Cannabis News Students for Sensible Drug Policy
  Marijuana's Only Problem
Posted by CN Staff on December 31, 2006 at 06:31:10 PT
By Chip Parkhurst 
Source: Orange County Register 

cannabis California -- It is time to re-evaluate our attitudes about alcohol and other drugs.

In purely objective terms, beverage alcohol is a recreational hard drug: mind-numbing, easy to misuse and intimately connected with aggression, carelessness, and despair. When a drugged individual is involved in a violent crime or an accident, the drug is most often alcohol.

In America, alcohol is responsible for 65 percent of murders, 55 percent of college rapes (that's 70,000 per year), 39 percent of traffic fatalities, 33 percent of all trauma injuries, 33 percent of drownings and other accidental deaths, and 25 percent of teen suicides. About 150,000 Americans die from chronic alcohol-related illnesses each year, and another 3,000 from accidental overdoses.

Alcohol is not without merit. With moderate use (one or two drinks a day) alcohol acts like a soft drug, providing pleasant short-term effects (enhanced sociability and relaxation) and favorable long-term effects (lower blood pressure and cholesterol, lower risk of stroke and heart disease and longer life).

A similar scenario exists among pharmaceutical drugs, with substantial risks accompanying their benefits. For pain, over-the-counter painkillers including aspirin and Tylenol are indispensable, yet they kill 15,000 people annually. The antidepressant Paxil raises the risk of suicide. Xanax (for anxiety) is highly addictive. Ambien (for insomnia) causes sleepwalking and sleep-driving. Humira (for arthritis) triples the risk of cancer. Advair (for asthma) may cause pneumonia. Ketek (for infections) is linked to liver damage. Thalidomide (newly approved for treating skin cancer) causes horrendous birth defects. Children are put on ADHD drugs (Ritalin, Strattera) even though each year thousands end up in the hospital from bad reactions, hundreds of children taking the drugs report having suicidal thoughts, and a few end up dead from complications. Oregon physicians can administer intentionally lethal "medicines" to terminal patients.

A legal stimulant – caffeine – is so pervasive and accepted that most of the population (including children) consume it daily via coffee, soda or energy drinks, even though moderate consumption raises the risk of a heart attack, and five grams of caffeine (33 cups of coffee) will kill you.

So, we clearly allow people to ingest hazardous drugs. We just have to give them enough information about the drugs so they can choose and use them safely and responsibly. Against that backdrop, we must evaluate another drug being used by tens of millions of Americans, albeit one that must be used covertly despite its remarkable safety: marijuana.


Complete Article:

Source: Orange County Register, The (CA)
Author: Chip Parkhurst
Published: December 31, 2006
Copyright: 2006 The Orange County Register

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Comment #33 posted by FoM on January 01, 2007 at 06:49:59 PT
It will be interesting. I don't follow the LP very closely since I don't think like they do but maybe Barr had a change of heart. Stranger things have happened. I most definitely am more of a Democrat even though I am only a registered Independent. I might register aa a Democrat next year so I can vote in the presidential primary.

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Comment #32 posted by Sukoi on January 01, 2007 at 06:43:35 PT
Nadelmann will obviously be arguing in favor of MMJ and Barr is supposed to be arguing against it. But here's the thing; the official stance of the Libertarian party is that "drugs" should be legal and regulated like alcohol and tobacco. The fact that Barr has taken a leadership position with the Libertarian party pretty much negates his opposition to MMJ, so it will be interesting to see what direction this debate takes since, at least theoretically, they should both agree on the issue to be debated.

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Comment #31 posted by FoM on January 01, 2007 at 06:40:41 PT
That must have been a New Years that you'll never forget. Was your son the first baby of the year in Texas that year?

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Comment #30 posted by FoM on January 01, 2007 at 06:28:22 PT
I read that about Bob Barr. I guess it doesn't make sense to me but then what do I know about politics really.

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Comment #29 posted by FoM on January 01, 2007 at 06:24:51 PT
Happy New Year 2007
Above all things I want the new year to be a year of common sense, hope and tolerance. We need hope for a better day more then about anything I believe. With the Democrats taking power in a couple of days the eyes of many people including me will be watching what they do very closely.

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Comment #28 posted by Sukoi on January 01, 2007 at 05:56:41 PT
ekim (18)
Indeed it should be an interesting debate, especially given the fact that Bob Barr has recently taken a leadership position for the Libertarian party:

Happy New Year to all and keep up the great work as I have a feeling that the next two years will bear favorable results in cannabis law reform.

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Comment #27 posted by unkat27 on January 01, 2007 at 01:41:28 PT
Legalize and Regulate!
"Iran Repeatedly Defies UN/US Sanctions"

Actually, it is doing no such thing. Iran is being demonized by the US, which claims it is doing something it is not -- building nukes -- when it is simply enriching uranium for what it claims is peaceful production of nuclear energy. The fact is, this process is NOT in violation of any UN sanctions. The problem is, the enrichment of uranium has dual purposes -- it can also be used for nukes -- and the US is claiming that is why Iran is doing so. But the UN inspectors also claim that they have seen no sign of building such nukes.

The US is doing the same thing to Iran that it did with Iraq. Lying to build up support, not just for trade sanctions which are designed to foment internal rebellion, but for another war. Recently, Iran claimed it had nuclear weapons capacity, after years of denying any such thing. Why? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the US has parked its Navy, armed to the teeth for war, right off Iran's coast. Recall, that is exactly what they did before 9-11, off the coast of Afghanistan.

Make no doubts about it, Iran is not the mass-murdering bully here, the US Bush Corps is.

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Comment #26 posted by rchandar on December 31, 2006 at 23:30:21 PT:

Goodbye To An Awful and Frightening Year

--Losing the War in Iraq --Losing the War in Afghanistan --World Record Opium Crop --The Michoacan Mob Starts Beheading Cops --Iran Repeatedly Defies UN/US Sanctions --Darfur-and the UN can't do s@$t --North Korea defies UN/US Sanctions --the economy continues to be sluggish --Palestine In Shambles, Hezbollah Guerrillas are Heroes

The only good thing that happened was that the Dems won the Congressional elections.

Bush's foreign policy this past year was an unbelievable DISASTER. The guy is so STUPID.


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Comment #25 posted by Telarus on December 31, 2006 at 23:20:59 PT:

Happy New Year all the Happy People here at!

May the coming year hold pleasant surprises for all of us.


-Telarus, KSC, KCC, Tender to the Edible Zen Garden

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #24 posted by rchandar on December 31, 2006 at 23:17:48 PT:

If he was waving a bag of cocaine, probably it had something to do with the impassive and racist relationship between rich Congressional white politicians and the grisly urban decay that they studiously ignored for the entire period.

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Comment #23 posted by Hope on December 31, 2006 at 22:02:11 PT
An old aquaintance not forgotten.

It will be wonderful to know he's out of their prison. Wonderful.

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Comment #22 posted by Hope on December 31, 2006 at 22:00:50 PT
Just called my son to wish him
Happy Birthday.

He was born three minutes after midnight forty years ago. My precious New Year baby is forty years old!

It's funny that I don't feel as old as I ought to. I've felt older before than I feel now. I'm glad I'm well enough to feel as young as I do.

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Comment #21 posted by BGreen on December 31, 2006 at 21:52:18 PT
Happy New Year!
This is the year that runruff will be set free!

Peace and freedom to all of my friends is my wish for the new year.

Whig, please come back. We can all get along and it just isn't the same without you

The Reverend Bud Green

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #20 posted by Hope on December 31, 2006 at 21:49:30 PT
Happy New Year!
It's the New Year here!

Happy, Happy New Year!

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #19 posted by FoM on December 31, 2006 at 20:58:21 PT
Happy New Year 2007
I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year and my wish is for a year when good things begin to happen in our country and the world.

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Comment #18 posted by ekim on December 31, 2006 at 19:32:13 PT
yes looks like a great New Year:::::::::::::))))))
lets hope this gets covered far and wide---- Debate: Medical Marijuana - Should The Sick Be Able To Smoke?

DPA's executive director Ethan Nadelmann will debate former Congressman, and drug policy reform opponent, Bob Barr about whether marijuana should be allowed as a medicine. If you're going to be in the New York City area on January 18th you won't want to miss this.

January 18, 2007 New York, NY

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Comment #17 posted by Hope on December 31, 2006 at 19:19:57 PT
2006 easing out.
2007 easing in.

Happy New Year, people! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2 and a half hours 'til the New Year here.

Here's hoping we all have a good one. A very good one.

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Comment #16 posted by FoM on December 31, 2006 at 17:49:19 PT
Had Enough
I followed the one link and it said Senator Kerry exposed the drug money connection. If that's true then why didn't people like him I wonder? You can tell I really don't follow politics very closely.

Happy New Year to you and your wife.

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Comment #15 posted by Had Enough on December 31, 2006 at 16:28:30 PT
Re: #14

These people say a lot of things.

I remember Reagan waving a large bag of cocaine in front of the cameras saying it was purchased on White House grounds, and wanting to escalate the Drug War.

I remember Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign.

I also remember,

Oliver North, and the words of Reagan, “Ollie was just doing his job.”

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Comment #14 posted by museman on December 31, 2006 at 14:10:35 PT

What gets me though, is the fact that the cartel is a direct result of American instigation. It exists because Bush sr. and his CIA buddies created it.

The CIA gave 'em the guns and ammo, in exchange for a lot of cocaine, which the CIA protected all the way from S.America to the streets. The money from the drugs, and the busting of Americans that they got hooked, went towards bribing the Iranians to release those hostages on a certain day- after Reagan was elected.

Blood and money; the legacy of American politics.

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Comment #13 posted by Wayne on December 31, 2006 at 13:28:26 PT
More good news for the New Year. Funny you should mention the South American drug cartels. Here was this juicy little tidbit from Pete over at DWR...

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Comment #12 posted by museman on December 31, 2006 at 13:11:31 PT
Taxation without representation
I know marijuana is not just 'relatively harmless' but is probably the safest medicinal substance in the world, except for that one little side effect called the US Justice system.

I know that when the ignorance is finally illuminated -when enough people stop refusing to see and look, the entire history of prohibition is going to put the fascists who support and implement it in the hall of shame.

Marijuana prohibition is the purvue of small-minded, unintelligent, power seeking predators. It is the best example of political insanity evident on the face of the earth.

The ones who made it illegal, and keep it illegal, are politicians, the non-representing power brokers of America. It is our taxes which pay for their limo's, their fancy dinners, their dry-cleaning, their half-million dollar mansions and ranches. It is our taxes which provide the basis of funding so that we can 'borrow' from the wealth, to pay the wealth. Our taxes buy the guns, the bombs, the genetic warfare, and the nuclear arsinal which is still very much active.

Our taxes support a cadre of the undeserving rich, who 'govern' us according to whatever whimsical distortions of the US Constitution they can manage.

Make marijuana legal. It is the only sane course of action. But giving control and economic interest to those who already have much much more than they need, is worse than the south american drug cartels getting the money.

Imagine smoking a joint, and knowing that a percentage of the money you paid for that joint is going to support wars like the Iraq war, or more drummed up wars like the WOD, maybe a War On Rock musicians, or a War On Carrots. Imagine every time you inhale, that you are funding the evilest government to ever exist since the Roman Empire.

Now just consider the quality you can expect to get when production of cannabis is regulated and legal only to the government endorsed corporations. Think of what the tobacco companies did to make more money, imagine those same people controlling marijuana.

Money, money, money. Aren't people starting to get a little tired of that scenario yet?

Leave me, my family, and my herb alone. Go to mars or something you f'in fascist pigs.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by Hope on December 31, 2006 at 11:25:31 PT
Raymond Shafer
I still wonder why the good judge didn't raise more ruckus over the Nixon debacle of ignoring Shafer's commission.

Did he not care?

I certainly appreciate the honesty of the commission's report. I don't understand why more people didn't fight for the truth in that report.

People have been killed and imprisoned and had their lives ruined by the marijuana laws and it's enforcement.

Lives could have been saved...and they weren't.

I see Nixon as a monstrous person and Shafer as heroic. I guess he didn't pick up the banner for justice because he really didn't care that much since it didn't have any effect on him or his.

It's a sad shame.

We so need more heroes. We really need them. History will honor the heroes that end this war and all it's injustices.

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Comment #10 posted by Hope on December 31, 2006 at 11:18:56 PT
Excellent letter, Mr. Storck!

Thank you, my friend.

(Big cyber hug to you!)

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by FoM on December 31, 2006 at 10:51:41 PT
Nixon on Pot, Booze and the Fall of Roman Empire
Nixon on Pot, Booze and the Fall of the Roman Empire

Comes Now the Ghost of "Decrim"


By Fred Gardner

Weekend Edition - December 30 / 31, 2006

Along with the man who pardoned Nixon, a man who disappointed Nixon left us this month: Raymond Shafer, a former Republican governor of Pennsylvania appointed in 1971 to lead a bipartisan "Presidential Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse." (Such a commission had been mandated by Congress in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.) Nixon told Shafer he wanted a report that would blur the distinction between marijuana and hard drugs, according to declassified oval office tapes. Instead, the Shafer commission would call for decriminalization of the personal use of marijuana.

Nixon's public rationale for rejecting decriminalization made good sense: "I do not believe you can have effective criminal justice based on the philosophy that something is half legal and half illegal." The oval office tapes reveal Nixon's more nuanced views on marijuana. On May, 12, 1971, as the commission was beginning its investigation, Nixon told his aide Bob Haldeman, "I want a goddamn strong statement about marijuana. Can I get that out of this sonofabitching, uh, domestic council? I mean one on marijuana that just tears the ass out of them."

Complete Article:

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Comment #8 posted by Hope on December 31, 2006 at 09:52:21 PT
Alcohol is far, far more dangerous
than marijuana.

Marijuana...and it's use aren't dangerous...unless you get caught. I believe that.

Denying that would be idiotically, obsessively ignorant.

It's a shame we have so many idiotically, obsessively ignorant people in leadership in this world.

I'm so tired of being "ruled" by the cruel and ignorant.

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Comment #7 posted by Hope on December 31, 2006 at 09:40:48 PT
Oh man!
Mr. Parkhurst covers the subject thoroughly and well. I hope and pray people read and absorb the good information in it.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by FoM on December 31, 2006 at 09:20:42 PT
My opinion is that there can only be one way that alcohol could be responsible and that is if the person said alcohol set them off and they did what they did under the influence and wouldn't have acted on an impulse if they hadn't been under the influence.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #5 posted by Hope on December 31, 2006 at 09:16:39 PT
Before anyone tells me....
I can accept that I may be wrong.

Influence? Of course. Responsible? Doubtful.

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Comment #4 posted by Hope on December 31, 2006 at 09:09:06 PT
"Alcohol is responsible"?

I have trouble with that.

It's the people who commit the murders.

Influenced, perhaps. You can be influenced by a pair of uncomfortable shoes. But I can't accept that "alcohol" was "responsible" any more than the gun, or knife, or fist they used was "responsible" for their actions.

You can drink the fire water to deaden your conscience (bolster your "courage" to do something you know is wrong). But it's still you that makes the choice.

I realize he's trying to make a point. It would have been better had he said, "Alcohol consumption played a part" or something.

There are people of a certain temper and nature who become more likely to be violent when they use alcohol...but they usually know that before the drink touches their lips. So, I still think it's the person...and not the alcohol. I still think it's the person who is the killer and not the alcohol, other drug, stick, gun, or knife.

Guess I'd better read the rest of the article before I say anything else.

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Comment #3 posted by something on December 31, 2006 at 08:31:04 PT
"alcohol is responsible for 65 percent of murders"

i don't like demonizing alcohol to make weed seem safe, or blaming drugs for people's actions

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Comment #2 posted by FoM on December 31, 2006 at 07:24:20 PT
Happy New Year to you too. We aren't party type people so I spend time thinking about the past year and what might be ahead for us. I am tired of the news being about death and I want to hope that the New Year really brings us Peace on Earth but I know that is only a pipe dream.

Right now I am watching Neil Young's Heart of Gold movie and how refreshing it is in a time of such turmoil. I believe Peace and Hope begins within our own hearts and it becomes contagious and it spreads. That's my hope for 2007!

Have a Great New Years Eve!

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by Wayne on December 31, 2006 at 07:11:52 PT
This was a fantastic article. I must say, FoM, even with the 2nd half of the article snipped off, it still gets the point across effectively and still makes cannabis look virtually harmless in comparison. I wasn't aware that 5 grams of caffeine would kill you, I thought the dosage was much higher than that.

All in all, a beautifully written article loaded with common sense factoids. A nice ending to a halfway decent year.

Happy New Year everyone.

[ Post Comment ]

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