Tag Archives: legalization

national

MLaw letter to Forbes magazine responding to anti-cannabis hit piece

Dear Mr. Kroll,

It is very nice of you to express to your commenters that you don’t understand their comments, or ask for elucidation of the points raised by them, assuming your concern is genuine.

You should be aware as a self-described drug news reporter that people who are distressed about the troubles and inequities caused by the 80 year the war on cannabis are often met with expressions of feigned concern regaring definition of argument terms and the like, as well as knowingly misused appeals to authorities by on-the-take professionals (whether writers or assistant professors) that are in no way intended to foster discussion about legalizing cannabis but are rather often attempts to shut down discussion, so I forgive the frustrations displayed some of the commenters on your opinion piece – I hope that you can also.

taffe-and-kroll

I, like other commenters, have assessed that your researcher is peddling calculated half-truths, misinformation, scare tactics and misrepresentations. I, along with some of your readers, find it to be disturbing that your editors would allow to this thinly veiled prohibitionist effort be published by Forbes, even as an opinion piece.

We must remember that while one is entitled to their own opinion – it is dangerous and duplicitous to allow misinformation to be articulated for the purpose of deceiving the readers of your publication – that is called propaganda, not opinion.

This is an intended hit piece that employs some of the most simple to expose but most often deployed fallacies in support of the anti-cannabis agenda, it is not an opinion piece supporting the truth, Mr. Kroll. What the assistant professor is doing in this propaganda piece is re-asserting the same old tired tactics of the ilk that are disseminated by one of our country’s most prolific anti-cannabis propagandists, Kevin Sabet and supported by the head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Nora Volkow.

Kevin Sabet has made a 30 year career of propagandizing against cannabis – in other words, like your researcher, Taffe; he makes his living supporting the continuation of cannabis prohibition. This is to indicate that Taffe is an interested party, not an objective scientist, as he purports to be for the purposes of your opinion piece. Taffe is paid by NIDA, headed by prohibitionist Nora Volkow, an organization which can only and has only researched the negative effects of cannabis – NIDA is barred by its charter and by its funding sources (the federal government, i.e. our tax dollars) from researching the benefits of cannabis.

Taffe knows that he only looks at the negative effects of a drug about which the the National Cancer Institute has said; “Cannabinoids may inhibit cancer tumor growth by causing cell death and blocking cell growth.”

Taffe is aware that cannabis is medicine under our laws. In my state, Illinois, cannabis is a regulated medicine that can be prescribed to physically deteriorated Parkinson’s victims and wasting AIDs patients, sick humans with traumatic brain injuries, Alzheimer’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis, and children who are wracked with debilitating epileptic seizures. Taffe is aware of all of this as he spends his time and energies and our tax dollars exploring the alleged and overblown “addictive effects” of cannabis. As Brigadier General Smedely Butler said about war in general, and it is true about the war on cannabis as well, “war is a racket”, and Taffe is cleaning up, to the detriment of sick Americans.

Many citizens now realize that for law enforcers to have decided for us as a society, for our health researchers to have decided for us as a society, to not study the possible health benefits of cannabis, but to instead focus their efforts and our dollars on extending the bigoted and immoral war on cannabis, was quite possibly the most immoral, self-defeating and anti-scientific choice that we made as a country over the course of the last century.

After all of the needless suffering of our sick brethren and the thousands of needless arrests (about 700,000 young Americans arrested for cannabis possession every year over the past 30 years, mainly minority youths – in 2015, a cannabis possession arrest was made every 48 seconds), as these same arguments are employed over and over to frighten those credulous citizens who simply believed the lies that they have been told by anti-cannabis law enforcers for eight decades beginning with the disgraced Henry Anslinger, it is frustrating to the extreme to have to always bat down the tired propaganda memes, and for this reason I understand the frustration of the readers who have commented on your opinion piece.

While it is not difficult to speak to the calculated misrepresentations half-truths, and deceptive omissions employed by the likes of Taffe Sabet and others, it is chiefly tiresome and often useless to correct prohibitionists…but do it we must.

Taffe says Marijuana is addictive:
Our own government and other countries’ health researchers say quite clearly and consistently that cannabis is as addictive as caffeine – not addictive in the way that opioids, for example, are addictive. Jaffe knows this – as does every honest doctor in America – but he chooses instead to conflate the generally safe cannabis with dangerous and addictive substances such as heroin. Taffe’s choice is to be ambiguous for the intentional purpose of scaring your readers, not informing your readers.

Choosing to tell only a part of the story is termed an omission of materially relevant fact in our laws – an act that is deemed to be fraudulent in most jurisdictions.

Taffe says that 5-6% of high-school seniors use marijuana daily:
Taffe employs an intentional misdirection – and therefore a propaganda tactic. Taffe, and Sabet and Volkow and all prohibitionists know that there is no law currently being proposed or citizens’ initiative on any ballot anywhere that calls for allowing any person other than an adult to use recreational cannabis. Taffe knows that cannabis use by teens in Colorado has declined since the legalization of the substance. Taffe includes this for a single and duplicitous reason – to scare parents.

Attempting to frighten readers is scare mongering and scare mongering is not presenting an opinion, Mr. Kroll.

Taffe says Marijuana addiction is as “real” as any other:
See analysis of point one above.

Taffe says that there is no such thing as “psychological” versus “physical” dependence:
See analysis of point one above. Again, I do not stipulate that cannabis is non-addictive, but Jaffe is fully aware of the differences between heroin/alcohol/meth addiction and cannabis/caffeine addiction and to pretend or suggest that there is a similarity is expressing a misleading false equivalency.

Taffe might be a good researcher, but the argument that he presents is intended to deceive not elucidate.

Taffe says marijuana acutely impairs cognitive and other behavioral functions:
Again, Jaffe employs a logical fallacy in service of deception by failing to define how individuals are impaired by cannabis, for example, as in relation to individuals impaired by a legal drug, alcohol. We know, from our own government’s reporting, that every 2-hours, three people are killed in alcohol-related highway crashes – is Taffe actually asserting that cannabis impairs users to the socially harmful and dangerous extent that legal alcohol threatens public safety?

The obvious answer is, Taffe’s cagy non-definition of impairment has the propagandist’s chosen effect of conflating the generally benign substance cannabis with truly dangerous substances that impair users to the point of being dangerous to the public.

Taffe says that behavioral tolerance with chronic exposure is substantial:
Another bit of propagandist demonizing innuendo that suggests that weed smoking demons will forever need more and more of the substance, a conjecture disproven by the facts on the ground in the four states in our union where cannabis is legal for adults to use recreationally.

Taffe says that THC is detectable in the body for a very long time compared with many other drugs of abuse:
Taffe, here, is knowingly perpetrating an act of deception when he makes this statement.

The fact is, and Taffe knows this, that tetrahydrocannabinol is NOT water soluble, unlike cocaine or alcohol or heroin, and for this simple and easily understandable scientific fact cannabis remains detectable in the fat of cannabis users for weeks, up to a month, unlike alcohol or heroin or cocaine. This does not mean that cannabis is active for two to four weeks after ingesting the substance. Taffe knows, and so do all propagandists, that the substance is active and capable of effecting as user for 2 to four hours. To state with no qualifications that “THC is detectable in the body for a very long time compared with many other drugs” is a fraudulent act done in service of frightening your readers.

These two points belie the real truth that Taffe is concealing as a researcher; this is, that law enforcement has determined that no scientist in the US can research the benefits of cannabis – but any researcher who wants to further explore the so-called “dangers” of cannabis can make an entire well paid career out of that.

This fact is the entire point of the DEA ruling earlier this year that determined cannabis will remain a schedule one substance along with heroin. The regulators use the same catch-22 reasoning that they have used to successfully maintain cannabis prohibition for decades; “No scientific study has shown that cannabis is not dangerous or has health benefits, so we must prevent the further study of cannabis because we assert that it is ‘dangerous and has no medical value’.”

The scheduling prevents further medical study and no medical research prevents legalization – a remarkable bit of regulatory circular reasoning that is also remarkably anti-science and which has the remarkable additional knock-on effect of promoting inequality in our legal system.

Taffe says, trying to make specific predictions about an individual who uses marijuana from general findings (there is always a central tendency or average around which the distribution of data points or individual outcomes varies) is a fools’ errand:
This final point is both is an extension of the circular reasoning that I described above, but it also is framed as a scare tactic, a commonly employed scare tactic used by the prohibitionists Sabet, Volkow and here Taffe.

What Taffe, and other self-interested prohibitionists often do is close their self-justifying argument chains with the intentionally threatening conjecture; “well, it may be true that we may have not seen any evidence of all of the scary things that I have just put forth to denigrate cannabis and cannabis users; but, do we really want to take the scary step of legalizing cannabis to find out when its ‘too late’ that cannabis is really the devil’s weed that will harm America in unknown and not provable ways forever?” I would think Mr. Kroll, that you have more respect for your readership than to stand by this self-justifying appeal to the unknown and the irrational.

In America, minority youths are being arrested every 48 seconds for cannabis possession and children are experiencing relief from agonizing seizures by using cannabis medicine. Taffe, a health researcher, apparently has no time for these facts as he self-justifyingly defends his golden goose, the failed, anti-scientific and bigoted war on cannabis. Taffe is an interested party whose personal existence is guaranteed by extending the criminality of cannabis, very much like law enforcers who target minorities with cannabis arrests to justify their own law enforcement budgets.

Opinion pieces are intended to spur thoughtful and valuable dialogue with the goal of uncovering the truth. Taffe has no intention of having a dialogue as he proffers innuendo, misrepresentation and deceptive framing to ensure the closing of discussion and rational thought rather the opening of minds.

national

Get set for another 4 to 8 years of lying, slow-walking and immoral prevarication on cannabis

By Patrick Devlin

I try to take a step back from blind rage before I sit down to write for MLaw, but today, try as I might, the anger (justified and responsible) cannot be sublimated.

This weekend, a short month and a week before Hillary Clinton is to be installed as the first woman president, we were reminded that she is a fake assed bullshitter with regard to #cannabis, who is lying to get votes when she undercuts her political history of prohibition by speaking in gentle terms with regard to legalizing the substance.

cliontons1

People, she is a vote hungry lying asshat who has no concern for the medical benefits of cannabis or that it’s illegality is one of the most brazen and pernicious (and easily mended) founts of discrimination in modern America.

As Ms. Clinton’s daughter was stumping for her at a college campus in Pennsylvania, a young American asked about her candidate mother’s stance on cannabis rescheduling (i.e. not even a question about Clinton’s stance on federal legalization) and the perpetual first daughter made a claim that contradicts science, reflects her reflexive prohibitionist mindset and is of a tenor that places Chelsea in the infamous historical category of Henry Anslinger and Kevin Sabet.

Clinton intoned in that faux concerned style perfected by prohibitionists, cultural custodians and anti-cannabis warriors everywhere;

“We…have anecdotal evidence now from Colorado, where some of the people who were taking marijuana for those purposes, the coroner believes, after they died, there was drug interactions with other things they were taking.”

A baseless, fact free condemnation and besmirching of the substance cannabis spoken with only one intent: to scare people who are ignorant of the historical and scientific fact that cannabis has never killed any person in human history – complication of drug interaction or otherwise.

That this is the case was demonstrated by the fact that the Clinton campaign (which is seeking to capture the millennial vote by advertising Hillary’s mild and highly qualified ‘support’ for cannabis legalization) a few days later press released that the darling Chelsea, who is surely not a science denying supporter of racial profiling like other knee-jerk prohibitionists, and who does not believe the words that spilled from her mouth to scare suburban moms, and who is not a fact-averse anti-marijuana drug warrior who spews lies to denigrate #cannabis and America’s tens of millions citizens who use the substance, simply “Mis-spoke”.

I mis-spoke earlier today when I told someone that it was Thursday, when it is actually Friday. What I didn’t do was create fake and threatening information of the character that we have been exposed to over the 80 year course of America’s war on cannabis. The campaign’s explaination for Ms. Clinton’s propagandic attack, only issued after aware voting Americans (including, by the way, many young voters, the specific demographic candidate Clinton is trying to woo with her very recent and scattershot “support” of legal cannabis) is as cynical as it is insulting.

The duplicitous campaign correction matches Chelsea’s duplicitous attempt to propagate fears of death relating to cannabis use and the duplicitous pimping for the youth vote that Hillary’s ‘pivot’ on cannabis legalization represents; all of it is fake, all of it is a lying attempt to get votes and all of it reveals Candidate Clinton’s disregard for truth, contempt for the voters and immoral lack of leadership on the larger issue of cannabis legalization in America.

Hillary Clinton’s awareness and concern with regard to this issue is driven by her craven and selfish desire to be elected president, rather than by a selfless concern for our sick brethren or an altruistic inspiration to end the bigotry in America that flows out of the illegality of cannabis use.

Last year, an American citizen was arrested every forty nine seconds for cannabis possession. Our own government doctors state quite clearly and with the force of science that #cannabis “can kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others” and that cannabis is an important medicine that can combat depression, epilepsy, opioid drug abuse, PTSD, Alzheimer’s and help stroke victims recover, among many, many additional possible health benefits. Ms. Clinton (as if you could possibly care), cannabis has been revealed to be for humanity the closest thing we have found to be an actual panacea that can help us all – all humankind, not just voters in important swing states.

That Hillary Clinton has not come out full force for complete de-scheduling and legalization and full normalization of legal cannabis in American demonstrates who she is concerned about. It not the sick or the unfairly arrested that Hillary is thinking about, it is only her own personal career and self-aggrandizement that animates Hillary Clinton.

I cannot support, nor can any of us at MLaw support, a person who is so craven and self interested, so callous and discompassionate, so greedy and duplicitous, so fake and so heartless.

national

Farm Bureau and Chamber of Commerce Unclear on the Concept in Arkansas

In Arkansas, organizations set up to assist business people and farmers in navigating and succeeding in the market place have joined forces to hobble small businesses and farmers by choosing to erect barriers to the marketplace.

Arkansans will be able to vote on two initiatives regarding medical cannabis on this year’s ballot in Arkansas.

arkansas farm bureau

Strange as it may seem, and contradicting the stated mission of these private membership organizations, the Arkansas Farm Bureau and the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce have joined forces to block our nation’s most lucrative cash crop, cannabis, from entering the marketplace in that state.

Ostensibly, these two organizations, which have previously been faithful advocates for farmers and small businessmen, would be expected to encourage and lionize the entry of cannabis as a legal product into the Arkansas commerce marketplace, given these groups’ historical support of the manufacturers and sellers all products, irrespective of how dangerous they may be, including the dangerous and addictive products sold by the tobacco and liquor industries.

In the case of the product cannabis, these organizations would be expected to be on the forefront of lobbying for legal cannabis in Arkansas because of the remarkable success for businessmen, farmers and taxing authorities that legal cannabis has been in the states where it is legal, Oregon, Colorado and Washington.

In OR, the state received $14.9 million in tax benefits from the sale of $60 million worth of legal cannabis in it’s first year of sales. And in CO, legal cannabis sales have brought in over $1 billion in sales since 2014 providing tax revenues of $135 million to the cash strapped state in 2015 alone, $35 million of which is targeted by law to fund Colorado’s schools.

The Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation’s Stanley Hill, vice president of public affairs and government relations, said the potential recognition of the medical benefits of cannabis could “be detrimental to the entire economy of the state in our opinion.”

Rather than supporting the creation of a multi-million dollar market place for legal medical cannabis in Arkansas, the Chamber and Farm Bureau have called for simply ignoring the lucrative successes in CO, OR and WA and slamming the door shut for Arkansan businesses and farmers.

national

Doucette’s diatribe: duplicitous disinformation or downright dumbassery?

by Patrick Devlin

The chief of police in Bennington Vermont, Paul Doucette, is doing anti-cannabis prohibitionists a disservice after returning from a cannabis fact finding mission in the tolerant and compassionate state of Colorado.

Doucette’s recent anti-cannabis pronouncements are so off-base he threatens the prohibitionist talking-points playbook by relating nonsense regarding legalized cannabis that is so false that it inhabits a bizzaro world that is unmoored from extant reality – not to suggest that anti-cannabis warriors have ever really cared about extant reality.

paul doucette, propagandist

As legislators begin discussion of several bills before the statehouse in Vermont regarding cannabis legalization, Doucette, speaking to TV News WRGB Albany, New York, advised that he counsels against cannabis legalization because;

“To now legalize another mind altering substance, and task us with monitoring that, monitoring the sales, the cultivation and all the things that go along with it, you’re really tasking the police department in Bennington that’s already overburdened with issues we’re seeing.”

We can take from the statement that while the chief may be a good soldier in the nation’s war on cannabis, he falls short when it comes to finding facts.

In Colorado, as in Washington, Alaska and Oregon, states where adults are allowed to consume cannabis legally for recreational purposes, no local police department is “tasked” with overseeing cannabis cultivation, cannabis safety monitoring, cannabis sales or cannabis taxation.

While we are certain that Chief Doucette is really good at spreading propaganda, we are equally certain he knows very well that – across America – no local police department is required by state or federal law to be “tasked” with any government obligation to monitor, regulate or oversee in any way whatsoever either the sale of tobacco or alcohol, and for Doucette to pretend to the TV reporters that legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes in Vermont will require any additional efforts from local police departments that will dangerously “over burden” their resources is a bold faced misrepresentation that is unmoored from the truth; i.e. a lie.

Doucette may, as is the case with many anti-cannabis drug warriors, be of the belief that citizens of Vermont who desire to end cannabis prohibition in the state are befuddled and dimwitted stoners who will simply accept more lying by law enforcement officials, just like during the bad old days of the 80 year war on cannabis in America. But, speaking disinformation instead of telling the truth is not in the job description of police chiefs and actually countervails concern for the public’s safety.

It is clear that Doucette learned nothing from his cannabis commerce junket to Colorado – for example, the fact that drugged driving accidents have declined, that fewer kids report using cannabis, that there are no instances of Coloradans being harmed from poorly cultivated cannabis, and that crime in Colorado is down. In addition, and a fact worth reminding the chief of, Colorado has also made a boatload of cash taxing the sale of legal cannabis – much of which is mandated by law to be spent on law enforcement, including on local police departments. And, also a fact that Doucette did not learn, the police have realized that legalizing cannabis helps them by freeing up their resources, allowing them to pursue actual crime.

Doucette, it seems, keeps gum-flapping, spreading known falsehoods to media outlets while the citizens of Bennington and Vermont plead for politicians and law enforcement officials to end the wasteful and destructive war on cannabis.

We urge Chief Doucette to stop quaffing the truth altering anti-cannabis propaganda, go back to school in Colorado and this time learn something about legal cannabis and public safety, before the citizens of Bennington Vermont learn that their police chief is a left-over drug war zealot who needs to be replaced.

national

Hey Volkow, you prohibitionist quack, please try to ‘do no harm’

by Patrick Devlin

For years now, and important years they have been for the cause of freeing cannabis from the grip of propagandists and prohibitionist, Dr. Nora Volkow, the head of our government’s National Institute on Drug Addiction has been spending a whole lot of her time and energies demonizing the substance cannabis.

Strange, her compulsion to do this as we as a nation must console the families of sick and dying addicts every year who fall ill using our favorite addictive substances, the legal life killers tobacco and alcohol. Especially strange as Nora knows full well that cannabis is known by honest scientists to be as addictive as caffeine and acetaminophen (you know, Coke and Tylenol). And even stranger when America’s head of addiction research knows that there is absolutely no dispute that tobacco and alcohol are both extremely addictive and extremely deadly.

quack quacking

Even though it is true that many American citizens are now becoming aware that they have been lied to by our leaders about cannabis – both politicians as well as federally employed research scientists – as cannabis legalization is normalized across the US, Volkow has determined that there is value in continuing to misreport, propagandize, demonize and misrepresent what we know and what we are discovering about cannabis now that 80 years of the prohibition of the medical study of the substance has finally and thankfully come to an end.

We likely cannot expect biased and drug war bred politicos to be honest about cannabis, but doctors? Doctors with degrees and all that schooling, knowing that their statements matter to the citizens that they serve, doctors? One would hope that, having participated in selling a lie for over half a century, a doctor like Volkow would at least (for the sake of truth and the health of our citizens) be shamed into reporting facts as facts and make a personal vow to be objective, to consciously avoid being biased and deceptive.

Maybe a vow like this;

I swear by Apollo the physician, and Aesculapius the surgeon, likewise Hygeia and Panacea, and call all the gods and goddesses to witness, that I will observe and keep this underwritten oath, to the utmost of my power and judgment.

I will reverence my master who taught me the art. Equally with my parents, will I allow him things necessary for his support, and will consider his sons as brothers. I will teach them my art without reward or agreement; and I will impart all my acquirement, instructions, and whatever I know, to my master’s children, as to my own; and likewise to all my pupils, who shall bind and tie themselves by a professional oath, but to none else.

With regard to healing the sick, I will devise and order for them the best diet, according to my judgment and means; and I will take care that they suffer no hurt or damage.

Nor shall any man’s entreaty prevail upon me to administer poison to anyone; neither will I counsel any man to do so. Moreover, I will give no sort of medicine to any pregnant woman, with a view to destroy the child.

Further, I will comport myself and use my knowledge in a godly manner.

I will not cut for the stone, but will commit that affair entirely to the surgeons.

Whatsoever house I may enter, my visit shall be for the convenience and advantage of the patient; and I will willingly refrain from doing any injury or wrong from falsehood, and (in an especial manner) from acts of an amorous nature, whatever may be the rank of those who it may be my duty to cure, whether mistress or servant, bond or free.

Whatever, in the course of my practice, I may see or hear (even when not invited), whatever I may happen to obtain knowledge of, if it be not proper to repeat it, I will keep sacred and secret within my own breast.
If I faithfully observe this oath, may I thrive and prosper in my fortune and profession, and live in the estimation of posterity; or on breach thereof, may the reverse be my fate!
– the Hippocratic Oath, sworn to by all who become degreed physicians

“I will willingly refrain from doing any injury or wrong from falsehood…”, one would hope.

Now, it’s s not because this high flying government research scientist is stupid that she clings to false framing and misrepresentation about cannabis while knowingly shilling for whatever interest she is shilling for, be it the pharmaceutical industry, the private prison industry, the booze industry or the tobacco industry – all leeches feeding off of our society. Volkow is always sleezilly speedy in her invocation of the “true dangers” of cannabis as she has reported in her own research work that suggests a connection between anxiety and depression in cannabis users. Volkow is sure to relate in the interviews she gives as head of a government health agency that she is so very concerned about cannabis users anxiety and depression.

Well, Volkow, having vowed to “impart all my acquirement, instructions, and whatever I know” in the service of advancing the health of the nation, must be damn happy that a new medical study has found that “cannabis use (is) not associated with increased risk for developing mood or anxiety disorders,” or any other mental illnesses. This is in a scientific study that took care to control for a multiplicity of factors, including socio-demographic characteristics, family history, environment and past and present psychiatric disorders. Volkow can now, charged as she is by her vow, to spread honest medical truth, stifle and desist with the fear mongering and advise the nation that her warnings about cannabis causing anxiety and depression were wrong and people should no longer fear that cannabis is an evil anxiety and depression causing weed.

But wait, as the nation’s news fakers report the story, there is scant mention of the years of inaccurate and wrong fear mongering, little reference to the study’s debunking of the prohibitionist anxiety and depression meme from the press and no mention whatsoever from the mouth of our nation’s top addiction doctor.

What the prohibitionist media and Volkow focused on instead was another of the study’s findings, that cannabis users may in the future abuse other drugs that are more dangerous than cannabis, such as alcohol. The study’s authors found that cannabis users were three timers more likely to abuse alcohol three years after the study’s initial research.

Importantly, the researchers pointed out that this association does not prove cannabis use causes other substance abuse problems, but they speculated that similarities between marijuana and other substances “may contribute to the association of cannabis use with (substance use disorders) but not with most other disorders examined.” The researchers posited that, “use of cannabis can also lead to behavioral disinhibition, which increases the likelihood of use of other substances and the risk of abuse or dependence on those substances.”

To be clear, the study found a correlation, not proven causation, between cannabis use (an extremely mildly addictive substance, despite it’s illegality) and later abuse of alcohol (a demonstrably addictive and deadly substance, in spite of it’s legality). More importantly, the study debunked the often repeated scare tactic of prohibitionists regarding cannabis use causing anxiety and depression.

What was it that the good-oath-taking-government-paid-doctor told the press when asked about the study? Volkow told FOXNews;

“These results delineate more clearly the outlines of the possible adverse psychiatric outcomes associated with cannabis use. Patients, doctors, advocates, and policymakers should understand that cannabis use, even for medicinal purposes, is associated with a clear risk of developing cannabis and/or other substance use disorders. This knowledge should be incorporated into clinical care and policy planning.”

So, we should be worried that cannabis users may become abusive drinkers who may become enmeshed in the horrors of alcohol addiction, and this 2 steps from reality consciousness should inform our policy making? Huh?

Maybe the doctor should have advised that drinking alcohol is dangerous, potentially addictive and is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States causing 88,000 deaths each year, and cannabis is mildly addictive and has never caused a death in human history.

Volkow is in a position of power to lobby for the re-classification of cannabis from being considered to be highly addictive and of no medical value. Volkow knows that the classification of cannabis is a destructive and harm causing lie. Volkow keeps quacking and America keeps treating cannabis like heroin. Volkow does nothing. Volkow has broken her vow.

Dr. Nora Volkow, we beg of you, please try to do no more harm.

national

Sushrut Jangi’s Sleazy Schemes to Slay Self-created Straw Dogs Are Not Science

By Patrick Devlin

Can we please stop using deceptive and discredited propaganda techniques to scare Americans?

When a guy puts on a white doctor’s jacket and, having wrapped himself in the patina of medical respectability, begins to breathlessly describe how advocating for regulated medical experimentation and equal justice in our country in the twenty first century will endanger the lives of our nation’s precious children, we are obliged to stand up and remind everyone that advancing straw dog arguments in the service of supporting a socially destructive and immoral edifice of laws and brakes on the advancement of science is a shameful act of deceit.

Sushrut Jagi, Propagandist

Dr. Sushrut Jangi has shown in his recent opinion piece (published in the Boston Globe on October 8, 2015) that, while he may be a fine doctor, he has chosen to be a propagandist by deceptively asserting that those Americans who support the recreational use of cannabis or the medical application of the substance to treat sick patients are blasé, neglectful, dismissive or do not care about “the children” as he deploys a self-created straw dog that he can gallantly slay in his self-appointed role as protector of the children from drug craving, child harming cannabis advocates.

Newsflash to the editors of the Boston Globe: No person who advocates for the reclassification of cannabis by the Justice Department, no person who supports legalizing cannabis for medical use or recreational consumption has ever advocated for allowing children to recreationally use cannabis – no one.

The sleazy Sushrut sets forth his thesis early on in the piece establishing quite clearly to an observant reader that he has no intention of speaking as a licensed and trained medical professional:

“(U)nderscoring the incredible momentum to legalize marijuana is the misconception that the drug can’t hurt anybody. It can, especially young people”,

and instead, intends only to obfuscate, misrepresent and terrify through an act of calculated and intentionally deceptive propaganda.

Dr. Jangi, can you please stop inferring the falsehood that the goal of cannabis activists is to in any way allow or make it easier for minors to use cannabis or to promote the use of cannabis by minors? The predicate of your propagandized rant is false. Your intentional fanning of the fear flames is deceptive, immoral and unethical.

I do not care how much you personally hate cannabis or how much of your professional existence is determined by our government’s funding the 45 year horror that has been the ‘war on cannabis’, your donning a doctor’s disguise while peddling faulty logic in the service of broadcasting political propaganda is disgusting, dangerous and deceitful. You may be a doctor, but as an essayist or opinion writer your premise is wholly concocted and your goal is not advancing knowledge but shutting down discussion by promoting bogus and chimerical fears.

It is really revealing when a person who is empowered by his education chooses to mis-use his status to promote patently false theories in support of a hidden agenda. I know that doctors are allegedly guided by the Hippocratic oath (to shorthand for the purpose of this discussion; ‘do no harm’). I ask, Sushrut, how can your misrepresentational assertion that cannabis advocates are not concerned for the health of our nation’s youth be considered as anything less than a lie and nothing more than an ethical failure. To assert that I do not care about “the children” is counter-factual, disparaging, deceitful, unethical and does great harm.

I would suggest, Doctor, if your desire is to engage in deceptive attacks in the world of public policy – take off the hospital scrubs disguise and seek employment at Fox News.

To be clear, this analysis has nothing to do with the so-called medical facts that Dr. Jangi uses to buttress his manufactured straw dog thesis and we have refuted the so-called evidence that Jangi re-hashes in the Globe opinion piece on many occasions. But rather it is with regard to Jangi’s choice to deceptively broadcast his medical credentials to give cover as he proffers a discredited and harmful load of propaganda.

If Jangi wants to be honest for a human second he will have to agree with mLaw that the concerns that he presents in his scare mongering piece will be settled quite easily – not by ending the normalization of legal cannabis in America, which is what he propagandizes in support of, but by re-scheduling cannabis so that we can finally do real scientific experimentation to understand the medical uses of cannabis, as we here at mLaw support.

As it stands, Jangi clearly throws his support behind the medieval and anti-science stance of continuing a knowing and immoral program of shutting down medical research for going on nearly 100 years that is concomitant with a knowing and immoral police policy in our land that has resulted in tens of millions of otherwise law abiding citizens being permanently saddled with an arrest record, if not a conviction record. It is difficult to gauge the cruelty and recklessness of such a stance.

I ask you doctor, have you no concern for the young Americans of color who have been imprisoned unequally and unfairly? Have you no concern for the children who are receiving blessed and unquestionable relief from medical cannabis today?

I ask you Sushrut, have you no human compassion for these, some of our “most vulnerable populations”?

I ask you Sushrut Jangi, have you no sense of decency at long last?

national

The Practicality of Outlawing that which is ‘Unreasonably Impractical’

by Patrick Devlin

As we walk forward into the new American world of legal cannabis normalization, a plethora of citizens’ initiatives and state bills regarding legalization are sprouting up around the country.

The citizens’ initiatives, taking their inspiration from and in some instances borrowing directly from initiatives passed by the thoughtful and engaged citizenry of Washington, Colorado, Alaska and Oregon reflect that regular Americans are fed up with the tail-dragging, cowardly and stumble-block imposing Feds, who do nothing as our culture is engaged in an unstoppable cannabis normalization revolution that will forever change the way we incarcerate, medicate and recreate in America.

In some states, unlike at the federal law and regulation making level, politicians are beginning to explore straight-up legislative cannabis legalization (laws passed by statehouses as opposed to citizen demands in the form of referenda), evidencing that local-yokel politicians are loosening their war on cannabis mindsets largely on account of the fact that they want to keep getting re-elected by their cannabis sensible constituents and (probably for the most part) because they need to raise tax revenue but they don’t want to tax their suburban home owning residents and see cannabis sin taxing as an alternative for raising revenues.

One of the states that is poised to become the first state to legalize cannabis by an act of the legislature is Michigan where, at the same time multiple competing citizens’ initiatives regarding cannabis legalization are moving forward, a Democratic legislator from Ann Arbor, Jeff Irwin, has introduced a bill that would legalize cannabis in Michigan. Irwin’s bill calls for establishing a licensing process, setting a statewide taxation level and calling for revenues raised through the legal sale of cannabis to support health care and education in the state.

The text of the bill (which mLaw has linked to on our home page ) is fairly standard as reflected against other state’s cannabis legalization proposals, but it does have a couple of components that are noteworthy.

The proposed legislation allows a licensed grower to possess “any number of immature plants less than 12 inches in height and diameter that do not have buds or flowers.” This component of the proposal is written incorporating some knowledge of cannabis horticulture as it indicates that the bill’s authors are cognizant of the fact that mature un-fertilized female cannabis plants have a significantly higher value than either male plants or fertilized female plants for adults who are seeking to use the substance for medicine or recreation. It is true that the proposal limits the number of mature plants citizens will be allowed to cultivate under the rule, but the fact that the authors differentiate is a sign that the writers truly want to provide sensible and effective regulation of legal cannabis.

This is opposed to some of the rules established in states where cannabis is legal due to citizen initiatives. Cannabis may be legal, but its growth and use are circumscribed by prohibitionist minded local officials who are concerned only with raising tax revenue and who have absolutely no concern for patients or adults who actually intend to use legal cannabis.

Do you realize that in legal cannabis Washington it is illegal for an adult to cultivate cannabis for their own individual use? And, in Ohio, the ballot initiative regarding legalizing cannabis that stands the greatest chance of passing into law limits the growth of legal cannabis to a tiny cartel of well-connected private parties, as opposed to giving all citizens the right to cultivate for their private use.

In my state, local regulatory prohibitionists in one county have established a fee for applying for a license to grow medical cannabis that exceeds $100,000 (and that’s just the application fee!). Clearly, these local cultural custodians are more concerned with keeping cannabis out than allowing patients to purchase medicine. These are examples of what we here at mLaw refer to as regulatory prohibition, efforts by local town, county and state officials who are miffed dead-enders who lost their “war on cannabis” but still want to impose their prohibitionist fed hatred of cannabis on the rest of us.

Sadly, there are many who spout factually wrong ‘statistics’ to scare themselves and others too intellectually lazy to do the research and find out that it is a fact: cannabis is an incredibly useful medical substance and recreational use of cannabis is safer for society than our other recreational drugs, tobacco and alcohol. See presidential candidates Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie as examples of studiously un-informed practitioners of last-century drug war misrepresentation and dangerous medical quackery. And, in a country where county clerk dictator Kim Davis is some sort of folk hero to bigoted suburbanites for refusing to do her government job, we should expect that the dead-ender-sore-loser fight against reasonable cannabis regulation will continue until the inevitable federalizing of legal cannabis (which could take years).

Thankfully, my experience with capitalism is, in general, that the urge to make cash will eventually overcome the regulatory prohibition schemes that sore loser cannabis warriors come up with to force us to accommodate their prejudices. However, in the meantime we have to be vigilant to not let prohibitionist regulators stymie the normalization of legal cannabis by applying the heavy hand of regulation where it is not needed and where it inhibits the legal medical and recreational use of the substance.

Circling back to the Michigan bill, and to the point addressed above, the writers of the proposal inserted an interesting and liberating concept into their proposal: defining that which is “unreasonably impractical.” The bill prohibits the development of rules and ordinances by tax revenue addicted and prohibitionist minded state and municipal authorities that would “require such a high risk or investment of money, time or any other resource or asset that a reasonably prudent businessperson would not engage in the operation of a marijuana establishment.” The goal of the law is, after all, to enable cannabis commerce, not limit it.

It is a sad statement that a law establishing legal cannabis sales has to include a provision prohibiting officials from creating a licensing and regulatory schema that is so costly and complex that the regulatory system itself will discourage, stifle or confound the marketplace rendering sale of the new consumer product impossible – but that is what we have today in modern, legal cannabis America and that’s exactly what sore-loser drug warriors want.

That is why we here at mLaw favor establishing the right of citizens to personally grow their own cannabis and for patients who are too incapacitated by their illness to garden.

All state laws should allow for the personal gardening of cannabis, a right absent from the Washington state law as I mentioned above. The ostensible reasons for this prohibition stem largely from an understandable but misguided impression that is actually a bit of rotting detritus left over from the drug war days; this being, that politicians are fearful of personal growers selling cannabis in a black market in states where cannabis is not legal or to minors in states where it is legal.

These concerns will of course be made moot in the coming world where cannabis is federally legalized, a world where there is no black market for adults and cannabis is as commercially available as alcohol. In modern America there is simply no scary situation where basement beer brewers are selling their wares to children – and to suggest that adults can’t home brew beer because of this ridiculous phantasm of a fake fear would and should be considered by rational adults to be outlandish and unnecessary. And, additionally, as we have seen in Colorado, since the legalization of cannabis, fewer minors report using the substance: yes, fewer.

To brew beer, grow tomatoes, grow cannabis – all of these, we think, are choices we should be able to make for ourselves to free us from corporate farming, pesticides, bio-engineering and to enable us to know where our food and sustenance are really coming from. All of these liberate us, free us and are, really, fundamentally American.

American legal cannabis will be offered for sale at your local mini-mart in the future. But it also should be growing between the rows of corn in your garden, amongst the chrysanthemums in your flower bed and in every Toledo window box.

national

The Inevitability of Democratic Dry-Doperism

by Patrick Devlin

“It would be irresponsible for me as the chief law enforcement officer to take a position based on its popularity without thinking it would actually work” – Kamala Harris, candidate for California Attorney General, 2014

“I am not opposed to the legalization of marijuana, there’s a certain inevitability about it.” – Kamala Harris, newly re-elected California Attorney General, 2014

“Be the change you want to see” – Gandhi

Well, it was inevitable.

That a sitting Democrat, even one from the avant state of California, would admit the obvious after running away from the obvious as she ran for re-election, and come clean, fess up, speak reality and stop with the timorous mealy-mouthery and calculated misrepresentation on cannabis legalization.

Freshly re-elected California Attorney General Kamala Harris recently told Californians that she made a craven choice to obfuscate as the silly season was unfolding – that she believes (a belief shared by about 99 percent of Americans, including the paid prohibitionist anti-cannabis propagandists Patrick Kennedy and Kevin Sabet) legal cannabis in her state and the country is “inevitable”.

What we also know by now, after four states and Washington DC have legalized recreational cannabis consumption, it is inevitable that modern elected Democrats will either hem and haw about their position on legalization or stake an outright (and untenable) prohibitionist stance against cannabis legalization and work to keep the substance illegal – ensuring the arrest of more minority Americans and the pain and suffering of many of their fellow citizens.

And, in this year’s California Attorney General’s race, Ms. Harris shown as a masterfully scheming dry-doper politician, segueing effortlessly from coy quips and chuckles to strongly worded finger-wagging morality plays (see above), ensuring both to-be-arrested young minority males and scared-as-shit suburban parents that she will not lend a hand to equal justice demanding Californians, claiming the tough law enforcement territory on legalized cannabis. In fact, Harris’s republican challenger, the wacky straw-dog candidate Ron Gold, actually took the medically responsible and certainly more rational, law enforcement cost saving and equal justice uplifting pro-cannabis legalization position in the race. It is understood that Gold didn’t stand a chance against Harris with his odd-ball Libertarian worldview, but, who can really argue with the statement; “It is common sense, reasonable and rational to change laws that have driven the market for marijuana into the hands of drug cartels and street gangs.” The answer…Kamala Harris.

Harris’s reaction to questions from the media regarding her challenger’s stance on cannabis legalization, (a very Obama like laugh-off when Harris said with a derisive guffaw, “He’s entitled to his opinion”) angered Californians who are serious about legalizing cannabis, driving some very liberal voters to support the republican from a standpoint of principle – voters who had never voted for a republican in their lives. Harris may have angered some hippies, but she certainly received the support of law enforcement in the 2014 election cycle. And, she didn’t have to admit that law enforcement unequally applies the laws prohibiting cannabis or explain to suburban mommies why she is hanging with those dirty hippies.

While Harris’s crass self-obsessive posturing, her effort to not anger law enforcement constituencies as she scans the horizon of her political career shooting for the stars (again, in a very Obama like fashion – the state senator who supported both cannabis decriminalization and the creation of a Palestinian state for reasons, looking back, that were purely political) may have made her forget the public that she has promised to serve, Democratic Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsome (also newly re-elected) chose to insert cannabis legalization as a plank in his 2014 re-election campaign.

As cannabis legalization is forced by the will of the people in state after state and as medical researchers discover the usefulness of the substance after 80 years of the federal government’s suppression of medical research, we can expect to see more self-serving Democratic politicians sheepishly come to grips with Legal Cannabis America and reverse course on the subject.

This is not to suggest that these dry-doper Democrats will reverse course out of principle or personal integrity or compassion. This does not mean that these liars will admit that their clinging to cannabis prohibition (that is antithetical to both equal justice and scientific research) so as to be elected over and over again by both stoking and appealing to fears and bigotries in their constituencies that they once saw as a requirement for ‘tough on crime’ Democrats, was immoral and wrong and served to give tens of millions of young Americans arrest records and limit the quality of life of patients who have terminal diseases. They will admit that cannabis should be legal simply because their future political careers hang in the balance.

That’s not bravery and honesty; it is, rather, cowardice and narcissism.

national

Mr. Obama, Tear Down This Wall!

by Patrick Devlin

Over the past months the national media have stumbled upon the fact that the Great American Prohibition of cannabis has some pretty nasty consequences for regular ‘folks’, as the president likes to refer to us. Perhaps you have followed the stories of the knowing and on-going aggressive application of our nation’s antiquated and unjustly applied local, state and federal laws regarding cannabis.

The national press has reported on how the war on cannabis harms our sick citizens. There has been sympathetic reportage of the plight of families who have become medical refugees, forced to up-root their lives and other parents who have chosen to break the law so their suffering children can get the medical treatment they need in America.

There have been stories about patients who, because they work for institutions that receive federal funding, have to choose between being employed and using medicine. And the press commendably understands the nature of the disturbing threat of our Veteran’s Administration to refuse medical care to veterans who use cannabis to treat their battle injuries and symptoms of post-war-fighting-stress.

Also of note, a stream of reports of grossly overzealous actions against cannabis criminals that seem to be more acts of police force enrichment than acts of public safety enforcement.

In bizzaro America, as even the milquetoasty left media are finally reporting on the failure that is our disastrous war on drugs and how it has been based upon years of self-serving lies, amped up local coppers, go-getter prosecutors, an amalgam of frenzied state and federal agencies, rigor mortis judges and even private gun-wielding helicopter anti-cannabis posses are still hunting prey as our dry-doper politicos duck their heads and kick the cannabis can down the road until they are safely retired.

I know that the ‘we got to respect law enforcement’ crowd pulls out the ol’ “well, it’s still illegal, ain’t it?” dodge when the press reports on aggressive enforcement actions taken by politically motivated prosecutors and bigoted officers to justify prosecuting small time cannabis users – so I want to remind that police and prosecutors are never required to take the most aggressive action allowed under the law and are given tremendous leeway to make prosecutorial decisions. End-of-cannabis-prohibition arrests and ambiguities really don’t need to happen.

An example of this capacity to apply discretion is contained in the letter that the Department of Justice sent to all US Attorneys in 2009 advising that they should make “efficient and rational use of (the Department’s) limited investigative and prosecutorial resources” and should use their “plenary authority with regard to federal criminal matters” in situations involving cannabis, reminding US attorneys that they are “invested by statute and delegation from the Attorney General with the broadest discretion” in the exercise of their authority.

That makes sense to most Americans, but our cowardly federal politicians still hide behind deceptively deployed medical research and the intentionally stoked fears of propagandized voters to take no action on the federal legalization of recreational and medical cannabis.

We are put by self-interested politicians in a position of having to live in an America with a barrier that has been erected to support the failed war against cannabis – a barrier that separates us from one another.

We know, for example, that political inaction on cannabis legalization has created a permanently stigmatized class in our country – 600,000 cannabis arrestees or more added every year. 18 million of our fellow citizens over the course 30 years, the vast majority of whom are African and Latino Americans. This is only one way the war against cannabis harms all of us.

In our attempts to end this fixable travesty we are stymied by self-serving politicos who are fearful of angering constituencies, and who must, therefore, ‘evolve’ on the issue before taking the logical, compassionate and equality enhancing step of legalizing cannabis.

We all know of the unfair application of justice now.

We all know that the sick can be treated using cannabis today.

As long as this war against cannabis exists, as long as this barrier of political inaction is permitted to stand, it is not only the casualties of the war; patients, young African and Latino Americans, our students – our brethren, who are consigned to lives marked by unfairness and suffering, but it is all Americans, at least all Americans who care.

We are barricaded from stepping together hopefully into post-prohibition America.

Mr. Obama, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity, if you seek liberalization, consider this barrier.

Mr. Obama, tear down this wall!

national

Cali Patients Find Relief, National Prohibitionists Looking Pallid

by Patrick Devlin

An analysis of data collected in 2012 through the annual California Behavioral Risk Factor survey revealed that a significant majority of patients who use cannabis for serious medical conditions self-reported that the substance was effective in alleviating symptoms or treating serious medical conditions. 92 percent of respondents who admitted using medical cannabis reported that the substance brought them relief from their symptoms, including relief from the symptoms of debilitating and life threatening diseases such as chronic pain, migraines, arthritis and cancer.

The annual computerized phone poll, conducted by the Public Health Institute, randomly surveyed over 7500 Californians about all kinds of health concerns and conditions – the study did not focus specifically on medical cannabis users. The study revealed that an average of five percent of Californians use medical cannabis, a population that included adult Californians of all ages, races and backgrounds. Although more young adults reported choosing cannabis as medicine to treat their illnesses, the study’s authors reported that “the absolute difference in prevalence (of cannabis use) between the racial/ethnic groups is less than three percent.” A difference in usage rates that the authors consider being insignificant.

The study’s authors said that their analysis of the telephone poll revealed that the percentage of cannabis patients for all demographics is consistent across the population of patients in California and there is no evidence of a single demographic over using or abusing the medicine. Also, and importantly, the authors’ review found that medical cannabis users seek relief from the medicine for “medical conditions for which mainstream treatments may not exist…or may not be effective, including for chronic pain and cancer.”

The findings of the scientists who reviewed the data also conclusively refute one of the more pernicious and arrogant prohibitionist talking points: that cannabis is not medicine, the movement to recognize medical cannabis as a medicine is a cynical scheme by hippies who really are seeking the legalization of recreational cannabis, and patients who use cannabis medicine to treat their illnesses are either liars or pawns.

Patients are listening to their bodies, doctors are listening to their patients; however, police and politicians still refuse to engage, learn and move to reclassify and decriminalize as the states push bravely and with no federal support toward a future where American patients can receive the medicine they need.