cannabisnews.com: An American Pastime: Smoking Pot





An American Pastime: Smoking Pot
Posted by CN Staff on July 14, 2008 at 05:20:20 PT
By Sarah N. Lynch
Source: Time Magazine 
USA -- The Netherlands, with its permissive marijuana laws, may be known as the cannabis capital of the world. But a survey published this month in PLoS Medicine, a journal of the Public Library of Science, suggests that the Dutch don't actually experiment with pot as much as one would expect.Despite tougher drug policies in this country, Americans were twice as likely to have tried marijuana than the Dutch, according to the survey.
In fact, Americans were more likely to have tried marijuana or cocaine than people in any of the 16 other countries, including France, Spain, South Africa, Mexico and Colombia, that the survey covered.Researchers found that 42% of people surveyed in the United States had tried marijuana at least once, and 16% had tried cocaine. About 20% of residents surveyed in the Netherlands, by contrast, reported having tried pot; in Asian countries, such as Japan and China, marijuana use was virtually "non-existent," the study found. New Zealand was the only other country to claim roughly the same percentage of pot smokers as the U.S., but no other nation came close to the proportion of Americans who reported trying cocaine.Why the high numbers? Jim Anthony, the chair of the department of epidemiology at Michigan State University and an author of the study, says U.S. drug habits have to do, in part, with the country's affluence  many Americans can afford to spend income on recreational drugs. Another factor may be an increasing awareness that marijuana may be less toxic than other drugs, such as tobacco or alcohol. (However, the study also found that the United States is among the leading countries in the percentage of respondents who tried tobacco and alcohol). As for the popularity of cocaine, the reason may simply be the close proximity of South America, the world's only coca plant producer. And, finally, Anthony notes, it's a matter of culture: the U.S. is home to a huge baby boomer population that came of age when experimenting with drugs was a part of the social fabric. "It became a more mass population phenomenon during a period when there were a large number of young people who were in the process of creating a culture of their own," Anthony says.The survey also found that more Americans not only experimented with drugs, but also tended to try pot and cocaine for the first time at a younger age compared with people in other countries. Just over 20% of Americans reported trying pot by age 15 and nearly 3% had tried cocaine by the same age. Those percentages jumped to 54% and 16%, respectively, by age 21. That finding isn't surprising, says Dr. Richard Schottenfeld, a professor of psychiatry and a drug expert at the Yale University School of Medicine, since peer influence has a significant impact on the prevalence of drug use. In the Netherlands, for example, there is a large, vocal and homogeneous conservative population that is staunchly opposed to marijuana, says Schottenfeld. And anti-drug activists have made recent attempts to tighten the country's cannabis policies.Yet experts say the findings of the new survey don't fairly reflect the success or failure of any particular drug policy. The survey asked only whether people had ever tried drugs in their lifetime  it did not ask about habitual use. "For drug policy, what you look at is regular use," says Tom Riley, a spokesman for the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy. "Somebody having tried pot in 1968 in college doesn't really have much to do with what the current drug use picture in the United States is."Though current findings may not provide enough context to judge existing drug policy, Anthony says they do highlight some valid issues, especially since stringent laws don't appear to impact whether kids experiment with drugs. "One of the questions raised by research of this type is whether Americans will want to continue supporting the incarceration of young people who use small amounts of marijuana," Anthony says.The ongoing study, which surveyed more than 85,000 people in 17 countries, is part of a larger project through the World Health Organization's World Mental Health Survey Initiative. Anthony says further research about the frequency of worldwide drug use, and new data from additional countries will be released in the future.Source: Time Magazine (US)Author:  Sarah N. LynchPublished: July 11, 2008Copyright: 2008 Time Inc.Contact: letters time.comWebsite: http://www.time.com/time/CannabisNews -- Cannabis Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/cannabis.shtml
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help




Comment #21 posted by afterburner on July 15, 2008 at 20:44:37 PT
Another Breakthrough: Religious Freedom!
Italy: Rastas Can Use Cannabis, Italian Court Rules 
by Peter Popham, in Rome, (12 Jul 2008) Independent Italy
http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n675/a09.html 
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #20 posted by FoM on July 15, 2008 at 18:18:23 PT
msegesta 
Michael, I just read on the Rust List that Neil Young will be a guest on David Letterman on Wednesday night. This will be fun. I'm looking forward to seeing him tonight and tomorrow.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #19 posted by msegesta on July 15, 2008 at 14:03:13 PT:
FoM needs to know - Neil Young
...is on Charlie Rose tonight. I think for the whole HOUR!. I lost her private e-mail and phone and therefore can't get ahold of her. Can someone drop her a note?Thanks,M
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #18 posted by museman on July 15, 2008 at 14:02:18 PT
Hope# 17
I heard that.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #17 posted by Hope on July 15, 2008 at 12:20:59 PT
Comment 14 Museman. 
Damn!
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #16 posted by FoM on July 15, 2008 at 06:40:34 PT
fight_4_freedom 
Thank you for the link. That was good.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #15 posted by fight_4_freedom on July 14, 2008 at 20:37:40 PT:
Here's a message with a little song 
from a friend of mine."All We Are Saying, Is Give Weed A Chance"http://www.youtube.com/user/GiveWeedAChance
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #14 posted by museman on July 14, 2008 at 20:08:06 PT
Hope#12
The 'message' is this;"We are here to protect you, to make sure that you grow up believing in our benevolence, so that when you learn that Santa Claus, Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy aren't real you won't turn your new understanding to see that the world and society created by one exclusive class of humans; your benevolent big-brother, kings, bankers, politicians and cops is also an illusion of the same ilk albeit much more 'sophistcated' and complex.We are here to smile and give you toys, addict you to sugar, and eventually alcohol, so that when you are an adult who can't find a job because you aren't so 'cute' anymore, or because your value as a 'child' apparently completely vanishes upon 'coming of age,' you will remember all the 'nice' things big brother did for you when you were a child, and not be resentful of the fact that you have been completely ignored to the point of destruction by your once friendly kindly old uncle.We are here to teach you to submit to the inevitable domination of our agenda, and to teach you the clever ways of denying your rightful natural inheritance through carefully constructed doctrines of obedience and servitude, through engendering you with a deep-seated guilt about everything from sex to the volume of your amlpifier.We are here to make sure that you learn such important human attributes as greed, selfishness, callous carelessness, and to set you after the goals and the high honors of conquest, aquisition, and control. It doesn't matter whether you ever get the carrot on the stick, the chase is your life, and we live off that energy.Pay no attention to the fact that everything we say and do is some kind of mental invention being shoved down your throat, and we ourselves aren't obligated to live by these standards, our birthright, pedigree, and bank accounts just trump your little attempts at life, liberty, and the pursuit if happiness, sorry about Santa Claus, but we get a good laugh every year.Most important of all, we must assure that when we call upon you to make a sacrifice for the good of us, that you will not hesitate. We want you to grow strong and healthy enough, so that you can go a-conquering for us, but not healthy, or strong enough to actually think about it. Of course you will know that it is a "noble" "patriotic" act, and that you "Honor God" and that it is "dihonorable" to question your betters in any way."I know this is the message, because I recieved it loud and clear while I was still a child. Its still blathering out its acceptable idiocy like we are all children without a guide, but a significant number of us are awake, cognizant, wise, and accepting no fake replacements for the equally fake Easter Bunny.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #13 posted by FoM on July 14, 2008 at 15:26:32 PT
observer
I understand what you saying but it isn't the same thing that museman said. I see things more like museman as far as what this is all about and why is money such a driving force. I don't understand why it costs so much money. People can say why but that doesn't make me understand why. Don't people have jobs? 
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #12 posted by Hope on July 14, 2008 at 14:44:31 PT
I'd like to ask a question...
What exactly is the message prohibitionists are sending to the "Children"?Anyone know for sure?Anyone?Does anyone ever ask what it, the message is... exactly?Something about "Unacceptable"?
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #11 posted by observer on July 14, 2008 at 14:32:43 PT
Why
Why the high numbers?Because that's the way our rulers want it. The sheep are paying for their own jails, and consenting to their own destruction, all over the cannabis plant and using a few laws which our rulers have dictated to us. That must be a beautiful thing to them. Cannabis use is a controllable "sin" which they can use to enslave us (as literal slaves, with chains, via the prison system) at will. Cannabis laws are a make-work political sop to the police state (police, prosecutors, politicians, bureaucrats, and assorted drug war camp followers). The drug war, especially the persecution of cannabis users is where government and large corporations come together and agree in an unholy brotherhood of authoritarianism. Some call it fascism. But this police state system needs lots of us to break these cannabis laws, hence the anti-drug propaganda which has the curious effect of making people want to take drugs more than before, while at the same time of course demonizing folks who take cannabis as subhuman scapegoats in need of our "help" (helping them into jail with a few kicks that is). It so happens that cannabis use can be painted as a heinous sin, a crime against God. The fact that people can alter their consciousness with cannabis meshes well into the "Crazed sinful pothead doper runs amok" narrative, a myth that is carefully nurtured. While this distortion is shouted via heavy propaganda, the fact that cannabis use and consciousness alteration can be pleasurable and worthwhile isn't erased by the lies and this sets the cycle up for repeating itself. More smokers enjoy cannabis then become disgusted by the governmental lies, but who are sadly now easy fodder for the police state. Government, politicians get ever more concentrated power (as rights are gladly trampled in the name of fighting "drugs"). Politicians like this. The police state gets more power and employment, drug war camp follower corporations suckle ever more contentedly. All lobby and propagandize for more of the same. This would be a tidy and nice system, were for the unpleasant fact cannabis prohibition rests on lies, and people are wrongly hurt by government simply because they grow, sell, or take the cannabis plant. 
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #10 posted by HempWorld on July 14, 2008 at 14:31:05 PT
An American Pastime: Smoking Pot! ... Brought to
you by a failed policy courtesy of Nixon and the DEA/ONDCP/Tom Riley; scum of the earth, so that your kids can get into drugs at an ever earlier age!Yeah, we are tough on drugs, NOT.And even when we see our (US) policies are a disastrous failure, we pretend not to see it... how convenient but what about the kids ... really!
On a mission from God!
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #9 posted by FoM on July 14, 2008 at 14:28:34 PT
museman
I have been troubled over the years about what you said.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #8 posted by FoM on July 14, 2008 at 14:27:32 PT
Video: Jim Hightower on Pot 
Jim Hightower on Pot -- Sharing His Thoughts on Pot, That IsMarijuana Policy Project July 14, 2008"The powers that be like to play games, and Marijuana is a nice diversion." (Video)Video: http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/91446/?ses=e5aad45b7e1b88fa50b83916319ad497
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #7 posted by museman on July 14, 2008 at 12:33:49 PT
FoM
Unfortunately, like so many other things of relative value that are rooted to the mistaken and misplaced faith in the system of things, the ones with the resources are the ones cashing in on the medical scene (and black market prices), while those of us who never compromised our integrity for a few dollars more are still on the short end.If it weren't for the fact that 'legalizing, regulating, and taxing' would only enable the endowed while further limiting those of us who cannot kiss the ass of the beast with our wallets and bank accounts- just replacing one set of thieves with another- I'd be all for it. To take the profit out of the hands of all these folks who think they are 'hip,' 'alternative,' and 'counterculture' because they grow and sell pot, living high off the hog, buying property, goods, and many toys in the name 'cannabis freedom' wouldnt' hurt my feelings at all. 
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #6 posted by FoM on July 14, 2008 at 11:24:55 PT
konagold
I thought Republicans where for state's rights?Excerpt: Gov. Linda Lingle, in her veto message, said the bill was "objectionable because it is an exercise aimed at finding ways to circumvent federal law. The use of marijuana, even medical marijuana, is illegal under federal law."
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #5 posted by konagold on July 14, 2008 at 11:18:19 PT:
Medical marijuana list released
http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080712/NEWS03/807120338/1001
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #4 posted by FoM on July 14, 2008 at 10:49:38 PT
museman
We know of a person who is very sick but he hasn't had to purchase cannabis to help him feel better for a number of years. People have asked him who would do that for him. He says a friend. That's the way it should be. That's what it's all about isn't it?
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #3 posted by FoM on July 14, 2008 at 10:46:37 PT
museman
I'm so sorry to read how your friend was treated. If people are lucky enough to grow quality cannabis and they don't share it with sick people I don't believe they are in it for medical marijuana. I say shame on people like that. People share vegetables from their gardens so why would they not share cannabis with a sick person?
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #2 posted by museman on July 14, 2008 at 10:40:11 PT
Affluent 'drug users'
"Why the high numbers? Jim Anthony, the chair of the department of epidemiology at Michigan State University and an author of the study, says U.S. drug habits have to do, in part, with the country's affluence  many Americans can afford to spend income on recreational drugs."Well if they can 'afford it' why all the collateral damage? Why the gangstas, and the sex-slave market, and the associated crimes of addicts getting money for their fix?I know that cannabis can be 'recreational' but what is recreational, and 'affordable' about snorting cocaine? Shooting Heroin? Meth and alcohol are definitely 'affordable' -the cops, loggers, and many truck drivers consume the bulk of these products every day.And anybody who thinks that cannabis is 'affordable' is obviously living in a yuppie bubble of isolation from reality.What is so affordable about herbs -plant material that literally grows anywhere (given a chance) at the price of $10 and upwards a gram? Prices that exist only because of prohibition. Prices that make it very difficult for disabled persons on fixed incomes, who do not have property, and assets, to obtain their medicine.I once asked someone I knew a few years back to sell an ounce to a friend who was dying, who literally had only days to live. They had the herb, but it was destined to go to California for high prices. I told them this was a medical issue, and the guy was literally DYING. He just wanted one ounce, and was willing to pay whatever for it. The dealer (who now claims he was growing for medical reasons) denied us, because money was the imperative, and he obviously didn't care that a dying veteran would have liked a little cannabis comfort before he lost consciousness for the final time.Dennis died a few days later without the benefit of cannabis to ease his passing. I will never forget that.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on July 14, 2008 at 08:29:39 PT
Amazing!
"One of the questions raised by research of this type is whether Americans will want to continue supporting the incarceration of young people who use small amounts of marijuana."Prohibition exacerbates problems and more than doubles marijuana use when you compare the Netherlands with the US. But for those who have studies this, we already knew this since the 70's.It is amazing to me with all the evidence and facts staring you in the face: "Yet experts say the findings of the new survey don't fairly reflect the success or failure of any particular drug policy"Or the bs answer of Tom Riley, who clearly shows that he doesn't understand anything as long as his salary depends on it. Way to go USA! We need lots more prohibition because we need lots more pot! Apparently when policies drive kids into drugs ONDCP/Tom Riley doesn't give a shit! Isnt' this the name of the real game? Hey, thanks for the free advertising!
On a mission from God!
[ Post Comment ]


Post Comment