I just finished watching a documentary, "The Union, the business behind getting high", on Netflix (Netflix is my addiction).  Damning as far as setting forth an argument against prohibition, showing the societal costs of prohibition as opposed to lack of known negatives.  To be transparent about my own situation, I used as a teenager, thought better of it after getting some heroin-tainted product (which was too amazing), and never used again.  Didn't like getting high anyway.  I don't smoke, almost never drink, and it took a major disc problem before I was willing to take vicodin, and then only very briefly.  I really hate what oxycodone has done to our medical system and to management of pain in the susceptible, addictive-prone populations.  Purdue-Pharma has destroyed many lives, and made megabux, on oxycontin.  But I certainly don't care if other people use marijuana. 

 

The documentary set forth arguments for medical benefits in certain settings.  In some ways, they sound like "cure-all" benefits of other herbs, vitamins, and "natural products".  The costs of prohibition are significant, including infrastructure, outlays for employment of enforcing personnel, adding to distrust of government, and restriction of individual freedoms for little reason.

 

 

Costs of prohibition:

High incarceration rate.

Diversion of resources from other needs.

Miseducation of the public.

Deprives citizens of a generally safe product for entertainment and palliation.

 

Benefits of prohibition:

Certain industries benefit - private prisons, employment of prison guards, pharmaceutical industries.

Certain politicians benefit.  Plus, they're afraid that if they support repeal of prohibition, they'll lose the next election.

Parents get to have a soothing, false sense of security that their kids aren't using weed.  Just ocycontin and heroin.

 

 

It bothers me that marijuana is promoted as medicinal.  Even with certain benefits, the doctor is currently put in the impossible position of either being a 'go-to' person for "marijuana cards" - potentially putting their license at risk, and swamping their practice with people who want it for their 'headaches', 'back pain', and other real or not-real symptoms.  In addition, with increasing issues of oxycodone and other narcotic diversion, the DEA requires drug testing of some pain patients and if marijuana is present, their legal narcotic prescriptions must sometimes be cancelled.  With no quality control, safety regulation, dose management, it's impossible for the doctor to know what they are prescribing, or if it is safe or effective.  Not to mention, there is no training in use of marijuana and it doesnt come with long, lawyer-written disclaimers about the zillions of potential side effects that you get with, say, your cholesterol or blood pressure pills.

 

Really, medical marijuana seems like a 'back-door' route to  legalization.  But it's no more honest than people who want it illegal to "limit use", since it certainly hasn't eliminated use.

 

 

The primary use of marijuana is and should be recreational.  As for actual scientific trials of marijuana - I'm not sure there are any, or many, good clinical trials.  If someone wants to use it "medicinally", it should be in the same category as naturopathy or herbalism, unless controlled trials are able to demonstrate specific benefits in specific medical scenarios.  What is so bad about people having some fun?  It's safer than booze.  It's already illegal to drive while intoxicated, wehther with ethanol or marijuana.

 

What would happen if we eliminated the prohibition?

 

 

1 - Monsanto would make genetically engineered marijuana, and drive small players out of the market.  The Monsanto product would be Roundup-Ready, contain B. thuringensis as a pesticide, and contain zero (as opposed to almost zero) THC.  This would be a better renewable product than some of our other fiber and paper products.  (That being said, most of the hemp clothes that I have seen are really scratchy - maybe Ive just seen the wrond ones).  The tobacco companies, with existing manufacturing and marketing infrastructure, might dominate the market.

 

2 - Large scale use of hemp as an agricultural commodity, for fabric, fiber, and other uses, would make available billions of acres of plant material, and swamp the market with fake marijuana, resulting in sales of non-intoxicating hemp as bogus marijuana.  The only way for people to be sure that their weed is good, will be development of brand name products. 

 

3 - Companies like Marboro would get into the recreational marijuana industry, developing trusted brand names so that people could be reassured that they are buying "the real deal" instead of hemp intended for T-shirt manufacture or paper.  Some people would grow their own.  The plants do look pretty. 

 

Where is the nonsense in discussion of marijuana?

-claiming It's incredibly harmful.

-claiming Dire consequences would occur if prohibition ended.

-claiming It's a cure-all for anything that ails you.

-claiming It's a medicinal product and should be treated as medicine.

 

So that's my 2¢

Tags: marijuana

Views: 268

Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for the background on the story. There have been a lot of cases where a corporation decides saving money is worth a few deaths or injuries. Now I feel differently about this story!
I agree with your "tax stamp" idea... a "person use" stamp for a guy with a green thumb like me who wants a tad more quality control for say $250 bucks a year for up to say 10 plants and a commercial dispensary stamp for say 5 grand for quantities over that, and all stamp holders subjected to pre-approval and spot checks for secured grow facilities. I'd be getting my tax stamp the same month i renewed my car plates.
I brew my own beer.... >>
But seriously; good post.

For recreational use I definitely think it's on par with alcohol, only safer. As far as dosage goes there is a way to find out how much THC is in the product, especially if it comes from a committed and ethical grower. I most certainly would not want it to move beyond medicinal as is the view of many patients. :-) Monsanto can kiss my ass.

It may not cure my carpal tunnel or mend the torn ligaments in my lower back but there's no doubt that it curbs my insomnia.
Lotta good comments on this thread, and a fine original post. I would only add that it has been exceedingly difficult to study pot and its constituent chemistry because the plant has been illegal. It's annoying to hear the Puritans preach that no good science exists when they have been so successful in keeping the substance impossible to study. Until pot is easy to study, we'll never know what derivative products might come from it. I doubt that weed will ever be completely controlled by big pharma or big tobacco, because it is, after all, a weed which grows pretty much everywhere (just another reason why the DEA is tilting at windmills with respect to pot). On the other hand, as Daniel points out, doctors have very good reason to want to control dosages (even if it's hard to OD), and pharma may very well be able to identify substances or combinations of substances that are hard to get from the naturally grown plant without sophisticated processing.

I'm not personally that fond of the intoxicating effects of pot, and I've certainly seen people waste their lives in a blue haze, but I do believe it is far less harmful than alcohol, so what the hell? Of course, it just can't be good for your lungs to cram a bunch of any kind of smoke into them, but you can eat pot instead of smoking it for recreational purposes, and then it's hard to see how it would be physically harmful. Obviously ingestion doesn't work if you're taking it for nausea, but that seems to be an edge case. I think it's long since time that our society grew up and abandoned the hysteria over marijuana. Sadly, getting people to grow up is not as easy as getting them to grow old.
Sadly, getting people to grow up is not as easy as getting them to grow old.

Goes in the "Stolen Brilliancies" File ... and already on my Facebook "Quote" box.
Me too. "Priceless". Plus if you google on the expression, it takes you here.
Ze Google, she is spying upon us, yes?
It's wierd. Is there a word for this?
Not sure if there's an intertubez neologism, but it's basically an example of a search engine being accurate to the point of uselessness. Kind of like putting your home address into MapQuest and having it put up a blank page saying "You are here."
I like that. "Accurate to the point of uselessness".
By concidence, I saw this article today. "Long-Time Cannabis Use Associated With Psychosis".

...studied 3,801 young adults born between 1981 and 1984. At a 21-year follow-up, when participants were an average age of 20.1, they were asked about cannabis use in recent years and assessed using several measures of psychotic outcomes (including a diagnostic interview, an inventory of delusions and items identifying the presence of hallucinations)....

Compared with those who had never used cannabis, young adults who had six or more years since first use of cannabis (i.e., who commenced use when around 15 years or younger) were twice as likely to develop a non-affective psychosis and were four times as likely to have high scores on the Peters et al Delusions Inventory [a measure of delusion]," the authors write. "There was a 'dose-response' relationship between the variables of interest: the longer the duration since first cannabis use, the higher the risk of psychosis-related outcomes."


Read article for more detail.

The issue is complicated by the causation/correlation dilemma, and that is discussion in the article. Are people who are more prone to psychosis, more likely to indulge, and the more severe the mental illness, increasing the amount used? Vice versa? Or both at the same time (more head spinning here).

This gets into risk/benefit analysis. Nothing is wholly good or wholly bad (well, cyanide). The article seemed relevant to this discussion.

Add to that what is correlation between alcohol or certain medications and psychosis - here Certain drugs, such as opioid analgesics, benzodiazepines, digoxin, and drugs with anticholinergic side effects, can also cause temporary psychosis. Excessive alcohol use can cause temporary psychosis; chronic psychosis can result if the drinking is long-term.

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