Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

Along with our weekly in-depth Chronicle reporting, DRCNet has since late summer also been providing daily content in the way of blogging in the Stop the Drug War Speakeasy, as well as Latest News links (upper right-hand corner of most web pages), event listings (lower right-hand corner) and other info. Check out DRCNet every day to stay on top of the drug reform game!

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Speakeasy photo (courtesy arbizu.org)

This week:

It's ONDCP Ad Week in the Speakeasy, courtesy Scott Morgan: "Teens Who Use Drugs Are Less Likely to Get in Fights," "Marijuana Doesn't Cause Gang Membership, But the Drug War Does," "Pete Gets Off the Couch and Joins a Gang," "ONDCP's Emphasis on Marijuana is Incoherent on So Many Levels," "Pot, Aliens, and ONDCP"

Phil Smith informs us of "Advanced Drug Testing: Creepy Science, Creepy Scientists."

David Borden writes "Giuliani's Cocaine Connection," "Is another drug war bloodbath just around the corner?" (with a former ONDCP official's response that came in later), and many small items.

David Guard has been busy too, posting a plethora of press releases, action alerts, job listings and other interesting items reposted from many allied organizations around the world in our "In the Trenches" activist feed.

The Reader Blogs this week have posts from Martin Holsinger and from a long-time member (posting anonymously) with two fascinating stories from his own personal experience. Join the Reader Blogs here.

Thanks for reading, and writing...

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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A Letter to Michael Savage

I wrote this email to Michael Savage but the only email address I could find for him is no longer valid. So I offer it here, and maybe someone can tell him about it if they know him...

Dear Michael,

I was listening to a rebroadcast of one of your shows with my four-year-old -- and as you might guess, with the four-year-old, I missed details through distraction. What I heard you to say was that there was some study (missed who did it) that related marijuana to some mental disorder and that it was a high probability that if I smoke it I will develop the problem. Along with having listened to what you have said in the past about marijuana, I might suspect that you are not as well educated on the subject as you think you are.

No reputable study has linked marijuana to violent behavior (users tend to be less violent than “sober” people). And, in fact, in all the thousands of studies that have been done over the last 50 years, none made note of issues with mental disorders in their marijuana-smoking test subjects (there have been studies specifically looking for mental disorders that show a higher percentage of users with overall signs of depression than in the population at large, but concluding that the drug is necessarily creating the problem, without considering the possibility that people with depression are more likely to treat it, is poor statistical analysis). If marijuana is so likely to cause mental issues, you would think the studies, some fair percentage of them, would note this issue somewhere in their observations.

So I have to think the report you are quoting is from the same faction that gave us Reefer Madness, which told the American public that smoking marijuana turned one criminally insane. This is the faction that saw hemp as a threat to petro-oil investments (containing excellent hydrocarbons, hemp oil can run cars (Henry Ford made a car that ran on hemp oil), make plastics, and all other functions that petro-oil fills), paper-forest investments (W.R. Hearst was heavily invested in paper forests and made up stories of horrors in his effort to rid himself of the threat of hemp), pharmaceutical investments, beer and spirit manufacturers, textile manufacturers (e.g., cotton), pesticide companies (hemp requires little or no pesticide to grow unlike cotton), and more recently, prison-industrial complex investors. Conceivably even diet supplement and health food manufacturers might fall into the faction (since hemp seed provides an optimal balance of Omega-3 and -6 oils, protein and other healthful phytochemicals and could be seen to threaten their investments).

The faction also includes agencies of our government that use the black market created by the prohibitional laws to generate undocumented funds for their Black Ops.

The laws, in their prohibitionary nature, also create sanctioned excuses for the government to initiate, at no citizen’s request, invasions of privacy, and has suspended our right to hold our property until we have been proven in a court of law to have a debt owed (80% of people who have had property seized, on suspicion of drug involvement alone, are never charged with a crime).

Given the above, I might suspect that a lot of money is going into keeping marijuana illegal, and would include the money to issue a “study” engineered to misinform the public.

Meanwhile, reputable institutions worldwide are finding rather awesome benefits. Recently it has been discovered that, contrary to previous belief, the human brain is capable of building new neurons. Getting smarter, one must presume. Out of the University of Saskatchewan:

Most so-called drugs of abuse -- such as alcohol or cocaine -- inhibit the growth of new neurons, according to Xia Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Saskatchewan.

"Only marijuana promotes neurogenesis," Dr. Zhang said. (Reported in the Journal of Clinical Investigation)

For years the fact that smoking it does NOT deteriorate the lungs has been known. (See the Kaiser Permanente study - "Marijuana Use and Mortality" April 1997 American Journal of Public Health and a UCLA study in Volume 155 of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 1997.)

THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, has been shown to fight cancer in rats. The probability that the same is true in humans is quite high and the probability that the THC exacerbates cancer in humans is approaching nil. (CANADA: Pot Doesn't Cause Lung Cancer, Researcher Says: Toronto Star, 12 June 2001; New 126-Page Study, 'NTP Technical Report On The Toxicology And Carcinogenesis Studies Of 1-Trans-Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, CAS No. 1972-08-3, In F344/N Rats And B6C3F(1) Mice, Gavage Studies': February 1999 from AIDSNEWS.) This rather makes the Public “Service” Announcements about the threat of increased amounts of THC in “today’s marijuana” seem a bit disingenuous, eh?

The list of diseases that are seen to be treatable with marijuana, relieving symptoms or helping in prevention, currently includes:

• Stress
• Pain
• Depression
• Nausea
• Insomnia
• Anorexia
• Glaucoma
• Alzheimer’s
• Multiple Sclerosis
• Cancer (?)

Though novice users deteriorate in performance tests, experienced users actually increase in their scores on such tests (See Weil, AT, Norman & Nelson J.M. “Clinical & Psychological Effects of Marijuana in Man.” in Science. Vol. 162. 1968. p. 1234).

For decades we have known that experienced users score marginally BETTER on driving tests than their “sober” counterparts (See the State of Washington Department of Motor Vehicles study, Crancer, Alfred, et al. “Comparison of the Effects of Marihuana & Alcohol on Simulated Driving Performance.” in Science. Vol. 164. 1969. pp. 851-854). Further testing has shown this is indeed the case, and the whys (whatever they may be) do not change the end manifestation.

Not a single death has been attributed to marijuana use in the history of humankind. (Though, if it is found along with other substances in any media-profiled cases, it will surely be mentioned with implication that it contributed…)

There is quite a bit more I could go into, but I think you are getting the picture.

Given that America now has the highest per capita incarceration rate -- with only one twentieth of the world’s population, we are the proud incarcerator of over one quarter of the world’s jailed individuals -- I must think we are not “The Land of the Free.” And given that 70% or so of our incarcerated individuals are “in” for drug related charges, and that most of those charges stemmed from possession/sale of marijuana, I suspect that Prohibition is not healthy for the American Way (we discovered that with alcohol; you’d think we would learn).

We are locking up our productive citizens, taking on the responsibility and cost of their lives (not to mention the costs of hunting, capturing, processing, and trying them) while robbing society of the production they could be offering. We then use them as slaves in the prison-industrial system to the profit of the owners. In fact, it would seem that we are robbing our citizens of their freedom so that some amongst us can make money (protect their investments).

Is this ethical? From my perspective, this is one of the most vile, evil, and heinous immoralities a society could choose.

So do you contribute to the problem of locking up citizens for profit by supporting the lies, distortions and disinformation spread by those with money to gain? I would say yes.

In case you’re wondering, yes. I do smoke marijuana, have for decades, and have had no issues. It relaxes me, allows me to bring forth patience with my child, promotes deeper thought, and enhances some of the finite moments of my life -- something I think I have a right to do as long as I hurt no one. And it seems I am not a threat to anyone while medicated with marijuana.

And in fact, I know a plethora of users -- heavy users -- and none show mental disorders. They are all relatively happy and productive citizens.

Given that an estimated 25 million of us use marijuana daily (and most driving daily), and given that 25 million of us are not creating a mental health, or any other, crisis in our society -- in fact, aside from the issue of illegality and its attendant problems, 25 million of us are not creating any issues at all in society -- I again suspect you are promoting tainted data.

Thank you for taking the time to read what I offer. I do appreciate it.

Sincerely,

Amaterasu

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