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A Disappointing Night for Reform

The three most important drug reform initiatives have failed today. Question 7 to legalize marijuana in Nevada lost 56-44. Amendment 44 to legalize marijuana in Colorado lost 60-40. And Initiative 4 to protect medical marijuana patients in South Dakota lost 53-47.

I was optimistic, particularly about South Dakota, but overall, tonight’s outcome is more disappointing than surprising. Legalizing marijuana by popular vote is a huge challenge, and while it hurts to lose, these are necessary steps in order to move the discussion forward.

And it’s exciting to see so many votes for reform. Surely, marijuana prohibition is the only criminal law that’s opposed by such a large segment of the population. Even in defeat, the results in Nevada and Colorado show that an eventual victory on this issue is clearly within striking distance.


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A matter of demographics

The rejection of marijuana legalization measures is a result of the voting demographics, rather than a principled rejection, as I'll show below.

The result in Nevada went 44 to 56 in favor of legalization. Based on the CNN exit poll and data from the 2004 NSDUH (annual national drug use survey)

Age --- Prop. -- 'Yes' --- Ever MJ use
18-29 --- 12% --- 57% --- 53.1%
30-64 --- 71% --- 44% --- 48.8%
65+ ----- 17% --- 36% --- 5.8%
--- ---- 100% --- 44% --- 42.8%

As you can see, marijuana reform support closely parallels the demographics of lifetime exposure to marijuana. The 65+ group is unusual in two ways: they show dramatically lower marijuana lifetime use, which is anachronistic - it won't remain true of those who constitute the 65+ group 10-15 years from now. Secondly, they buck the trend and show significantly higher support than expected from their lifetime use. That can only rise as the group is reconstituted. Finally, the 30-64 support will increase as the current 18-29 group become part of that group.

I sense foulplay concerning the Nevada 7, 2006 vote for Q7

I sense foulplay concerning the Nevada vote on November 7, 2006 in reference to Q7 . I do not believe at all that so many Senior Citizens went out to vote against question 7 . Pretty much unlike senior citizens to take an interest in a pile of money sitting in front of them let alone go to the voting booths to get involved in voting no for Marijuana tax and regulate . There were also a couple of thousands ballots missing in previous years ! I have no doubt in my mind that the poll data results were modified before CNN got the data ! The Nevada countywide CNN Q7 data reads like someone with a grudge against CRCM staff maliciously changed the results . Seems like a political power play by the opposition that got out of control and went unquestioned . Nevadans in favor of Decriminalization of Marijuana for adults should be more skeptical and speakout !

Time Marches On

In 1983 I was subject to a random urine test and caught with THC in my system. The Navy did it's thing to punish me. At that time there was NO initative to legalize Hemp. Now, 23 years later, I live in a state that has passed medicinal use marihuana. There were three items in the national news this election cycle. I am disappointed that all three failed however I am greatly cheered by the fact that these items are even in the public forum being considered.
Another 23 years and I may not have to travel to Holland to sit in a public place to smoke pot with my friends.

Are you nuts??

Your articles are flawed and your "scientific evidence" is archaic, just go to Pubmed, which is one of the largest databases for peer-reviewed journals in the world, and you can see that about the only thing most illicit drugs are good for is some form of analgesia. These illicit drugs induce pathological effects in neurons that lead to apoptosis -- have you chosen to ignore the fact that "speed freaks" display schizophrenic like symptoms after extended useage/ large doses?? You really twist the facts quite nicely, but then I guess that you are preaching ot the converted. You and your supporters want to do drugs, so you'll chose to believe that they have no detrimental effects. Keep sticking your head in the sand, it won't save you.

Archaic evidence?

you can see that about the only thing most illicit drugs are good for is some form of analgesia.

You are just extending the stereotype of opiates to all other pharmacological classes. Stimulants are used as a long-term regimen for those with ADHD. They are also used by military personnel for sustained vigilance and fatigue suppression. Paul Erdos, one of the most prolific mathematicians, was a daily user of amphetamines and characterized his relationship with those drugs as many people treat caffeine. In trying to combat the blinders that some anti-prohibitionists have put on, you are committing the same fallacy and ignoring that context modulates the effects of drugs. Injecting methamphetamine and going on a sleep-deprived binge for a week is one thing, and consuming 20 mg oral d-amp with an expectation of temporary productivity is another. Smoking cocaine is one thing, whereas ingesting cocaine via a low-potency slow release form such as coca leaf is totally another. Cannabinoids have also shown very promising potential vis-a-vis Alzheimer's in addition to the appetite enhancement among HIV+ and cancer patients. The FDA has approved trials for MDMA among PTSD patients as a psychotherapeutic vehicle. A case series published in Neurology couple of months ago shows psilocybin and LSD useful to treat cluster headaches. There have also been FDA trial with psilocybin to treat OCD (at U.Ariz). Never mind the recent double-blind study of psilocybin to induce meaningful experiences in psychedelic-naive subjects.

I know that there are some reformers who have portrayed drugs (predominantly pot) as completely harmless, but apart from that, you are positing a strawman. No serious reformer claims that any drug is without potential for detriment; the claim is that most drugs can be used in ways that their risk is contained and severe damage can be minimized. One only need look at evolution of amphetamines use patterns in Sweden (contrast pre-1944 controlled but prescriptions tolerated regime with post-1959 narcotic-equivalent regime) to see that the healthy attitude towards psychoactive substances is neither unbridled advocacy nor simplistic & total repression.

If you want to have a serious discussion, join Drug WarRant forum and start a topic there.

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