When you find yourself more conservative than the Swiss, perhaps it’s time to lighten up.
~ Lorne Elliott (born: 1974 age: 39)
If a guy drinks too much alcohol, he goes out, smashes up his car and gets in a fight. If a guy smokes too much weed, he rolls over on the couch and falls asleep.
~ Dave S ., A Pot Grower
Ice-cream is exquisite — what a pity it isn’t illegal.On 2001-07-31 medical marijuana became legal in Canada. All you need is your doctor’s ok. You must buy from registered growers. In 2002-01 it was decriminalised for recreational use.
~ Voltaire (born: 1694-11-21 died: 1778-05-30 at age: 83) [François Marie d’Arouet Voltaire]
|Introduction||Aerogrow Aerogarden for Medical Marijuana|
|Marijuana is Harmful||The Dutch Experience|
|Reducing the Harmful Effects of Marijuana||The Choices|
|Medical Use of Marijuana||Counter Arguments|
|The Legal State of Medical Marijuana||Dr. Grogek’s Opposition to Medical Marijuana|
|Why Is Marijuana Illegal?||Downsides of Corporate Marijuana|
|The Prohibition Experience||Summary|
|The Tobacco Experience||Books|
|The Netherlands Experience||Links|
|Why Is Marijuana Still Illegal?||WebRings|
I would walk down the street the next day to see overturned mailboxes and vandalised newspaper boxes, the victims of raging drunks. I have seen so many lives totally destroyed by alcohol. I have seen how alcohol could turn my best friend from a personable guy into a vicious wife beater. Everyone knows a family missing a loved one, the victim of a drunk driver.
We tolerate alcohol only because of the failure of prohibition. I ask myself, what would society be like if the social drug of choice were changed from alcohol to marijuana. I strongly suspect it would be orders of magnitude more peaceful.
That bad medicine will make you a vegetable.I don’t claim marijuana is harmless. Clearly putting all that smoke and tar into your lungs can’t be good for you, especially when the smoke is inhaled so deeply. A percentage of the population become paranoid or psychotic smoking marijuana. It tends to make people lazy. It can waste a lot of time. It puts people in contact with pushers who can suck them into trying heroin or cocaine, perhaps by spiking the marijuana. Marijuana may contain toxic quantities of pesticides or the herbicide paraquat.
~ the 16th Karmapa , a Tibetan high Lama.
However, the deleterious effects pale compared with the much more addictive tobacco or alcohol. If marijuana were made legal, I think it could make great inroads into alcohol use as the normal party drug. As a society, we would be much better off, as would the people taking the drug. It does not make sense to treat marijuana legally as a more dangerous drug than alcohol.
If marijuana were legalised, the drug could be government inspected, and guaranteed of standard potency, without pesticide residues. With lower cost, people might start eating it in brownies or other specialty foods rather than smoking it, which would reduce the health risk considerably.
Legal marijuana would be inspected. It would not be laced with extremely dangerous addictive drugs the pushers are trying to lead their users into. The costs to society of addictive drug use are staggering. There would be huge savings. We should study the effects in places where the experiment has been tried, rather than pontificating on what the result ought to be.
Instead of all that marijuana money going to criminals to fund their cocaine and heroin smuggling, it could fatten the tax coffers.
Nausea is one of the most difficult medical conditions to treat. For most people with chronic nausea, Gravol does not do much good at all, and ginger does little better. Stemetil sometimes works, though it puts you to sleep. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the only drug that offers any relief, and probably that is mainly through distraction. In other words, the disorientation of THC is a necessary side effect. People prefer smoking marijuana to taking THC tablets because they can precisely control the dose. With tablets it is far too easy to overdose.
Chronic nausea is so debilitating it leads to suicidal depression. Marijuana offers a tiny respite of elation to look forward to. This pleasurable side effect, that so upsets Puritanical Republicans, is necessary for it to function.
Though there is some evidence that marijuana may suppress the immune system, it can have value for people with AIDS (Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome) who are suffering from wasting. They have little energy to eat, they feel nauseous and the strong medications make all foods taste utterly disgusting. A friend of mine near death on heavy duty AIDS drugs said that all food tasted like diesel oil. Marijuana can stimulate the appetite.
Who better than the people with chronic nausea to judge the pros and cons of using marijuana for nausea? Why allow the blue-nose Republican Senator Orin Hatch to make that judgement call — somebody who has never experienced a terminal illness or chronic nausea.
Reform MPs (Member of Parliaments) want to block marijuana for medical use. Perhaps they also would want to block the use of morphine for pain control simply because it can be abused. Where is the consistency is this, allowing doctors to prescribe morphine, but not marijuana? Nobody has ever died of a marijuana overdose. Morphine is acknowledged to be a highly addictive and dangerous drug. The federal Liberals are going ahead with trials of medical marijuana. This won’t help people suffering from chronic nausea now, but at least it may prevent future suffering.
Right wing Christians are so convinced of the their righteousness, they are quite willing to put others through needless suffering by denying them this anti-nausea drug. I doubt they have even the remotest inkling of the hell they are forcing others to endure. Nausea from flu for a week is one thing. Nausea endlessly year after year without a break is quite another.
Why are they so lacking in compassion? Deep in their hearts they wish torment on those with AIDS, a disease associated with both nausea and homosexuality. Perhaps someone should tell them their narrow views are also needlessly tormenting cancer-ridden heterosexuals.
Peter McWilliams, a best-selling author (Life 101 and some others) is on trial in Los Angeles for using and advocating the use of medical marijuana. He has AIDS and an AIDS-related cancer, and has been taking marijuana for nausea so he can keep his medications down.
The trial was held 1999-11-21. The trial judge ruled he could not use a medical marijuana defense, nor could he mention Proposition 215, marijuana’s medical usefulness, the eight patients who get medical marijuana monthly from the federal government, or his medical condition. He faces 10 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines. You can find more information at the hpetermcwilliams.org website.
We must stop these mindless Christians from tormenting others.
To those who think they have the right to enforce their marijuana laws on the rest of this I say this: "Who do you think you are, my mother? Even my mother would not presume to tell me what to do. I am 66 years old. I’m old enough to decide for myself whether the benefits of medical marijuana are worth the risks. How dare you presume to tell me what to do when you know nothing of the circumstances. You’re not the one with the nausea. You arrogant puppy, thinking you know better how to run my life than I do!"
Medical marijuana is now legal in nine states of the USA. However, federal law still prohibits it. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the conflict. The court contains seven Republican appointees and two Democratic. Republicans generally have an irrational terror of marijuana. However, these are learned men, and would have to find justification for permitting morphine for the terminally ill, but not marijuana (which has not even been scientifically shown to be harmful or addictive). They might handle it by demanding the same ultra strict standards as for morphine.
The law does not distinguish between the indica strains which are sleep-inducing and the sativa strains which cause alert euphoria.
Hawaii allows certified patients to possess up to three ounces of marijuana and grow up to seven plants. Doctors can get a registration certificate for a patient to use marijuana to ease pain caused by debilitating diseases such as cancer or AIDS. I trust pain includes nausea.
The main legal arguments against medical marijuana are:
Christians have a fundamental distrust of anything pleasurable. Attorney General Ashcroft thinks dancing is wicked simply because it is fun. Kristians think they have a right to make everyone else as miserable as they are. They imagine they are everyone else’s mother with a God given right to tell everyone else what to do.
Unlike tobacco and alcohol, nobody has ever died from smoking marijuana, other than as a result of impaired driving. The war against marijuana is very costly, in terms of drug enforcement and the destruction of lives of the people who would not be criminals if marijuana were treated realistically. There is no benefit in continuing the war, and a stupendous benefit in dropping it — reduction in the use of alcohol.
There are three groups in society that benefit from the current scheme:
Perhaps those are the special interest groups feeding Republican Senator Orin Hatch his ideas and his funding for his hysterical war on marijuana.
The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.
~ Abraham Lincoln (born: 1809-02-12 died: 1865-04-15 at age: 56)
Frontline did a documentary on marijuana. They interviewed law enforcement officials. The officials said that marijuana should be illegal for three reasons:
One should never forbid what one lacks the power to prevent.
~ Napoléon Bonaparte (born: 1769-08-15 died: 1821-05-05 at age: 51)
What happened when America experimented with the prohibition of alcohol?
Obviously, nobody is avoiding smoking marijuana because they can’t find any to buy. Prohibition is primarily making the drug trade more lucrative, not depressing consumption.
The side effects are the same as prohibition had, namely the rise of organised crime, adulterated product, and extreme gang violence.
To make it more compact to smuggle, growers have evolved strains that are far more potent than the strains available in the 1970s. This concentration leads people to overuse.
It took the Americans 13 years to realise that prohibition of alcohol was not working and they repealed it in 1933. Why are the Americans and the Canadians taking so much longer to come to their senses about marijuana prohibition?
The people who repealed prohibition were not just drunkards. They were also teetotalers and people who originally championed prohibition who were sick to death of the side effects of prohibition, and the ineffectiveness of prohibition to reduce excessive drinking.
It is a general life principle. If circumstances go downhill, revert to the way you did things before the trouble started.
The result is heroin and crack cocaine are very rare.
I suspect that the casual smoker never comes in contact with underworld pushers, and hence is never tempted to try the more dangerous drugs.
Obviously, nobody is avoiding smoking marijuana because they can’t find any to buy. Prohibition is primarily making the drug trade more lucrative, not depressing consumption. 90% of American high school seniors report they can get cannabis easier than alcohol. This is because liquor sales are legal and regulated and marijuana sales are illegal and unregulated.
The side effects are the same as prohibition had, namely the rise of organised crime, adulterated product, and extreme gang violence.
It took the Americans 13 years to realise that prohibition was not working and they repealed it in 1933. Why are the Americans and the Canadians taking so much longer to come to their senses about marijuana prohibition?
The people who repealed prohibition were not just drunkards. They were also teetotalers who were sick do death of the side effects of prohibition.
Because it is what the drug dealers want. Organised crime contributes big money to tell politicians to spend big bucks on programs that will look good to the public, but which actually increase their profits. So the tough on drugs people like William Bennett, are, perhaps unwittingly, actually in the pockets of organised crime.
This would not quite apply to marijuana because it can easily be grown even if not available on the black market, but in the same way you would not have dealers pushing it on new users, especially children.
Patients who grow medical marijuana legally for themselves need something that takes a minimum of energy, care and attention. Aerogrow makes desktop computerised hydroponics units that are pretty well idiot proof. They turn the lights on and off automatically. They tell you when to add water. They tell you when to add nutrients. They come with kits for growing herbs, flowers and vegetables from seeds, but not marijuana. The image to the left was created with Corel Paint Shop Pro to illustrate how you might use an Aerogrow Aerogarden Pro 200 to grow medical marijuana. The Aerogarden Pro 200 is the preferred model because it allows for tall plants, has three lamps, and allows for 24-hour lighting.
I think you could use it like this:
Perhaps some enterprising soul, after experimenting could sell kits with the seeds already in the sponge cups, and the fertiliser packed into tablets. Perhaps the Aerogrow company itself might be persuaded to market a special medical marijuana unit with seed packs. The specialised medical marijuana unit might be partially enclosed to reflect back more light onto the plants and to keep the plants invisible to casual observation. It might then need special convection ventilation or a small air fan. The Deluxe and Pro versions allow for taller plants, provide more light and allow for 24-hour illumination.
One problem is getting the proper nutrients in the right concentration. Without soil, you have to provide everything, including the micronutrients in exactly the right proportions. I discovered growing basil and other herbs even one nutrient missing will kill the plants. AeroGarden nutrient tablets consist of mineral salts. These provide the 13 nutrients that all plants require, plus 65 additional micro-nutrients for additional vigor, in just the right proportions for each seed kit type. The tablets also contain a pH buffer that enables you to grow using water straight from your tap, and a pharmaceutical grade binder to hold the tablets together. The Areogrow people noticed that one of these minerals will break down in high heat or humidity, causing the tablets to sweat out some of the needed minerals. As a result, they will be moving to liquid nutrients in 2009-08.
You can buy fertilisers specialised for every phase of the marijuana plant’s growth, e.g. Supernatural Bloom Aqua for for 400 grams. It is fairly easy to concoct the original batch of nutrient solution. For example the AeroGarden 6 or the AeroGarden Pro 200 takes 3.2 liters of water. The instructions that come with the Supernatural Bloom Aqua say to mix up 1 to 1.5 teaspoons per 4 liters. So you need 3.2 / 4 * 1.25 = 1 teaspoon for the entire tank. Over time the water will evaporate. Replacing with water (not solution) will put it back the way it was. However, the plants absorb nutrients that you need to replace. Ideally you would chemically analyse the solution in the tank and top it up with the various individual nutrients as needed. Few of us have the facilities to do this, so you could just add another teaspoon of fertiliser every two weeks. The problem with that is, over time the solution could become too weak or too concentrated, depending on how fast the plants were growing. I suggest you discard the solution every two weeks using it diluted to water other plants, and start with a fresh solution the correct concentration. Water fresh from the tap is too cold and contains chlorine. You want to let it age overnight in a bucket before use.
This is similar to a computer student project, which was intended to grow an entire family’s vegetables.
I talk more about Aerogardens in my automated greenhouse student project and my products endorsement page.
|Dutch ‘Coffee’ shop|
I feel contempt for right wingers who preach about the terrible things that will happen if marijuana is legalised. They let their imaginations run riot. There is no need to speculate. BC is not the first jurisdiction to contemplate such a change. We should look at what happened in other jurisdictions that made the change, in particular the Netherlands. I visited the Netherlands in 2002. I went into a coffee shop and ordered a coffee. The waitress explained they had no coffee. I was astounded. She explained they usually did serve coffee, but just now they were out. The main thing they sold was marijuana. The various types of marijuana were displayed in glass cases, with neatly lettered cards explaining each variety’s properties. The normal approach is for a couple to buy one joint, and smoke it in the café. I discovered the Dutch have had the following successes:
Don’t take my word for it; ask the scientists who have studied in detail what happened.
The downside is tourists from all over Europe pour into the Netherlands each weekend to buy the high-quality marijuana, then take it home where it is illegal. Sometimes the traffic congestion is so bad, the locals can’t go about their usual business. To deal with this, the government had to take measures to discourage marijuana tourists.
The change does not have to be perfect as the right wingers demand, just better than what we are putting up with now. I expected lower alcohol consumption, but I did not see that. It is unrealistic, for example to expect legalisation to cut marijuana consumption in half. And we would have to expect a bump in consumption, similar the bump in alcohol consumption at the end of prohibition.
|Harper’s Position||Roedy’s Position|
|Costly law enforcement.||Less costly regulation. Police can concentrate on crimes with a complainant.|
|Criminal gangs and organised crime taking the profit.||Entrepreneur growers taking the profit.|
|Costly prisons.||tax boom.|
|Contaminated, variable quality drugs.||Clean predictable doses.|
|Children have equal access as adults.||Children have restricted access, like tobacco.|
|No access to medical marijuana.||Patients with nausea, wasting or pain could be prescribed marijuana, a much less dangerous drug than the alternatives.|
|Strategy well tested in Canada and the USA and thoroughly proven not to work.||Strategy well tested in the Netherlands and thoroughly proven to work.|
It is hard to find cogent counter arguments to legalising marijuana. The counter arguments usually fall into three categories.
However, I think there are some valid counter arguments that could be made.
I saw your article in the NY times comparing medical marijuana users with analgesic pain drug seekers.
You ignore the much more important medical use of marijuana — nausea control. Drugs like Gravol and Stemetil can’t touch the extreme nausea caused as side effects of cancer or HIV chemotherapy. They are intended for motion sickness-level nausea.
It is impossible for someone who has not experienced it to appreciate how dreadful the experience is. To approximate it, drink a glass of salt water ever 30 minutes, 24/7 for years at a time. I spent so much time throwing up I taught myself to read while vomiting.
Why will you accept extremely dangerous pain control drugs for pain, but not even a relatively benign drug for severe nausea? It is irrational!
The problem with marijuana for use as an anti-nausea is the high. Surely we can develop a strain with less euphoria and more anti-nausea ability. The problem with Marinol is precisely controlling dose. It can be used to control nausea but only at the expense of losing the ability to function.
You are willing the throw chemotherapy patients under the bus to stop liars from deriving illicit pleasure. I strongly disapprove. It hard to express how strongly without using expletives.
If you have 24/7 severe nausea, even an hour a month of relief makes life bearable. Illegal marijuana is too expensive and too inconsistent quality for someone living on a disability pension. The universality of toothache creates compassion which drives physicians to risk very dangerous drugs to treat severe pain. Extreme nausea is reserved for a select few. Most physicians, including Dr. Grogek, have no idea what it is like. So they tend to lack compassion for it. Many are not even willing to risk a relatively benign drug, marijuana.
Consider how the tobacco, alcohol, soft drink and junk food corporations have behaved:
Presumably we will see similar behaviour from marijuana corporations.
It is naïve to imagine social engineers can curtail people from using drugs. They can’t even control marijuana use inside a prison where everyone is under surveillance 24 hours a day. How can they possibly do it in a democratic free society? If you do manage to cut off one drug, users will just turn to ever more damaging ones like cooking spray, gasoline, Listerine, Sterno, solvents, strychnine… However, it is possible for a government to do two things:
It is not a choice of having a population who takes drugs and a drug-free society. That is a pipe dream. The best we can hope for is a society where drug use is controlled, and the majority of people avoid the most dangerous drugs. Dangerous should be defined rationally, not historically. Alcohol and tobacco are much more dangerous than many of the currently illegal drugs, (which even include such benign substances as protein supplements).
Only fascist Kristians are under the delusion they can control everyone else to conform to their Puritanical standards. Not only is that impossible, they ought not to attempt it.
The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community against his will is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or to forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because in the opinions of others to do so would be wise or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil to someone else.
~ John Stuart Mill (born: 1806-05-20 died: 1873-05-08 at age: 66), On Liberty
My closing argument is financial. Enforcing marijuana laws is expensive. There are police, courts jails and probation officers. Keeping a man in jail cost about per year, plus a bundle to keep his family on welfare while he is incarcerated. This unnecessary burden on the justice system means serious crimes that actually hurt people are not being given sufficient attention. They are far more productive ways to spend the taxpayer’s money.
Nothing promotes disrespect of the law more than passing laws which can not and should not be enforced.
~ Albert Einstein (born: 1879-03-14 died: 1955-04-18 at age: 76)
|recommend book⇒Drug Crazy: How We Got Into This Mess and How We Can Get Out|
|birth||1946 age: 67||978-0-679-43533-4||hardcover|
|This is a non-hysterical book that gives a lot of factual information about drugs and explains why things are the way they are, e.g. why crack swept the ghettos while cocaine swept the elite. It explains why it is foolish to exaggerate to youth the dangers of marijuana.|
|Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock. Try looking for it with a bookfinder.|
|recommend book⇒In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction|
|by||Gabor Maté, MD||978-1-55643-880-6||paperback|
|birth||1944-01-06 age: 70||978-0-676-97740-0||hardcover|
|Maté has worked ten years on the lower east side of Vancouver dealing with patients who are plagued with drug addiction. He discovered the causes of drug addiction and, no surprise, that our current policies are almost guaranteed to keep people trapped in drug addiction with almost no chance of escape. His solutions are simple and humane, but they require giving up the desire to punish for the sake of punishing.|
|Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock. Try looking for it with a bookfinder.|
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