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Setting The Record Straight On Marijuana Legalization

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missouri show me cannabis rolla town hall meetingBy John Payne, Show Me Cannabis Campaign

I submitted the following letters to the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch and Saint Joseph News-Press, respectively. The first letter was published last Saturday, November 16, in response to a letter by Howard Weissman of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.

While reading Howard Weissman’s editorial “Legalizing marijuana means children will be targeted” (Nov. 8), I was pleased to see that the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse now agrees that adult cannabis use should not be treated as a criminal matter and that Mr. Weissman acknowledges that no one wants to see more kids using cannabis. However, I strongly dispute Weissman’s claim that cannabis prohibition more effectively keeps the substance away from teens than would the legal, regulated model we employ for alcohol and tobacco. In fact, prohibition fails at preventing teens in particular from using marijuana.

According to the 2012 Monitoring the Future study, which the federal government uses to track drug use among teenagers, 22.9 percent of high school seniors used cannabis in the past month. That is substantially greater than the 17.1 percent of seniors who smoked cigarettes in the past month, despite the fact that cigarettes are legal for many seniors. It’s true that more high school seniors drink than use cannabis, with 40 percent reporting drinking in the past month, but some context is necessary here.

According to Gallup polling, 66 percent of American adults drink, but only 7 percent smoke marijuana, meaning drinking is less prevalent among teenagers than adults, but teenagers smoke marijuana at more than three times the rate of the adult population. Cannabis prohibition seems to be discouraging use among responsible adults but encouraging it among teenagers — the precise inverse of what a rational policy would achieve.

The Saint Joseph News-Press has accepted the second letter for publication by and should run it within the next few days. I wrote it as a response to the misguided comments of Buchanan County Prosecutor Dwight Scroggins in this article.

After reading “Going to pot / Experts debate pros, cons of legalizing marijuana” (News-Press, Nov. 10), it seems clear Buchanan County Prosecuting Attorney Dwight Scroggins is picking and choosing “facts” to support his opinions.

The claim that cannabis causes violence has been around since the Reefer Madness days of the 1920s and ’30s, but it has been soundly discredited for over 40 years. Studies sometimes show a correlation, but not causation.

When the Controlled Substances Act was passed in 1970, it also created a commission to study marijuana use in the United States. The commission released its findings in 1972, concluding, “the empirical evidence gathered to date lends no support to the hypothesis that marihuana heightens aggressive tendencies in the user or that its effects significantly increase the likelihood of inciting the user to violence or crime.”

Also, if more permissive cannabis laws cause chaos on the highways, as Scroggins insinuates, it would be reflected in fatality reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, according to a study by University of Colorado-Denver economics professor Daniel Rees, the data show just the opposite: States with medical marijuana laws experience a 9 percent drop in fatal automobile accidents compared to those without such reforms. The study’s authors argue this phenomenon is largely driven by people substituting cannabis for alcohol. Cannabis users are also less likely to drive than drinkers, as most cannabis users partake at home while drinkers often drive to bars.

If Mr. Scroggins would like to defend his claims in an open discussion of the issue, Show-Me Cannabis is sponsoring a town hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at the East Hills branch of the St. Joseph Public Library. We would be happy to give him a spot on the panel, and we can both make our cases to the public.

John Payne
Executive Director
Show-Me Cannabis Regulation

Source: National Cannabis Coalitionmake a donation

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24 Comments

  1. I don’t assume what you need but let’s clear one thing up CBD doesn’t make you paranoid or do anything else you crawling the walls, because it has NO psychoactive substances what so ever, the only reason you might be reacting that way is because high CBD content marijuana has virtually no THC and you need the relaxing properties off of THC but that doesn’t have anything to do with CBD’s effects on you. There’s a reason why they want kids to take only CBD high marijuana and that’s specifically because it has no psychoactive effect on them.

  2. Alex i have pain but i am mostly a crazy person. i personally do not have the blood pressure to do edibles. I need STRONG THC to combat my anxiety and CBD makes me crawl the walls with way too many thoughts and i get paranoid and don’t leave the house so different strokes for different folks. I hate when people assume what others need. i have 20 yr old (who know nothing!) dispensary people tell me “you’re gonna love this!” and it gave me OCD so bad i put on socks for 20 minutes… Please do not assume that 1 medicine user needs what another needs we are all different and use mari for all kinds of things that doctors and government ogers can’t even fathom! Just my opinion

  3. I have always believed that ANYTHING prohibited must seem fun to those it is not allowed to be acknowledged…as a teen tobacco, drugs, alcohol, sex, driving without a license etc seem fun so you want it so badly because everyone else is obviously doing “it”. As an adult it is fun to have affairs when you are married or gamble away money your family doesn’t have or go shopping on credit cards you probably shouldn’t spend, party when your spouse doesn’t want you to, fetish porn etc…we all do it. It is human nature when something is “tabu”. This country was founded on the promise of freedom and too few realize that we are not. In AZ there is a plant called jimson weed or thornapple that grows wild everywhere and is widely known to cause hallucinations. Many of my friends went down that road and peyote is everywhere out here so we did that as well. We even have toads they can lick to feel something! Teens know they can huff gas to get high. How bout we start paying attention to our kids and what they are actually doing saying and wanting instead of letting them be bored and unattended to experiment on their own with whatever is out there… Meanwhile FREE MY WEED!!!

  4. Allegedly, the only way to die from cannabis, is to either smoke 1,500 pounds of it in an afternoon, or have 1,500 pounds of it dropped on you. The real pot abuse, is, forgetting to water your plants!

  5. Another study which was done in Jamaica, showed that infants whose mothers used ganja before, during and after their pregnancy, did much better on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayley_Scales_of_Infant_Development), used to determine how an infant does when it comes to growth, development and milestone they need to reach. The jury is still out on the effects of cannabis on the brain of people, age not withstanding. Oh sure, I, myself, experience a good deal of memory loss in regard to using cannabis, but this goes away when use of the plant is ceased. In regard to addiction, I have stopped using it many times in my life, for various reasons, and the biggest problem I experienced was irritation, anxiety and a yearning for more of it. A YEARNING. NOT a ‘jonesian’ need to use it again, keep me from going thru the life threatening withdrawal that addicts are known to experience on the stronger, more serious drugs people use/abuse. I am not advocating for teen use of it, and no one I know, thinks teen use is okay. 21 and older is the standard I hear most often, and I have no problem with that. With the increase in pot usage in the past year in Colorado (for instance), there has been no noticeable uptick in the number of traffic accidents. Teen use has leveled off, and there were tens of thousands less people who were arrested and convicted on mere possession changes. Prosecutors caseload shrank, the police had more time to do other things, relevant to their profession.. I continue to hear in the media, about traffic accidents with alcohol as involved, and even the cause of the crash. Nothing has come up that I have heard, besides the policeman and his wife who ate a whole batch of brownies that they made with cannabis that he failed to turn in. They were only caught (he was fired), ater he called 911 to say he thought they were dying. Mind control, brainwashing and propaganda are effective, yes? A lot of officers are misled, mis-informed and truly believe the info which they have been fed on all their lives.

  6. Full legalization and regulation is the only way to go. That way, EVERYONE can use it, for whatever reason. I am with the group LEAP and I believe that the medical route will end up getting the access side of things, watered down to the point that it will be lost in the shuffle. The medical argument is okay I guess, but the people who are pushing for the low THC content strains, will wind up getting the high THC strains left behind on the ONDCP drug schedule, and the rest of us who DO use it purely for recreational purposes, will (quite possibly) be sucked up by SWAT and all the drug bust warrants served in the early morning hours. When people tend to get shot for protecting their homes from intruders. The opposition will use any and every angle they can to keep the money and legal control in this situation. (My opinion, I am not speaking for LEAP.)

  7. I think I would agree with you on that. I’m aware of the risks and, after a quarter century of constant pain, I’m willing to take them. If I had a bunch of money, giving me the option to choose, then I would definitely do less smoking. But I don’t think I would ever cut it out completely. When we’re talking about medicating, we should have as many choices as possible, as we are all amazingly different and unique. What helps one may not help another, and all that jazz… Great talk!

  8. Oh one more thing you should know, when someone smokes marijuana instead of vaping it or eating it they are actually killing off some of the very helpful things that are in it, a lot of people don’t realize that, so you won’t get high very fast off of eating it but nutritionally you will get a lot more healing substances, it’s not as quick of a delivery system I grant you but the very much so better for your body overall. :)

  9. Well if you need the medicine then you’re not looking for THC you’re looking for high CBDs, and eating it will have the desired effect you seek.

  10. It depends on what you mean by effective. I need the medicine, including the THC, so eating it will only get me so far.

  11. Actually I’m very glad you brought parsley up because believe it or not no one actually needs to make any kind of extract from marijuana for it to be effective, in fact nutritionists say that one of the best ways that it’s helpful is if you just put it in your salad and eat it in raw form.

  12. We’re not talking solely about fatalities, are we? We’re talking about harm, any kind of harm, but I agree that our air is a lot worse for people than consuming cannabis. Of course that’s just my opinion.

    If you want to call cannabis an herb (only), then I would need a comparison. I mean, is it just like parsley? If we were to make extracts from parsley, would it be harmful? I’m not a chemist, so I don’t know. If we were to compare it to the tobacco plant, then your argument would stand up, at least I think so. Nicotine would be the harmful substance that is extracted from tobacco. I’m trying to think of another legal herb that we could compare to cannabis, but I’m coming up short…

  13. Let’s put it this way, this plant to date has less fatalities then air, now never mind that no drug has come even close to having that normal regular unregulated “safe” substances can’t even make that claim. I mean having 0 fatalities attributed to you while corporations and media call you a “drug” is unprecedented. Cannabis has never been a drug, it was simply classified as one, it’s an herb, always has been always will be. What’s the difference? In an unmodified form which is the only form I accept it in, it is the following. None lethal, None Harmful, Nutritionally sound.

  14. How many studies do we need proving the safety and effectiveness of marijuana? Well, it seems like we need more than we have to totally tear down any and all opposition. But more importantly, we need all of the scientific and medical communities to agree with our side, to agree with the anecdotal evidence. When scientific conclusions are reached, duplicated, and verified, then whenever a doctor stands up and says something stupid, he won’t be listened to or believed. Cannabis lovers, as a whole, do not have the clout that will allow us to make medical claims before the medical community does. Take heart, years and years ago, the general public didn’t really accept the results of international medical studies (because, you know, Amerika is “exceptional”), but I don’t think that’s true anymore.

    I understand your point of “so what.” But no matter what, cannabis will always be a DRUG. That’s why it’s called a psychoactive effect. Even though a medicine AND a drug are not always the same thing, I think cannabis falls into both categories. Oh, people think nicotine and tobacco ALWAYS cause harm, but that’s not true, just like we can take a poison like Botox, create extracts, and inject them to fight wrinkles. (Please, don’t ever do that.)

    Well, I’m getting long-winded here, sorry about that, but you need to admit that cannabis is not always harmless. The extracts of the plant, in strong enough form, can make you sick in the short-term but, in the long-term? And although strong THC extracts can hypothetically be used to treat disease in children, and that research may come in the future, we don’t have enough proof right now to say… what you want to say.

  15. I know the study you speak of and it was later found to be wrong, by the same people who conducted it in the first place, which is the reason why I brought this up.

  16. Exactly my point, so that is the argument we should make, there is no reason to compare marijuana with any drug because it’s simply not like any drug, it’s fully helpful and not harmful in the least!

  17. There has been no physical or chemical scientific evidence in regards to that. The only study showing reduced IQ was shown later to be flawed when a different scientist ran simulations of it accounting for socioeconomic status and found, “the poverty, crime and low educational opportunities that some chronic pot-users were born into could have just as easily led to their recorded IQ declines over time.”

  18. Actually, there is scientific evidence showing that use among teens can possibly have a negetive impact on developing brains. Im not saying I don’t agree with you, i started smoking at 15 and I am prefectly functional after smoking on an almost daily basis. The only problem is that arguing that to people who ARE going to use statistics however skewed they may be, just makes you sound uninformed. I dont advocate kids smoking but if I had kids, I would rather them smoke pot than drink. Hell, society would probably be better if more teens did puff, but were talking about changing the minds of misinformed idiots who, unless you show them proof, will not change their minds.

  19. You guys are going about this the wrong way, instead of reading off statistics about what it can and can’t do between age groups here’s the argument that they can’t ever argue against. “So what”, it’s very VERY simple, lets say cannabis use increases among kids by 1000% so what? It has never had nor has any harmful effects, it doesn’t stunt their growth, or their brains, it doesn’t kill braincells, it doesn’t make them dumber, in fact everything that they originally propagandized about it effecting any age group in a negative way has been disproven by their own agencies. So bottom line they can cry “we’re saving the kids” till they’re blue in the face but they aren’t saving them at all, because it never hurt kids EVER, even in pregnant mothers it’s been proven to have no bad side-effects, think about that for a second, it doesn’t even hurt children in their most vulnerable state! THIS is the argument we should be using, forget about statistics, these are facts.

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