Remember hearing from a police officer, “I don’t make the laws, I just enforce them,” when he’s doing something required by his job that you and maybe even he finds distasteful? Like parking tickets, speeding tickets, or arresting a sick person for using cannabis?
Funny thing, though, lately many of these police officers are quite engaged in making the laws they enforce, judging by the lobbying presence of police associations and prison guards when it comes to the subject of medical marijuana. It doesn’t make a lick of sense, since the police academy doesn’t offer any courses in medicine or healing; it would be like the plumbers union lobbying against a particular farm bill or the AMA lobbying against traffic photo radar.
Unless you consider that the police and prisons, in lobbying against medical marijuana, are actively lobbying for more customers in their line of work, and thereby maintaining job security. Whether marijuana is a medicine or not is irrelevant; it is the source of 47% of all their drug arrests. Unlike cocaine or meth arrests, we’re not going to get violent, puke in the squad car, or require medical detox. As an added bonus, we tend to be smart, educated, and good workers, a fine source of cheap prison labor to do corporate grunt work at 17¢ per hour.
At the heart of police opposition to medical marijuana is the powerful California Narcotics Officers Association. They provide a “fact sheet” for California law enforcement regarding Use of marijuana as “medicine” that is a landmark document in applied reefer madness. (Oddly enough, the .PDF file is “secured” so one can’t easily copy-and-paste from it. It might make one think they don’t want their b.s. plastered all over the blogosphere. Good thing I have better g33k sk1llz than your average California narcotics cop.)
MARIJUANA IS NOT A MEDICINE
There currently exists controversy concerning smoking marijuana as a medicine. Many well-intentioned leaders and members of the public have been misled by the well-financed and organized pro-drug legalization lobby, into believing there is merit to their argument that smoking marijuana is a safe and effective medicine.
Well-financed? You mean like $22,000,000,000 that the federal government will spend on the drug war this year, a figure that’s probably thousands of times greater than the combined funding of ALL the “pro-drug legalization lobby”, as well as the bully pulpit of the Drug Czar and a torrent of anti-drug PSAs we see on TV today? Quick, think of how many anti-pot ads you’ve seen on TV this year. Is it more than the two pro-legalization ads you’ve seen this year from NORML and MPP? And as for “well-organized”, well, you’ve never been behind the scenes of a major drug policy conference, have you?
But hey, great job, reformers! Somehow despite the full force of an an entire federal agency, fifty state agencies, a compliant news media, and numerous anti-drug non-profits working against us, we’ve convinced 13 states and 70% of Americans at large that marijuana is safe and effective medicine. I guess it doesn’t take much budget to convince people of the truth.
The California Narcotics Officers’ Association consists of over 7,000 criminal justice professionals who are dedicated to protecting the public from the devastating effects of substance abuse. whether cocaine, methamphetamine, or marijuana. We have seen first hand the debilitating and often tragic results, both psychologically and physically, of those who choose intoxication as a part of their lifestyle.
Aw, they’re just looking out for our own good! (Note they don’t mention protecting us from alcohol abuse.) Here we see the deliberate association of cocaine, meth, and marijuana, which they have to engage early in the argument, because even people who don’t like pot aren’t really scared of it. Nobody is barring their doors and buying a handgun to protect themselves from hordes of marijuana criminals. Note also the terms “substance abuse”, “intoxication”, and “lifestyle”. Isn’t this supposed to be about medical marijuana? By definition, if your doctor is recommending you use it, you aren’t abusing it. By definition, intoxication is the act of poisoning oneself, yet marijuana is non-toxic, so you cannot be intoxicated on marijuana. By definition, lifestyle implies a choice of belonging to a cultural subgroup and subtly has an air of prejudice against it (i.e., nobody talks about living a “Catholic lifestyle”, but people who wish to demean gays will call it a “homosexual lifestyle”.)
It is our firm belief that any movement that legalizes or liberalizes substance abuse laws would set us back to the days of the 70′s when we experienced this country’s worst drug problem and the subsequent consequences. In the 8o’s, through the combined and concerted effort of law enforcement, education, prevention, and treatment professionals, illicit drug use was reduced by 50 percent. Teenagers graduating from the class of 1992 had a 50 percent less likely chance of using drugs than those who graduated in the class of 1979.
See, because Nancy Reagan taught us to “Just Say No”, we were able to escape the disco, bell-bottoms, and sexual freedom of the ’70s! It’s a very compelling argument, if you focus only on statistics from 1979-1992, just like if you look at Enron’s stock price from 1999-2000, the company looks fantastic. The problem is that when you widen your view to 1965-2009, you find that drug use rates rise and fall without much regard to law enforcement.
There was a window between Dr. Timothy Leary’s case declaring the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional in mid 1969 to the passage of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970 where marijuana was for all intents and purposes federally legal. In that period, the president’s Shaffer Commission was recommending decriminalization as the policy for marijuana. You couldn’t point to a time when marijuana was more legalized and liberalized, and yet in 1969, a Gallup poll found only 4% of American adults had ever used marijuana. Ten years later, after Nixon declared “War on Drugs”, the CSA was established, and marijuana was less legal and liberalized than ever before, 27.9% of Americans were admitting their pot use.
Even as Nancy was telling us to “Just Say No” and Ronnie was advertising the deadly new super-powerful Crack (“Well, whatever you do, don’t use it, because it is the newest super powerful drug that gets you really really high, so high you won’t want anything else, so don’t do it, ’cause it’s really powerful and very very cheap, anyone can afford it, but for God’s sake, don’t use crack!“), even as Congressional Democrats were overreacting to the cocaine death of Celtics’ draft pick Len Bias and creating mandatory minimum sentencing, more and more people were admitting to using marijuana at least once in their lives. By the end of the Reagan/Bush era, in 1992 lifetime marijuana use had topped 30%. Following the allegedly liberal Bill “didn’t inhale” Clinton’s two terms, the stat was approaching 35%. One term into the decidedly anti-drug Bush II era, over 40% of Americans had admitted to trying marijuana.
FACT: The movement to legitimize smoking marijuana as a medicine is NOT encouraged by the pharmaceutical companies, Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), health and medical associations, or medical experts: but instead by groups such as National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and the Drug Policy Foundation (DPF). These organizations have little medical expertise and favor various forms of legalizing illicit drugs.
NORML’s Dr. Mitch Earleywine, Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Dr. Frank Lucido, the late Dr. John P. Morgan, all have more medical expertise than every California cop combined. Pharmaceutical companies aren’t encouraging anyone to give up their pills in favor of a free plant. The Food & Drug Administration can’t evaluate medical marijuana because NIDA and the DEA won’t let them. Scores of health and medical associations, including the American College of Physicians, support medical marijuana. NORML stands only for the legalization of marijuana, but they have to throw “illicit drugs” in there to remind you of the cocaine, meth, and heroin.
FACT: Pro-legalization organizations have admitted that their strategy to legalize marijuana begins with legitimizing smoking marijuana as a medicine. As reported in HIGH TIMES magazine. the Director of NORML expressly stated that the medicinal use of marijuana is an integral part of the strategy to legalize marijuana.
Absolutely. Medical marijuana is legalized marijuana, just for a small subset of citizens. When the government says marijuana has “no medical value and a high potential for abuse” on the same level as heroin, acid, and PCP, while cocaine, methamphetamine, and Oxycontin are considered to have some medical value, the exposure of the “no medical value” lie is sure to lead to the unraveling of the “high potential for abuse” lie.
This is one point where I diverge from many other commentators. Most are quick to say, “No, this has nothing to do with legalization of recreational pot smoking. This is only about medical use,” and I think that’s a mistake because then the average listener’s b.s. detector goes off the charts. It requires the listener to believe that the medical marijuana supporter is fine with the guy in the wheelchair smoking a joint, but if he passes it to a healthy person, that person must be arrested. Either marijuana is harmful to society and all must be arrested for it or it isn’t so harmful and nobody should be arrested for it, and since many people already believe that marijuana isn’t so harmful as cocaine, meth, or heroin, (or alcohol or tobacco,) the “it’s only medical” argument becomes a source of cognitive dissonance.
So don’t go on defense against the “medical marijuana is a Trojan horse” attack, go on the offense. You might say, “Yes, I believe that medical marijuana will eventually lead to the end of marijuana prohibition, because as people discover that law enforcement is lying about the proven medical benefits of cannabis, they’ll start to question all the other law enforcement lies about recreational use.” Don’t let them corner you into lying or obfuscating; turn it back against them and make them defend their lies.
The Director of NORML, Dick Cowan, is quoted, “The key is medical access. Because once you have hundreds of thousands of people using marijuana under medical supervision, the whole scam is going to be brought up… then we will get medical, then we will get full legalization…” Is there any doubt about the motive while they play this cruel hoax on people with legitimate illnesses?
Considering that Dick hasn’t been director since 1995, you can see how well the California Cops keep up with their medical research. As for this “cruel hoax”, I’m still waiting for the class action lawsuit from medical marijuana patients against NORML, ASA, and others for fooling them into believing the marijuana they are using is helping them medically.
FACT: Common sense dictates that it is not good medical practice to allow a substance to be used as a medicine if that product is:
- Not FDA-approved. [Like a raw aloe vera leaf rubbed on a sunburn; the FDA's never approved that. But they did approve thalidomide, Phen-fen, and Vioxx.]
- Ingested by smoking. [This may be the only valid point in the piece. Smoke's never good. Cops don't realize vaporizers and brownies exist.]
- Made up of hundreds of different chemicals. [So's an aloe vera leaf, a glass of warm milk, and chicken soup. Chemicals aren't bad, per se.]
- Not subject to product liability regulations. [Because illegal products don't get regulations.]
- Exempt from quality control standards. [Because illegal products don't get quality control.]
- Not governed by daily dose criteria. [Because dosage criteria are designed to prevent overdose, which you can't achieve with cannabis.]
- Offered in unknown strengths of (THC) from 1 to 26 percent. [Though if it is a known-strength of 100% THC in a pill, it's OK.]
- Self-prescribed and self administered by the patient. [Again, like an aloe vera leaf.]
FACT: There are over 10000 studies available documenting the harmful physical and psychological effects of smoking marijuana. The harmful consequences include, but are not limited to, premature cancer [no, in fact, THC fights cancer in lab studies], addiction [not in any meaningful sense], coordination and perception impairment [only while you're high], a number of mental disorders: including depression [it's cured my depression], hostility, and increased aggressiveness [laughing too hard to type!], general apathy [who cares? ], memory loss [no long-term cognitive problems and only short-term issues while high], reproductive disabilities [which is why the Rastafarians died out, right?], impairment to the immune system [which is why so many HIV/AIDS patients use it], numerous airway injuries [no links to emphysema or chronic lung disease, but an increase in coughing and bronchitis, if you smoke and not vaporize], and other general problems associated with intoxication [any of which are twenty-fold more socially problematic with alcohol, and again, you can't be "intoxicated" on cannabis. "Impaired", certainly, but not "intoxicated".]
I have an idea! Let’s let doctors and patients decide what is and isn’t medicine and not cops.