Archive for the ‘Reefer Madness’ category

Just Say No To These 11 Outrageous Arguments

February 26th, 2014

Nearly 80 years ago, the feature film “Reefer Madness” hit theaters, projecting demonstrably false anti-marijuana propaganda all over the big screen. In today’s era of legal medical and recreational cannabis, the tone of this movie is often mocked. But drug warriors are still employing many of the same hysterical arguments to prop up their campaign against weed.

When it comes to public opinion, it’s becoming clear that anti-pot crusaders are losing the battle. Recreational marijuana is for sale in Colorado, it’s coming to Washington in just a few months and over a dozen more states are considering legalization measures right now. In all, 20 states have passed laws allowing the medical or recreational use of marijuana, and with a majority of Americans now in favor of legal weed for the first time in U.S. history, the momentum is on marijuana’s side.

As more states move toward reforming pot laws, many anti-weed groups have clung to the same tired rhetoric, a decision that has only served to further marginalize them. Greater public acceptance and access to the drug mean that many of marijuana’s stigmas, once accepted as fact, now appear increasingly out of touch with reality.

While there may be more reasonable arguments to make when considering the issue of legal marijuana, these overused statements are not among them:

1. “Marijuana is addictive.”

Like pretty much any substance (or activity, for that matter), marijuana can be abused, and frequent use can lead to dependency. But if we’re going to keep something illegal just because it has the potential to be addictive, we’ll also have to reconsider our approaches to a number of other substances. Studies have found cannabis to be less addictive than nicotine, alcohol and even caffeine, according to research by one scientist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

It’s believed that somewhere between four and nine percent of regular marijuana users are likely to develop dependency problems, and it’s true that a good number of marijuana users later avail themselves of professional help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that 957,000 people age 12 and over sought treatment for marijuana in 2012. But while drug warriors have touted this as evidence of a marijuana abuse epidemic, pot policy reformers have noted that the large majority of these patients have been referred by the criminal justice system, which has expanded options for treatment over jail time or other penalties. While it’s a clear step up from imprisonment, many of the people who end up in treatment are still forced there for minor marijuana charges.

Furthermore, “not all abuse and dependency is created equal,” as the authors of Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know put it. The authors point out that while some heavy marijuana users do experience symptoms of clinical dependency and feel discomfort or withdrawal when trying to quit, kicking a pot addiction doesn’t lead to the same type of intense, dangerous physical and psychological pain that often accompanies alcohol, nicotine or heroin dependency.

2. “It’s as dangerous as heroin and LSD.”

Not many people may be willing to make this argument directly — even President Barack Obama knows there isn’t any reliable evidence to support it — but the Drug Enforcement Administration’s classification of pot is based entirely upon this contention. Schedule I drugs like marijuana, LSD and heroin “are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence,” according to the DEA. They are also said to have “no currently accepted medical use.”

Key anti-drug officials have been unwilling to budge on the supposed parallels between pot and these harder drugs. During congressional testimony in 2012, DEA Administrator Michelle Leonhart refused to answer a question about whether crack was more harmful than pot. In January, Michael Botticelli, the drug czar’s chief deputy, ducked a question about whether meth or cocaine was more addictive than marijuana, leading Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) to explain why these repeated denials and other inconsistencies in federal anti-drug policy only serve to undermine broader anti-drug efforts.

“Being unable to answer something clearly and definitively when there is unquestioned evidence to the contrary is why young people don’t believe the propaganda, why they think [marijuana is] benign,” Blumenauer said. “If a professional like you can’t answer clearly that meth is more dangerous than marijuana — which every kid on the street knows, which every parent knows — if you can’t answer that, maybe that’s why we’re failing to educate people about the dangers. If the deputy director of the office of drug policy can’t answer that question, how do you expect high school kids to take you seriously?”

3. “Pot is a gateway drug that will lead you to more dangerous substances.”

The claim that marijuana use will tip people toward other, harder substances has long been pushed by drug warriors, despite a lack of factual basis. The argument goes that because people often try harder drugs some time after having tried pot, the user’s experience with marijuana must have played a significant part in later experimentation.

But in reading drug use statistics — or any statistics at all — it’s important to remember that correlation does not equal causation. Just because users of heroin, cocaine or other hard drugs are very likely to have used marijuana earlier in their lives doesn’t mean that the pot itself was the catalyst for their later drug-related decisions.

As Maia Szalavitz writes at Time, “Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang members are probably 104 times more likely to have ridden a bicycle as a kid than those who don’t become Hell’s Angels, but that doesn’t mean that riding a two-wheeler is a ‘gateway’ to joining a motorcycle gang. It simply means that most people ride bikes and the kind of people who don’t are highly unlikely to ever ride a motorcycle.”

It makes sense that statistics would show drug users frequently turning to pot first. Marijuana is relatively easy to lay hands on, meaning that anybody with a desire to alter their state of mind with a substance can likely access it (though if this is the actual standard-bearer of a gateway drug, as some would argue, then studies have also shown alcohol to be the true gateway substance).

Studies have pointed out this flaw in the “gateway theory” since as early back as the late 1990s, though the failure to find a direct link hasn’t stopped anti-drug crusaders from pushing the argument.

4. “You smoke marijuana like tobacco, so it must be just as bad for you!”

Cigarettes lead to nearly half a million American deaths each year, so it might seem natural to assume that marijuana smoke drawn into the lungs in the same fashion would also do some serious physiological harm. But science hasn’t borne out this hypothesis. Studies have found that cannabis and tobacco smoke contain some of the same carcinogens — but cigarettes, which contain nicotine, cause significantly more harm than marijuana, which contains cannabinoids.

While many marijuana smokers may report respiratory discomfort like coughing or wheezing after excessive pot use, an extensive study released in 2012 found that the drug itself does not impair lung function. Other studies have found that cannabis can even suppress a variety of aggressive cancer cells. If medical science has reached any real conclusion about marijuana, it’s simply that more research should be done to pin down the exact effects of cannabis smoke and cannabinoids.

And while smoking is the most common way to use marijuana, there are also other methods of delivery that allow users to minimize or avoid potential harm to the lungs: Ingesting high-potency cannabis-infused edibles or using a vaporizer, which eliminates much of the heated marijuana smoke, are a few of the most common alternatives.

5. “Pot can make you go insane.”

In “Reefer Madness,” teens are driven to murder, sexual assault and insanity after indulging in pot. TV host Nancy Grace still thinks marijuana users “shoot each other, stab each other, strangle each other” and “kill whole families,” and that such behavior is all pot’s fault.

While it’s established that psychotic people are more likely to have used drugs — and most commonly cannabis — before the onset of the disease, research has shown that smoking pot simply leads to an earlier onset of psychosis by an average of 2.7 years in people already prone to the condition. Other research suggests that marijuana emphatically does not cause psychosis, and past research has not been able to definitively rule out the possibility that people who are prone to developing mental illnesses like schizophrenia may simply be more likely to turn to drugs like marijuana. Furthermore, other research suggests that another cannabis compound, cannabidiol, may negate some symptoms of psychosis.

Studies have also shown that changes in the brain due to marijuana use are likely reversible and that the legalization of medical marijuana may reduce suicide rates. While no substance is completely harmless, marijuana, in many studies, has been shown to be relatively safe. But again, until a larger wealth of research is completed in all of these areas — which will likely only be done after further legalization — we are left without more concrete conclusions.

6. “Marijuana leads to criminal behavior.”

While some studies have indicated higher marijuana use among criminal offenders, that doesn’t mean it’s the pot itself that leads users to a life of crime. In fact, dozens of studies on the issue show that a causal relationship between marijuana use and crime has not been found.

When it comes to violent crime, alcohol is a much more significant factor than marijuana. A report from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests that 25 to 30 percent of violent crimes are linked to alcohol use. A 2003 article from the journal Addictive Behaviors noted that “alcohol is clearly the drug with the most evidence to support a direct intoxication-violence relationship,” and that “cannabis reduces likelihood of violence during intoxication.” The National Academy of Sciences even found that in chronic marijuana users, THC causes a decrease in “aggressive and violent behavior.”

Although there is little evidence that marijuana use increases the likelihood of criminal behavior, marijuana convictions are definitely likely to ruin lives and expose people to a life of crime behind bars. State laws differ, but in some places, possessing just one marijuana joint can be punishable by up to a year in prison and a $10,000 fine. Marijuana convictions also appear to be racially biased. A recent ACLU report, which tracked marijuana arrests by race and county in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, found that black people are nearly four times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than white people.

7. “It makes you lazy and unsuccessful.”

Marijuana opponents often point to studies suggesting that long-term use could result in a lack of motivation and a life of bumming around in your mom’s basement.

A Marijuana Policy Project study, listing 50 of some of the most successful people in the world who have admitted to using pot, completely shatters this mythology. President Obama, Jon Stewart and billionaire George Soros can hardly be characterized as lazy or unproductive.

Anti-drug groups have also argued that marijuana nullifies the traits required to be a successful athlete. That’s probably news to a lot of football players. Despite a league policy that bans the substance, one former player has said that something like half of all NFL players smoke pot either for medical or recreational reasons. Professional football is one of the most demanding and competitive sports in the world. Players probably aren’t high while competing, but the fact that some turn to pot during their free time underscores the point that it’s possible to achieve a balance between one’s professional life and one’s recreational marijuana use.

8. “Legalization will cause mass zombification!”

While the threat of a zombie apocalypse is one of the Internet’s favorite fantasies, some anti-legalization opponents use it as a metaphor for their unsubstantiated fears of a lazy pothead nation developing in the wake of legal weed.

Putting aside the fact that the link between marijuana use and habitual laziness is tenuous at best, multiple studies suggest that the decriminalization of marijuana has little to no effect on consumption rates. And prohibition has been woefully ineffective at deterring use. “Fear of arrest, fear of imprisonment, the cost of cannabis or its availability do not appear to exert much effect on the prevalence of cannabis use,” says one frequently cited study on marijuana prohibition.

9. “I tried it once and didn’t like it.”

So you don’t like marijuana. Or you tried it once but didn’t inhale. Or maybe you smoked a lot of pot a while ago, but now can’t get off the couch while you’re high, so you don’t anymore. That’s fine — the drug affects people differently, and anybody with knowledge of marijuana is well aware that “highs” vary greatly. But should your personal opposition to pot really require us to uphold a status quo of prohibition that results in one marijuana arrest every 40 seconds in the U.S., costs the nation between $10 billion and $40 billion a year and deprives state and federal governments the tremendous revenue generated from taxes on legal weed?

10. “People don’t even use it at weddings, so obviously it’s more harmful than beer.”

This is an odd one. Earlier this month, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) pulled out this wedding scenario while claiming that “it’s a big jump” between having a beer and smoking pot.

“If I’m at a wedding reception here and somebody has a drink or two, most people wouldn’t say they’re wasted,” Walker said, according to The Capital Times. “Most folks with marijuana wouldn’t be sitting around a wedding reception smoking marijuana.”

Walker appears to be employing some serious circular reasoning here, claiming that weed — which is illegal, obviously — is less socially acceptable than alcohol, which is (he seems to be saying) one reason it should remain illegal. Walker has said that there’s “a huge difference” between marijuana and alcohol, and the governor is right: Most studies show that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol.

In 2010, for example, there were approximately 189,000 emergency room visits by people under 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol, including accidental poisoning. While there have been reports of people being treated at the hospital due to discomfort after using too much marijuana, these are far outweighed by the number of alcohol-poisoning incidents. To this day, aside from one recent, unprecedented and widely contested conclusion about a cannabis-related death in the United Kingdom, there have been no reported deaths due to marijuana overdose in at least 10,000 years of human consumption.

On the other hand, just 10 times the recommended serving of alcohol can lead to death, a recreational drug study from American Scientist found. By contrast, a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times the amount of THC in a joint in order to be at risk of dying, according to a 1988 ruling from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

11. “Uhhh … but don’t you care about the children?”

Yes, which is why it’s important to understand that when it comes to marijuana, drug warriors are lying to them and causing more harm than good. Lawmakers have recently argued that the anti-drug crowd is losing the faith of teens because they pummel them with blanket statements instead of offering factual explanations about marijuana use and how to approach the drug responsibly.

There are admittedly legitimate questions and concerns about adolescent marijuana use, including hotly debated claims about the effects of the drug on teens’ mental health. And the fact that marijuana studies so often show conflicting findings is a sign of how much more research is needed in this area and how important those answers are.

No one needs to encourage anybody, teenage or otherwise, to use marijuana. But if the drug warriors are to be taken seriously, they need to retire these shopworn arguments and update their playbook for a new century.

Source: Huffington Post (NY)
Author: Matt Ferner and Nick Wing, The Huffington Post
Published: February 25, 2014
Copyright: 2014 HuffingtonPost.com, LLC
Contact: scoop@huffingtonpost.com
Website: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to Hold Hearing on ‘Conflicts Between State and Federal Marijuana Laws’

August 26th, 2013

Cannabis and Cannibalism: The Return Of Reefer Madness In The Media?

June 28th, 2012

As I told staff this morning in an email, last night and this morning have been surreal being inundated with media requests for interviews on two totally disparate topics related to cannabis:

-Chicago moving forward with cannabis decriminalization for possession

-Media headlines (and some experts’ claims) that cannabis might have caused a guy to kill and chew his victim’s face off

Talk about one topic being ‘good’, the other one being ‘bad’ (if not totally bizarre)!

It is one thing for the media to report on the toxicological results from the autopsy of the guy who did this strange and gruesome maiming in Miami last month, but to read a professor of psychiatry at the University of Miami pop off to the Associated Press that maybe it was the strain of cannabis that might have caused this guy to become a cannibal strikes me that this professor is totally incorrect beyond belief and that her comments as an ‘expert’ are going to be repeated in any future news stories, radio and TV shows on the matter of cannabis’ safety.

Time.com’s Maia Szalavitz has an excellent look at past media-hyped ‘drug scares’ here.

A NORML supporter contacted the organization this afternoon with his email to the U of Miami professor Patricia Junquera M.D. quoted in the AP piece, and my reply to both of them can be found below.

Hello Dr. Junquera and Mr. X,

Thanks for your email.

Self evidently cannabis does not cause people to become violent in general, and it specifically does not cause people to mutilate others.

Humans have been using cannabis en mass for at least 3,000 years. Federal data from the US indicate that 40 million consumers use cannabis annually; 7-8 million are regular consumers. Cannabis is consumed billions of times a day across the earth safely with little-to-no credible or verifiable ill effect on the individual, let alone to induce savage violence towards others.

To say such, or to insinuate in a media interview that a strain of whole-smoked cannabis (there are over 500 strains of cannabis commercially available in the US) could possibly cause violence in humans is not only unsupported in the medical, sociological and demographic literature, such ignorance surely smacks of a new and even more perverse version of ‘Reefer Madness’.

As DEA chief judge Francis Young ruled in NORML v DEA:

“In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care.

Like most all drug compounds that are psychotropic, cannabis can be abused. But what cannabis has not shown historically throughout the entire scope of humanity is the capacity to encourage a human being violent towards anything more than a bag of Doritos or a container of ice cream that will not readily open.

Of all the hundreds of thousands of ‘drug’ compounds humans interface with annually—botanical and pharmaceutical—cannabis maybe one of the safest bar none.

Cannabem liberemus,

-Allen St. Pierre
Director
NORML

Dear Dr. Junquera:

I think that the reason the scholarly world often gets criticized is because of the fantastic and unfortunate conclusions its members often draw.  There are a number of fields where no matter how well versed a person is that without practical, first hand knowledge it still only amounts to mere opinion.

I find it so hard to believe that as a representative of your profession that you would have the face to actually try to explain how marijuana may have affected Rudy Eugene in causing him to act so unbelievably violent.

I often try to stay away from making assumptions.  However, I can say, without any doubt whatsoever, that it is obvious that you have never used marijuana.  You have no idea how ignorant you sound to the rest of the world that have experienced the effects of sativa and indica.

You also have no idea what kind of impact your ignorant statements can make!  You are only adding fuel to the fire in a country where so many have already made up their minds that marijuana is dangerous.  This type of mentality is what continues to criminalize marijuana and perpetuates this comical idea of a lawless land if it were to become legal. Thousands are currently detained because they were apprehended using, buying, or selling marijuana and this is causing a terrible burden upon our penal system and economy.  A drug that is actually less dangerous than alcohol!  Yes, this is true, it is less dangerous than alcohol and if you ever tried marijuana you would realize this.

I cringed when I read this article (referenced below).  I know that so many people will take your assessment and conclude that marijuana can potentially turn you into a savage and even worse yet, maybe even a cannibal!

You have a responsibility to choose your words wisely, especially when speaking to the media, because many may think that because of your various degrees and position that you actually know what you are talking about!

Statements, such as the ones you made, takes away from the little progress we have made pursuing the legalization of marijuana.

I hope next time you find yourself in this position that you will think twice before you make another irresponsible comment.

Thank you for your time.
Sincerely,
Another Pot Advocate

PS
I almost attended University of Miami several years ago but I decided to go elsewhere.  I now feel better about my decision.  Thanks.

Article:
“It could have been the strain of marijuana that increases the dopamine in the brain, such as sativa,” said Dr. Patricia Junquera, assistant professor at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
There are two strains of marijuana called sativa and indica. The sativa increases dopamine and gives you energy while decreasing pain threshold. Indica is a “sleepy high,” she explained.
“People don’t really know what the amount of either is in each little packet of marijuana,” she explained. “And we can’t differentiate between the two in the blood, much less in a dead person.”
She also suggested that if Eugene had a mental disorder, “the marijuana could have increased even further the dopamine levels and aggravated the situation. So that can’t be ruled out.”

Reefer Madness in America: Another Arrest Statistic Speaks To The Horror and Waste of Cannabis Prohibition

June 26th, 2012

At NORML, we’re always a little hesitant to broadly publicize the plights of what are hundreds of thousands of victims annually of Cannabis Prohibition laws. NORML’s snail mail overflows daily with letters and pleas of help from our brothers and sisters incarcerated on cannabis-only related offenses and while the organization replies to all with 1) support and encouragement for them to keep persevering, 2) affirming to them that America’s cannabis laws are overly harsh and punitive, and 3) that their legal plight is recognized and, in turn, fodder to help educate the public, media and elected policymakers on the crucial need to immediately and forever end Cannabis Prohibition in America.

Below is an email I received yesterday from a mother traveling from California to Texas, who, unfortunately chose a travel route that exposed her to a federal government law enforcement checkpoint on the highway that resulted in her arrest, detention and now prosecution for possessing a small amount of medical cannabis (specifically hash). These very legally questionable federal roadblocks are done under the guise of ‘immigration control’ ensnare thousands of cannabis consumers annually on nothing but minor possession charges.

Fortunately, she was able to make bail and post a bond, otherwise, she would still be in the local jail…and self-evidently would not be reaching out online for assistance and guidance.

The account below is an unedited first person description of what they experienced, witnessed and heard when they became one of America’s approximate 820,000 annual arrests for a minor cannabis-related charge.

My personal reply follows…

Please join and support NORML and local NORML chapters to help reform our country’s antiquated cannabis laws and to provide help and support to the victims of this long-suffering and wasteful public policy.

 

Hi Allen,

I just wanted to make you aware of an encounter I had with Border Patrol in TX and Hudspeth County Jail. It’s sort of a very rough account of my dealings. I’m being charged with a third degree felony for PCOS of hashish. I’m a CA resident and not that is matters, I have a dr’s recommendation for the state of CA.

On Tuesday June 12th I was on my way to pick up my son from Fort Worth, TX. He had been visiting with his grandparents the past 3 weeks. Heading around the bend of a mountain about 200 or so miles into Texas I spotted a permanent border patrol checkpoint. As soon as you turn the corner there are cameras pointed at your car, dogs walking up and down, and men with the border patrol stalking you.

As soon as I reached the front of the line they were alerted to my vehicle. I was asked to step out of my car and to grab my driver’s license after being asked if I’ve ever traveled through Texas before. The men and dogs tore through my vehicle as I was questioned and informed that I was under arrest for “narcotics.”

They took me into the border patrol building, without handcuffing. They filled out some paperwork and about an hour and a half after I was arrested I was read my miranda rights. I was thrown into a cage in the building and left to sit for about 7 hours. I was told a few times that the sheriff was on his way to pick me up.

The sheriff then took me away from the room I had been held in, asked me if that was my car parked out there, which I replied “yes,” and then I was put in the passenger seat of his car, again without handcuffs. The 5 minute drive seemed like eternity. Being in the mercy of this man with guns whose car smelled of burnt cannabis and hashish. I felt the corruption as soon as I sat in his car. I looked over at the time, it was about 10:30 pm.

When we arrived to the jail we both stepped out of the car and walked in. I was told to dress and give them my personal belongings that I had on me: cell phone, id, and $21. While I was dressing I over heard a woman night guard speak to the sheriff, “We’ve been getting a ton of phone calls for her and it’s been annoying. We should throw her into solitary.” The sheriff and others laughed. I couldn’t tell if he had agreed until I was indeed thrown into a cage marked as solitary.

I looked around the filthy room, full of used feminine products, hair, dirt, and all sorts of debris. The room was lacking a bed roll, toilet paper, a blanket, and a cup. I asked several times to be provided with these items as I had been awake since 4 am that day and was extremely exhausted. Everytime I was met with the same thing, “when we get you booked.” What seemed like a few hours later I begged for toilet paper and a cup. After another hour of so I was provided with toilet paper and a cup filled with ice that I thought must have come from the male urinal. The next few hours I attempted to sleep on the metal bed frame with the toilet paper under my neck for support. I was shivering from the cold cell and lack of clothing.

A few hours after falling asleep I was woken up with a yell, “hey, get up.” I was then booked into the jail. I looked over at the digital clock in the room the guards were in: 3:45 am. A few more snide remarks were made about the phone calls as they asked me questions, took my hand prints, picture, and I filled out paperwork with them. One of the forms I filled out stated it was an acknowledgement that I received my bedroll, toilet paper, cup, spoon, blanket, etc. When I told the man those were items I hadn’t received yet, he said that I would obtain them when I reached my cell block.

After I was booked, I was taken to the cell block. Provided with a mattress, blanket, cup and spoon. I took the toilet paper from solitary.

The next day I asked every few hours when I was to be arraigned. I was told between 9am and 1pm. The female guard had told me it would more likely be around 1pm because the magistrate shows up later than sooner, usually.

1pm comes and goes. I get anxious and start asking the guards every 30 minutes when I was going to be arraigned. I kept getting told it would be a bit longer. It was about 3pm that I was arraigned by the magistrate. She had made a comment when she heard about the phone calls from my friends that she should have held me for 72 hours before seeing me. I told her, “My friends don’t like when peaceful people are caged.” She didn’t reply.

I immediately called my husband and asked him to bail me out. I had been away from my son for 3 weeks and I was afraid of any further mistreatment. My bailiff showed up around 4 pm and paid the bail. I kept asking when I was going to be released and was ignored for 2 hours. I find out after that, the reason for their delay, my clothing had been lost. I was furious and couldn’t stop sobbing. I was released about 7:30 pm to my bailiff when my clothing finally showed up. She took me to a motel room and I slept for the night after a hot shower.

As of this date, I have not received any more information regarding a court date. I’m unprepared financially and with knowledge to fight this. Any help you can provide would be great, even if it’s spreading the story about my horrible treatment over a healing plant.

 

 

Hello X,

Thanks for your email, though I’m sorry to read of the circumstances that precipitate your communication.

Indeed, every 38 seconds in America, a cannabis consumer is arrested (850,000/year…90% for possession only). I’m not entirely sure post-arrest what practical help NORML can be as 1) you’re correct that a recommendation for medical cannabis use from CA holds no legal sway in TX, 2) there are thousands of drivers/passengers a year harassed/arrested by law enforcement checkpoints in CA, AZ, NM and TX (the ones in TX have nabbed Willie Nelson and other celebrities too), 3) It is not clear what if any legal defense one can employ to challenge the search as, for the most part, these searches are deemed legally conducted by local and regional judges (and the dogs’ smell abilities are not much in question).

NORML has a few dozen members who’re also lawyers in TX…and you might want to contact one or more of them to inquire 1) what if any possible legal challenges are availed to you and 2) if there is no viable and/or cost effective way to challenge the search in court, then to try to mitigate the possible negative legal outcomes as much as possible is probably the best course (ie, plea bargain, drug court, etc….).

http://norml.org/lawyers/tx

Also, you might want to be in touch with NORML chapters in TX too:

http://norml.org/chapters/tx

I’ve CCd NORML’s Legal Counsel to see if he has any further ideas or suggestions.

Your writing about a terrible event that has happened to you during this period of Cannabis Prohibition in TX is extremely well written and articulate. Thank you again for sharing what has happened to you, which only affirms the need for law reform groups like NORML to succeed in ending Cannabis Prohibition. And, please be in touch with local NORML chapters and lawyers in TX to maximize your information base, so that you and your family make the most prudent decision to get this Prohibition-related nightmare behind you…and to look to a future where you too help change these misguided laws as a genuine stakeholder.

Kind regards,

Allen St. Pierre
Executive Director
Member, Board of Directors
NORML / NORML Foundation

1600 K St., NW
Mezzanine
Washington, D.C. 20006


‘Not My Kid’ Bemoans Teen Marijuana ‘Addiction’ and 420 Culture

April 11th, 2012
If you thought the laughable Reefer Madness hyperbole and tall tales were a thing of the past -- a relic, perhaps, of your 20th Century schooling -- think again.The extremist anti-drug group "notMYkid," just in time for the 4/20 holiday this year, is indulging in the same, lame rhetoric of the past century, darkly mentioning in a Tuesday press release, "With nearly 40,000 drug-related deaths each year, 'National Weed Day' can be the start down a tragic path."They somehow seem to have forgotten a couple of things, notably, (1) NONE of those 40,000 deaths is attributable to marijuana, and in fact NO death EVER in human history is directly attributable to cannabis; and (2) most of those 40,000 drug deaths aren't even due to illegal drugs at all -- but instead represent overdoses on legal pharmaceuticals manufactured by, surprise, surprise! -- the same Big Pharma giants who fund this nonsensical anti-pot propaganda in the first place. Continue reading "'Not My Kid' Bemoans Teen Marijuana 'Addiction' and 420 Culture" >

Senator Mitch McConnell Thinks Pot Kills – Time for a #RealityCheck

March 14th, 2012

“Because of the harm that substances like marijuana and other narcotics pose to our society, I have concerns about this legislation. The detrimental effects of drugs have been well documented: short-term memory loss, loss of core motor functions, heightened risk of lung disease, and even death.”

No, that is not a quote from 1936′s Reefer Madness, it came from the mouth of current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and it happened in 2012.

Prohibitionist arguments have always been quite laughable, the government originally warned of the dangers of reefer addicted jazz musicians and immigrants corrupting our youth and harming women. However, we’ve come a long way since the 1930′s and the fact that a high ranking elected official in the 21st century can say something so blatantly untrue with a straight face is disturbing at best. Centuries worth of use and countless volumes of research prove Senator McConnell’s statement to be nothing more than lies and scaremongering. Perhaps the good Senator should do some research of his own, if he did he’d find that inhaled cannabis has been shown safe and effective in trials using FDA’s own ‘gold standard’ method.

As long as our representatives in Congress hold such archaic, patently false views on marijuana our efforts to end prohibition will forever be stymied. We need to hold our politicians accountable and if they continue to make statements such as these, they will lose our support come election time. Help us give Senator Mitch McConnell a #RealityCheck by tweeting your displeasure with his recent statements:

@Team_Mitch: Centuries of use and decades of research say you’re wrong. Deaths from marijuana = 0. #RealityCheck

More info and a link to the original constituent letter are available here.

Reefer Madness

November 7th, 2011
Marijuana is now legal under state law for medical purposes in 16 states and the District of Columbia, encompassing nearly one-third of the American population. More than 1,000 dispensaries provide medical marijuana; many are well regulated by state and local law and pay substantial taxes. But though more than 70 percent of Americans support legalizing [...]

In Decades-Old Program, Uncle Sam Provides Pot

September 28th, 2011
Sometime after midnight on a moonlit rural Oregon highway, a state trooper checking a car he had just pulled over found less than an ounce of pot on one passenger: A chatty 72-year-old woman blind in one eye. She insisted the weed was legal and was approved by the U.S. government. The trooper and his [...]