Marijuana Is Gateway Drug for Two Debates

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  Marijuana Is Gateway Drug for Two Debates

Posted by CN Staff on July 17, 2009 at 16:23:12 PT
By Sarah Kershaw and Rebecca Cathcart 
Source: New York Times 

New York -- It was as if she woke up one day and decades of her life had disappeared.Joyce, 52 and a writer in Manhattan, started smoking pot when she was 15, and for years it was a pleasant escape, a calming protective cloud. Then it became an obsession, something she needed to get through the day. She found herself hiding her addiction from her family, friends and co-workers.
“I would come home from work, close my door, have my bong, my food, my music and my dog, and I wouldn’t see another person until I went to work the next day,” said Joyce, who like most others in this article asked that her full name not be published, because she does not want people to know about her past drug use.“What kind of life is that? I did that for 20 years.”She tried to stop, but was anxious, irritable, sleepless and lost. At one point, to soothe her cravings, she took morphine that she found at her dying father’s bedside. She almost overdosed.Two years ago, she checked into the Caron Foundation, a treatment center in Wernersville, Pa. Even there, she said, some other addicts — cocaine and heroin users or alcoholics — downplayed her dependence on marijuana.“The reality is, I was as sick as them,” Joyce said. She now attends Alcoholics Anonymous, which is also open to drug addicts, and recently married.Smoking pot, she said, “was a slow form of suicide.”Marijuana, the country’s most widely used illicit drug, is typically not thought to destroy lives. Like alcohol, pot has been romanticized by writers and musicians, from Louis Armstrong to Bob Dylan, and it has been depicted as harmless or silly in movies like “Harold and Kumar.” And addiction experts agree, marijuana does not pose as serious a public health problem as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Its hazards pale in comparison with those of alcohol. But at the same time, marijuana can be up to five times more potent than the cannabis of the 1970s, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.And this new more-potent pot and the growing support for legalization has led to an often angry debate over marijuana addiction. Many public health officials worry that this stronger marijuana has increased addiction rates and is potentially more dangerous to teenagers, whose brains are still developing. And officials say the movement to legalize marijuana — now available by prescription in 13 states — plays down the dangers of habitual use.“We need to be very mindful of what we are unleashing out of a Pandora’s Box here,” said Dr. Richard N. Rosenthal, chairman of psychiatry at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan and professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University. “The people who become chronic users don’t have the same lives and the same achievements as people who don’t use chronically.”More adults are now admitted to treatment centers for primary marijuana and hashish addictions than for primary addictions to heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, according to the latest government data, a 2007 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.Even though alcohol and opiates (which includes painkillers and heroin) are the two leading primary addictions, the percentage of those seeking treatment for marijuana addiction, compared with 10 years ago, has increased significantly to 16 percent in 2007 from 12 percent in 1997. The percentages of those seeking treatment for cocaine (13 percent of admissions in 2007) and alcohol addiction (22 percent in 2007) declined slightly.Advocates for legalizing marijuana and some addiction specialists say these concerns are overwrought. The admissions data, they say, is deceiving because it was collected by government agencies that oppose legalization; 57 percent of those admitted for marijuana addiction treatment were ordered to do so by law enforcement. (The percentage of those ordered into treatment was lower for other drugs, except for methamphetamine. For alcohol abuse, 42 percent were ordered into treatment.)Advocates and even some addiction specialists say cannabis is an effective treatment for medical and emotional problems, and can even help some battling addictions to harder drugs.The risk of addiction, they say, is less problematic than for alcohol and other drugs. For instance, of the people who had used marijuana, only 9 percent became addicted, according to a 1999 study by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, a nonprofit research organization on science and health. Of those who drank alcohol, 15 percent became addicted. For cocaine, the figure was 17 percent, and heroin, 23 percent. (These are the latest figures from the institute; advocates and addiction experts said there were no more recent data available.)“The word addiction is so fungible in our society, and cannabis just doesn’t fit that tidy definition, though it can be abused,” said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a legalization advocacy group. “Science really has proven, if anything, that cannabis is likely one of the safest substances we can interact with.”Many people can smoke marijuana every day without ill effects, advocates say, just as many casually drink wine in the evening.These marijuana users do not meet the clinical definition of addiction, which includes an inability to stop using the drug, an uncontrollable obsession with it and increased tolerance. Javier V., a 24-year-old supervisor in an industrial park in Miami, said he has smoked pot regularly, without a problem, since he was 14. “After a busy day at work,” he said, “I come home, roll up a J and — I mean, it’s stress relief.”Then there are people like Milo, 60, who recently attended his first Marijuana Anonymous meeting in Los Angeles. He said he started smoking pot at 13, and has struggled to quit.He is also an alcoholic, he said, but has not had a drink since the early 1980s.“I’m a pothead, a marijuana addict, a stoner, we call ourselves a million things,” he said. He is trying to quit, he said, because his girlfriend is threatening to leave him. Besides, the drug no longer alleviates his depression and anxiety.“I’m losing things and people,” Milo said after the meeting. “I’m estranged from my children. I’ve lost two houses, and I’m living in my R.V., basically homeless.”He added, “There are a whole lot of pieces, and I can’t get them together.”Many addiction experts would say marijuana abuse has, at the very least, added to Milo’s problems. And the drug’s new potency has made the likelihood of addiction that much greater, public health officials say.“It’s like drinking beer versus drinking whiskey,” said Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a government agency and a strong opponent of legalizing marijuana. “If you only have access to whiskey, your risk is going to be higher for addiction. Now that people have access to very high potency marijuana, the game is different.”A 2004 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested that the stronger cannabis is contributing to higher addiction rates. The study, conducted for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, compared marijuana use in 2001 and 2002 with use a decade earlier.While the percent of the population using the drug remained stable during that time, dependence or abuse on the drug increased significantly, particularly among black and Hispanic men. Higher concentrations of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, the study said, was the likely reason for the growing dependency.Dr. Volkow, who spearheaded federal research into treatment for marijuana withdrawal, had studied cocaine in the 1970s and early 1980s. Back then, she said, she was unsuccessful in winning grants to study cocaine addiction.“People thought cocaine was a very benign drug,” she said.Only after the basketball player Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose in 1986, and the crack epidemic began, did the government start a campaign to warn of cocaine’s dangers.With marijuana, “it’s going to take some real fatalities for people to pay attention,” she said. “Unfortunately that’s the way it goes.”Like any addiction, quitting pot can be daunting. Jonathan R. has been a member of Marijuana Anonymous in Los Angeles since the early ’90s, shortly after the 12-step program was founded. He has seen many members in meetings say they would rip up their medical marijuana cards, available in California and used to fill prescriptions for problems ranging from severe pain and discomfort from cancer, to headaches and insomnia.But then, inevitably, he said, they secure another one, much like “an alcoholic who pours booze down the drain and then goes out to get another bottle.”The difficulty in quitting has spurred psychologists and psychiatrists to debate whether “Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome” should be in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.Yet, marijuana withdrawal is not nearly as severe as withdrawal from most other drugs. Giving up drinking can cause fatal seizures. Heroin users vomit and sweat for days; sudden withdrawal can be fatal.In fact, some doctors specializing in treating addicts would rather prescribe marijuana for anxiety and insomnia than sleeping pills or Valium and Xanax, which are highly addictive.“I see people every day dying from alcohol, stimulants and opiates,” said Dr. Matthew A. Torrington, an addiction specialist and clinical researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Marijuana may be an up and comer, it may be transforming into something that will become a bigger problem in the future, but at the moment I don’t see that.”Still, even one of Dr. Torrington’s patients, Jonathan James, has concerns about his own marijuana use. Mr. James, 50, a former choreographer, has been a regular pot smoker for 35 years.He said smoking marijuana helped inspire some of his most original ideas. But Mr. James is afraid to stop smoking, even after kicking heroin and cocaine. When he stopped the harder drugs, he stayed off pot for six months. When he started again, he planned to smoke only a few times a week.After a month or so, “I started smoking it more,” he said. “Two months later, I was smoking it in the morning, and four months later I was smoking all day.”He said he would be more successful without pot.“It keeps me back — from engaging in the dreams and aspirations I have,” he said. “I would like to feel I don’t need to take anything to feel better.”A version of this article appeared in print on July 19, 2009, on page ST1 of the New York edition.Source: New York Times (NY)Author: Sarah Kershaw and Rebecca CathcartPublished: July 17, 2009Copyright: 2009 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives

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Comment #38 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on July 20, 2009 at 11:18:03 PT
I agree Hope.
If Volkow could find a way to develop poison cannabis, she'd do it.And in her mind, it would be a noble act to protect cannabis users from themselves, not a deep psychological need to protect her bs job and fragile self-image.But then again, she IS a member of a profession, Psychiatry, that would rather shoot electricity through their patients brains, than let them use a perfectly safe herb.
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Comment #37 posted by Hope on July 20, 2009 at 09:06:42 PT
There's comments here and all over the net about what she said. Seemingly, though, no one else took it like I did. It has the essence of a threat. A chilling threat. We've known what sort of slavering prohibitionist monster she is for a long time... but didn't anyone else see the special public mask slip in this statement? She wants people to die to suit her agenda. True, deep, stinking rotten prohibitionist agenda always comes down to the kill zone. She KNOWS full well that cannabis, even at it's most potent and excessive is not lethal. I think she has something uglier on her mind and in her heart. Something really ugly, nasty, immoral, cruel, unethical, deadly, hateful, murderous, and dangerous. We want to stop the killing... she wants killing. I consider that "Insane". We've known they're insane... but they keep up such a big public front... and knowing it and actually seeing the horror of what's behind the mask when it slips... well it's still scary to see... even when you already knew it was there.Brrrr. 
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Comment #36 posted by anunlikelyally on July 20, 2009 at 06:19:43 PT:
Well this was just painful to read
I'd expect nothing less from the New York Times. I am not surprised nor am I amused by their usual dribble. Anyone else notice how the "mourning star" of American newsprint sounds an awful lot like Pravda used to? 
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Comment #35 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on July 19, 2009 at 23:48:35 PT
That was no "Lady"! - LOL
I went to her NIDA page and there was supposed to be a picture of her, but it was a Halloween mask! (rim shot)"Back then, she said, she was unsuccessful in winning grants to study cocaine addiction."The great Dr. N.D.V. couldn't get money from the just-say-no Raygun Republicans who threw money at the likes of Carlton Turner???!!!Maybe, it was just because you're a lousy scientist, Nora.And claiming to be ahead of your time, because you were concerned about cocaine before Len Bias' 1986 death, doesn't impress anyone who saw Richard Pryor Live On The Sunset Strip in 1982.Yeah, if only cannabis killed people, you wouldn't have to be so desperately worried about losing access to your already drying government tit.
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Comment #34 posted by Had Enough on July 19, 2009 at 19:29:36 PT
“that lady wishing for more "fatalities"” 
re: Hope #30She will never get her ‘wish’!!!More than 5000 yrs, or more, of recorded history shows that!!!That woman needs to get real…anyone ‘wishing’ death upon another…really has a problem…chemical imbalance…maybe…she needs some serious help…But then again…what can you expect from a prohibitionist that collects coin off of it???Still…chemical imbalance…lack of personal experiences…poor childhood…lack of attention…upset because other girls of her peers went out on dates, while she sat home watching the TV ad machine, because nobody wanted anything to do with her or her personality…couldn’t make the cheerleader team???…or plain old brainwashed by the status quo???…maybe all of these and more…
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Comment #33 posted by greenmed on July 19, 2009 at 18:23:49 PT
CNBC: Marijuana Inc. Inside America’s Pot Industry
I'm not certain whether the link to this video has been posted: link is in the column on the right hand side.
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Comment #32 posted by FoM on July 19, 2009 at 16:18:15 PT

If Marijuana Is Legal, Will Addiction Rise?
July 19, 2009URL:
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Comment #31 posted by Hope on July 19, 2009 at 09:52:07 PT

Comment 29
I saw that, Afterburner. I thought it was very interesting and entertaining.
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Comment #30 posted by Hope on July 19, 2009 at 09:44:08 PT

that lady wishing for more "fatalities" 
That was no "Lady", Vincent!That was Dr. Nora Volkow, herself.
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Comment #29 posted by afterburner on July 19, 2009 at 00:00:10 PT

Good job critiquing the BS everyone
I read (red) the comments first. The article was a letdown. I found myself saying "What?" after the very first sentence. I agree that these poor souls with addictive personalities seem to have multiple addictions and very poor judgment. In their desire to partake of treatment, they have demonized the cannabis experience.I recently saw Super High Me on DVD. If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend it. 30 days of cannabis fasting followed by 30 days of cannabis feasting are reported with health and cognitive testing throughout. Much truth is told. Many lies of the prohibitionists are disproved.
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Comment #28 posted by Hope on July 18, 2009 at 20:51:46 PT

Hey Vincent...
Glad you had a nice time and are home safely.Our old pal, Calvina Fay, got ink in the San Francisco Chronicle. COST OF MAKING POT LEGAL 
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Comment #27 posted by Vincent on July 18, 2009 at 19:52:32 PT:

The New York Times article
Well hello everybody, just got home to Florida after a month-long visit to New York. Great to be back at my own computer. 
Anyway, I'd like to critique this article...IT WAS GARBAGE!
What a piece of junk! And that lady wishing for more "fatalities" to boost support for prohibition. Not to mention that baloney about "pot's potency being higher than it was in the 1970s". Such crap! I wish I could find herb as strong as I had back then.
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Comment #26 posted by FoM on July 18, 2009 at 14:23:07 PT

Just a Comment
When I read that Chit Chat was in the article I couldn't help but smile. The Caron Foundation was unique. My parents were involved years ago with the Caron Foundation. I spent time in Wernersville and went to school with their one daughter. Chit Chat helped a lot of people before anyone even thought about addiction practically. Wernersville is where a big state mental hospital was and maybe still is. Jon and Kate are from Wernersville, Pa. That's all.
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Comment #25 posted by greenmed on July 18, 2009 at 14:17:55 PT

Joyce needs help
If Joyce had an alternative 'secret addiction' say to a couple of pints of Häagen-Dazs each evening, would she feel any more in control? Would she be any healthier? Would she risk her life and liberty for indulging?Dependence is in the mind, and can be fed with just about anything the mind desires. To blame cannabis, excessive sugar or unhealthy foods is to divert the blame. No doubt Joyce needs some help in the self-control department, but to be fed her emotional fix from 'drug experts' reinforcing her myopic view is a cop out. Is the concept of self-responsibility so alien to the prohibitionists?

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Comment #24 posted by Hope on July 18, 2009 at 14:03:40 PT

Addicted to pot?
I'd say anything is possible... but I'm thinking when reading the sad tales these people are telling is that they perhaps are covering up other issues by having a nice scapegoat... oh it was the pot... the pot... the pot.I've no doubt there's some flicking going on in their lives of some kind. But really. They are like the worst of the flat earth people. Regardless... the punishments and deterrents they've designed are outrageous in consideration of the the "crime"... whether it be addiction of some sort... or just liking something. Do they not have a problem with riding other people's backs. Get off! Get off those people's backs!*sigh*
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Comment #23 posted by charmed quark on July 18, 2009 at 13:45:53 PT

I've known pot smokers for around 35 years
And I can't say I've sever seen someone "addicted" to pot. Lots of people I've known with lots of trouble with alcohol. Alcohol is the number one drug I've seen problems with. Lots of people, myself included, addicted to cigarettes, although that seldom causes lifestyle problems. I quite 17 years ago and that was tough. I've seen a lot of people, back in the 70s with really, really bad problems with speed.Never seen anything like that with pot, and just about everybody I knew back in the day smoked - it was more common than drinking. And a lot of the stuff was powerful - Thai sticks, hash, tinctures, hash oil, all as strong as anything you can get now. And never once did I see people having trouble when they couldn't get any more. They's say things like, "too bad there's no pot around, but I guess some more will show up sooner or latter". That sort of thing.I did know some people who abused pot - used just way too much of it, to a detriment in their lives. But they abused everything. Primarily alcohol and other drugs. Pot was more of a backup to them - when they couldn't get other drugs and/or their stomachs couldn't take anymore alcohol, they'd smoke pot.So it's very hard for me to match any experience I've had with stuff these addiction people are saying. I'm sure someone, somewhere, became "addicted" to pot. Anything is possible. I've known people "addicted" to aerobics. But the exception just proves the rule.
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Comment #22 posted by Hope on July 18, 2009 at 13:28:33 PT

The dip...
I wonder if she would have stayed holed up... hiding, apparently, so much, if her using cannabis hadn't been labeled a crime and her a crimininal... with serious, serious sanctions possible.Hmmm.
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Comment #21 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on July 18, 2009 at 11:20:24 PT

Tabloid, Yellow, and Bad!
I'm fluent in 3 sections!And I don't even have to subscribe to the tree wasting, hand dirtying, pinnacle of American journalistic garbage.
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on July 18, 2009 at 11:20:21 PT

About The Article
There is always some truth in falsehood. People can spin marijuana issues in circles but we know why they are doing it. We won't be fooled again.
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Comment #19 posted by Hope on July 18, 2009 at 11:14:39 PT

To me... this article is another "Last Straw"
Prohibitionists are... without a doubt... dangerously and completely insane. What a horrible thing to see and realize.Oh my gosh.
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Comment #18 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on July 18, 2009 at 11:11:05 PT

Why is the NEW YORK TIMES publishing this trash?
They've been spending an awful lot of money, constantly advertising on TV lately, selling themselves as the nation's most reputable source of information, stating that NYT has, without question, the best journalists in the world.What a joke.
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on July 18, 2009 at 11:08:30 PT

"real fatalities" 
Horribly... thanks to prohibitionist idiocy... there have been "real" fatalities. A lot of "Real" fatalities. What other kinds of fatalities are there? (Although some of the fatalities inflicted on humanity by prohibitionists seem pretty "Unreal" on the face of it. Why? For God's sake, why?)They think it would be good for people to die to prove their irrational point? Obviously. The prohibitionist lovers are some really sick puppies. They've perpetrated and allowed plenty of killing "over" a non-lethal herb, in spite of the fact that there is no "from" it, for decades now. They're stinking, vicious, pious faced murderers! Just like the witch burners, inquisitionists and all the other wicked, murderous, self righteous haters that came before them.Is their no rehab available for violent, self righteous, vicious, busy-body haters?There should be. Before they kill someone. Oh...right. They already have. Too late to stop it from having happened... but not too late to stop them from continuing dragging us all down their hateful bloody path to some sort of ghastly, truly demonically inspired, prohibitionist utopia. Demonically inspired? Doesn't a demon whisper in their ears... "Help them. Help them. Put them in cages and cells. Lock them up. Punish them. Help them to death if you have to."
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on July 18, 2009 at 10:45:48 PT

Oh my Lord! 
"With marijuana, “it’s going to take some real fatalities for people to pay attention,” she said. “Unfortunately that’s the way it goes.”"I have no doubt whatsoever of their peculiarly warped thinking and I have to wonder... are they capable of what that statement implies? Am I being paranoid? No! I'm hearing what they are saying and I find it very alarming. God help us! Don't let them start killing and hurting even more of the "children" with their already insane efforts at prohibition!
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on July 18, 2009 at 10:38:52 PT

Sarah Kershaw and Rebecca Cathcart
Dips.Busybody, self righteous, hypochondriac, subconsciously self hating, fearful, needy dips.That's just my opinion, of course.The bad thing with busybodies like they are... is they feel fearfully inadequate to control themselves... so for some ungodly reason... they think that gives them some sort of license to control you and me.What?The reasoning of a prohibitionist... pretty danged amazing.
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Comment #14 posted by Storm Crow on July 18, 2009 at 10:15:09 PT

Quotes and comments
“I would come home from work, close my door, have my bong, my food, my music and my dog, and I wouldn’t see another person until I went to work the next day,What kind of life is that? I did that for 20 years.”It sounds like this lady needs to face her social issues and go to a few pot parties! "Smoking pot, she said, “was a slow form of suicide.”Pretty dang slow, considering not one person has ever died of a cannabis overdose! "He is also an alcoholic, he said, but has not had a drink since the early 1980s."Ya know, a lot of alcoholics have used cannabis to break their addiction to alcohol and other hard drugs. I wonder if he quits cannabis, will his alcohol addiction resurface? But alcohol is legal, and therefore OK. “The people who become chronic users don’t have the same lives and the same achievements as people who don’t use chronically.”No, we are less stressed, happier and just as successful- Carl Sagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, at least 3 presidents, including Obama, Montel Williams and Queen Victoria to name a just a few."He said smoking marijuana helped inspire some of his most original ideas"That I can believe- I do most of my best writing stoned."But Mr. James is afraid to stop smoking, even after kicking heroin and cocaine." WHY??? What makes him afraid? A couple days of "withdrawal" which boils down to being cranky and out of sorts? Is he afraid of possibly losing his inspiration? Why is this man afraid?"He said he would be more successful without pot."
“It keeps me back — from engaging in the dreams and aspirations I have,” Now wait a minute, didn't he just say he that "smoking marijuana helped inspire some of his most original ideas" Could it possibly be that he has just run out of ideas, and is blaming the cannabis? “I would like to feel I don’t need to take anything to feel better.” So would most depressed people. Maybe he would feel better if he went to his doctor and got some Paxil- that's a "nothing", just a prescribed (and addictive) medicine.What a bunch of whiny losers! They blame their character faults on anyone, or anything, except themselves! Their cannabis abuse is a symptom, not the cause, of their problems. 
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Comment #13 posted by museman on July 18, 2009 at 09:15:12 PT

Definition:ad·dict·ed, ad·dict·ing, ad·dicts 1. To cause to become physiologically or psychologically dependent on a habit-forming substance: The thief was addicted to cocaine.2. To occupy (oneself) with or involve (oneself) in something habitually or compulsively: The child was addicted to video games.n. (dkt)
1. One who is addicted, as to narcotics or a compulsive activity. 
2. A devoted adherent; a fan: "We are all . . . addicts of change" addicted to air, food, water, sex, television, internet, being asshole cops, being wealthy pricks, being 'better than you, and the list goes on to inclued just about anything and everything that we can do.Obviously some 'addictions' are more harmful than others, like alcohol, which has caused more damage to humanity than any other substance known to man, yet those power and authority addicts don't want to admit that they are half brain dead from their addictions, and they're afraid they'll lose their drugs of choice (in the classic prohibition definition of 'drugs'-their dependencies) to less intoxicated brains, like pot smokers.Oh, it is so satisfying, after years of being in the 'uncredited collumn' on the national scale of true facts concerning all things cannabis to see the idiots that promote division in america, racial disparity, and economic class systems, find themselves in that rapidly diminishing collumn, but still whining loud enough so we can look over and laugh at their well deserved discomfort!LIBERATE FREEDOM FOR EVERYONE
W.E.G.O. "Addicted"
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Comment #12 posted by John Tyler on July 18, 2009 at 09:09:16 PT

one of those articles
This is again one of those articles… you know, cops see everyone as criminals, or “perps”, and treatment specialists see everyone as loathsome addicts. The article is not fair and is not accurate. There are millions of people who enjoy consuming cannabis products will no ill effects, the same with alcoholic beverages. There are also a lot of people with serious issues to deal with. They try to deal with their issues in various ways, whether it is alcohol, prescription drugs, cannabis, sexual addiction, religious fanaticism, or other strange activities. So to me, just showing off a few people with some problems and blaming it on cannabis is misleading and is just wrong. It shows a lack of understanding, or some other agenda they are trying to promote. Alcohol is the most widely used legal drug. It causes a lot of problem for individuals and society, but no one is calling for its re-prohibition. Use alcoholic beverages responsibly. Cannabis is also not the problem; the prohibition of cannabis is the problem. 
I would also like to mention the bit about the choreographer guy. He said that he could have been more successful if he hadn’t smoked so much cannabis over the years. Maybe, maybe not. Choreography is a very competitive business and many, many people do not do all that well at it, high or otherwise. It is like being an artist. Many good artists are not that successful either. Then again, maybe he wasn’t that good a choreographer to begin with. Maybe people just didn’t want to hire him for one reason or another. Also, what is his definition of success? Did he expect to become famous and rich, or earn a decent living and enjoy the respect of his peers? How many famous choreographers can you think of? Paula Abdul maybe? For that matter, can you think of any famous living artist?
Now reflect on Sir Paul McCartney age 65. Cannabis user since 1964. He has achieved outstanding success by any measure of the word. He has outlived the King of Rock and Roll (dead at 42 from prescription drug overdose), and the King of Pop (dead at 50 from prescription drug overdose). (Anybody notice a pattern there?) And the great Willie Nelson age 70+. Cannabis user since God knows when. He is famous, rich, successful and still touring. 

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Comment #11 posted by runruff on July 18, 2009 at 07:34:25 PT

The Anslinger legacy lives on.............
through ignorance and personal ambition!I was reading this "article" thinking, this time 70 years ago no one laughed at Chicken Little. He went before congress and exclaimed,"the sky is falling, the sky is falling and oh yea, also, the world is flat"! We need a law against falling sky and we need to build a child safety net around the earth so none of our kids fall off!The few lawmakers present nodded their heads in agreement then fell asleep while having dreams of spending their wealth earned by pleasing their industrialist masters!It was that easy to outlaw the most beneficial plant on earth! 70 years later we are still caught up in this arcane prohibition quagmire! The few profiting at the expense of the many. Today we have writers like this one who will say any wives tale or superstition to see her name in print. Every prohibitionist has a second agenda. They want to put on a self righteous face or blast some one lower on the social scale than themselves to try and elevate their own status. Take Calvina Fay.......please! [a little Youngman humor]. What other purpose could she have for going on national TV and lying so unless she is getting something out of it? As former assistant Drug Czar, she no doubt, has her connections.My point is how amazed I am that this little bald nobody [Anslinger] could cause so much hate, malcontent and destruction to a people who entrusted their welfare and future in a duly elected government? Even supplying modern prohibitionist with the language to perpetrate the long running illegal assault on our rights, freedoms and liberties! My parents generation let us down. My generation let us down. It will now be up to the next generation to make things right. Good luck! The rewards are always worth the effort in your constant fight for freedom.
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Comment #10 posted by GeoChemist on July 18, 2009 at 06:24:22 PT

Anecdotal evidence and........
……99 cents will get you a cup of coffee. No matter who I pose the following to, I have yet to get any type of answer: Natural THC with the empirical formula C-21 H-30 O-2 bad (I) but synthetic THC with the empirical formula C-21 H-30 O-2 good (III). Why is this? BTW, I know the answer, I just want it justified, and I love calling prohibitionists out. And I am not just talking about that moron English. Speaking of English, he reads the comments so messing with him is more fun than being locked in a coffee shop in the Netherlands for a week. Maybe not, but close. Hope, it was nice to see a familiar face over there. Lets keep the collective foot to the throat of prohibition and not let up. 
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Comment #9 posted by kaptinemo on July 18, 2009 at 05:59:37 PT:

Blaming the drug for a pre-existing condition
But I'm not sure which condition it is. Perhaps Munchausen's Syndrome: the nature of the whoppers told in this article, I think it fits, perfectly.
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Comment #8 posted by jsm on July 18, 2009 at 05:10:44 PT

My two bits on this...this gal is not addicted to cannabis, she was/is addicted to her own habits. How easy it is to blame a convenient substance on her problems. Think of the issues she would have had if she used alcohol or any number of other substances to help her deal with those problems. Let's not blame the messenger, let's focus on the real problem here. It is a personality issue. 
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Comment #7 posted by Shielde on July 18, 2009 at 00:46:19 PT

I like this line
"With marijuana, “it’s going to take some real fatalities for people to pay attention,” she said. “Unfortunately that’s the way it goes.”"I guess no one will ever pay attention then, unless someone happens to have it in their system and die to something else and it gets blamed on the devil weed
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Comment #6 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on July 17, 2009 at 20:03:44 PT

Joyce, 52 and a writer in Manhattan...
...some other addicts — cocaine and heroin users or alcoholics — downplayed her dependence on marijuana.“The reality is, I was as sick as them,”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SARAH KERSHAW has written over 700 pieces for the NYT since 1995, but only 2 others somewhat about cannabis -Drug Traffickers Find Haven in Shadows of Indian Country New Front in Drug War Opens on the Canadian Border she tends to write feature assignments and other fluff, which, I suppose, is why she only gets one side of the story. She's not really a reporter.REBECCA CATHCART, on the other hand, doesn't have an embedded link in her name like Sarah does, so I had to google her, and she has only been writing for NYT since late 2007 it seems, according to her listed articles here - wonder why she doesn't have an embedded link? Maybe she is Joyce. She reports out of L.A., but maybe they "put" her in Manhattan like they changed her name, so we'd never guess.Whoever Joyce is, she's a twit.
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Comment #5 posted by observer on July 17, 2009 at 18:24:55 PT

Relative Addictiveness of Drugs

This article is a hit-piece designed to take the idea of legalizing cannabis down a few notches. We see all the crocodile tears for those poor cannabis "addicts", but wait, I think I've spotted the real targets of this hatchet job, right here:
the growing support for legalizationthe movement to legalize marijuanaa legalization advocacy grouplegalizing marijuana
 etc.According to the Henningfield rating system for addictiveness , confirmed by other researchers (Benowitz), etc. Cannabis is as "addictive" as ... (drum roll, please) ... coffee. That's why we're jailing friends, relatives and strangers alike, folks: because cannabis is as addictive as coffee. (research showing cannabis isn't very addictive.) etc.Did the NYT piece there even mention jail - which is the whole point of the (medical) marijuana laws - whether or not "society" shall jail or imprison people for the act of using cannabis? It didn't? Huh. I wonder why they forgot that little detail of jail? 
the drug news bot
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Comment #4 posted by Mark702 on July 17, 2009 at 17:50:58 PT

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt
(FUD) Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt: Tactics of propaganda rhetoric and fallacy.This is such a bullshit article. More conjecture based off of one moron who is admittedly an ALCOHOLIC as well, and my bet is even if he were only a "milk addict" he'd still be a loser. And then we have the doctor saying we don't have the research, unsure of what horrors have yet to be revealed. Well, except for the 17,000+ published papers on cannabis, the 70+ years of American users, and the 1,000's of years through the history of the world. Other than that...
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on July 17, 2009 at 17:40:20 PT

I have never met a person that was addicted to marijuana even though I'm sure there are people who have problems with it. That is not the rule but the exception. Making laws and treated all cannabis consumers the same isn't fair and shouldn't be done in this enlightened age we are in now. Help those who truly want help and allow others to decide for themselves. Legal or illegal people who try marijuana will make up their own mind if allowed by society.
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Comment #2 posted by BGreen on July 17, 2009 at 17:10:13 PT

Just find a couple of losers and voila ...
you define millions of people with a single swoop.If someone has a problem with cannabis use then stop using it or go get help to stop using it.Otherwise, stop the slanderous general characterizations about those who have no problems.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on July 17, 2009 at 16:25:45 PT

I Couldn't Believe This Article
I'm at a loss for words but I thought I should post it for others to read. 
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