Experts Say Marijuana Prohibition Has Failed
function share_this(num) {
 tit=encodeURIComponent('Experts Say Marijuana Prohibition Has Failed');
 site = new Array(5);
 return false;

Experts Say Marijuana Prohibition Has Failed
Posted by CN Staff on July 28, 2011 at 13:29:51 PT
By The Associated Press
Source: Associated Press 
Indianapolis -- A state panel heard from a parade of experts Thursday as it began studying whether to legalize marijuana in Indiana or reduce criminal penalties on small amounts of the drug.The experts shared a common message: The prohibition against marijuana use in the United States has failed and Indiana and its citizens stand to benefit from changing the law.
"The public recognizes that our marijuana laws have done more harm than good," Daniel Abrahamson of the Drug Policy Alliance told the Indiana Legislature's Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee.Lawmakers have approved medical marijuana in 16 states and the District of Columbia. They have eliminated penalties on small amounts of marijuana in 13 other states.Abrahamson said those changes have not met with negative consequences such as an uptick in marijuana use. And he said there is nothing standing in the way of Indiana changing its law as other states have."The federal government cannot require states to make marijuana illegal," he said. In no instance, he said, has a state changed its mind and "re-criminalized" marijuana after decriminalizing personal use.Noah Member of the Marijuana Policy Project said marijuana use is widespread despite being illegal and that laws against possession ruin people's lives by sending them to prison for using a substance he said is safer than alcohol.Member suggested marijuana should be regulated by the state much like alcohol. He said states that have legalized medical marijuana have seen no increase in teen use of the drug.Abrahamson estimated Indiana could raise $44 million a year in sales taxes alone if it regulated and taxed marijuana.Democratic state Sen. Karen Tallian of Ogden Dunes successfully pushed lawmakers to study the issue. She says the state has "draconian" marijuana laws.Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels has said he would like to wait and see what the panel finds before taking a position.Indiana lawmakers this year banned the sale and possession of synthetic marijuana, also called spice.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Published: July 28, 2011 Copyright: 2011 The Associated PressCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help 

Comment #4 posted by Hope on July 29, 2011 at 11:02:33 PT
I wanted to ask you something. You'll have got people that have made appointments to speak with Cuomo, Governor of New York, haven't you? After I read what he said the other day about being open to listening to other opinions about medical use of marijuana, I was really hopeful that you'll had made arrangements to do some of that explaining to him.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by paul armentano on July 29, 2011 at 10:17:09 PT
NORML's testimony to the committee Thursday
EXCERPT...Written Testimony Regarding Marijuana Regulation Before the Indiana Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study CommitteeBy Paul Armentano
Deputy Director
NORML | NORML Foundation
Washington, DCJuly 28, 2011I applaud the members of the Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee for holding this important public hearing regarding marijuana policy in Indiana.THE CASE FOR LEGALIZATION/REGULATIONNORML believes that only through state government regulation will we be able to bring necessary controls to the marijuana market. By enacting state and local legislation on the use, production, and distribution of marijuana, state and local governments can effectively impose controls regarding:which citizens can legally produce marijuana;
which citizens can legally distribute marijuana;
which citizens can legally consume marijuana;
and where, and under what circumstances, is such use legally permitted.By contrast, the criminal prohibition of marijuana provides law enforcement and state regulators with no legitimate market controls. This absence of state and local government controls jeopardizes rather than promotes public safety....MARIJUANA'S IMPACT ON THE BODYThe physical, therapeutic, and psychoactive effects one experiences after ingesting marijuana are derived primarily from a family of unique chemicals in the plant known as cannabinoids. Of the dozens of cannabinoids in marijuana, only one -- THC -- is significantly psychoactive. Most active chemicals in the plant possess therapeutic properties but do not induce euphoria. Some compounds, most specifically the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) counter act the psychoactive properties of THC, acting as marijuana's 'anti-marijuana' mechanism.The reason a person experiences psychological, therapeutic, or physical effects after ingesting marijuana is largely because cannabinoids interact with individual receptors, so-called CB1 and CB2 receptors, located throughout the body. The CB1 receptors reside predominantly in the brain and regulate the drug's psychoactive effects. The CB2 receptors are located throughout the human body, and play a role in regulating many of the cannabinoids' therapeutic effects.Because the majority of the body's CB1 receptors are located in the frontal lobe region of the brain's cerebral cortex (which regulates emotional behavior) and the cerebellum (a region in the back of the brain that primary controls motor coordination), but not the brain stem (which controls life-preserving functions like breathing), ingesting marijuana is believed to be pharmacologically incapable of causing a fatal overdose, regardless of dosage or THC potency. According to a 1995 report prepared for the World Health Organization, "There are no recorded cases of overdose fatalities attributed to cannabis, and the estimated lethal dose for humans extrapolated from animal studies is so high that it cannot be achieved by recreational users."[3]The specific psychological, therapeutic, and physical effects experienced after consuming marijuana vary from person to person, and many of these effects are dependent on the percentage of THC or other cannabinoids present in the marijuana consumed. Moreover, cannabis naive users tend to feel different effects compared with more experienced users. For example, if an inexperienced user consumes too much cannabis at one time, they may experience a mix of unpleasant physical and psychological feelings, such as a tachycardia (rapid heart beat), dry mouth, and a growing sense of paranoia. (These adverse effects are commonly referred to as a 'panic attack.') Fortunately these feelings, while mildly unpleasant, are only temporary and pose little-to-no actual long-term risk to the users' health.As cannabis consumers become more experienced, they become more tolerant to some of the drug's physical effects. Users also learn to better self-regulate (or 'titrate') their dosage to avoid any dysphoric symptoms such as paranoia. As a result, most experienced marijuana consumers describe the cannabis high as a pleasant experience that helps them to relax, socialize or unwind.Recently, investigators at the University of Alberta, Canada, conducted a series of lengthy interviews with male and female cannabis consumers to better determine why adults use marijuana. They reported that the majority of individuals who use cannabis recreationally do so to "enhance relaxation." Researchers concluded: "[M]ost adult marijuana users regulate use to their recreational time and do not use compulsively. Rather, their use is purposively intended to enhance their leisure activities and manage the challenges and demands of living in contemporary modern society. Generally, participants reported using marijuana because it enhanced relaxation and concentration, making a broad range of leisure activities more enjoyable and pleasurable."[4]MARIJUANA USE VERSUS ALCOHOL USEThroughout history, alcohol and marijuana have been the two most popular social relaxants consumed by western civilizations. Yet the risks posed by marijuana and alcohol -- both to the individual consumer and to society as a whole -- are far from equal. For example, a 2009 report published in the British Columbia Mental Health and Addictions Journal Visions estimated, "In terms of [health-related] costs per user: tobacco-related health costs are over $800 per user, alcohol-related health costs are much lower at $165 per user, and cannabis-related health costs are the lowest at $20 per user."[5]Why the dramatic discrepancy? Quite literally, alcohol is an intoxicant; cannabis is not.The word intoxicant is derived from the Latin noun, toxicum, meaning: "a poison." It's an appropriate description for booze. Alcohol is toxic to healthy cells and organs, a side effect that results directly in some 35,000 deaths per year from illnesses like cirrhosis, ulcers, and heart disease.[6] Furthermore ethanol, the psychoactive ingredient in beer, wine, and hard liquor, is carcinogenic. Following ethanol's initial metabolization by the body it is converted to acetaldehyde. This is why even moderate drinking is positively associated with increased incidences of various types of cancer, including cancers of the breast, stomach, liver, esophagus, and pancreas.[7] Heavy alcohol consumption can depress the central nervous system -- inducing unconsciousness, coma, and death -- and is strongly associated with increased risks of injury. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, alcohol plays a role in about 41,000 fatal accidents per year.[8]) Alcohol consumption also plays a primary role in the commission of acts of violence. In fact, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Crime Statistics, alcohol consumption plays a role in the commission of approximately one million violent crimes annually.By contrast, cannabinoids are remarkably non-toxic. Unlike alcohol, marijuana is incapable of causing fatal overdose and its use is inversely associated with aggression and injury.[9] Unlike alcohol, the use of cannabis is not linked to increased risk of mortality or various types of cancer -- including lung cancer -- and may even reduce such risk. For instance, a 2009 study in the journal Cancer Prevention Research reports that moderate use of marijuana is associated with "a significantly reduced risk of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma."[10]A separate 2006 population case-control study, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and conducted by the University of California at Los Angeles, also reported that lifetime use of cannabis was not positively associated with cancers of the lung or aerodigestive tract, and further noted that certain moderate users of the drug experienced a reduced cancer risk compared to non-using controls.[11] Finally, a 1997 retrospective cohort study of 65,000 examinees by Kaiser Permanente concluded, "Compared with nonusers/experimenters (lifetime use of less than seven times), ever- and current use of marijuana were not associated with increased risk of cancer, [including] ... tobacco-related cancers or with cancer of the following sites: colorectal, lung, melanoma, prostate, breast, [or] cervix."[12]In 2011, the website of the National Cancer Institute, a branch of the federal government, acknowledged: "Cannabinoids may cause antitumor effects by various mechanisms, including induction of cell death, inhibition of cell growth, and inhibition of tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect their nontransformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death."[13]MARIJUANA'S IMPACT ON THE BRAINThere is little scientific evidence to substantiate the notion that marijuana use permanently or significantly damages the brain. In adults, cannabis consumption is not associated with residual deficits in cognitive skills, as measured by magnetic resonance imaging, neurocognitive performance testing, or fMRI imaging.Most recently, Harvard Medical School researchers performed magnetic resonance imaging on the brains of long-term cannabis users (reporting a mean of 20,100 lifetime episodes of smoking) and controls (subjects with no history of cannabis use). Imaging displayed "no significant differences" between heavy marijuana smokers compared to non-smokers.[14]Additional clinical trials have reported similar results. An October 2004 study published in the journal Psychological Medicine examined the potential adverse effects of marijuana on cognition in monozygotic male twins. It reported "an absence of marked long-term residual effects of marijuana use on cognitive abilities."[15] Likewise, a 2002 clinical trial published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal determined, "Marijuana does not have a long-term negative impact on global intelligence."[16]Though a handful of studies have reported that long-term users sometimes perform differently than non-users on certain cognitive tests immediately after ceasing their cannabis use, these same studies report that both former users and non-users test similarly within a matter of days. Notably, a 2001 study published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry found that long-term cannabis smokers who abstained from the drug for one week "showed virtually no significant differences from control subjects (those who had smoked marijuana less than 50 times in their lives) on a battery of 10 neuropsychological tests." Investigators further added, "Former heavy users, who had consumed little or no cannabis in the three months before testing, [also] showed no significant differences from control subjects on any of these tests on any of the testing days."[17]Most recently, a just-published study nearly 2,000 young Australian adults "for eight years and found that marijuana has little long-term effect on learning and memory— and any cognitive damage that does occur as a result of cannabis use is reversible." [18]...MARIJUANA REGULATION PROMOTES PUBLIC SAFETYMarijuana is not a harmless substance -- no potentially mind-alerting substance is. But this fact is precisely why its commercial distribution ought to be controlled and regulated by the state in a manner similar to the licensed distribution of alcohol and cigarettes -- two legal substances that cause far greater harm to the individual user and to society as a whole than cannabis ever could.The above findings demonstrate that any risk presented by marijuana smoking falls within the ambit of choice we should permit the individual in a free society. Therefore NORML supports the establishment of a taxed and regulated marijuana market. Such a scheme would give greater control to state law enforcement officials and regulators by imposing proper state restrictions and regulations on this existing and widespread marijuana market.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by CropReport on July 29, 2011 at 05:51:13 PT
The conversation has already moved
beyond people like Souder and Grassley and Leonheart. They have lost control of the debate. Now, more enlightened, more insightful people have the microphone and the public is listening! :)My heart soars when i read stories like this one.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by runruff on July 28, 2011 at 22:10:28 PT
Wake-up Mark Souder...
...somebody tell him the news! He is still irrelevant!Someone e-mail Mickey Leonhart, tell her she is irrelevant too.Naysayers and bureaucratic trough feeders will whether and die without cannabis prohibition on the books, is it any wonder they remain selectively stupid?PS- Hey Mark, if you would have just smoked a joint and mellowed out instead of chasing tail through the park, you might still have/be with your family.Can anyone spell,"poetic justice?"
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment