In Search of the Holy Grail

In popular culture, the term “the holy grail” is often used to describe the ultimate object of desire. You might consider the idea of a non-addictive pain-killer that could be used after surgery or to quell arthritis pain as one ‘holy grail’ of medicine. The drug companies have been more than willing to take part in this particular quest—oxycontin was one example of a failed quest for the holy grail of medicine. Now marijuana is being touted as the new solution to chronic pain and a number of other medical conditions. However, some doctors and researchers are not yet convinced.

The May Issue of the AARP Bulletin includes an article on medical marijuana. The article notes that medical marijuana is legal in 38 states. The market for marijuana gummies has exploded. The article cites one example of an 89-year-old woman in Maryland who started a cannabis club at Leisure World, her retirement community. She sells edibles and gummies. In the article she notes that gummies can be dangerous in older adults.

The article notes that last year the percentage of people purchasing chewable marijuana surpassed the percentage of people buying smokable marijuana. Since smoking tobacco has become socially unacceptable, it makes sense that marijuana gummies would become more popular than smoking marijuana.

The article mentions that marijuana can help with chronic pain and sleep and anxiety problems. However, the article also notes that marijuana does not seem to help with short-term pain.

There is also the danger of the delayed effect of eating gummies—it takes two or three hours to feel the full effect, so it is easy to take too many. In 2023 a study found that emergency room visits for marijuana-related problems increased 1,808 percent among people 65 and over in California from 2005 to 2019. It has also been discovered that mental problems and heart problems were more common among those who used marijuana edibles than those who smoked or vaped marijuana.

The article in the AARP Bulletin concludes, “…at Leisure World Cannabis 101 Club, Carminetta Verner is very cautious about spreading the gummy gospel. She recommends that new users keep a detailed journal of what they take, as well as the results, to see whether a gummy, or anything else, helps or has side effects. “Each person’s metabolism is different, and you have to learn how your body reacts,” she says. “The cannabis mantra is ‘start low and go slow.’””

The May 2024 issue of Newsmax Magazine also included an article about marijuana. The article cited a Danish study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association: Psychiatry (JAMA) last year.

The article in Newsmax states that between 1995 and 2010 the percentage of Danish schizophrenia diagnoses associated with marijuana usage had nearly quadrupled, and the combination of greater usage with stronger pot is bringing down the age of first onset of mental illness. Someone who might have gotten into their late 20’s without a psychotic episode could now be faced with their first break with reality while still in their teens. The article at Newsmax concludes by stating that marijuana can make treating mental illness more difficult and can throw a person’s life off course before it has a chance to get on course. It also mentions that the marijuana of today is stronger and more addictive than the marijuana than the marijuana of the 1960’s. Neither article referenced above is willing to describe marijuana as a harmless drug.

 

Medical Marijuana: Benefit or Slippery Slope?

Author:  R. Alan Harrop, Ph.D

Well, here we go again. The N.C. General Assembly may be considering making marijuana legal for medical use, which they declined to approve in the last session. Apparently enough people in North Carolina (or at least in the General Assembly) are pushing this idea so that it keeps coming up. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of medical marijuana. It should be noted that medical marijuana is legal in 38 states and the District of Columbia.

There is surprisingly little valid scientific research on the health benefits of marijuana. Most of what is claimed is based on anecdotal reports or small studies on short term benefits. Some of the claims are that it relieves nausea caused by some cancer treatments, relief of chronic pain, although not severe pain such as from surgery or broken bones, epilepsy and seizures, Alzheimer disease symptoms, HIV/Aids, and Crohn’s disease. Marijuana has over 100 different chemicals, so it is difficult to isolate the beneficial elements for each disorder. CBD is alleged to have positive effects on health while THC produces the euphoria or high that people experience. It should also be noted that marijuana is used to treat the symptoms of a medical condition, not the cause of that condition. Another important issue is whether there already exist legal drugs or treatments that patients can readily access that address these symptoms.

There are also negative effects. Because marijuana is a mind altering substance, changed perception and reaction times can negatively affect things like driving, leading to more injuries and deaths. Children can be especially harmed if they access marijuana, particularly ingestible forms such as gummy bears, cookies, brownies, etc. Although the long term impacts are not clearly understood, cognitive thinking ability and memory declines are documented for all ages. Confusion, poor muscle coordination, and dizziness are common. Motivation to lead a rewarding traditional life of work, family, and associated rewards often deteriorates, leading to nonproductive citizens. No society can flourish with large numbers of citizens addicted to drugs. Of course, the euphoria induced by marijuana is strongly related to its addictive potential and especially to its role as a gateway drug that leads the user to more potent drugs such as meth or heroin. Having worked in the N.C. Department of Correction as the Mental Health Services Director, I can testify to the numerous cases of criminal behavior in pursuit of illegal drugs that started with smoking marijuana. Interestingly, the FDA has not approved marijuana for general medical use except lab produced Epidiolex, Marinol and Cesamet to treat nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, and low appetite for HIV patients.

Recent reports of the dramatic increase of China’s role in the marijuana trade adds another risk that should concern us all. There is increasing evidence that Chinese invaders are controlling the production and distribution of marijuana from California to Maine. They grow it and distribute it throughout the country, relying on the increased flow of illegal Chinese over our southern border for laborers. The Chinese are also the originators of the fentanyl crisis that is killing somewhere near 100,000 Americans each year. Now what could possibly go wrong with our biggest adversary, China, controlling marijuana and fentanyl production which can produce a deadly combination? Are we on a path of self-destruction? It makes one wonder. Twenty four states that started with medical marijuana have now legalized its recreational use. Result: 20% of the US population now report using marijuana. So if you think using marijuana is a good thing, then support medical marijuana since that is what is most likely to occur. Personally, I do not.

Just Because It’s Legal Doesn’t Mean It Is Safe

On March 12th, CBN News posted an article about the dangers of marijuana and Delta-8, a substance containing THC.

The article reports:

Laura Stack told CBN News marijuana stole the life of her son Johnny.  She recalled he was a happy, intelligent child who grew up in a Christian home.  However, he began using marijuana at age 14 when his home state of Colorado legalized its recreational use.   It was a move that changed his life forever, leading to ultimate tragedy. 

“He took his own life when he was 19 years old five years later, after he became psychotic, very delusional, and paranoid, and suspicious, from using the marijuana,” she said. 

Laura didn’t realize that most of today’s marijuana contains at least 10 times the psychoactive compound THC than it did 20 years ago. 

“In my head, I said, ‘It’s just weed. I used it when I was a girl. I’m fine. It’s no big deal,’ and I was so wrong,” she said. 

Laura and her husband John founded Johnny’s Ambassadors as a way to honor their son and help prevent other people from suffering the same fate.

Former marijuana addict Zach Plant told CBN News the drug almost took his life.

“I had thoughts of other people wanting to hurt me, thoughts of the only way of being safe was to end my own life,” he said.

Zach was admitted to the hospital and was diagnosed with Cannabis-Induced Psychosis.  Symptoms include losing touch with reality, hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia.  Zach recalled the stark warning doctors gave him.

“‘If you smoke marijuana again, there’s a chance you don’t come out of psychosis. You go back into it and your brain may never recover,'” Zach said.

Nora Volkow, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told CBN News these types of episodes are becoming more common as the drugs get stronger.

“The higher the dose of THC for example, the higher the likelihood that you will end up with a psychotic episode,” she said. “And that will lead you to the emergency room department.”

I understand that there are people who do not seem to be affected by smoking pot. However, is the risk of psychosis one that you or your children are willing to take.

The article also notes:

Aside from marijuana, there’s growing concern about another substance containing THC called Delta-8.  It doesn’t come from the cannabis plant.  Instead, it’s synthesized from a similar plant called hemp.  It can contain as much THC or more than marijuana.  

Delta-8 products like vape pens can be purchased at gas stations, convenience stores, and online even in states where the commercial sale of marijuana is illegal.  That’s because of a legal loophole in the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp nationwide. 

Julie Killian, co-founder of RyeACT, Rye Action for Children and Teens, to educate families on youth substance abuse, told CBN News she was surprised to encounter the widespread sale of Delta-8 while she was visiting a state where commercial, recreational marijuana sales were outlawed. 

“I was at a truck, one of those food trucks, and they were selling coffee in the morning, and you could get a shot of Delta-8 THC in your coffee,” she said. 

Be careful out there.

 

The Consequences Have Arrived

On Tuesday, The Conservative Review posted an article detailing what has happened in Oregon as a result of decriminalizing the possession of hard drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine in 2020.

The article reports:

Oregon became the first state in the union to decriminalize possession of hard drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine in 2020. This radical experiment in lawlessness has been an unmitigated disaster.

While initially deaf to the concerns raised by Republicans, recovery specialists, and Christian groups concerning Ballot Measure 110, state Democrats are now poised to re-criminalize drug possession and bring their four-year experiment to an end. After all, the majority of Oregonians want the measure repealed.

…The so-called “Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act” eliminated criminal penalties for possession of various quantities of hard drugs. As a result, junkies can now carry one gram of heroin; 2 grams of cocaine; 2 grams of meth; less than 40 user units of methadone; 1 gram or 5 pills of MDMA; less than 40 user units of LSD; and fewer than 40 pills of oxycodone.

Possession of such quantities amounts to a non-criminal Class E violation, which at most can result in a $100 fine or a recommendation for a health assessment with an addiction treatment professional.

Those caught with even more of these once-controlled substances have also seen penalties softened, such that they now face a misdemeanor charge with less than a year in jail, a fine, or both.

Extra to decriminalizing hard drugs, the measure mandated the establishment or funding of recovery centers throughout the state funded by taxes on marijuana.

The article lists the results of the law:

According to Oregon Health Authority data, fatal overdoses have skyrocketed in recent years. In 2020, there were 824 fatal overdoses. The year M110 went into effect, there were 1,189 fatal overdoses. Preliminary data indicates the number of deaths from overdoses in 2022 was north of 1,100.

Fentanyl is proving especially lethal. OregonLive.com noted that in the year ending September 2019, there were 77 known fentanyl deaths. In the year ending September 2023, there were reportedly 1,268 overdose deaths.

There appears to be a correlation between fatal overdoses and M110.

Please follow the link for further details and possible solutions. This really should not be a Republican/Democrat or Liberal/Conservative issue. I believe all of us want to protect our children and young adults from the dangers of hard drugs. Hopefully Oregon will pass a law that moves the state in that direction.

Stating The Obvious

Posting this article is going to get me in trouble with some of my friends who believe that recreational drug use is no big deal, but it’s time to look at the bigger picture.

On Sunday, The Western Journal reported:

Not only did last week see the election of a libertarian fan of former President Donald Trump to the presidency of Argentina, another new South American leader much closer to the border just overturned a policy in his own country that U.S. leftists have been pushing for years.

Maybe progressives can learn something from the neighbors to the south.

On Friday, according to Agence France-Presse, Ecuadorean President Daniel Noboa dumped a policy of decriminalizing possession of small amounts of drugs, declaring that it  “encourages micro-trafficking in schools and creates a whole generation of addicted children.”

It applies to “up to 10 grams of marijuana, 2 grams of cocaine paste, 1 gram of cocaine, 0.10 grams of heroin, and 0.04 grams of amphetamine” for personal use, according to the Washington Examiner.

The policy was instituted a decade ago by the country’s then-president, socialist Rafael Correa, according to AFP.

The article notes what happened when Oregon decriminalized drugs:

The idea was, ostensibly, to”transform addiction by minimizing penalties for drug use and investing instead in recovery,” the Post reported.

But in a result that should have surprised literally no one with any sense, things haven’t worked out quite that way. Drug use has grown, gotten worse, and gotten more deadly.

As the Post (The Washington Post) reported, “even top Democratic lawmakers who backed the law, which will likely dominate the upcoming legislative session, say they’re now open to revisiting it after the biggest increase in synthetic opioid deaths among states that have reported their numbers.”

Even the leftist publication The Atlantic has been compelled to report the results of Oregon’s experiment as a failure.

A population that has clear mental facilities will always result in a better society.

Just Because It Is Legal Doesn’t Mean It Is Good

On Saturday, The Epoch Times posted an article about one of the problems with legalizing marijuana.

The article reports:

Cases of cannabis poisoning increased after legalization and decriminalization of the drug, according to a new meta-analysis published in the journal, Addiction.

The combined results of thirty studies—which focused on legalization and decriminalization in the United States and Canada—estimate a more than three-fold increased risk of poisoning after it was legalized. Studies specific to children revealed an even higher number with episodes increasing almost four and half times the rate prior to the drug being legal.

…There’s also the possibility that changing the laws added an element of confusion to the public, Cairns continued. Consumers might assume that if marijuana is legal, it must mean the drug is safe, she said. However, that is far from true.

“Increased availability and use of edibles (gummies and chocolates, for example) appears to be an important driver of the increase in poisonings, particularly among children,” said Cairns. “Edible cannabis has a higher risk of poisoning because people tend to consume larger quantities, and the effects of cannabis take longer to show up when ingested than they do when smoked. This is concerning because edibles are especially attractive to children.”

Cannabis poisoning sets in when smokers inhale too much of the drug too quickly. It also occurs when consumers feast on drug-infused edibles with high concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns symptoms like trouble walking, sitting up or even breathing can come on quickly or slowly depending on the source, and may take hours to subside. In some instances, emergency hospitalization is required.

Cannabis is a drug, and any drug has risks. People who continually take certain pain killers for arthritis can develop stomach ulcers; certain allergy medications can cause back pain. All drugs have side effects. Legalizing marijuana simply created another way for Americans to engage in activities that can be detrimental to their health.

Considering Some State Laws, This Actually Makes Sense

On Sunday, The Daily Wire reported the following:

NBA officials and the National Basketball Players Association reached a new tentative labor agreement over the weekend that no longer penalizes athletes for using marijuana and removes the substance from the league’s drug testing program.

Both parties reached the new seven-year Collective Bargaining Agreement early Saturday morning, which still needs players and team governors to ratify the deal before becoming official.

Recreational use of marijuana is legal in twenty-one states, and medical marijuana is legal in many others. To prohibit athletes from using something that may be legal in their home states makes no sense. I disagree with the legalization of recreational marijuana, but banning the use of a substance that is legal in many states makes no sense.

The article notes:

Aside from changing its position on marijuana use, The Athletic details other negotiations in the tentative agreement, which include allowing NBA players to promote and/or invest in betting and cannabis companies, sign non-gambling endorsement deals with sports betting companies and invest in teams in NBA and WNBA teams via an NBPA-selected private equity firm — among other terms.

According to the outlet, the reversal would go into effect this summer through the 2029–30 season if both parties do not opt out by the end of the 2028–29 season.

The article concludes:

“The Band-Aid has been ripped off in the sports world,” Durant said. “It’s kind of an undercover thing that players use cannabis and use it throughout when they’re actively playing.”

Former NBA players, including Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Allen Iverson, have also been open about their cannabis use, according to Insider.

NBC Sports reported the National Football League reduced potential penalties for marijuana three years ago in a similar deal but did not completely exclude testing for the substance as more states started to legalize cannabis for recreational use — creating a conflict between the league and the law.

It will be interesting to see if this decision impacts the quality of play in the NBA. I do suspect that marijuana might be useful in dealing with the kind of pain that professional athletes deal with. Masking that pain might result in better athletic performance, but it also might result in further damage to whatever is causing the pain. Again, it will be interesting to see what impact this decision has on the National Basketball League during the upcoming season.

 

The Risks Of High-Potency Marijuana

On Friday, The Epoch Times posted an article about the changes to marijuana in recent years.

The article reports:

“Fifteen years ago, the idea that people would be having psychotic episodes and psychotic breaks just from THC was unfathomable—audio and visual hallucinations, and intense anxiety,” says Ben Cort.

On a recent episode of “American Thought Leaders,” host Jan Jekielek sat down with Cort to discuss a multibillion-dollar industry that he says has turned a once-natural, relatively harmless plant into a highly addictive, psychosis-inducing narcotic. Cort is the CEO of the Foundry Treatment Center and author of “Weed, Inc.: The Truth About the Pot Lobby, THC, and the Commercial Marijuana Industry.”

Jan Jekielek: Weed or marijuana is not something you typically associate with psychosis. What’s going on?

Ben Cort: Ten years ago, we rarely saw psychosis and cannabis use together.

But recently, I’ll bet we’re seeing 30 cases of THC-induced psychosis for every amphetamine case. THC is the language I’ll use for marijuana, because that’s the chemical inside the cannabis plant that gets you high. Traditionally, drug-induced psychosis was associated with amphetamines, cocaine, and methamphetamine, but in the past few years, THC has really taken that over because of how strong it has gotten.

The best study for this shows that in 2012, addiction rates to THC were about 10 percent, but that in 2020, they had gone up to 30 percent.

The authors of this study said, “It’s our belief that this is THC potency.” Until recently, the idea of physical addiction to cannabis was laughable. Now, not only can you get physically dependent on it, but withdrawal from cannabis is a really big deal, and something I see every single day working in treatment.

Fifteen years ago, the idea that people would be having psychotic episodes and psychotic breaks just from THC was unfathomable—audio and visual hallucinations, and intense anxiety.

Yet every week, I hear of a young person who has dismantled every electronic device in the house, smashed their phone, taken out all the light bulbs to check for listening devices, because they are so paranoid that they’re being spied on. It’s behavior consistent with amphetamine use, but it’s the THC.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. The potency of today’s marijuana is very different from the potency of the marijuana of the 1960’s. Legalizing marijuana for any reason is putting our children and young adults at risk. There are better ways to deal with the medical problems that medical marijuana is supposed to solve.

This Is Not A Good Idea

On Tuesday, One America News reported that Maryland had voted to legalize recreational marijuana and possession up to 1.5oz for people 21+.

The article notes:

It will also create a path to expunge or re-sentence convictions. In MD, police are ~3x more likely to arrest Black people for marijuana despite equal use among white people.

The article includes the following tweet:

ChudsOfTikTok@ChudsOfTikTok
Missouri voted to decriminalize & have recreational sales of marijuana at a 6% sales tax!! Legalize, Tax, Regulate! Congrats Maryland & Missouri!

Image

This is NOT good news. In October 2018, I posted an article based on a New York Times story of a man who was addicted to marijuana. Please follow the link to read the entire article. This is not a harmless drug.

The article at rightwinggranny notes:

On October 6, Neal Pollack posted an opinion piece in The New York Times. The title of the opinion piece is, “I’m Just a Middle-Aged House Dad Addicted to Pot.”

The opinion piece details the author’s journey from using marijuana regularly in his 20’s to the realization that he was hooked on the drug.

Here are some highlights from the article:

I started smoking regularly in the ’90s, when I was in my mid-20s. Pot made everything better — food, music, sex, cleaning — and it made nothing worse. I got depressed less often. I laughed all the time.

But I also lost my temper for no reason. Did I yell at strangers in public? Probably. I barely remember, because I was stoned. But I do remember that once, high as a promotional blimp, I got into a bar fight with a former friend and broke his tooth with a beer bottle.

Back when my writing career was booming, I got invited a couple of times to do readings in Amsterdam, a bad gig for a pot addict. Once, after ingesting a couple of THC pills, I dumped a pitcher of water over my head and insulted the Iraqi representative to National Poetry Day Amsterdam. Another time, I pulled down my pants and flashed a crowd of several hundred. If I had any boundaries, weed erased them thoroughly. The boom ended fast.

…In early November (2017), I had the chance to fulfill my lifelong dream of attending a Dodgers World Series game. I spent way too much money on a ticket that turned out to be fake. So high that I couldn’t remember where I’d parked, I started screaming outside the stadium. If I’d been sober, I would have just called the vendor and gotten a refund. That’s what I ended up doing, eventually. But not before security guards surrounded me.

I looked into a car mirror and saw an old man, sobbing over a baseball game. That was the moment I accepted that I had a problem. Three weeks later, I quit.

The author goes on to say that he believes marijuana should be legal. I disagree.

In January 2019 Imprimis reported:

Most of all, advocates have told you that marijuana is not just safe for people with psychiatric problems like depression, but that it is a potential treatment for those patients. On its website, the cannabis delivery service Eaze offers the “Best Marijuana Strains and Products for Treating Anxiety.” “How Does Cannabis Help Depression?” is the topic of an article on Leafly, the largest cannabis website. But a mountain of peer-reviewed research in top medical journals shows that marijuana can cause or worsen severe mental illness, especially psychosis, the medical term for a break from reality. Teenagers who smoke marijuana regularly are about three times as likely to develop schizophrenia, the most devastating psychotic disorder.

After an exhaustive review, the National Academy of Medicine found in 2017 that “cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use, the greater the risk.” Also that “regular cannabis use is likely to increase the risk for developing social anxiety disorder.”

Legalizing marijuana for any reason will not solve problems–it will only cause more problems.

This Would Not Be A Good Thing For America

On Sunday, Townhall posted an article about the MORE Act. This Act will federally legalize marijuana throughout the country.

The article reports:

If passed, the MORE Act will federally legalize marijuana throughout the country. Despite failed efforts to advance this bill in the past, a Democratic majority in Congress and control of the Presidency now portend a high likelihood that this Act could pass. While marijuana advocates, lobbyists, and legislators push this bill, the MORE Act’s statutory shortcomings pose an immediate and dangerous threat to the regulatory power of states and localities. If passed, the MORE Act could wipe out state and local laws prohibiting and criminalizing marijuana, leaving states and localities unable to address local concerns about marijuana issues.

The article concludes:

As written, the MORE Act poses an immediate threat to state and local marijuana laws because it establishes myriad federal social services programs, taxation systems, expungement programs, commercial licensing systems, and grant and trust fund programs. With all of these wide-ranging federal programs, the MORE Act creates a federal framework and regulatory scheme that could imply congressional intent to preempt state and local marijuana laws. And according to Roberts, Supreme Court precedent provides for preemption of conflicting state and local laws when federal acts create federal regulatory systems of this nature.

In sum, the MORE Act poses a major threat to state and local regulatory power and removes the issue of marijuana policy from democratic debate at the state and local level. Congress must act immediately to expressly address, in the MORE Act itself, whether it intends to reserve to the states the power to regulate marijuana. Without the inclusion of an express statutory provision, the states, localities, and the People will be left powerless to address marijuana policy concerns in their local area.

Marijuana is not as benign as we are being told. When used by teenagers, it negatively impacts their social development and their ambition. I am not going to argue whether or not it is a gateway drug–but I know that the marijuana users I have come in contract with have gone on to other drugs. I have also personally seen marijuana totally ruin a young person’s future. I don’t think legalizing it is a good idea.

It is interesting to me that one of the voices currently supporting the legalization of marijuana is former Speaker of the House John Boehner. During his time as Speaker, John Boehner opposed the legalization of marijuana, but since leaving Congress he has joined the marijuana industry in a consulting capacity. I suspect he is doing some serious lobbying for the passage of the MORE Act. That is sad.

A Lot Of People Saw This Coming

There have been a number of arguments to legalize recreational marijuana over the years. I am not going to get into the right or wrong of legalization, but I am going to post an article about a not-so-inevitable outcome of that legalization in California.

On Saturday, John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article about some recent problems in California that are the result of legalizing marijuana so that the state government could tax it.

The article reports:

How many industries have been damaged or destroyed by high taxes and excessive regulation? A lot. But I have mixed feelings about this one: California cannabis industry on brink as buyers return to dealers.

The cannabis industry in California is on the brink of collapse because of high taxes and onerous regulations that have burdened legal operators and allowed illegal growers to flourish, campaigners have warned.
***
About 75 per cent of cannabis consumed in the state comes from illegal sources, industry figures say. They blame taxes, too much regulation and a failure to tackle illegal competition, which is free from red tape and able to offer cannabis at much lower prices.

Marijuana is cheap and easy to grow. Legal sellers complain that police do little to enforce the laws against illegal dope, but once the government declares marijuana to be A-OK, there isn’t much reason to prioritize a crackdown on those who sell a legal product but dodge taxes. The case against legalized marijuana having been abandoned, legal sellers are in somewhat the same position as the taxi companies who tried to get Uber and Lyft banned in various cities.

The article notes that the marijuana industry is trying to get tax relief. Obviously, if legalizing marijuana was done to raise tax revenue, seeking tax relief goes against the whole reason for legalizing it. Having the police crackdown on people who are growing marijuana at home for their own personal use makes about as much sense as arresting someone for growing five tobacco plants in their backyard.

Trying To Return Lost Property

Yesterday MSN reporting the following:

The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office in Florida is looking to reunite $2 million worth of marijuana with its rightful owner, according to a snarky post on the department’s Facebook page.

“If you happened to have lost or misplaced approximately 770 pounds of high grade marijuana and would like to have your property returned, please contact our Narcotics Agents and we will be more than happy to reunite you with your lost property!!” read the statement written by Sheriff Wayne Ivey.

…”Once we properly identify you as the rightful owner we will gladly return your property and also make sure that both you and your property are kept in a secure area so that no one can try to rip you off!!” Ivey’s post read.

The post ended by saying the owner of the marijuana would get an “all expenses paid extensive ‘staycation'” so the owner can “reflect for a while on exactly how much your lost property means to you.”

The Facebook notes that the Sheriff’s Office understands that all of us have misplaced or lost something at some time in our lives and wants to do the right thing by returning the missing property to its rightful owner.

Following The Money

We have reached the point where very few of our representatives and so-called public servants in Washington have defining principles. If you want to know why a politician can change his stand drastically on an issue in a short period of time, all you have to do is look for the shift in the political winds or follow the money. It is not by chance that many Congressmen enter Congress as middle-class Americans and are millionaires within five years. The latest example of money vs. principles is the former Speaker of the House John Boehner. On Friday, Front Page Magazine posted an article about some of former Representative Boehner’s financial interests.

The article reports:

All that’s left is for Boehner to join the roster of ‘ex-racists’ touting Biden. When the slimy ex-speaker calls Biden a “good guy”, that’s not an endorsement anyone would want.

And when Biden quipped that he “loved” Boehner, that’s almost as bad.

What’s there to love? Let’s forget the booze and go right to the pot.

While Boehner can be found addressing the Bank of Montreal, the Edison Electric Institute (an electric company lobby), and a Portland life insurance company offering services to the “ultra-affluent” for pay, he’s better known for going to pot.

Boehner, who had opposed drugs as an elected official, received the high honor of heading up the National Cannabis Roundtable to lobby for drug legalization. The former House Speaker came by the position naturally since he was already on the board of Acreage Holdings.

Acreage Holdings has one of the biggest marijuana operations in America. As Democrats began to legalize drugs in select states, companies were formed to get in on the action. But despite all the hype, the marijuana business was a disaster. 

Legalizing and taxing pot just meant users buying cheap ‘illegal’ pot from drug dealers.

Acreage tried opening operations everywhere only to pull back. The marijuana company suffered $286 million in net losses in 2020. But there was some good news. 

Canopy Growth, a Canadian company, controlled by Constellation Brands, a liquor company which owns everything from Svedka Vodka to Robert Mondavi, has a deal to buy Acreage on the condition that marijuana is federally legalized in the United States.

And the only way that could happen is with a Democrat in the White House.

As one headline bluntly put it, “Canopy Growth Is Headed to $0 Without a Biden Victory”.

The article notes the financial windfall for Boehner if marijuana becomes legal federally:

Boehner had 625,000 shares of Acreage at the time the article was written and it noted that, “if his former colleagues in Congress help make marijuana federally legal, he’d be eligible to receive Canopy shares worth about $16 million.”

A New York Times article wrote that, “Boehner’s pro-weed epiphany coincides with the prospect of a payday as high as $20 million.”

That’s a lot of money. And to collect all that drug money, Boehner needs Republicans to lose.

Who was Boehner going to back in the election? Not the Trump administration which had tossed Obama’s pro-marijuana Cole memo which had been used to build a new drug industry.

And not Republicans who aren’t friendly enough to his new drug industry friends.

I am not someone who wants to see marijuana legalized. The marijuana of today is not the marijuana of the 1960’s, and we don’t know enough about the long-term effects. I also don’t think we need another chemical available that impacts brain function either short term or long term.

Did Making Marijuana Legal Solve Any Problems?

Red State Observer posted an article today about the seizure of two tons of marijuana and $1 million in cash from an illegal growing operation in Southern California that was being run by an organization from China. Keep in mind that recreational marijuana use is legal in California, but the state has levied such high taxes on it that illegal growing and distributing operations are flourishing.

The article reports:

Nineteen people were jailed on suspicion of maintaining a drug house, theft of utilities, marijuana cultivation, marijuana sales and conspiracy, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said. Authorities served 23 search warrants that resulted in the arrests of residents of Hemet, San Jacinto, El Monte, Rialto, Rosemead, Arcadia and Calexico.

Search warrants also were served in Corona, Eastvale, South El Monte, West Covina and Lower Azusa.

Some 20,000 plants were eradicated and 100 pounds of processed marijuana was seized, a news release said. Deputies also confiscated equipment that can be used in growing operations, including 338 fans, packaging and 620 lights. Southern California Edison found an illegal electrical bypass underneath the electrical meters at 15 indoor grows, the release said.

Deputies froze 25 bank accounts containing an undisclosed amount of U.S. currency.

The searches culminated a four-month investigation into a drug trafficking organization. The San Jacinto Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Team, as it served previous warrants, determined that all the operations were being financed by the same group in the Los Angeles area.

The Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties sheriff’s departments, Hemet Police Department and Riverside County District Attorney’s Office assisted.

Legalizing marijuana may have theoretically brought the tax revenue to the state that they were seeking, but when the state continued to raise those taxes, the illegal marijuana industry began to reemerge. California needs to learn the lessons of the Laffer Curve.

Chutzpah In Action

On Tuesday, Judicial Watch posted an article about a drug smuggling tunnel recently discovered in San Diego.

The article reports:

Mexican drug smugglers are really getting bold. A cross-border tunnel recently discovered by U.S. authorities exits in a San Diego warehouse right next to a busy Customs and Border Protection (CBP) port of entry. It gets better. The southern California warehouse is manned by Illegal immigrants even though it is situated just a few hundred yards from a hectic border crossing staffed with federal agents around the clock.

A Mexican national with legal residency has been arrested and charged in connection to the operation, federal prosecutors announced this month. His name is Rogelio Flores Guzman and he helped construct the tunnel, which runs 2,000 feet from a Tijuana warehouse to the south San Diego depot. The U.S. has charged the 31-year-old with trafficking fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana via a subterranean tunnel stretching from Mexico to a warehouse in Otay Mesa. When authorities entered the tunnel, they found around 575 packages of drugs worth nearly $30 million, according to a bulletin issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ). This sets a record because it marks the first time that five different types of drugs are found in a tunnel, according to the feds.

Agents from a special tunnel task force confiscated 394 packages containing 585 kilograms of cocaine; 133 packages containing 1,355 kilograms of marijuana; 40 packages containing 39.12 kilograms of methamphetamine; Seven packages containing 7.74 kilograms of heroin and one package containing 1.1 kilograms of fentanyl. “Cross-border tunnels always spark fascination, but in reality they are a very dangerous means for major drug dealers to move large quantities of narcotics with impunity until we intervene,” said the federal prosecutor in charge of the case, U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “We have seized this tunnel, confiscated almost $30 million in drugs and now we’ve charged one of the alleged crew members.”

That $30 million in drugs might have killed a lot of Americans.

The article notes the changes in drug smuggling techniques since President Trump closed the border:

There was a significant increase in Mexican smuggling tunnels after President Donald Trump increased border security in 2017. One southern California news conglomerate reported that criminal organizations in Mexico were improving the tunnels they use to smuggle people and drugs under Trump’s border fence, making them smaller and maintaining a high level of sophistication that includes railways and electricity. “In San Diego, tunnels are usually sophisticated partly because of the highly organized criminal organization operating in Baja California – the Sinaloa Cartel – as well as the characteristics of Otay Mesa, a neighborhood that exists on both sides of the border,” the article states. “In the U.S. and in Mexico, Otay Mesa is crowded with warehouses, providing numerous spaces to hide tunnel entry and exit points.” Operating one right next to a U.S. border crossing packed with federal agents is quite brazen.

We need to stop the smuggling, but we also need to find a way to help the people who are addicted to these drugs. There would be no point in smuggling the drugs if there were no market for them in America.

This Has Happened Before

KOMO News in Washington state reported yesterday that the number of Washington state drivers involved in deadly crashes who tested positive for THC has doubled.

The article reports:

According to research by AAA between 2008 and 2012, an estimated eight percent of Washington drivers involved in fatal crashes were positive for THC. That rate now is more than double since weed became legal in Washington.

In the five years before legislation, an average of 56 Washington drivers involved in fatal crashes each year were THC positive. In the five years after legislation, that average jumped to 130.

“We know that marijuana use can inhibit concentration, slow reaction time, and cloud judgment. There’s no reason to think that’s not going to happen when you are behind the wheel. That doesn’t suddenly change,” said Kelly Just of AAA.

THC is the active compound in marijuana and can stay in your body for a period of time before disappearing.

“There really isn’t a test to show impairment, so you may have it in your system, may not be impaired. You may have it in your system and may be impaired. Because of that our recommendation is if you use marijuana, don’t drive and if you plan to drive don’t use marijuana,” said Just.

“We’re running across people under the influence and driving all the way from teenagers, all the way up to people in their forties and fifties. So keep in mind the safest bet is just to not get behind the wheel if you plan on using marijuana that day or night,” said Trooper Chris Thorson of the Washington State Patrol.

I know there is a move for legalization of marijuana, but I question the wisdom of legalizing a drug for recreational use in the middle of an opioid epidemic. There are a lot of pathways to drug addiction and a lot of things that can happen when drugs are used for recreation. The pattern of increased accidents caused by an increase in marijuana use as a result of legalization has been seen in other states. The legalization of marijuana may make some people happy, but it makes all of us less safe.

I Guess Legalization Was Not The Right Answer

A number of states have legalized recreational marijuana with the intention of collecting tax revenue on the sale of the drug after it becomes legal. There is little thought given to the possible effects of the drug or the long-term consequences–it’s about the money. As far as the long-term consequences, I posted an article in October of last year that included a first-hand account of the effects of continuing marijuana use. Yesterday (updated today) The U.K. Daily Mail posted an interesting article about how the legalization and taxation of marijuana  has worked in California.

The article reports:

California is increasing business tax rates on legal marijuana, a move that stunned struggling companies that have been pleading with the state to do just the opposite.

Hefty marijuana taxes that can approach 50 per cent in some communities have been blamed for pushing shoppers into California’s tax-free illegal market, which is thriving. 

Industry analysts estimate that $3 are spent in the illegal market for every $1 in the legal one.

The California Cannabis Industry Association said in a statement that its members are ‘stunned and outraged.’

The group said the higher taxes that will take effect January 1 will make it even worse for a legal industry struggling under the weight of heavy regulation and fees, local bans on pot sales and growing and a booming underground marketplace.

‘Widening the price … gap between illicit and regulated products will further drive consumers to the illicit market at a time when illicit products are demonstrably putting people´s lives at risk,’ the group said, referring to the national vaping health crisis.

Los Angeles dispensary owner Jerred Kiloh, who heads the United Cannabis Business Association, said the increased levies added to the heavily taxed market ‘seems like a slap in the face.’

The changes involve taxes paid by legal businesses, which ultimately get passed along to consumers at the retail counter.

Josh Drayton of the cannabis association predicted that an eighth-ounce purchase of marijuana buds, typically priced around $40 to $45, would be pushed up to $50 or more in the new year.

There are a few lessons to be learned here. First, increasing taxes on something results in people finding another source or buying less. In this case, people have found another source. A person buying legal marijuana can be reasonably sure that he is getting the product he is paying for; however, buying any drug illegally can be very risky. This is the Laffer Curve at work–raising taxes on something will at some point decrease revenue. Second, companies don’t pay taxes–increased taxes are passed along to the consumer in the form of increased prices.

Legalizing recreational marijuana use may have unseen consequences we haven’t even dreamed of yet. In California it has not ended the illegal drug trade, and the greedy government’s taxes have only exacerbated the problem.

It’s About The Money–Health Concerns Are Being Ignored

Many of our more liberal states are looking for additional sources of revenue. Unfunded liabilities and expanded welfare programs and medical programs have been very expensive to the states that have embraced them. One thing that many states are looking at to increase tax revenue is the legalization of marijuana. On Saturday, Yahoo Finance posted an article about how much income legal marijuana is actually generating in California.

The article reports:

California’s legal cannabis revenue isn’t growing as fast as many state officials anticipated, recent data suggests. And one industry expert believes that taxes and a still thriving black market for marijuana, are partly to blame.

“The legal market is struggling with the set of regulatory rules and tax rates that are pretty onerous and make it fairly uncompetitive versus a thriving black market that’s had the whole industry for 60 years now,” Tom Adams, BDS Analytics managing director, told Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM in an interview this week.

California’s marijuana excise tax produced $74.2 million in revenue for the second quarter of this year, according to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.

Yet back in January, Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget predicted the state would generate $355 million in excise tax revenues for the fiscal year. That projection was later revised down again to $288 million back in May.

The shortfall is reminiscent of Michigan, where a nascent medical marijuana market has resulted in lower than expected revenue.

Adams contended the legal market faces additional expenses like the cost of testing, that the illegal market does not.

Meanwhile, there is evidence that marijuana is harmful to the developing brains of young adults. There also may be a link between marijuana and mental illness.

In January 2019 I posted an article which stated:

After an exhaustive review, the National Academy of Medicine found in 2017 that “cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use, the greater the risk.” Also that “regular cannabis use is likely to increase the risk for developing social anxiety disorder.”

…These new patterns of use have caused problems with the drug to soar. In 2014, people who had diagnosable cannabis use disorder, the medical term for marijuana abuse or addiction, made up about 1.5 percent of Americans. But they accounted for eleven percent of all the psychosis cases in emergency rooms—90,000 cases, 250 a day, triple the number in 2006. In states like Colorado, emergency room physicians have become experts on dealing with cannabis-induced psychosis.

Cannabis advocates often argue that the drug can’t be as neurotoxic as studies suggest, because otherwise Western countries would have seen population-wide increases in psychosis alongside rising use. In reality, accurately tracking psychosis cases is impossible in the United States. The government carefully tracks diseases like cancer with central registries, but no such registry exists for schizophrenia or other severe mental illnesses.

On the other hand, research from Finland and Denmark, two countries that track mental illness more comprehensively, shows a significant increase in psychosis since 2000, following an increase in cannabis use. And in September of last year, a large federal survey found a rise in serious mental illness in the United States as well, especially among young adults, the heaviest users of cannabis.

Is the extra tax revenue worth it?

A Rare Moment Of Truth In The Democrat Debates

The Daily Caller posted an article today about remarks made by Democratic Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard regarding Senator Kamala Harris of California during the Democrat debate on Wednesday.

The article notes:

Democratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was among the first to land a solid blow on presidential primary rival Sen. Kamala Harris (CA), but she may not have taken her attack far enough.

“She put over 1500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana,” Gabbard said of Harris’s time as a prosecutor and District Attorney of San Francisco.

But as Joe Garofoli of the San Francisco Chronicle discovered as he fact-checked Gabbard’s claim, the number of people Harris sent to jail for marijuana violations was actually closer to 2000.

Garofoli noted that an initial report published by the Washington Free Beacon had put the number at 1560, but that a spokesman for California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation had told him the actual number was 1974.

It’s an interesting attack. First of all, Kamala Harris was doing her job as District Attorney of San Francisco. Admittedly, her priorities might have been a little off, but she was essentially doing her job. The really sad part of the story is that she is so arrogant that she laughed about putting people in jail for something she herself had done. Some of our politicians have made a career out of ‘one rule for me and another rule for thee.’ That is the sad part of the story.

News That Goes Against The Political Grain

Fox News posted an article today about the impact of marijuana on the adolescent brain.

The article reports:

Two health professionals penned an op-ed in The New York Times on Sunday that despite society’s shift on marijuana use, it does not change the fact that the drug is not safe for high school and college students.

Kenneth L. Davis, the president and chief executive of the Mount Sinai Health System, and Mary Jeanne Kreek, the head of Laboratory of the Biology of Addictive Diseases at Rockefeller University, cited studies that show a “deleterious impact on cognitive development in adolescents.”

The column said marijuana use can impair “executive function, processing speed, memory, attention span and concentration.” They said the explanation is simple: the adolescent brain is still vulnerable “especially the prefrontal cortex.”

“The chemical in marijuana responsible for producing mood elevation and relaxation, THC, interferes with the exchange of information between neurons,” they wrote in, “Marijuana Damages Young Brains.”

Davis and Kreek penned the column in response to New York and New Jersey considering legalizing marijuana for those over 21.

Marijuana is not as harmless as it is being made out to be. In October 2018, I posted an article about a man who had begun using marijuana is his 20’s and became addicted to the drug.

The article reported:

There’s a reason that Alcoholics Anonymous started in 1935, two years after the end of Prohibition. Alcohol abuse became rampant, and the country almost drank itself off the rails. Will the same thing happen with marijuana?

Marijuana isn’t alcohol or an opioid. You can’t die from an overdose. It doesn’t really evince physical cravings. So is it better to call my problem marijuana “dependence”? Does it matter?

Cannabis should be legal, just as alcohol should be legal. But marijuana addiction exists, and it almost wrecked my life. If you have a problem, you are not alone.

I am not convinced marijuana should be legal. I think we have more Americans addicted to marijuana than we realize.

Legislation That Will Be Harmful To Americans

Yesterday The Hill reported that Senator Cory Booker has introduced a bill in the Senate to legalize marijuana nationwide. The bill, S 597, is listed at Congress.gov, but the listing as of now does not include either the text of the bill or a summary of the bill.

The Hill reports:

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced a bill Thursday to legalize marijuana across the country.

The 2020 presidential hopeful has made criminal justice reform and social justice issues central to his campaign and is framing the marijuana legalization bill as such.

“The War on Drugs has not been a war on drugs, it’s been a war on people, and disproportionately people of color and low-income individuals,” Booker said in a press release announcing the legislation. “The Marijuana Justice Act seeks to reverse decades of this unfair, unjust, and failed policy by removing marijuana from the list of controlled substances and making it legal at the federal level.”

A House version of the bill was introduced by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who is co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

The bill, known as the Marijuana Justice Act, would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances, where it is currently a Schedule I drug in the same class with heroin and LSD.

In case you think this is a wonderful idea, please read the following article posted on this site on January 26, 2019. Marijuana is not a harmless substance. The main reason for the push for legalization is the money involved. As states lose tax money from the sale of tobacco products, they can make up that loss by taxing marijuana sales. Just as tobacco proved harmful to public health, marijuana will prove detrimental to public health as well.

The article concludes:

Several of Booker’s most prominent challengers for the Democratic presidential nomination from the Senate are co-sponsors on the bill, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Ten states as well as Washington, D.C., have already legalized the recreational use of marijuana, with many more states legalizing its medicinal use.

Booker’s bill would also incentivize states to loosen their marijuana laws by using federal funds.

From the rightwinggranny.com article cited above:

After an exhaustive review, the National Academy of Medicine found in 2017 that “cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use, the greater the risk.” Also that “regular cannabis use is likely to increase the risk for developing social anxiety disorder.”

…These new patterns of use have caused problems with the drug to soar. In 2014, people who had diagnosable cannabis use disorder, the medical term for marijuana abuse or addiction, made up about 1.5 percent of Americans. But they accounted for eleven percent of all the psychosis cases in emergency rooms—90,000 cases, 250 a day, triple the number in 2006. In states like Colorado, emergency room physicians have become experts on dealing with cannabis-induced psychosis.

Is legalizing marijuana in the best interest of Americans?

Reporting The Obvious

I have often stated that I am so old that there weren’t drugs in high school when I was there. Unfortunately the absence of drugs is no longer the norm although our law enforcement is doing a very good job of trying to eliminate the epidemic of drug use that has plagued our schools since the 1970’s. The argument for marijuana since the 1970’s has been that it is less damaging than alcohol and is not addictive. Well, the evidence does not support that idea.

PJ Media posted an article on November 29 with the title, “New Study Provides Further Evidence that Marijuana Is a Gateway Drug.”

The article reports:

A new study looking at alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use among adolescents gives some interesting and helpful conclusions. Well, helpful conclusions if people will be willing to remove their cultural blinders concerning marijuana. Since the politically and culturally popular thing to do is to extol the virtues of the recreational use of marijuana, the study’s sharp gateway-drug implications will most likely be a warning that is derided and unheeded.

…A negative effect that comes from ingesting marijuana that many users (and non-users) scoff at is the drug’s potential to be a gateway drug. However, the study linked to above concludes, “The implications of the more prominent role of marijuana in the early stages of drug use sequences are important to continue tracking.”

The twenty-year study concluded that while cigarette and alcohol use among adolescents has decreased, marijuana use among adolescents has remained basically the same. What’s interesting is that “the traditional gateway sequence is changing, with marijuana increasingly accounting for the first substance used among adolescents.”

The article concludes:

The bad news for those adolescents who begin with marijuana as well as for those who are in a high-risk group for marijuana use due to their cigarette or alcohol use is that:

Marijuana initiation may also affect subsequent drug use through similar biological mechanisms that have been proposed for other substances; emerging evidence from animal models suggests that THC exposure early in adolescence influences reward sensitivity to other drugs including nicotine ( Dinieri and Hurd, 2012; Panlilio et al., 2013; Pistis et al., 2004), and that adult marijuana use who initiated in adolescence have impairments in memory and prefrontal as well hippocampal volume ( Batalla et al., 2013; Filbey and Yezhuvath, 2013). Existing epidemiological data suggest that marijuana use increases the risk of subsequent cigarette initiation, supporting the hypothesis that marijuana could be causally associated with subsequent polysubstance use ( Nguyen et al., 2018).

Marijuana being a gateway drug has yet to be proven conclusively, but the research points solidly in that direction. Pro-weed advocates need to stop pretending that marijuana is harmless.

I don’t understand why there is a push to legalize marijuana at the same time there are campaigns to end smoking or use of tobacco products. Are we trading one bad health habit for another? If marijuana has legitimate medical uses, it should be used for that purpose, but I see no value at all in legalizing marijuana as a recreational drug. I am simply not convinced that anyone needs to use a recreational drug–particularly one that has a negative impact on the brain and a possible impact on genes.

A Story That Needs To Be Told

On October 6, Neal Pollack posted an opinion piece in The New York Times. The title of the opinion piece is, “I’m Just a Middle-Aged House Dad Addicted to Pot.”

The opinion piece details the author’s journey from using marijuana regularly in his 20’s to the realization that he was hooked on the drug.

Some observations from the author:

I started smoking regularly in the ’90s, when I was in my mid-20s. Pot made everything better — food, music, sex, cleaning — and it made nothing worse. I got depressed less often. I laughed all the time.

But I also lost my temper for no reason. Did I yell at strangers in public? Probably. I barely remember, because I was stoned. But I do remember that once, high as a promotional blimp, I got into a bar fight with a former friend and broke his tooth with a beer bottle.

Back when my writing career was booming, I got invited a couple of times to do readings in Amsterdam, a bad gig for a pot addict. Once, after ingesting a couple of THC pills, I dumped a pitcher of water over my head and insulted the Iraqi representative to National Poetry Day Amsterdam. Another time, I pulled down my pants and flashed a crowd of several hundred. If I had any boundaries, weed erased them thoroughly. The boom ended fast.

…In early November (2017), I had the chance to fulfill my lifelong dream of attending a Dodgers World Series game. I spent way too much money on a ticket that turned out to be fake. So high that I couldn’t remember where I’d parked, I started screaming outside the stadium. If I’d been sober, I would have just called the vendor and gotten a refund. That’s what I ended up doing, eventually. But not before security guards surrounded me.

I looked into a car mirror and saw an old man, sobbing over a baseball game. That was the moment I accepted that I had a problem. Three weeks later, I quit.

Mr. Pollack has a few thoughts on how to handle the legalization of marijuana:

There’s a reason that Alcoholics Anonymous started in 1935, two years after the end of Prohibition. Alcohol abuse became rampant, and the country almost drank itself off the rails. Will the same thing happen with marijuana?

Marijuana isn’t alcohol or an opioid. You can’t die from an overdose. It doesn’t really evince physical cravings. So is it better to call my problem marijuana “dependence”? Does it matter?

Cannabis should be legal, just as alcohol should be legal. But marijuana addiction exists, and it almost wrecked my life. If you have a problem, you are not alone.

I personally think marijuana should be limited to medicinal purposes and be a controlled substance. In places where it is legal, children have gotten into mom and dad’s stash and had severe medical issues. There is also an increase in auto accidents due to driving while under the influence of marijuana. I understand that the concept of medical marijuana has been abused in the past, and I have no solution for that. I just think most people function better when they are not under the influence of drugs (or alcohol).

More Research Needed

On Thursday the U.K. Daily Mail posted an article about some recent studies involving treating pain with marijuana.

The article reports:

A small study found people who use cannabis require higher doses of painkillers than non users after major traumatic event like a car crash.    

The drug, which is legal for medical use in the majority of US states, is mainly prescribed to ease pain. 

But this new research conducted in Colorado – which was the first state to legalize – suggests that short-term pain relief could weaken the body’s resilience to pain over time. 

The researchers, from the Swedish Medical Center, Colorado, analyzed around 260 people who were involved in minor vehicle accidents and admitted to trauma centers. 

Of these, 54 tested positive for recent marijuana use while 16 claimed they used the drug more or less every day.

Around nine percent of the participants tested positive for other prescription or illegal drugs, such as cocaine and opiates.

On average, the marijuana users required 7.6mg of opioid painkillers a day in hospital, compared to 5.6mg for non-drug users.

This is probably not a surprise to people in the medical profession. I have been told by nurses who work in the operating room that people who are heavy users of alcohol require larger doses of anesthesia to put them to sleep. The body builds up a tolerance for drugs, whether the drug is alcohol, opioids, or marijuana. Those who blame big pharma for the fact that marijuana has not been legalized need to remember that just as big pharma has a huge lobby with lots of money, big marijuana also has a big lobby with lots of money. Legalizing marijuana in Colorado has brought the drug cartels into the state to mass produce their product for the local market. I don’t think that is what we want.

The medical values of marijuana are not proven and the unintended consequences of legalization are still unfolding. I think we need more research.

No, It’s Not Harmless

Yesterday the U.K. Daily Mail posted a story about the impact of marijuana use on teenagers.

The article reports:

Cannabis is responsible for 91 per cent of cases where teenagers end up being treated for drug addiction, shocking new figures reveal.

Supporters of the drug claim it is harmless, but an official report now warns the ‘increased dominance of high-potency herbal cannabis’ – known as skunk – is causing more young people to seek treatment.

The revelation comes amid growing concerns that universities – and even some public schools – are awash with high-strength cannabis and other drugs.

The findings also back up academic research, revealed in The Mail on Sunday over the past three years, that skunk is having a serious detrimental impact on the mental health of the young. At least two studies have shown repeated use triples the risk of psychosis, with sufferers repeatedly experiencing delusional thoughts. Some victims end up taking their own lives.

Obviously the article deals with the situation in Britain, but I suspect some of the results of this research are also reflected in America. The problem in Britain is related to the potency of the marijuana used by teenagers. I am unfamiliar with whether or not American marijuana has the same potency. I do know that I have heard numerous people familiar with marijuana in America say that the marijuana available in America today is much more potent than the marijuana that was available during the 1960’s. I don’t have a problem with the use of marijuana in certain medical procedures, but I wonder if it can be administered in pill form and tightly controlled in order to avoid abuse by teenagers who think it is cool. Keeping marijuana away from teenagers after making it legal will probably be about as successful as keeping alcohol away from underage teenagers in the past.

The article further states:

The large rise in the number of youngsters treated for cannabis abuse comes despite the fact that total usage is falling slightly.

The report concludes: ‘While fewer people are using cannabis, those who are using it are experiencing greater harm.’

Almost all cannabis on Britain’s streets is skunk, which is four times more powerful than types that dominated the market until the early 2000s. It can even trigger hallucinations.

We need to rethink the legalization of marijuana. It would be horrible to waste the minds of the generation that will lead this country in the future.