drugs used primarily for prevention of future harms rather than relief of current suffering – can cause substantial cognitive impairment. In my book, suffering people should be able to do pretty much whatever it takes to relieve their suffering.

  13. #13 Martin R
    February 10, 2015

    In my book, medical research should (and does) find out what can alleviate their suffering.

  14. #14 Morgan Fox
    February 11, 2015

    Medical cannabis is very much an issue in Europe and elsewhere, and there is substantial research about the medical potential and applications.

    http://www.cannabis-med.org/index.php?lng=en

  15. #15 Kaleberg
    February 16, 2015

    We’ve had medical marijuana stores out here in Washington State for a while. More recently we’ve added a number of recreational marijuana stores, some more ambitious than others. One is just a local smoke shop, selling tobacco, pipes, and now marijuana. The local BBQ joint, sort of a smoke shop, has closed and will reopen selling marijuana, hemp and MJ themed tee shirts. Perhaps out of state tourists will stop and grab a few joints on their way to Olympic National Park.

    The situation is a lot like that the mid-1920s when a number of states basically gave up on Prohibition. I know New York State officially stopped prosecuting alcohol users in ’26, though they’d sometimes add an alcohol charge to another indictment e.g. for racketeering.

    Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, and our local border patrol is on the watch for small boats bringing in bales of marijuana from, presumably British Columbia, even as local farmers and the county land use managers are negotiating the guidelines for marijuana cultivation. Given our weather, it has to be grown in greenhouses. It’s controversial so the zoning is probably going to be industrial rather than commercial.

  16. #16 Eric Lund
    February 16, 2015

    Given our weather, it has to be grown in greenhouses.

    I find this surprising given the reputation of “BC Bud”, which is grown in the Fraser Valley, a bit north of you. But I’ve never been further upriver than Surrey (outer Vancouver suburbs), so I don’t know how they actually grow it in the Fraser Valley (and of course I am no expert at cultivating it). Perhaps it needs a minimum amount of sunlight equivalent, in which case there will be places in Washington state where it can grow (climate goes from rainforest to desert in the space of 300 km). Or maybe it’s more frost sensitive than I thought. Or people are sufficiently afraid of the DEA that they have to grow it indoors.

  17. #17 Nut-Job-in-TX
    Texas
    February 28, 2015

    The decriminalization of marijuana is inevitable, but there are folks suffering NOW. Many of them are probably being forced to risk jail time by purchasing it ilegally, in order to find relief from pain and suffering caused by any number of diseases, including, but not limited to, marijuana. We need a movement. We need cohesive leadership by reputable, trusted folks who have the courage to stand up and say “I smoke pot, and I believe it should be legalized. NOW!

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