Archive for the ‘Pot and Politicians’ category

Breaking News: Two Governors Petition Federal Government To Allow For Medical Marijuana

November 30th, 2011

The governors of Rhode Island and Washington have both signed a petition asking the Obama Administration to re-schedule cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II, effectively ending the federal government’s total prohibition on medical patients having lawful and controlled access to organic cannabis products.

“The situation has become untenable for our states and others. The solution lies with the federal government.”

Both Governors Lincoln Chafee and Christine Gregoire of Rhode Island and Washington respectively were, ironically, two state governors who chose to heed to the warnings issued by the federal government in a Department of Justice memo (known as the ‘Cole memo‘) and not move forward with otherwise popular medical cannabis law reforms in their states. 

However, no more! These two governors’ action today is a very important turning point in the history of cannabis law reform in America.

Contrastingly, the governors of Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico and the city council of D.C. all largely ignored the federal government and moved forward with their states’ respective medical cannabis programs.

NORML began the entire legal and political debate about ‘medical marijuana’ in 1972 when it launched a 24-year re-scheduling effort, that is still laboring on all these years.

Therefore to finally witness governors so frustrated with the absurdly mis-scheduled cannabis plant as being dangerous, addictive and possessing no medical utility (wrongly grouped with heroin and LSD) that they are reaching out to the president to fix this clear injustice and warping of science is a clear demonstration that the friction between the federal government’s recalcitrance on accepting medical cannabis (or for that matter ending Cannabis Prohibition in total) and state politicians who can no longer justify towing the fed’s ridiculous ban on physician-prescribed cannabis to sick, dying and sense-threatened medical patients is coming to a dramatic conclusion in a government showdown, one that may bode well for the larger Cannabis Prohibition reforms needed, festering just below the surface of the public’s mass acceptance of medical access to cannabis.

This Week in Weed: Oct. 30th – Nov. 5th

November 4th, 2011

This Week in WeedThe latest installment of “This Week in Weed” is now streaming on NORMLtv.

This week, even more elected officials speak out against the federal government’s marijuana crackdown and call for rescheduling. We also look at the results from two of the latest cannabis-related studies.

Be sure to tune in to NORMLtv each Thursday afternoon to catch up on the latest marijuana news. Subscribe to NORMLtv or follow us on Twitter to be notified as soon as new content is added.

White House response to NORML’s “We the People” marijuana legalization petition

October 29th, 2011

The Obama White House has released its official response to the “We the People” online petition for marijuana legalization submitted by NORML.  The petition, which garnered 74,169 signatures, was by far the most popular petition submitted.  The government response (released late on a Friday to avoid news cycles, we’ll note) repeats the same tired lies and classic misdirections.  Most of all, it fails to answer NORML’s actual petition, which asked:

Legalize and Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol.

We the people want to know when we can have our “perfectly legitimate” discussion on marijuana legalization. Marijuana prohibition has resulted in the arrest of over 20 million Americans since 1965, countless lives ruined and hundreds of billions of tax dollars squandered and yet this policy has still failed to achieve its stated goals of lowering use rates, limiting the drug’s access, and creating safer communities.

Isn’t it time to legalize and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol? If not, please explain why you feel that the continued criminalization of cannabis will achieve the results in the future that it has never achieved in the past?

Following is the full official White House response, with NORML’s comments interspersed…

What We Have to Say About Legalizing Marijuana

By: Gil Kerlikowske

When the President took office, he directed all of his policymakers to develop policies based on science and research, not ideology or politics. So our concern about marijuana is based on what the science tells us about the drug’s effects.

Oh, good.  Then we’ll look forward to implementation the 1972 Shafer Commission Report or any of the other government and scientific studies that recommend the decriminalization of cannabis.

According to scientists at the National Institutes of Health- the world’s largest source of drug abuse research – marijuana use is associated with addiction, respiratory disease, and cognitive impairment.

“Addiction” links to a NIDA page noting the lifetime dependence rate of cannabis to be 9% – that is, 9 in 100 people who try cannabis will develop a dependence.  Kerlikowske does not mention that caffeine has the same 9% rate, alcohol is a 15% rate, and tobacco is a 32% rate.  NIDA scientists also rated the addictive qualities of those substances and rated cannabis about equal to caffeine in risk.  The withdrawal from this rare dependence is characterized by the Institute of Medicine as “mild and short lived” and “includes restlessness, irritability, mild agitation, insomnia, sleep disturbance, nausea, and cramping.”  (Speaking of withdrawal, Mr. Drug Czar, you do know withdrawal from alcohol can kill a person and it’s legal, right?)

“Respiratory disease” links to a 2008 Science Daily article on a study entitled “Bullous Lung Disease due to Marijuana” which looked at the cases of ten people who came in already complaining of lung problems, who admitted they smoked pot over a year.  The subject was featured in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine as it found “insufficient evidence for a causative link“.  Matthew Naughton, author of the 2008 study, co-authored a 2011 study which noted “unfortunately, it is difficult to separate marijuana use from tobacco smoking which does confound these reports“.  (Speaking of tobacco, Mr. Drug Czar, you do know tobacco is much worse for the lungs and it’s legal, right?)

“Cognitive impairment” links to a 1996 NIDA fact sheet on studies of cognitive impairment involving card sorting.  Since then…

  1. A 2001 study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found chronic users who quit for a week “showed no significant differences from control subjects”.
  2. A 2002 clinical trial published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal determined, “Marijuana does not have a long-term negative impact on global intelligence.”
  3. A 2003 meta-analysis published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society also “failed to reveal a substantial, systematic effect of long-term, regular cannabis consumption on the neurocognitive functioning of users who were not acutely intoxicated.”
  4. A 2004 study of twins published in the journal Psychological Medicine reported “an absence of marked long-term residual effects of marijuana use on cognitive abilities.”
  5. A 2005 study published in the American Journal of Addictions used magnetic resonance imaging and found “no significant differences” between heavy cannabis smokers compared to controls.
  6. A 2006 study published in the German journal Psychopharmacology found no “long-term deficits in working memory and selective attention in frequent cannabis users after 1 week of abstinence”.
  7. A 2009 study published in Human Psychopharmacology found “little indication of differences in executive functioning” for mild to moderate cannabis users.
  8. And a 2010 study published in Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior found regular cannabis users’ performance accuracy on episodic memory and working memory tasks “was not significantly altered by marijuana.”

Forgive the overkill, but as an organization that is honored to have regular cannabis consumer Carl Sagan’s widow, Ann Druyan, as an Advisory Board Member, we’re particularly offended when the government claims science says that regular cannabis consumers are stupid.  (Speaking of cognitive impairment, Mr. Drug Czar, are you aware that frequent alcohol use is shown to have incredibly deleterious effects on cognition and it’s legal?)

But our petition wasn’t about whether or not cannabis is harmful, it was whether we should consider regulating cannabis like the far more harmful substances, alcohol and tobacco.

We know from an array of treatment admission information and Federal data that marijuana use is a significant source for voluntary drug treatment admissions and visits to emergency rooms.

“Voluntary drug treatment admissions” links to 2007 TEDS data tables showing that 37% of the people admitted to treatment for marijuana hadn’t used it in the past thirty days.  These tables are based on admissions data that show 57% of marijuana treatment admissions were coerced by law enforcement (drug courts) and only 15% of such admissions are actually “voluntary drug treatment admissions”.  (This is much easier to debunk when the Drug Czar links to the government tables that make our point.  Thanks, Gil!)

“Visits to emergency rooms” links to 2009 DAWN data which contains this interesting bit of fine print, “Within DAWN, the drug misuse or abuse category is a group of [emergency room] visits defined broadly to include all visits associated with illicit drugs.” That is, if you mention pot, have pot on you, or your urine or blood tests positive for pot, that’s a drug-related emergency room visit.  If you smoked a bowl last night, broke your leg skiing today, went to the ER, and they found metabolites of THC in your pee, that’s going into the DAWN stats as a pot-related ER visit.  Meanwhile, a 2011 study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found “marijuana dependence was associated with the lowest rates” of emergency room admittance compared to other drugs.

So we have illegal marijuana which lets government arrest people and make them choose jail or rehab, then those rising rehab numbers are an indication that we need to keep arresting people.  And we have emergency room data that tells us that some sick and injured people, like some Americans generally, smoke pot.  Can you tell us why we shouldn’t end those charades and consider regulating cannabis like alcohol and tobacco?

Studies also reveal that marijuana potency has almost tripled over the past 20 years, raising serious concerns about what this means for public health – especially among young people who use the drug because research shows their brains continue to develop well into their 20’s. Simply put, it is not a benign drug.

“Marijuana potency has tripled” links to a paper (“Potancy [sic] Paper 2010″) at Ole Miss’s US Pot Farm showing potency tables from 1993 to 2008 (15 years, 20 years, whatever).  These figures include hashish and hash oil (concentrated preparations of cannabis), which is like throwing three Rhodes scholars into an eighth grade social studies class and then grading on a curve.  Figures for all samples (including the hash) show a rise from 3.4% to 8.8% THC (2.5x, not even “almost triple”), but what they call “marijuana” goes from 3.4% to 5.8% THC (1.7x, not even double) and “sinsemilla” goes from 5.8% to 11.5% THC (2x, double).

So today’s average marijuana is as good as yesteryear’s sinsemilla and today’s average sinsemilla is twice as good as yesteryear’s sensimilla.  Anybody recall any deaths, riots, or serious social disorder due to the sensimilla of 1993?  As we’ve said before, potency is irrelevant as cannabis smoking is a self-titrating behavior.  You smoke to get high.  If you have ditchweed, you smoke a lot to get high.  If you have kind bud you smoke a little to get high.  Less smoke in your lungs is a good thing and by that measure, smoking more potent marijuana may be a harm reduction strategy.  Besides, it’s hard to take seriously any concerns about non-toxic 11.5% THC sinsemilla when the government approves of 100% synthetic THC Marinol and marijuana of any potency has never killed anybody.

But nobody here said cannabis was a benign drug, only that it is far safer than the two current choices of legal substances, alcohol and tobacco, and we’re wondering why we couldn’t just regulate cannabis like them?

Like many, we are interested in the potential marijuana may have in providing relief to individuals diagnosed with certain serious illnesses. That is why we ardently support ongoing research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine.  To date, however, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition.

That “ardent support” consists of six ongoing FDA-approved clinical trials (two of which have already been completed) worldwide involving subjects’ use of actual cannabis and fourteen researchers allowed to study inhaled cannabis on human subjects.  It does not include a recent FDA-approved study of medical marijuana use to treat post-traumatic stress in our returning combat veterans.  That study was ardently opposed by NIDA, which wouldn’t sell any Ole Miss US Pot Farm marijuana for the researchers to study.  Furthermore, a NIDA spokesperson admitted to the New York Times in 2010, “As the National Institute on Drug Abuse, our focus is primarily on the negative consequences of marijuana use.  We generally do not fund research focused on the potential beneficial medical effects of marijuana.”

The FDA and Institute of Medicine links take you to papers from 2006 and 1999, respectively.  The American Medical Association in 2009 issued a position paper stating, “smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and caloric intake especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.”

It’s too bad our petition wasn’t about carving exceptions in federal law to allow medical use of marijuana, as 70% of Americans support.  It was whether we should regulate marijuana like we do alcohol and tobacco, like 50% of Americans support.

As a former police chief, I recognize we are not going to arrest our way out of the problem.

If you recognize that, why were there virtually the same number of arrests this year for marijuana as last year, a number that still eclipses any arrest total under Presidents Bush and Clinton?  It seems you’re going to ignore our petition to end the strategy of arresting our way out of the problem by regulating marijuana like we do alcohol and tobacco.

We also recognize that legalizing marijuana would not provide the answer to any of the health, social, youth education, criminal justice, and community quality of life challenges associated with drug use.

Right, legalizing marijuana won’t address drug use.  It will address marijuana use by regulating it like we do alcohol and tobacco. Legal marijuana would be an answer to many Americans’ health challenges.  Legal marijuana would raise tax revenues to benefit society and community.  Legal marijuana would help replace the “reefer madness”-style youth education proven not to work with honest, factual information.  Legal marijuana removes the cost of arresting, prosecution, and monitoring on parole and probation and, by definition, eliminates crime.

That is why the President’s National Drug Control Strategy is balanced and comprehensive, emphasizing prevention and treatment while at the same time supporting innovative law enforcement efforts that protect public safety and disrupt the supply of drugs entering our communities.

The president’s budget is only slightly different than the drug control budgets of his predecessor; still a two-to-one tilt toward “Supply Reduction” (interdiction and domestic and international law enforcement) versus “Demand Reduction” (treatment and prevention).  Which takes us to the second part of our petition asking how the continued criminalization of cannabis will achieve the results in the future that it has never achieved in the past?

Preventing drug use is the most cost-effective way to reduce drug use and its consequences in America. And, as we’ve seen in our work through community coalitions across the country, this approach works in making communities healthier and safer. We’re also focused on expanding access to drug treatment for addicts. Treatment works. In fact, millions of Americans are in successful recovery for drug and alcoholism today. And through our work with innovative drug courts across the Nation, we are improving our criminal justice system to divert non-violent offenders into treatment.

See our rebuttal above to TEDS treatment admission statistics and forcing cannabis consumers into rehab via drug courts.  Bless the millions of Americans in successful recovery for drug (?) and alcoholism who didn’t miss out on an open bed because it was taken up by a coerced cannabis consumer who hadn’t smoked weed in a month.  Those drug courts only work thanks to arrests of cannabis consumers and we were wondering how the continued criminalization of cannabis will achieve the results in the future that it has never achieved in the past?

Our commitment to a balanced approach to drug control is real. This last fiscal year alone, the Federal Government spent over $10 billion on drug education and treatment programs compared to just over $9 billion on drug related law enforcement in the U.S.

Which is fuzzy math and see our rebuttal to President’s National Drug Control Strategy, which, as we mentioned, differs little from President Bush’s before him.  So how is the continued criminalization of cannabis going to achieve the results in the future that it has never achieved in the past?

Thank you for making your voice heard. I encourage you to take a moment to read about the President’s approach to drug control to learn more.

Thank you for wasting America’s time ignoring her wishes.  I encourage you to take a moment to actually read and answer the questions on these petitions.  Every answer you gave to “whether we should consider regulating cannabis like the far more harmful substances, alcohol and tobacco” was an excuse to make alcohol and tobacco prohibited like marijuana.  Every answer you gave to “how will the continued criminalization of cannabis achieve the results in the future that it has never achieved in the past?” illustrated that you’re continuing the same failed strategies as your predecessors.  We the People were hoping for some change.

(Updated for minor grammar corrections and additional hyperlinks –RB)

This Week in Weed: October 23rd – 29th

October 28th, 2011

This Week in WeedThe latest installment of “This Week in Weed” is now streaming on NORMLtv.

This week: politicians in California speak out against the federal crackdown and a new study looks at impairment levels in casual and heavy cannabis consumers.

Be sure to tune in to NORMLtv each Thursday afternoon to catch up on the latest marijuana news. Subscribe to NORMLtv or follow us on Twitter to be notified as soon as new content is added.

Latest Casualty In Obama’s War On Pot: The First Amendment

October 14th, 2011

The First Amendment is the latest casualty of the Obama Administration’s stepped up war on cannabis.

On Wednesday, the US Attorney for the southern district of California, Laura Duffy, announced her intent to target media outlets — in particular alt-weeklies like the San Diego Reader and the San Francisco Bay Guardian — that accept advertising dollars from medical cannabis operations.

Feds to target newspaper, radio marijuana ads

via California Watch

U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy, whose district includes Imperial and San Diego counties, said marijuana advertising is the next area she’s “going to be moving onto as part of the enforcement efforts in Southern California.” Duffy said she could not speak for the three other U.S. attorneys covering the state but noted their efforts have been coordinated so far.

“I’m not just seeing print advertising,” Duffy said in an interview with California Watch and KQED. “I’m actually hearing radio and seeing TV advertising. It’s gone mainstream. Not only is it inappropriate – one has to wonder what kind of message we’re sending to our children – it’s against the law.

… Duffy said she believes the law gives her the right to prosecute newspaper publishers or TV station owners.

“If I own a newspaper … or I own a TV station, and I’m going to take in your money to place these ads, I’m the person who is placing these ads,” Duffy said. “I am willing to read (the law) expansively and if a court wants to more narrowly define it, that would be up to the court.”

Whether or not Duffy’s unconventional interpretation of federal law has any legal merit is, of course, beside the point. Her intent is to create a climate of fear that is so pervasive that media outlets ‘willingly’ cease accepting advertising revenue from dispensaries and other like-minded business.

Such threats are nothing new for the federal government, which in recent months has successfully utilized similar tactics to coerce state and local banks to drop their accounts with state-sanctioned marijuana-related businesses and to intimidate landlords who rent their properties to tenants involved in medical cannabis facilities.

Yet despite the government’s heavy-handed behavior, California bureaucrats have remained largely — and disappointingly — silent regarding the Justice Department’s intimidatory tactics. That is why it is more important than ever that you send the Obama Administration a clear and consistent message here.

Weed the People: Over 35,000 Strong for Marijuana Legalization

September 26th, 2011

It was just last Thursday that the White House launched their petition website, “We the People.” That morning, NORML submitted a petition calling for the legalization of marijuana. In just four short days the petition has received over 35,000 signatures, making it the most signed petition on the website by nearly 15,000 names. Thousands of Americans are calling upon President Obama to end marijuana prohibition and more are joining in every minute.

While the caliber of the President’s response may, in the end, be questionable, what is unquestionable is that this outpouring of support generated a large, positive, media buzz for marijuana legalization. Including coverage on the Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC.

Alternet:
“‘Legalize Marijuana’ Petition Leads in Votes on White House’s New ‘We The People’ Site – Will Obama Listen?

Forbes:
What The People Want: Abolishment of the TSA and Marijuana Legalization

International Business Times:
Marijuana Legalization is Top Issue in White House Petition

Raw Story:
Marijuana question sky-rockets to top of new White House petition site

The Blaze:
Topping the White House’s New Online Petition Site? Marijuana Legalization

LA Weekly Blog:
Marijuana Legalization Issue on Obama’s Desk Thanks to White House’s Online Petition Program

New York Times Blog:
A Petitioning System Goes to Pot, and More

Gawker:
White House Solicits Ideas from Internet, Internet Demands Weed

Huffington Post:
New White House ‘We The People’ Petition Portal Launched, With Predictable Results

The Hill:
Petition to legalize pot is first to hit White House threshold; ET proposal close

Local News Affiliates:
Such as KLTV7 in Missouri

If you haven’t already, you can join the 35,000+ Americans taking a stand for marijuana legalization by clicking the button below:

Oh The Irony (Part II): Obama The Home Brewer

September 21st, 2011

Oh to be governed…by hypocrites.

Last week the nation watched President Obama bestow a rarely presented Medal of Honor to former Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer. News reports indicate Mr. Meyer requested to have a beer the night before with his former commander-in-chief before the formal ceremonies.

The two men were in fact widely photographed enjoying a beer on the White House back porch.

Where did the beer the two men consume come from?

The same news reports reveal that our President has become the first ever home brew resident of the White House, brewing a “White House Honey Blonde Ale”.

Is it not painfully ironic to the point of disgust that the President of these United States of America–an occasional tobacco consumer and home brewer–along with the Speaker of the House John Boehner (a well-known tobacco and alcohol consumer), can responsibly engage in these adult-oriented activities, while at the same time providing ample public resources and rhetoric for continuing the nation’s farcical and long-suffering Cannabis Prohibition (74 years as of October 2nd!)?

Next time you hear one of these two elected policy makers spout off about being ‘anti-drug’ and not being in favor of cannabis law reforms…just remember that both men are just selective Prohibitionists…and hypocrites.

Really! Who wants to be governed by hypocrites who possess this ‘Good for Me, but not for Thee’ mentality?

Oh The Irony (Part II): Obama The Home Brewer

September 21st, 2011

Oh to be governed…by hypocrites.

Last week the nation watched President Obama bestow a rarely presented Medal of Honor to former Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer. News reports indicate Mr. Meyer requested to have a beer the night before with his former commander-in-chief before the formal ceremonies.

The two men were in fact widely photographed enjoying a beer on the White House back porch.

Where did the beer the two men consume come from?

The same news reports reveal that our President has become the first ever home brew resident of the White House, brewing a “White House Honey Blonde Ale”.

Is it not painfully ironic to the point of disgust that the President of these United States of America–an occasional tobacco consumer and home brewer–along with the Speaker of the House John Boehner (a well-known tobacco and alcohol consumer), can responsibly engage in these adult-oriented activities, while at the same time providing ample public resources and rhetoric for continuing the nation’s farcical and long-suffering Cannabis Prohibition (74 years as of October 2nd!)?

Next time you hear one of these two elected policy makers spout off about being ‘anti-drug’ and not being in favor of cannabis law reforms…just remember that both men are just selective Prohibitionists…and hypocrites.

Really! Who wants to be governed by hypocrites who possess this ‘Good for Me, but not for Thee’ mentality?

This Week in Weed: September 11th – 17th

September 16th, 2011

This Week in WeedNow streaming on NORMLtv is the latest episode of “This Week in Weed.”

This Week: a congressman calls upon Drug Czar Kerlikowse to reschedule marijuana, per se THC limits for drugged driving stall out in Colorado, and the biggest marijuana rally on the east coast is about to commence.

Be sure to tune in to NORMLtv each Thursday afternoon to catch up on the latest marijuana news. Subscribe to NORMLtv or follow us on Twitter to be notified as soon as new content is added.

Oh The Irony: Speaker Of The House John Boehner Continues To Support Marijuana Prohibition

September 15th, 2011

Unlike Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen (who favors America having a fair and constitutionally consistent cannabis policy…), the current Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, simply does not get how hypocritical he is by favoring another 74 years of the failed federal Cannabis Prohibition, while at the same time, being a frequent consumer (and longtime political ally) of far more dangerous and deadly drugs like alcohol and tobacco.

A NORML supporter from Ohio named Todd recently used NORML’s webpage to contact his elected representative in Congress, who just so happens to be the Speaker of the House John Boehner, to encourage him to become a co-sponsor of the Ron Paul/Barney Frank bill to allow states to legalize cannabis for responsible adult use.

What Todd did was exactly what tens of thousands of other like-minded NORML supporters have done since late June, when H.R. 2306 was introduced: they contacted their member of Congress and asked them to support the passage of H.R. 2306.

What cannabis reformers and consumers really need to do now is to send hundreds of thousands of letters and emails to their members of Congress, and to, like Todd, not take ‘no’ for an answer, especially from hypocrites like Speaker Boehner, who maybe one of the capital’s most notorious tobacco addicts and consumer of hard liquor.

Roll Call photo from a Sept. 2010 event capturing then Minority Leader John Boehner using society's most deadly and addictive drug: Tobacco

Last October at a fancy Washington restaurant in a section of town called ‘Barracks Row’, a week or so before his ascendency to the Speakership of the House, High Times’ associate publisher Rick Cusick and I watched Mr. Boehner (and five or six of his fellow Republican colleagues from the House, and one from the Senate) continuously leave their table–after rounds of shot glasses of hard liquor were consumed–to stand out in front of the establishment in a circle to smoke cigarettes. We witnessed this kind of excessive ‘drug’ consumption from Congressional leaders for over two hours.

Mr. Boehner, the son of a bar owner in Ohio, needs to get real and quick regarding losing his Reefer Madness about cannabis and to start treating cannabis consumers with the same respect and dignity that he wants afforded to him as a tobacco and alcohol consumer.

If not, then, based on his unscientific and non-sensible reply to his constituent in Ohio found below, the man should 1.) stop buying and consuming clearly deadly and dangerous drugs like hard booze and cigarettes and 2.) pass federal laws banning these unhealthy and unsafe products from people who’d be foolish enough to consume them.

NORML thanks ‘Todd’ from Ohio for being a stand up cannabis law reformer who is not keen to be governed by a hypocrite (who would have him consume drugs much, much less safe—and toxic—than cannabis. Just like him….).

Boehner writes below: “I am unalterably opposed to the legalization of marijuana or any other FDA Schedule I drug.  I remain concerned that legalization will result in increased abuse of all varieties of drugs, including alcohol.”

Maybe the Speaker of the House is speaking for himself here as both the science and my own personal experience is crystal clear here: When adults consume cannabis products they consume less—or no—alcohol products.

I, for one, have always publicly acknowledged that I consume far less alcohol (and don’t binge drink at all) if I have access to cannabis products.

Further, in the twenty years I’ve worked at NORML and convening dozens of major pro-reform conferences, fundraising parties and events I’ve watched bar managers, restaurant owners and hotel catering managers from coast-to-coast do major double and triple takes on our alcohol consumption bills, insisting that there must be some kind of billing error. When, in fact, if 500 cannabis consumers are attending a NORML soiree, we as a group consume 50%-75% less alcohol than similar size events.

At a large and famous San Francisco waterfront restaurant that hosted a NORML event a few years back, when I went into the manager’s office at the end of the night to settle the final bill and remit payment, he too was flabbergasted at the dearth of our large group’s alcohol consumption tab and wryly remarked to me: “No wonder ya’ll can’t get pot legalized, because, you’ll cut too deeply into the alcohol industry’s bottom line.”

Please join Todd and tens of thousands of other citizens who do not support Cannabis Prohibition anymore by contacting your member of Congress and insist that they co-sponsor H.R. 2306.

The process to lobby your member of Congress is easy, free and necessary to finally—and once and for all—end Cannabis Prohibition in America.

Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 1:19 PM, Congressman John Boehner wrote:

Dear Todd:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the legalization of marijuana.  I appreciate hearing from you.

On June 23, 2011, Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced H.R. 2306, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011.  H.R. 2306 would remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act to provide states with jurisdiction in the regulation of marijuana.  H.R. 2306 has been referred to the House Committees on the Judiciary and Energy and Commerce for consideration.

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), “research shows that marijuana use in its raw form is harmful and its average potency has tripled in the past 20 years.”  ONDCP goes on to say that “studies also show teens are using the drug at earlier ages and the earlier a person begins to use drugs, the more likely they are to progress to more serious abuse and addiction.”  In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services stated that “marijuana dependence in the U.S. population is higher than that for any other illicit drug and over 150,000 people who showed up voluntarily at treatment facilities in 2009 reported marijuana as their primary substance of abuse.”

As you know, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified marijuana, together with heroin, LSD, methamphetamines, hashish, and a number of other drugs as Schedule I drugs.  According to the FDA, these drugs carry a high potential for dangerous abuse.  To date, no clinical study of marijuana has progressed to the level required for approval by the FDA.  Even more, the Department of Justice has reiterated its intent to enforce the Controlled Substances Act in states who have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes.

I am unalterably opposed to the legalization of marijuana or any other FDA Schedule I drug.  I remain concerned that legalization will result in increased abuse of all varieties of drugs, including alcohol.

Thank you again for contacting me with your thoughts.  Please don’t hesitate to inform me of your concerns in the future.  To sign up for email updates, I invite you to visit my website at http://johnboehner.house.gov.

Sincerely,

John A. Boehner

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Dear John Boehner,

Wow thats a mouthful did someone write that for you.  Your seriously trying to tell me that marijuana is as harmful as lsd, crack, methamphetamines, cocaine,legal sildenafil,merinol and other “chemicals” when marijuana is a plant which is nearly impossible to overdose. You sir are uninformed as are most of our “representatives”, who, are supposed to represent the interest of the people, but end up representing their own interests entirely. I would think that given our current economic crisis, it would be ideal to look objectively at every opportunity to decrease frivolous spending, and increase revenue. By legalizing and taxing marijuana on a federal level, the taxes alone are estimated at billions of dollars annually. Given the annual cost of the failed war on drugs and incarcerated nonviolent marijuana users, the annual savings plus revenue could reach in the hundreds of billions of dollarsNot to mention the tens of thousands of jobs legalizing marijuana would create. This is common sense knowledge and neither you nor the “F.D.A.” can tell me otherwise.

As for your statement ” I remain concerned that legalization will result in increased abuse of all varieties of drugs, including alcohol.” Please elaborate as I do not understand how the legalization and regulation of marijuana on a federal level, will result in increased abuse of other drugs and alcohol. Regulating marijuana will not only decrease it’s availability on the black market, but will also decrease its value, therefore being less available, and of less interest, to teens and other underage people.

On the subject of the Department of Health and Human Services statement that “marijuana dependence in the U.S. population is higher than that for any other illicit drug and over 150,000 people who showed up voluntarily at treatment facilities in 2009 reported marijuana as their primary substance of abuse.” What this statement does not tell you is that roughly 97% of these 150,000 people “voluntarily” showed up because they were given an ultimatum by the courts when found in possesion of marijuana, rather than face probation, or even worse, jail time.

How about the statement made by Francis Young, the D.E.A.s’ own judge, ”Marijuana in it’s natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”  If marijuana is considered a schedule I narcotic with no medicinal benefits, why do we have Marinol, the  synthetic form of T.H.C. (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psycoactive substance found in marijuana?.  And why is the “chemical” Marinol a schedule III drug, meaning it is considered to be non-narcotic and to have a low risk of physical or mental dependence, when it is another form of T.H.C.?. There has never been a documented human fatality from overdosing on tetrahydrocannabinol or cannabis in its natural form. However, the synthetic T.H.C. pill Marinol was cited by the FDA as being responsible for 4 of the 11,687 deaths from 17 different FDA approved drugs between January 1, 1997 to June 30, 2005.

I would appreciate a personal response from you, rather than one of your pre-writen responses. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Todd