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Marijuana: Texas Gubernatorial Candidate Kinky Friedman Says Legalize It

Submitted by Phillip Smith on
Consequences of Prohibition
Drug War Issues

Independent Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman said Wednesday he favors legalizing marijuana. In an interview with the Associated Press, the musician turned author turned would-be Lone Star state governor said legalizing the weed would keep nonviolent users out of prison, adding that he would seek the release of those currently behind bars for marijuana offenses.

Kinky Friedman
"I think that's long overdue," Friedman said. "I think everybody knows what John McCain said is right: We've pretty well lost the war on drugs doing it the way we're doing it. Drugs are more available and cheaper than ever before. What we're doing is not working."

Friedman is running against incumbent Gov. Rick Perry (R), Democratic candidate Chris Bell, and Republican-turned-independent Carole Keeton Strayhorn, none of whom have called for marijuana legalization. According to the latest Rasmussen poll, Friedman may need a massive stoner voter turnout -- he came in last with 16%, compared with 18% for Bell, 22% for Strayhorn, and Perry with 33%. There is no run-off election in Texas.

The humorist and raconteur's campaign had originally been viewed as a joke by most observers, but at 16% of the vote, Friedman can have a real impact on the race. And as the campaign heads for its climax, he has been articulating serious positions on issues like immigration (send 10,000 Texas National Guard to the border), crime (send $100 million to Houston to help police a city awash with Katrina refugees), and taxes (less of 'em).

But all seriousness aside, it is Friedman's comic sensibilities that have always made him stand out. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, he formed the outrageously named Kinky Friedman & His Texas Jewboys, featuring tunes like the "Okie from Muskogee" parody "Asshole from El Paso," the self-explanatory "Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in Bed," and the anti-semitism-confronting "They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore."

And he's still got it on the campaign trail. "I just want Texas to be number one in something other than executions, toll roads and property taxes," he said. As for the possibility of losing: "If I lose this race I will retire in a petulant snit," he said. "I'm not going to go out gracefully, I promise you."

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

Yes, but in an interview the other day, I heard him badmouthong "crackheads" and "drug thugs," associating them, rather than the drug war itself, with street crime. So as kind-hearted to marajuana as he may be, he more than makes up for it against users of any other substances...

Fri, 09/15/2006 - 11:57am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Can someone who thinks like this person please explain to me the defense for other illegal drugs, not marijuana, such as cocaine, ice, or heroin?

Admittedly, the drug war is not working; but how does that fact make doing certain other illegal drugs okay?

Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:43pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Wayne A. Biszick

Dear Mr. Levine,
I write to address Constitutional and Financial issues that appear to have fallen through the cracks in the course of your efforts toward due diligence.
Let me start with the Constitutional Issue.
ANY effort to control or regulate ANY plant on the face of the earth is a violation of or an attempt to compromise the Unalienable Rights of all Americans as set forth in the preamble of our Declaration of Indepence as follows;

Our founding fathers made sure that Americans were aware of the fact the we don't know how many Unalienable Rights there are, but Life, Liberty, and the Persuit of Happiness are three of them. This affirmation was accomplished by use of the following words and phrases. "Self Evident". "Endowed by their creator" "Certain Unalienable Rights" and "Among these"

The Oxford English Dictionary Online defines Unalienable as " Inalienable. God Given. Cannot be taken away from you nor given away by you.

For a right to be acknowledged as unalienable our preamble says it must be Self Evident, God Given, and a long standing, substantial though unsuccessful effort has been undertaken to take away or give away the right in question : Just such an unalienable right is revealed below.

1.) Genesis 1:27 reveals this unalienalbe right to us when it says " God said Behold I give to you every plant on the face of the earth for your food." Torah goes further in Genesis 1:28 by adding " God saw that it was good, and so it remained." The current and historical use of plants by mankind is Self Evident and shows the definition of "Food", in this case, to be the nourishment of the needs of our Bodies, Minds, and Spirits.

2.) A long standing yet unsuccessful attempt has been made by the Federal Government and the Governments of its several states together with their counties, cities, towns, and villages to take away the God given right to the quiet enjoyment of any plant on the face of the earth by the passage and continuing unsuccessful enforcement of restrictive laws and International Treaties that makes the growth of, the distribution of, or the enjoyment of a very limited number of plants together with any implements coincident to their enjoyment a criminal offense punishable variously by incarceration, loss of citizens rights, fines, seizures of private property, denial of employment, and the ruination of personal reputations that result from the permanent stigma of a criminal record.

Having met all the criteria for an unalienable right as set forth in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence The right to the quiet enjoyment of every plant on the face of the earth is, and must be recognized as another unalienable right.

In this vein I would petition the federal government and the governments of its several states to issue an Estop Order to immediately cease any and all actions that in any way interfere with the free exercise of this unalienable right.

The U.S. federal government, and the governments of its' several states immediately repeal all laws, rescind all directives and/or executive orders, and withdraw from all treaties that in any way interfere with the free exercise of this unalienable right.

The U.S. federal government and the governments of it's several states immedialtely restore to freedom, return the confiscated property of, and sanitize the criminal records of any person whose crime/crimes is/are related to the exercise of this unalienable right.

Now to the financial considerations that I spoke of in my opening remarks.
Right now Americans are spending an alleged 1.5 Trillion hard earned, tax paid disposable income dollars every year to acquire the plants of their choice. We are not happy about this money winding up in the underground economy. By restoring all plants to their rightful status, instead of going to the underground economy, this money will be used by Americans to satisfy their pent up needs for things like housing, cars, education, the whole gamut of legal ways that people can spend or invest their hard earned money. Needs that have gone a begging because the exercise of their unalienable right costs them all of the disposable income they have.
This sudden explosion of retail sales and investment will bring large amounts of money to governments at all levels ( much more than any sin tax could ever bring in.) because much of the money will be spent, and create jobs, right where the people live. The projected business activity resulting from the recognition of this unalienable right, and the freeing up of disposable income together with the granting of the remedies sought above will ripple to at least a 3.75 trillion dollar annual growth in the Gross National Product.
God says yes to this unalienable right, what do you say?

Tue, 11/07/2006 - 2:42pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

You bring up an interesting point. But you forgot to mention the most deadly and abused drug of all - alcohol. The real question is, why do we permit (even encourage) some mood altering substances and not others? Chris Rock jokes about the reason being because rich white guys make the alcohol, and brown people grow the pot and coca. I laughed at that for quite a while unitl it sank in.

Addiction to alcohol is about as ugly as anything I have ever seen.

Wed, 11/15/2006 - 12:25am Permalink
Really?? (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

First off and pretty much all of it comes down to this, how do you even compare marijuana to cocaine heroine and crack??  Go try and find one documented person that has died from Marijuana Overdose and which I can proudly say is 0!  And go do some research and see the stats on the other drugs.  Not to mention It would drastically reduce crime rate in that area, and is the one drug that you don't see weird and violent behavior.  Hell Alcohol creates more problems then all off them and that a drug once illegal and now legal.

Mon, 07/26/2010 - 2:39am Permalink
Expatriot (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Anonymous.  It's people like you that are so frustrating.  Liquor is legal, are we saying its all right  Why  is everyone so ignorant when it comes to the issue of dug legalization.  I'm going to make it very simple for all of you squares.  Oh, I'm sorry.  I meant you morally superior patriot Americans who keep an unwavering eye on the unwavering integrity of this Great Country "The Land of the Free" and its citizens:  1) If you think that legalizing drugs will create more drug addicts and an apathetic citizenry you probably also think that Sex Education for and the issuing of condoms to teenagers gives them the impetus to get laid. The fact is:  Legislating morality is not the job of the Federal Government.or of any government for that matter.  Especially in a Country that is so boastful in its claim to be "the land of the free." Just  take a look at crime in Amsterdam, where drugs like marijuana and mushrooms(a dangerous hallucinogen)are legal as is prostitution.  What did you find out?  Now, if the "war on drugs" has been successful at anything it is the following

  • Creating jobs (More police=more freedom)?  More jobs = a furthering of a political career
  • Overzealous laws designed to generate revenue
  • Creating a new kind of criminal poverty.  Imposed poverty based on treating individual possession cases as felony's.  Felons have difficulty finding apts, jobs, credit...everything.  
  • Rewarding the Big Dealers:  In my 10 yr experience with drugs, I have seen middle class Americans, many of which are alcoholics, drug addicts, or perhaps even your doctor, or neighbor become  felons and prisoners of a system that unfairly prosecutes using drugs as a crime.  If that is so, why is the drunk person at the bar not immediately thrown in Jail.  Can you honestly tell me that a drug USER is as dangerous as a drug dealer, or an aggravated charge of violence with a weapon., a rapist, or a pedophile?  I frequented a drug trap(house used mainly for selling drugs.  Everyone in a 3 mile radius knew the dealer of heroin and cocaine was using that house as a trap.  Did the cops go in and bust the house and the drug kingpin inside it?  Hell no they didn't.  Why?  A drug dealer keeps guns so that he can protect a product not protected under the law.  Who better to steal from.  A dealer of something illegal... can't call the cops.  So, in creeps a culture of guns and violence.  So what do cops do.  They sit at a safe distance and wait for the user(usually, young, middle class to affluent, and naive)  Cops know that these people will cooperate and or submit to being bullied, lectured, and condescended by a moron.  Just like back in the glory days of high school.  Picking out the easy prey, and taking out all of the frustration of being an idiot on that weaker, probably smarter person.  Cops know.  A user is much less apt to be armed or put up much of a fight.  Can we all agree that the minimum standards of a Police Force ought to be higher than 60 hrs. of College credit with a 2.0 avg.  That's barely a C.  By these standards a police force is such an inclusive group that literally any one(without a felony) can qualify.  Let's face it there is way too much responsibility placed on police officers who's entre' into police work was nothing more than 60 college hours with a 2.0 average(just barely a C)  I went to college, graduated with a double major in philosophy and political science... I would have had to try, really try to get a 2.0 average.  These frat boys and bullies are a gang in themselves.  They have way too much discretion to be that stupid.  Probable cause?  What a Joke.  I have been stopped, harrassed, and detained by the police for not walking on the sidewalk on a section of road which had no sidewalk.  When I brought this to the policeman's attention, he quickly changed his reason for stopping me to a bogus charge of fitting the description of a robbery suspect.  Odd, because the cop saw me get off of a bus which came from a completely different part of town.  This is who we are relying on to interpret complex law's and concepts such as probable cause.  Have you ever seen a job classified ad in which all that is necessary for getting a pretty well paying job is not making it through but 60 hrs. of college with a 2.0 average.  That's barely even a C.  I have had a few experiences with cops... All bad, every one of these Napoleon complex having high school bullies.. has proven to be uncommonly dumb.  The police are arguably the dumbest subset of human beings which ever lived.  Why would anyone want to be a cop?  So that they can bully people?  Lecture people who are obviously smarter than they are because finally the smart people can't talk back and make them look stupid.    The cops are just another gang making money off the illicit drug trade.
  • The war on drugs is the slavery of our time.  If you lived in an environment as poor and as chaotic and as desperate as the poor people in an impoverished area, .you would do anything it took to try to get out of there.  Do you think working at Mcdonald's pays enough to get out of anything... No.  Besides to a guy from the hood, there is no deterrent.  Very few real criminals or dealers are afraid of jail.  Only middle class users fear jail.  This creates the proliferation of another group of assholes... Lawyers, Not all of them, but most.  Few heavy drug dealers and or gang members fear jail, shit, all their friends are there, All of their gang homies are there... It's like camp.  A middle class user opts for probation which bilks money and employs another group of state paid assholes.  The Probation Officers.  The idea is to monitor and help navigate the pitfalls of being forever branded a felon.  Not in my experience.  All I see are jaded individuals incapable or unwilling to help a person who's only mistake was favoring an illegal yet more innocuous version of the same thing as liquor.  Except, one is a real man who drinks beer and plays football.(and beats his wife, or gets in an accident on the way home and kills a family because they were drunk).   And, the other is a felon.  Who doesn't deserve an apartment even though they haven't had a drug of any kind in over 4 years. Or a decent job with benefits. The Police get a oood salary and great benefits despite employing dropouts with a G.P.A of 2.0.  I smoked weed every day in college and my G.P.A. was over 3.  I was never in a car wreck. I never yelled at or hit a woman. I just liked music and Cheetos little more,   How Scary.
Fri, 09/24/2010 - 11:38am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

please read this conservatives and it may change your ideas of marijuana. Myth: Marijuana's Harms Have Been Proved Scientifically. In the 1960s and 1970s, many people believed that marijuana was harmless. Today we know that marijuana is much more dangerous than previously believed.

Fact: In 1972, after reviewing the scientific evidence, the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse concluded that while marijuana was not entirely safe, its dangers had been grossly overstated. Since then, researchers have conducted thousands of studies of humans, animals, and cell cultures. None reveal any findings dramatically different from those described by the National Commission in 1972. In 1995, based on thirty years of scientific research editors of the British medical journal Lancet concluded that "the smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmful to health."

Myth: Marijuana Has No Medicinal Value. Safer, more effective drugs are available. They include a synthetic version of THC, marijuana's primary active ingredient, which is marketed in the United States under the name Marinol.

Fact: Marijuana has been shown to be effective in reducing the nausea induced by cancer chemotherapy, stimulating appetite in AIDS patients, and reducing intraocular pressure in people with glaucoma. There is also appreciable evidence that marijuana reduces muscle spasticity in patients with neurological disorders. A synthetic capsule is available by prescription, but it is not as effective as smoked marijuana for many patients. Pure THC may also produce more unpleasant psychoactive side effects than smoked marijuana. Many people use marijuana as a medicine today, despite its illegality. In doing so, they risk arrest and imprisonment.

Myth: Marijuana is Highly Addictive. Long term marijuana users experience physical dependence and withdrawal, and often need professional drug treatment to break their marijuana habits.

Fact: Most people who smoke marijuana smoke it only occasionally. A small minority of Americans - less than 1 percent - smoke marijuana on a daily basis. An even smaller minority develop a dependence on marijuana. Some people who smoke marijuana heavily and frequently stop without difficulty. Others seek help from drug treatment professionals. Marijuana does not cause physical dependence. If people experience withdrawal symptoms at all, they are remarkably mild.

Myth: Marijuana is a Gateway Drug. Even if marijuana itself causes minimal harm, it is a dangerous substance because it leads to the use of "harder drugs" like heroin, LSD, and cocaine.

Fact: Marijuana does not cause people to use hard drugs. What the gateway theory presents as a causal explanation is a statistic association between common and uncommon drugs, an association that changes over time as different drugs increase and decrease in prevalence. Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug in the United States today. Therefore, people who have used less popular drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and LSD, are likely to have also used marijuana. Most marijuana users never use any other illegal drug. Indeed, for the large majority of people, marijuana is a terminus rather than a gateway drug.

Myth: Marijuana Offenses Are Not Severely Punished. Few marijuana law violators are arrested and hardly anyone goes to prison. This lenient treatment is responsible for marijuana continued availability and use.

Fact: Marijuana arrests in the United States doubled between 1991 and 1995. In 1995, more than one-half-million people were arrested for marijuana offenses. Eighty-six percent of them were arrested for marijuana possession. Tens of thousands of people are now in prison or marijuana offenses. An even greater number are punished with probation, fines, and civil sanctions, including having their property seized, their driver's license revoked, and their employment terminated. Despite these civil and criminal sanctions, marijuana continues to be readily available and widely used.

Myth: Marijuana Policy in the Netherlands is a Failure. Dutch law, which allows marijuana to be bought, sold, and used openly, has resulted in increasing rates of marijuana use, particularly in youth.

Fact: The Netherlands' drug policy is the most nonpunitive in Europe. For more than twenty years, Dutch citizens over age eighteen have been permitted to buy and use cannabis (marijuana and hashish) in government-regulated coffee shops. This policy has not resulted in dramatically escalating cannabis use. For most age groups, rates of marijuana use in the Netherlands are similar to those in the United States. However, for young adolescents, rates of marijuana use are lower in the Netherlands than in the United States. The Dutch people overwhelmingly approve of current cannabis policy which seeks to normalize rather than dramatize cannabis use. The Dutch government occasionally revises existing policy, but it remains committed to decriminalization.

Myth: Marijuana Kills Brain Cells. Used over time, marijuana permanently alters brain structure and function, causing memory loss, cognitive impairment, personality deterioration, and reduced productivity.

Fact: None of the medical tests currently used to detect brain damage in humans have found harm from marijuana, even from long term high-dose use. An early study reported brain damage in rhesus monkeys after six months exposure to high concentrations of marijuana smoke. In a recent, more carefully conducted study, researchers found no evidence of brain abnormality in monkeys that were forced to inhale the equivalent of four to five marijuana cigarettes every day for a year. The claim that marijuana kills brain cells is based on a speculative report dating back a quarter of a century that has never been supported by any scientific study.

Myth: Marijuana Causes an Amotivational Syndrome. Marijuana makes users passive, apathetic, and uninterested in the future. Students who use marijuana become underachievers and workers who use marijuana become unproductive.

Fact: For twenty-five years, researchers have searched for a marijuana-induced amotivational syndrome and have failed to find it. People who are intoxicated constantly, regardless of the drug, are unlikely to be productive members of society. There is nothing about marijuana specifically that causes people to lose their drive and ambition. In laboratory studies, subjects given high doses of marijuana for several days or even several weeks exhibit no decrease in work motivation or productivity. Among working adults, marijuana users tend to earn higher wages than non-users. College students who use marijuana have the same grades as nonusers. Among high school students, heavy use is associated with school failure, but school failure usually comes first.

Myth: Marijuana Impairs Memory and Cognition. Under the influence of marijuana, people are unable to think rationally and intelligently. Chronic marijuana use causes permanent mental impairment.

Fact: Marijuana produces immediate, temporary changes in thoughts, perceptions, and information processing. The cognitive process most clearly affected by marijuana is short-term memory. In laboratory studies, subjects under the influence of marijuana have no trouble remembering things they learned previously. However, they display diminished capacity to learn and recall new information. This diminishment only lasts for the duration of the intoxication. There is no convincing evidence that heavy long-term marijuana use permanently impairs memory or other cognitive functions.

Myth: Marijuana Can Cause Permanent Mental Illness. Among adolescents, even occasional marijuana use may cause psychological damage. During intoxication, marijuana users become irrational and often behave erratically.

Fact: There is no convincing scientific evidence that marijuana causes psychological damage or mental illness in either teenagers or adults. Some marijuana users experience psychological distress following marijuana ingestion, which may include feelings of panic, anxiety, and paranoia. Such experiences can be frightening, but the effects are temporary. With very large doses, marijuana can cause temporary toxic psychosis. This occurs rarely, and almost always when marijuana is eaten rather than smoked. Marijuana does not cause profound changes in people's behavior.

Myth: Marijuana Causes Crime. Marijuana users commit more property offenses than nonusers. Under the influence of marijuana, people become irrational, aggressive, and violent.

Fact: Every serious scholar and government commission examining the relationship between marijuana use and crime has reached the same conclusion: marijuana does not cause crime. The vast majority of marijuana users do not commit crimes other than the crime of possessing marijuana. Among marijuana users who do commit crimes, marijuana plays no causal role. Almost all human and animal studies show that marijuana decreases rather than increases aggression.

Myth: Marijuana Interferes With Male and Female Sex Hormones. In both men and women, marijuana can cause infertility. Marijuana retards sexual development in adolescents. It produces feminine characteristics in males and masculine characteristics in females.

Fact: There is no evidence that marijuana causes infertility in men or women. In animal studies, high doses of THC diminish the production of some sex hormones and can impair reproduction. However, most studies of humans have found that marijuana has no impact of sex hormones. In those studies showing an impact, it is modest, temporary, and of no apparent consequence for reproduction. There is no scientific evidence that marijuana delays adolescent sexual development, has feminizing effect on males, or a masculinizing effect on females.

Myth: Marijuana Use During Pregnancy Damages the Fetus. Prenatal marijuana exposure causes birth defects in babies, and, as they grow older, developmental problems. The health and well being of the next generation is threatened by marijuana use by pregnant women.

Fact: Studies of newborns, infants, and children show no consistent physical, developmental, or cognitive deficits related to prenatal marijuana exposure. Marijuana had no reliable impact on birth size, length of gestation, neurological development, or the occurrence of physical abnormalities. The administration of hundreds of tests to older children has revealed only minor differences between offspring of marijuana users and nonusers, and some are positive rather than negative. Two unconfirmed case-control studies identified prenatal marijuana exposure as one of many factors statistically associated with childhood cancer. Given other available evidence, it is highly unlikely that marijuana causes cancer in children.

Myth: Marijuana Use Impairs the Immune System. Marijuana users are at increased risk of infection, including HIV. AIDS patients are particularly vulnerable to marijuana's immunopathic effects because their immune systems are already suppressed.

Fact: There is no evidence that marijuana users are more susceptible to infections than nonusers. Nor is there evidence that marijuana lowers users' resistance to sexually transmitted diseases. Early studies which showed decreased immune function in cells taken from marijuana users have since been disproved. Animals given extremely large doses of THC and exposed to a virus have higher rates of infection. Such studies have little relevance to humans. Even among people with existing immune disorders, such as AIDS, marijuana use appears to be relatively safe. However, the recent finding of an association between tobacco smoking and lung infection in AIDS patients warrants further research into possible harm from marijuana smoking in immune suppressed persons.

Myth: Marijuana is More Damaging to the Lungs Than Tobacco. Marijuana smokers are at a high risk of developing lung cancer, bronchitis, and emphysema.

Fact: Moderate smoking of marijuana appears to pose minimal danger to the lungs. Like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke contains a number of irritants and carcinogens. But marijuana users typically smoke much less often than tobacco smokers, and over time, inhale much less smoke. As a result, the risk of serious lung damage should be lower in marijuana smokers. There have been no reports of lung cancer related solely to marijuana, and in a large study presented to the American Thoracic Society in 2006, even heavy users of smoked marijuana were found not to have any increased risk of lung cancer. Unlike heavy tobacco smokers, heavy marijuana smokers exhibit no obstruction of the lung's small airway. That indicates that people will not develop emphysema from smoking marijuana.

Myth: Marijuana's Active Ingredient, THC, Gets Trapped in Body Fat. Because THC is released from fat cells slowly, psychoactive effects may last for days or weeks following use. THC's long persistence in the body damages organs that are high in fat content, the brain in particular.

Fact: Many active drugs enter the body's fat cells. What is different (but not unique) about THC is that it exits fat cells slowly. As a result, traces of marijuana can be found in the body for days or weeks following ingestion. However, within a few hours of smoking marijuana, the amount of THC in the brain falls below the concentration required for detectable psychoactivity. The fat cells in which THC lingers are not harmed by the drug's presence, nor is the brain or other organs. The most important consequence of marijuana's slow excretion is that it can be detected in blood, urine, and tissue long after it is used, and long after its psychoactivity has ended.

Myth: Marijuana Use is a Major Cause Of Highway Accidents. Like alcohol, marijuana impairs psychomotor function and decreases driving ability. If marijuana use increases, an increase in of traffic fatalities is inevitable.

Fact: There is no compelling evidence that marijuana contributes substantially to traffic accidents and fatalities. At some doses, marijuana affects perception and psychomotor performances- changes which could impair driving ability. However, in driving studies, marijuana produces little or no car-handling impairment- consistently less than produced by low moderate doses of alcohol and many legal medications. In contrast to alcohol, which tends to increase risky driving practices, marijuana tends to make subjects more cautious. Surveys of fatally injured drivers show that when THC is detected in the blood, alcohol is almost always detected as well. For some individuals, marijuana may play a role in bad driving. The overall rate of highway accidents appears not to be significantly affected by marijuana's widespread use in society.

Myth: Marijuana Related Hospital Emergencies Are Increasing, Particularly Among Youth. This is evidence that marijuana is much more harmful than most people previously believed.

Fact: Marijuana does not cause overdose deaths. The number of people in hospital emergency rooms who say they have used marijuana has increased. On this basis, the visit may be recorded as marijuana-related even if marijuana had nothing to do with the medical condition preceding the hospital visit. Many more teenagers use marijuana than use drugs such as heroin and cocaine. As a result, when teenagers visit hospital emergency rooms, they report marijuana much more frequently than they report heroin and cocaine. In the large majority of cases when marijuana is mentioned, other drugs are mentioned as well. In 1994, fewer than 2% of drug related emergency room visits involved the use of marijuana.

Myth: Marijuana Is More Potent Today Than In The Past. Adults who used marijuana in the 1960s and 1970s fail to realize that when today's youth use marijuana they are using a much more dangerous drug.

Fact: When today's youth use marijuana, they are using the same drug used by youth in the 1960s and 1970s. A small number of low-THC sample sized by the Drug Enforcement Administration are used to calculate a dramatic increase in potency. However, these samples were not representative of the marijuana generally available to users during this era. Potency data from the early 1980s to the present are more reliable, and they show no increase in the average THC content of marijuana. Even if marijuana potency were to increase, it would not necessarily make the drug more dangerous. Marijuana that varies quite substantially in potency produces similar psychoactive effects.

Myth: Marijuana Use Can Be Prevented. Drug education and prevention programs reduced marijuana use during the 1980s. Since then, our commitment has slackened, and marijuana use has been rising. By expanding and intensifying current anti-marijuana messages, we can stop youthful experimentation.

Fact: There is no evidence that anti-drug messages diminish young people's interest in drugs. Anti-drug campaigns in the schools and the media may even make drugs more attractive. Marijuana use among youth declined throughout the 1980s, and began increasing in the 1990s. This increase occurred despite young people's exposure to the most massive anti-marijuana campaign in American history. In a number of other countries, drug education programs are based on a "harm reduction" model, which seeks to reduce the drug-related harm among those young people who do experiment with drugs
(taken from

Wed, 11/15/2006 - 10:00pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

this at least seems well researched and very imformative for anyone that has not done the research themselves. most people know that the myth's are so from personal experience and arguing the fact is not easy to do if everyone wants to believe the propoganda of a common misconception in society.

alot of these myths could easily be dispelled by parental involvement in a childs life , and not to mention decrease the chances of the child actually experimenting with any drugs. althought this would not stop the drug intake of our younger society teens would be less likely to exhibit willingness to do something of the sort even around peers.

one of the things that i would really like to say about this column though is the fact that yes marijuana use can motor functions , hand eye coordination , and cognative thinking but they are relatively short lived and after an adjustment period these symptoms become non - existant. the long term affects of marijuana are more emotional than physical and shortly lived ( 72 hours ) after long term use has stopped.

after use has stopped within 7 days the subject is more than likely going to revert back to there previouse personality before use of marijuana , but at there current mind set. marijuana does not make you more likely to commit crimes and over time does not make you less likely to do so eather.

after the adjustment peroid marijuana becomes a very slight sedative and is more of a mood stabalizer than a change in thinking patterns all together. if used properly as a long term stimulant it becomes more tylony and vicodin.

excuse my spelling and/or lack of correct sentence structure , i was a drop out before i met marijuana.

Tue, 03/17/2009 - 11:24am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

you don't think crackheads & thugs increase street crimes
he calls it like he see's it

Fri, 09/15/2006 - 1:08pm Permalink
borden (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

But those are reasons to legalize all drugs -- not to keep doing the same things that have created that situation.

Ending prohibition, or legalization, would put the illegal street dealers out of business by replacing them with legitimate businesses that have to conform to laws and social norms.

Research has also shown that the vast majority of crime related even to crack cocaine is from the illegal crack trade most of all (which would be put out of business with legalization in the way described above), and from economic crimes by addicts raising the money to buy crack secondly. Crime by crack users acting merely under the influence of the drug is a distant third.

Legalization would help with that second problem too by bringing down the price (including of low-potency forms of cocaine that are less destructive to their users) and thereby reducing the addict's need for money -- there's probably some amount of crime by alcoholics and people addicted to cigarettes to get the money to buy them, but you don't hear about it very often and it's at a pretty low level -- because those drugs are legal and therefore financially affordable.

David Borden, Executive Director the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

Sat, 09/16/2006 - 11:57am Permalink
David Dunn (not verified)

In reply to by borden (not verified)

I'd like to see candidates that are for either legalizing marijuana or all drugs take a broader stance on hemp including marijuana and illicit drugs.

I'd like for them to call for the legalizing of all things hemp. I'd like to see them discuss the products that can be made from hemp and the economic value of legalizing all things hemp.

On the drugs issue, I'd like to see candidates discuss the role of the War on Drugs as the vehicle that creates an overpriced illicit drug market that is the primary source of funding for international terrorists including Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.

On releasing nonviolent marijuana offenders, a candidate should discuss the role of the prison industry in promoting and defending these unconsciousable sentences.

Also the role of the drug testing industry in wanting to get into the public schools to violate students 4th Amendment rights and deprive them of extracurricular activities.

Too, the role of utility companies should be discussed as finks who report to police anyone whose utility bills are unusually high because of suspected indoor growing of hemp plants.

"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government." - Thomas Jefferson

Sun, 09/17/2006 - 10:53pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by borden (not verified)

David Borden is right. I stumbled into this 'fight' in Dec. of 2005 because I read a story about medical marijuana. Because of my extensive research on the subject of prohibition, I can clearly see that marijuana is a harmless and helpful drug. I can't believe that the fact that it is all-organic doesn't grab more people's attention in today's health-conscious society. But, then again, I'm talking about the same people who ignore the pain and suffering of people who could be helped by medical marijuana. I think those people think like I used to, and still do, to some extent.

Legalizing all drugs is something I was not convinced was a good idea. Sure, I've been all over the LEAP pages, DRCNet, and countless other anti-prohibition sites, but none of them really outlined the way decriminalization is supposed to succeede. David did a pretty good job in a short amount of time, above.

His post made me think...cigarettes are expensive as (beep), but there's no black market for cigarettes over here. I live in Texas and we are allowed to have stronger beer in this state than they are in Oklahoma, the state immediately adjacent to Texas. When my friends from Oklahoma visit, they always want to drink "real beer". This is a really big deal to all of them, but naturally, there is no black market for "real beer" in Oklahoma. Sure, some people sneak a case or two over the border on occasion, and maybe sell some of them to acquaintances, but such small numbers doesn't constitute a "market".

However, the thought of legalizing crack, cocaine, ice, heroin, acid, etc., still instills fear in me. I get the part about legalization removing the criminal element, but if people are buying them, they are consuming them, so what are we going to do about people seriously wacked out of their minds, running around in society?

I was watching one of the cable documentary channels some months ago. A program was on about the history of drugs. I recall that there was a particular society, centuries ago, whose army lost the war because they were all stoned on opium. The country was taken over by it's enemies.

What is going to be the impact that these legal drug users are going to have on society?

Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:02pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Most serial killers are stone cold sober.

Sat, 09/16/2006 - 5:47pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

It is odd that the article doesn't mention JAMES WERNER the Libertarian candidate.

He is on the ballot and has a principled appoach to ending prohibition.

Compared to the other jokers running he is a breath of fresh air.

Don't mention him though, freedom is threatening.

Fri, 09/15/2006 - 4:39pm Permalink
borden (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Dear Libertarian friend (Texas Libertarian?):

I don't know how to reach you, or I'd write back directly -- feel free to contact me -- note that you can log on to our site and then post comments under your username, and anyone will be able to write back to you (without seeing your e-mail address, which will be hidden to all but the few of us in charge of maintaining the site).

Our article reported on Kinky Friedman as a celebrity who is drawing attention to the issue. If he had brought up marijuana legalization or other aspects of drug policy outside of the context of a campaign, but managing to get press for it, we would have reported on that.

If you do a search in our archives at on "Libertarian Party" you'll see that we have devoted quite a bit of coverage to the LP over the years.

I would say that the national party seems to have reduced the attention they pay to the drug war issue significantly since the ouster (and subsequent untimely passing) of my friend Ron Crickenberger.

David Borden, Executive Director the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

Sat, 09/16/2006 - 11:49am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I'm with Kinky. After having been a Correctional Officer for the Great State of Texas. I can honestly say that the inmates convicted of Marijauna possesion. Were non-violent even on the inside of the walls. As a matter of fact. Most of them did not know how to fight and fell prey to the more violent inmates. I.e. murders, rapist, thieves etc. A good majority of them were given more time in the "pen" than a murder or child molester. And believe me there are a-lot of child molesters that make parole faster than a dude caught with a "joint". The problem in my opinion begins in the small towns that prosecute these poor people. Like Tulia TX for example. This type of police work is alive and well despite the fact that the Texas Task Force's have been disbanded. A good majority of TECLOSE certified officer do not mind "testilying" in order to gain a conviction and the DA's do not mind looking the other way when the officers do. In the mean time the prison system turns a non-violent inmate into a violent inmate by sending them to "Gang-School". When the inmate gets out he takes his revenge on society. I say this because my experience is that most of these inmates return because they have been convicted of more serious crimes as they were unable to find employment due to their prison record. I say legalize marijauna. The politicians and lawyers sitting on the "Hill" would then change from "Scotch on the Rocks", to Ganja on the lawn and then everyone would be happy.

Sat, 09/16/2006 - 9:30am Permalink
borden (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Thanks for posting these observations gained from direct experience -- this sort of information speaks powerfully when confronting the issue with the general public.

For that reason I also wish I knew how to reach you. Note that that can be accomplished by logging on in our site first and posting comments with that identity -- which can but does not need to include your name, and your e-mail address will remain private in any case expect to the few of us in charge of operating the site. If you're a subscriber to our newsletter by e-mail, you probably already have an account set up and waiting based on that address. Of course, another way to let people know how to reach you is to include your e-mail address in the post.

That's all optional, of course; complete anonymity in the posting is allowed as you've seen.

David Borden, Executive Director the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

Sat, 09/16/2006 - 11:43am Permalink
shooter (not verified)

In reply to by borden (not verified)

Though his observations are valid [from what I know/hear], and speak to him having experience in the field, I'd caution you or anyone else against taking those comments at face value (unless he comes back and registers here, and his credentials are able to be vetted -- confidentially, of course, although from his post, one could infer that he was a CO in the past, not at present).

It may have just been a typo, but the correct certification is TCLEOSE (Texas Comm. on LEO Standards and Education), not TECLOSE. They can be found on the web here:

I know this, and I'm not a LEO..... sworn or otherwise.

I would just think that it'd be a hard typo to make from someone who's actually taken the test and obtained the cert, as from what I understand from LEOs who've taken it, it's not an easy test, by any stretch of the imagination.

Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:43pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Kinky may be a bit eccentric and interesting but he sure does speak truth to power.
Cocaine, heroin and amphetamine addiction may be a personal choice but prohibition puts them out of the reach of society controls. I personally know that three of my siblings have gone through serious mental changes that make them desparate to aquire either drugs or money to secure their lifestyle. Prohibition has directly caused this situation and only a repeal of those laws will bring positive results, but the reality is addicts can and usually will steal, rob, lie, assault and generally ignore laws and societal taboos for drugs.
Kinky knows that marijuana smokers are NOT addicts and should not be treated like common criminals even though they do "illegal" things. The problem is with the "LAW" and has been since its inception. It turns victims into criminals and denies addicts of the thing they really need, namely treatment.

Sat, 09/16/2006 - 1:25pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I fell victim to a surprize urine test and lost my teaching certificate. It took almost 3 years to finally become re-certified, however, my teaching certificate will always show that I volunteered the surrender of my certificate. I was forced to surrender my certificate to avoid permanent revocation. I am unable to find teaching employment because I am being treated as a criminal for taking a couple of hits at a Thanksgiving party. I have no record, do not drink, smoke or chew tobacco, yet I cannot find a job now because of the minor detection of THC in urine 3 years ago. I have been living in a financial nightmarish hell trying to pay for house, bills and support my family. I feel that it is unfair to treat naturalists like hardened criminals whom enjoy the fruits of the Earth that God bestowed . I have lost my career, freedom, and dignity. Would it be different if I got stoned drunk everynight? At least I would still have my career if I were a closet drunk! If anyone knows of a job for an unemployed certified teacher please email me at [email protected] or [email protected]

Fri, 09/22/2006 - 12:56am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I also have a 6 year career working for a great well known company, But due to unfortunate news (word of mouth) I along with many others at my store will be randomly tested. So now that I cant smoke because natural plants happen to be illegal I am sitting here on the couch reading this. Do I drink? nope, but I love my occasional joint or bowl! Can I live without it? Yep, but why its all natural and DOES NOT KILL, or hurt people. Everyday on the news you hear about someone killing people due to drinking and driving. When is the last time you or someone you know has heard of anyone smoking a joint gettin So stoned they couldnt keep a straight face and killing a family of 5 in a collision????????????? Never ever. end of story.

Tue, 10/17/2006 - 12:23am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Dear Mr. Freedman,
It is a joy to see some of my work in print. I am consternated by your placing of my address and phone number on your website. I did not submit this petition to you, and I do not even know how it came to you. I bet that is a very interesting story on its' own.
I doubt if anyone reads your website, or no one cares. I have had 2 phone calls total since this petition was listed in your website. I do however think it is bad policy to post the name and address of people whose writings you have decided to run, even though you were not given any permission to do so.
I submitted this petition to the President of the United States, My senator and congressman on both Federal and State Levels, the ACLU and major tobacco companies. These are the only places I sent my petition to, but you may rest assured that I will not make that mistake again.
Sincerely yours,
Wayne A. Biszick

Mon, 12/17/2007 - 10:00am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Dear Mr. Biszick,

It is not Mr. Freedman's website. There was an article posted on about Mr. Freedman. Below the article is a section where people can post their comments about the article and someone anonymously posted your work there. It wasn't me as I just stumbled across the article today. I would doubt that it was Mr. Freedman either as he hasn't posted any replies to the article. I do find your writing very interesting and it makes me believe that Marijuana should be legalized.

Fri, 10/09/2009 - 9:16pm Permalink
borden (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

For the record, I knew nothing about this until now, and had Mr. Biszick contacted us we would have edited out his address and phone number at that time (as I have now).

We are now in the habit of monitoring all incoming comments, so something like this won't go untended for long. But of course we have no way to know that an address or phone number was not left there by the owner of that address or number.

David Borden, Executive Director the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

Fri, 10/09/2009 - 11:12pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I am 34 yrs old, have 3 kids and suffer from dibilitating pain from breaking my back 10 yrs ago. I have been prescribed, and tried almost every form of "prescription" drug there is, with the exception of marinol, and almost all of them make me sick, or cause very unpleasant side effects. When not on some form of pain meds, I may manage to get 2-3 hours of sleep. This is on a nightly basis.

My question is this, My insurance BCBS of TEXAS covers the pill Marinol, my pain managment says it is not available in TX. I can not find information on this anywhere. Can someone either clue me in, or point me in the right direction?


Tue, 09/15/2009 - 4:52pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

It is 2009, the United States is going through a tought time with no job and the recession. I am a 19 year old college student who was convicted for posession of marijuanna. I have been put into treatment(rehab) and a year of probation for less than 5 dollars of marijuanna. It was only my 5th or 6th time smoking marijuanna and I'm considered an "addict"? I was not stoned when I was arrested or under the influence of alcohol. My friend was also arrested for an empty pipe and had to pay hefty fines.

What kind of justice is that? When just at the local high school kids killed another boy just because he was from another side of the town?

The laws in Texas are the strictest I have ever experienced. The truth is the police would rather make money from convictions then the incredibly large amount that could be made by taxiation of marijuanna. If marijuanna was legalized and was taxed like cigerettes this country would have a lot more money to focus on the real problems not a little marijuanna.

But as I said before the government is concerned with conviction rates as even some of the jails have stocks being bought. The more inmates the more money the stockholders make. Not to mention having to pay for treatment, court costs, bail money, representation etc

And this is the land of the free? Where is the freedom in sending an 18 year old kid to jail for 3 dollars worth of marijuanna and forever ruining job oppertunities? College applications? And viewed by society as a low life?

Is this the change I've been hearing about in political commercials?

The founding fathers of this country would be ashamed of the corruption in washington.

I hope the rich in the "hill" take a good look at their conviction money and look at the faces on the bill and think about what they'd say about sending a promising 18 year old to jail or left over weed.

This is seeming less and less the land of the free and more of the land of conviction and tyranny. There are some good people in washington. This goes way beyond the legalization of marijuanna.

This may seem biased but take a look at the overcrowded jails and the families broken over all this.

The economy would have a lot more spending money, less families would have to be alone due to a ridiculous conviction not to mention the medical uses of marijuanna.

I'm 19 so my next point will not benfit me.
I think marijuanna should be legalized for private and medical use but be regulated like alcohol

Put an age limit on it.
Taxt it
and you'll stll have the DUI tickets to give out.

Sorry if that upsets you but that's a good compromise.

The government will make money to cut this recession if not end it.

Just a thought

Fri, 10/23/2009 - 1:23am Permalink
Carol A (not verified)

As a 17 year old college student (early year graduate),I use to be against marijuana until I smoked it and i dont see anything wrong with anymore. Before I use to believe it was bad because "the law" labeled it as so. People complain that marijuana has negative affects but the only ones I've seen talked about by other people against marijuana is memory loss (temporary, but as we get older wont we lose memory anyways?!) and slowed functions as well as a "panicky" feeling. The reason people get panicky is because in our country its labeled illegal. People have enough worry about other reasons why they could be put in jail let alone the worry of job loss by drug tests. Its not like alcohol, one person gets drunk and decides to go for a joy ride and end up killing an innocent person. When herb smokers smoke they get together as a group, stay together, maybe watch a movie or something like that, just relaxing, but they stay in one place not go off and do foolish things. Smoking weed doesnt impair your decision making either, I still have full control of what im doing except im happier and i can focus on things and see whats good about life. I think about how I want my life to be and the many different ways I can change it. Smoking also increases the relationship I have with my family and friends, we get together and laugh, everyone has a good time! It also helps with my sleep, I know that if I smoke at a certain time I go to bed kind of early and wake up early feeling refreshed and ready for the day. Before I wouldnt be able to sleep at all and I couldnt get up for school in time and i was tired throughtout the day and getting by on 3 - 4 hours of sleep. Also when I smoke it helps me focus on my reading and assignments that I have to do for college (going for Veterinarian.) The Government should legalize it, tax it, make it avaliable for people 18 or older (if you're old enough to die for you're country you're old enough to make your own decisions) and make dealers have a license to do so. I think the thing American leaders dont realize is the more rules you try to inforce the more youth will rebel, its natrual instinct. In the olden days they didnt have these rules, everyone was smoking freely and there wasnt as much fighting as there is now, and yeah there were hippies but those were the people who cared about the planet, not like our wasteful selves today, polluting our atmosphere. And like a few other people mentioned, hemp can be made into paper, burned for fuel, so on and so on... it'll make the planet literally go green and turn around our economy and by doing so just imagine the new jobs in agriculture, packaging, marketing and advertising the jobs you'll give to the people who make bongs, pipes, all the glassblowers! If Obama wants to make the world a better place he should start by making the people happy! Legalize it!

Fri, 03/19/2010 - 5:18pm Permalink
Yoonhee (not verified)

Hi iam interseted in learnign about marijuana and the effect it has on people with turets's syndrome. If anyone knows any information please reply. Thank You

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 6:43pm Permalink
too-cute (not verified)

i say make it legal. it doesn't do much harm like the other drugs out there, its the way people use the weed

Tue, 10/19/2010 - 4:13pm Permalink

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