Students Mixed About Pot Taxes, Legalization

  Students Mixed About Pot Taxes, Legalization

Posted by CN Staff on October 18, 2007 at 06:53:38 PT
By Callie Schweitzer 
Source: Daily Trojan  

California -- Depression, chronic pain, insomnia, stress. For these and almost anything else that ails you, an alleged umbrella cure has emerged. It's not a magical pill, Eastern medicine or the latest marvel - it's marijuana. But a new study shows marijuana's usage goes beyond medicinal; the drug can be helpful in the economic realm as well.
Jon Gettman, a longtime policy analyst who holds a Ph.D. in public policy, has published a new study contending that legalizing marijuana would create tax revenue and save taxpayers millions of dollars. If marijuana were legalized and taxed, similar to alcohol and other commodities, those who use the drug would be paying the taxes, he said. The study found that the United States is losing $30 million to underground marijuana sales and diverting money from the regional economy, Gettman said."Right now, the people who are profiting most, the growers and sellers, are not paying a dime for the problems their industry creates," he said. College and high school students are the ones most affected by marijuana's illegal status, Gettman said. "Who do you think gets busted the most? College and high school kids," he said. "The arrest rate for teens or young adults is three or four times higher than the rest of the public."Gettman said he believes youths working to legalize marijuana is "good citizenship." "The law hits people who are vulnerable," he said. "College kids need to realize that this affects them as taxpayers down the road." Gettman was attracted to the cause because, as a teenager, he worked in a drug paraphernalia store for eight years, where he said he discovered the positive effects marijuana can have on sick people."I thought I ought to be working on the underlying problem as a matter of social responsibility," he said.Gettman became the national director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in 1986 and said he was inspired by the compassion and dedication of those who worked there and fought for people who needed marijuana for medical purposes. He went on to create the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis in 2002, which consists of medical marijuana users and nonprofit groups who represent patients. Gettman then launched to post information about the legal rescheduling process and cannabis reform. The coalition's main concern is getting marijuana changed from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II or III drug, Gettman said. Scheduling refers to the medicinal properties a substance provides, its likelihood to be abused, the risk of users becoming physically and mentally dependent and the consequences of misuse. Schedule I classifies a substance as having no medicinal properties and a high likelihood of abuse and addiction. Substances listed as such include LSD, heroin and MDMA, the main ingredient of the drug ecstasy. Schedule II drugs, controlled substances with high potential for abuse such as morphine, are approved for medical use with strict limitations. Schedule III drugs have lower risks of abuse and addiction.The process to have marijuana reclassified could be lengthy and tedious."Patients who need marijuana shouldn't have to wait between 10 and 12 years for complicated administrative processes to take place," Gettman said. As of now, the Food and Drug Administration does not recognize marijuana's medicinal use, and a perceived increase in its usage has refueled the decades-long debate over the legalization of the drug.Complicating matters, prescriptions to purchase and consume marijuana are being handed out like candy in California. One USC student, who was first prescribed medicinal marijuana at 18 years old, said the process "was one of the easiest things I've ever done in my life."The student, who received his prescription on Cahuenga Boulevard in Los Angeles, said he walked into the clinic with $150 and his driver's license. A secretary "rubbed his shoulders" and told him he "had come to the right place."While the student, who declined to give his name, said he told the doctor he needed the prescription to ease chronic back pain, he admitted to having an ulterior primary goal."I got it to smoke pot," he said. "Whether or not it was for a medical reason."He did have chronic back pain, however, and "it actually did help my back," he said. Legalization, Regulation or a Pinch of Both?Esther Kim, the manager of the California Caregivers Association, a medicinal marijuana center located in West Los Angeles, said the clinic was opened to help people who suffer from cancer, insomnia and chronic pain.The CCA sees 60 to 70 walk-in clients per day, Kim said. "We're told by the patients themselves that [marijuana] really works for them," she said. "Many people consider it a taboo and assume it is abused, and they don't know it's being used as medicine." But Kim said she supports a move toward cannabis regulation, not its legalization."I don't think marijuana should be completely legal," she said. "Safety rules should be attached to it as well."Legalizing marijuana won't change how people act, said Bruce Margolin, director of the Los Angeles chapter of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "Everyone already does it," he said. "If it were legalized, people would sell it and buy it like they do tomatoes." Proponents of medical marijuana have been pushing for its legalization for years. In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, which legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Margolin said he sees no reason why marijuana should be illegal in the first place. "I don't care whether it's medical, philosophical or for a fun time at a party, there should be a right to smoke," he said. Students have mixed opinions on whether cannabis should be legalized for any purposes. Fay Li, a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism, said she has never smoked marijuana and is against legalization. "It's a drug with negative effects, and I don't think legalizing it is a smart way for the government to get more money from people," she said. Cyndi Thiel, an undeclared sophomore who has smoked marijuana, said she is pro-legalization."There'd be a lot less drug trafficking and crime," Thiel said. "I feel that from the research I've seen, smoking pot is safer than alcohol abuse." The student prescribed medical marijuana, who supports legalization, said he would pay taxes on marijuana because it would lower prices."Dealers wouldn't charge as much for the risk they take," he said. California As A Case Study William Mallon, associate professor of clinical emergency medicine at the Keck School of Medicine and director of international emergency medicine at the Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center, doesn't expect marijuana to become legalized anytime soon."Talk of legalization is a waste of time, because it's not happening," he said. "This country is not in any way, shape or form ready for it."California is one of 12 states that permit medicinal uses of marijuana. State-by-state, however, "California is more an example of failure than success," Mallon said. As soon as medical marijuana centers bring in successful revenue streams, the Drug Enforcement Agency goes after them, he said. All marijuana-related arrests in California have been based on federal law, he said."As a physician, I'd like to not have people smoke anything," Mallon said. "The argument [about tax revenues] may hold up, but the real cost of legalization is hard to say based on health care risks that are associated with any kind of smoking. As far as the argument that tax revenues would offset the cost of marijuana, I would offer up alcohol as an argument of how false that is." Mallon cited the Netherlands as a place where marijuana is legal and abused by foreigners. "Holland has become a tourist destination for people who want to get high," he said.Edward Newton, chairman of USC's department of emergency medicine, said he believes the country as a whole is not in favor of legalizing marijuana."If the government legalizes it, it's kind of an implicit endorsement of its use," he said. "You wouldn't want the pilot who is flying your plane to be stoned."But certain left-leaning states such as Oregon and Colorado could be on their way to legalization, Newton said. Margolin said he believes the government is wasting its time and money by prosecuting those who have marijuana. "Money should be better spent on education than incarceration for people who have marijuana," he said. Note: A new study examining the economics of pot raises questions about legalization.Source: Daily Trojan (U of Southern CA Edu)Author: Callie SchweitzerPublished: October 18, 2007Copyright: 2007 Daily TrojanContact: dtrojan usc.eduWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives

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Comment #11 posted by greenmed on October 19, 2007 at 08:44:49 PT
The FDA doesn't say you can't sell the bitter melon tea, just you can't make unproven health claims while doing so.I agree with whig on this. The problem is the potential conflict of interest when a marketer makes direct medical claims. Charantea USA's website,http://www.charanteausa.comseems not to pass FDA muster in this respect, despite the disclaimers that their health claims have "not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease."A search for Momordica charantia at indeed list many studies showing its benefits. But as with THC in Cannabis, the FDA approves only isolated chemicals not herbs as drugs. If Cannabis were made legal tomorrow, available in health food stores, the FDA would not permit health claims to be made on its packaging.Here is Charantea USA's open response to the FDA: Andrew Weil will be a guest on Larry King's show this evening: topic is diet and weight loss. It is a long shot, but perhaps the subject of charantia will be raised.
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Comment #10 posted by whig on October 18, 2007 at 23:58:54 PT
I think the problem is that many untruthful health claims have been made about many things, and unless there is a very strong scientific basis to support the claims that are being made, there is an interest in protecting the public from deceptive marketing.The FDA doesn't say you can't sell the bitter melon tea, just you can't make unproven health claims while doing so.
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Comment #9 posted by afterburner on October 18, 2007 at 21:26:14 PT
whig & greenmed
"As of now, the Food and Drug Administration does not recognize marijuana's medicinal use, and a perceived increase in its usage has refueled the decades-long debate over the legalization of the drug."FDA seizes $71k in herbal tea products as campaign of censorship against nutritional supplements continues.
Thursday, October 18, 2007 by: Mike AdamsExcerpt:
(NewsTarget) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, continuing its campaign of censorship against truthfully-described herbal supplements, seized $71,000 worth of Charantea herbal supplements last week in a raid involving U.S. Marshals. The company, Fulllife Natural Options, was accused by the FDA of marketing an "unapproved drug" due to the truthful marketing claims that accurately describe the blood sugar lowering effects of the product's main ingredient: Bitter Melon fruits.According to the Food and Drug Administration, there is no such thing as an herb, food or supplement that has any biological activity whatsoever on the human body (other than simply providing calories), and any person who dares to make such a claim is immediately considered to be in violation of the FDA's authority. Any substance that has any therapeutic effect whatsoever on the human body is considered by the FDA to be a "drug" and must be approved as such -- a lengthy process costing about $800 million and requiring the favor of an agency that practically works for Big Pharma.
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Comment #8 posted by Mike on October 18, 2007 at 16:17:56 PT

This discussion..
..reminds me of an episode of "Without a Trace" that I saw a week or two ago. The forensic scientists explained matter-of-factly that all the horrible things happened to this kid was because "Marijuana is a gateway drug" and at the end of the episode one needed "a bourbon to relax" so the forensics team and cops drove to a bar and boozed it up.
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Comment #7 posted by paulpeterson on October 18, 2007 at 13:44:35 PT

Alcohol toxicity causes people to "pop" viole
You've heard it before from friends, colleagues-but the family ones are the worst-a few drinks helps me "calm down" after a hard day at the office.The problem is, alcohol helps a person "dive" their troubles deep into the subconscious, and any untoward conflicts which were "left at the office" get left there, untouched, just waiting for some ticking time bomb of a fuse to allow to burst on screen with the full force of buried "treasure".Now, "office troubles", and unresolved conflicts could be a whole quadrant of societal imbalances, or racial or ethnic or religious intolerance-maybe even societal repression of controversial ideas-heck-maybe long withheld anxieties about such problems as the DRUG WAR, still festering after all these years (and billions "served" since that INQUISITION or POGROM was announced as a formal war in 1970 or so).So you get your test "subject" all pent up with some sort of "middle management" mentality or repression, put them in some enclosed space where you trigger claustrophobic tendencies, force them to sit for long periods at a "seat" with a mini-foldout "desk" and force them to deal with real live people in close, personal contact and "dose them" with the boozehound drug of choice for 'compliant' soldiers of the empire and "tickle" them with "therapeutic irritant" and BOOM-they pop and start to either verbally "flame" out at the irritant, then give some sky junkey cop type the right to "read them their rights" and just try to get that booze monkey to behave without regressing back to the "terrible twos and threes" before their brain started to develop coping mechanisms like "take your turn" and "share with your neighbor" and "pick up your toys" and "listen to the leader, follow the leader" (things like that) and the next thing you know, the person has just ADAVISMED right back to the cave-dweller's zone, when "fight or flight" happens, and if on a plane, THEIR AINT MUCH FLIGHT LEFT FOR THE PERSON, he gonna fight back, and that's that!Booze is the worst thing they could serve in those close quarters, in my opinion.The fight or flight reflex, in fact, is adrenaline driven, and adrenaline etched memories of past trauma are particularly pernicious, fully the provence of PTSD, and really hard to wipe out-it takes years of one on one therapy to delink, by heavy visualization, and copiously replaying the visual drone of reinactment, with full tear outburst overload and successive "triggering" in a controlled, safe environment, with trusted advisers trained to intervene and remind the person that what seems to be replaying as real visions, sounds, textures and responses isn't real, just a film ma'am. Each step must be carefully deprogrammed and delinked with logic and understanding.Or, as behavioral scientists have found, just bump the switch, bring the movie on full force, get the person all teary eyed, wide mouthed, angst'ed to the hilt, and then light the joint, stick in mouth, breath girl, breath (guys, this could work for you too, really, Wally, it does) and whatever adrenaline etched memories are "on screen" get "extinguished" (or at least de-etched, and the adrenaline "hot button trigger" gets erased from the etcha-sketch, so at least the next time it comes up, it doesn't have all the hyp and hip-hop it might have had, and a full year's therapy gets stored up in a single bound.Of course, for those of "us" that use cannabis sometimes, to keep those hyperintensive anxieties from overtaking real life, flying might present a situation where cannabis can't be safely ingested during that long flight into nowhere-then it is important to say "just the nuts for me, I'll pass on that drink", or risk some asshole bringing up the drug war as an issue and getting into a "CAD" discussion about conservative Republican political "dynasties", and tweeking the very trigger that still keeps the plug stuck in that glaring hole called the multifaceted repression of civil liberties, and you get the point.Booze can, of course, be used as a "trigger" to catch the unwary, of course. And I have found I can use the "Medussa" head issue of cannabis repression as a "trigger" to get others to pop, and boy, is it sweet when I get a judge to tell me to "shut up" (twice, which is not nice), when I speak about constitutional issues, or a chief of police to grab me and commit criminal assault, and multiple perjuries, evidence destruction, things like that-because they are so obtuse to think nobody ever go'in listen to me and such.Just make sure you get them to pop on camera, or on tape, or with witnesses, or at least document the interchange with same day service, so nobody can try to say it da'int happen. Then watch them piss all over themselves trying to hide the evidence, and if your state has a "criminal conspiracy law" (patterned after the federal "RICO" statute), then you got them for trying to hide evidence, of them "popping", so you can catch them breaking law after law, to hide evidence of their earlier infractions, etc.This could get fun, really it could. Just make damned sure you don't pop yourself, when they put the cuffs on (they like that "resisting arrest" thingy to sweeten their own frosting).Good story? I thought so, and thanks for listening. And wish me luck. And to Todd Erskine, the "entrapment" expert for the Storm Lake Police, I hope you like this one, eh? PAUL PETERSON, ANTI-ENTRAPMENT EXPERT IN WAITING
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Comment #6 posted by greenmed on October 18, 2007 at 10:17:25 PT

I don't see any problem with that either. The sad fact is that years of D.A.R.E. propaganda has inculcated an unfounded sense of guilt among an entire generation, even in those with medical need. The alternative treatment for chronic back pain? Benzos or liver-toxic meds. The young man has made the safer choice. Good for him and all who develop critical thinking skills.
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Comment #5 posted by whig on October 18, 2007 at 10:03:05 PT

You're absolutely, positively correct.The problem is that air travel is stressful for people, and alcohol is the only thing they are allowed to have now in order to relax. Some people it helps that way in moderation, but some people react very badly to alcohol. Hard liquor in particular is very dangerous. I think wine and beer aren't as bad.
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Comment #4 posted by Max Flowers on October 18, 2007 at 10:02:17 PT

Pilots should be sober, but not every1 needs to be
When it comes to pilots and bus drivers and all others in charge of the lives of groups of people in the transportation business, it would be easy enough to keep strict sobriety laws in place for them specifically. This would be the right thing to do and would be welcomed by everyone. But pretending that the same law should cover airline pilots and assembly-line worker alike doesn't help anyone (except the drug-testing industry).
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Comment #3 posted by whig on October 18, 2007 at 10:00:03 PT

Is it bad because people like it?
While the student, who declined to give his name, said he told the doctor he needed the prescription to ease chronic back pain, he admitted to having an ulterior primary goal."I got it to smoke pot," he said. "Whether or not it was for a medical reason."He did have chronic back pain, however, and "it actually did help my back," he said.I see no problem here.
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Comment #2 posted by tintala on October 18, 2007 at 08:55:32 PT:

pilots are already "drunk" in the air ,, what
Makes cannabis more dangerous when flying a plane than alcohol? They are already doing it, even stewardesses are getting drunk , doing drugs.I'd rather a pilot not take anything, but when there is a bar every 20ft at an airport???? Booze is handed out like candy.... in movies, commercials, flip this house,sell this house, even family shows!!!! Cannabis is less dangerous yet alcohol is touted in the VERY FABRIC of life.. it's everywhere!!! yet ppl think it's soooooo SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE coz it's been legal for 75 years. SHEEESH
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Comment #1 posted by nuevo mexican on October 18, 2007 at 07:54:14 PT

Great new video from the Beav! 
The Cleavers are for Dennis Kucinich, just watch this video and be sure and watch the whole thing, the last line is for C-newsers, and you WILL love it!Al Gore has moved the discussion to the left, way left!
Thanks Al, you and Dennis are the Greatest!Leave it to Dennis!
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