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Nov-05-2010 08:08printcomments

Medical Marijuana Legalization

It costs about $40,000 per year to incarcerate Marijuana users. Can we afford it?

Marijuana cigarette
Courtesy: PPR

(MOLALLA, Ore.) - Cannabis/Marijuana (C/MJ) causes Reefer Madness, read insane paranoia. Fortunately this rarely occurs in persons who use C/MJ in which case it most usually acts as a mild tranquilizer in low, medicinal doses but in higher doses, such as the 10.0 mg dose Marinol pill, in which case it frequently causes anxiety, paranoia and panic attacks which may be considered a form of madness.

The recent votes in California to legalize C/MJ use with Measure 19 is a prime example of Reefer Madness amongst the general public. There are an estimated 3,000,000 people in California who use C/MJ. It is probably more. The Californians have previously voted several times for the legalization of C/MJ for medical purposes with resounding success. In addition to the millions of users, there are thousands of physicians writing “permission letters” for these patients and there may be a thousand or more “dispensaries” where these patients can buy C/MJ in many different forms. To even imagine that rejection of this new law giving permission to use C/MJ will in any way reduce the use of C/MJ in the population who use it is Reefer Madness personified. How can any police force, even if they all worked full-time monitoring and busting C/MJ users, be expected to exert ANY kind of control of this very widely used medication?

Now getting to Oregon and Measure 74 for the establishment of many dispensaries for C/MJ products. The Department of Human Services (DHS) said that there would be about 243 dispensaries which would be monitored very closely and each transaction would be taxed 10%.

What the DHS has not considered is that there are about 40,000 medical patients and their care giver/growers. About 80 to 90% of them are getting along fine with well established C/MJ grower/providers and their financial arrangements are working well. About 20% of the 40,000 or 8,000 patients have extreme trouble obtaining their medicine. For these the dispensaries would be a Godsend. These facilities would be paying the 10% tax. So right at the start we would have 8000 people paying taxes and 32,000 people paying no taxes. How do you make a “screwed up” system like this work? It is obvious. There is no way it could work.

Two other states, South Dakota (whose C/MJ bill failed by 14%) and Arizona (where voters are split evenly on the issue of allowing marijuana use for medical purposes), had Medical Marijuana legalization on their agendas. I hope they passed. With 14 states having legalized Medical Marijuana how can the others be so slow? I guess Reefer Madness even affects legislators. We already know that Police, District Attorneys and Judges are very badly affected by Reefer Madness.

The amount of people arrested and jailed for Marijuana possession is about 1,000,000 per year and the prison population is about 25% for C/MJ possession. It costs about $40,000 per year to incarcerate Marijuana users. Can we afford about $40 billion dollars per year to jail these miscreants?? That loss of money is seriously disabling our school system. 

T H I S   I S   R E A L   R E E F E R   M A D N E S S !!!

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Leonard Krivitsky, MD December 29, 2010 6:37 am (Pacific time)

Yes, this is the very next item on the Civil Rights agenda, especially when it comes to Medicinal Cannabis, which is still not legal in the majority of States because of the old, outdated "dogma". Medicinal Cannabis is effective in a wide variety of conditions ranging from glaucoma to pain, to muscle spasms to nausea of chemothera­­py, to malnutriti­­on. The list can go on, including recent scientific findings that Cannabis can even be an “exit substance” for recovering alcoholics or hard drug/presc­­ription drug abusers. Cannabis is not physically addictive as it lacks a documented physical withdrawal syndrome, and the so-called “gateway drug theory” is invalid and was recently called “half-bake­­d” by a scientific study. Research also determined that there is no connection between smoking Cannabis and lung cancer (which to me demonstrat­­es that Cannabis has anti-cance­­r properties­­), that is also being confirmed by the ongoing studies. Cannabis also may be helpful in treatment, and even in prevention­­, of Alzheimer’­­s disease. Medicinal Cannabis Legalizati­on is not even a “partisan” issue, as the brave Citizens of Arizona showed us by legalizing Medicinal Cannabis in their rather conservati­ve State. In fact, Judge Francis Young said back in 1988 that "Marijuana is one of the safest therapeuti­cally active substance known to men", and the reputable Shafer Commission recommende­d immediate decriminal­ization of Marijuana to Pres. Nixon in 1972 which he ignored. Cannabis prohibition is doing more harm than many people realize, as it encourages (young) people to indulge in experimentation with dangerous substances such as alcohol, opiate pain pills, cocaine, amphetamines or heroin because those substances, dangerous that they are, are cleared faster from one's "system", and are not as likely to be "detected" on a random "drug screen". When Medicinal Cannabis is fully accepted and widely used, we will be pleasantly surprised at prescription drug abuse going sharply down! History proves to the Cannabis prohibitionists that it is not possible to defeat the combined "forces" of Reason, science, and the Law of Supply and Demand! I really believe that all the fear mongering should be rejected, and Cannabis/Medicinal Cannabis should be legalized in all 50 States ASAP!

J+ November 5, 2010 12:15 pm (Pacific time)

There seems to be a lot of mixing of the discussion about Prop 19 (california) and Measure 74 (Oregon); two very distinct laws in different states. I believe Arnold killed Prop 19 by reducing cannabis possession to a Violation a month before the election. To expand on my previous comment (posted this morning from my cellphone); I did not support Measure 74 in Oregon (for several reasons) despite being a cannabis advocate. Any law that mandates a state to monitor/regulate the production/distribution of a Federally-illegal substance opens up state workers to Federal drug charges.

alitionist November 5, 2010 9:24 am (Pacific time)

Instead of feeling disappointed about the failure of prop 19 I'm more enthused than ever about the prospects of cannabis be legalized for adult use. Prop 19 wasn't rejected because it sought to legalize cannabis. It was rightly rejected due to it's flaws. We need a more perfect explanation of the evils of prohibition coupled with a more workable proposition to legalize cannabis. We need to piggyback the current system of alcohol and tobacco sales. This will keep the proposition simple and not scare potential voters with fear of the unknown. All adults know how alcohol and tobacco are sold to adults. So, there's nothing scary or unknown about the devil you know, versus the devil you don't. I'm going to be pushing harder than ever for cannabis legalization and we all need to be involved in the discussion of how to present the plan to voters. This will be far more successful than the haphazard tax plan and possible lawsuits Prop 19 would have initiated. Even as flawed as Prop 19 was, it almost made it. Now we know what won't work and we can focus on what will work. Keep the faith people. The end of cannabis prohibition is nearer than ever. Now is the time to form stronger abolition groups in every state in time for 2012. We need a united effort across the nation all at the same time. Prop 19 got the debate started. It's up to us to take the next step and on to restoring our civil liberties.

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