Friday, February 16, 2007

Is the Drug War a military recruitment tool?

While people with drug convictions are not able to get federal financial aid for college, the military is increasingly happy to welcome them into the ranks.

Folks who are outraged over the unfair and harmful student aid elimination penalty can easily take action at

Thursday, February 15, 2007

It was Ok When We Smoked It...

Another op-ed about the dangers of marijuana use today compared to the 1970's comes from Diane M. Peebles, a prevention coordinator for the Amador County Behavioral Health Services, Substance Abuse Division in California.

She titles it "Parents are Urged to Learn about Today's Marijuana." Fueling the hypocritical message of do what I say, not what I do.

First, Ms. Peebles claims that the misinformation concerning marijuana is spread only by reformers who want to "desensitize society to [marijuana's] harms and risks." She then goes on to say "Marijuana is not only harmful, but addictive and potentially deadly." If that isn't misinformation than call me Miles Davis.

Speaking of misinformation, Peebles pulls out the old "5 joints a week is like smoking 1 pack of cigarettes a day." With the amount of misinformation spread about this, its a wonder she could even come up with a solid number. I have had health teachers in high-school claim 1 joint was worth 2 packs, and plenty of literature form DARE, the ONDCP, and NIDA also report different numbers of joints equaling packs of butts.

Here's what she doesn't mention. That the largest study on marijuana and lung cancer conducted by
Donald Tashkin of the University of California at Los Angeles, found "We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use," he said. "What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect."

Tashkin said that while he still believes marijuana is potentially harmful, its cancer-causing effects appear to be of less concern than previously thought. Tashkin is not some marijuana loving scientist hell-bent on legalization. Many of his previous studies were used by health and drug enforcement officials in the case against reforming marijuana laws.

Well, Peebles is not done yet. She separates alcohol and tobacco from being drugs like marijuana. As if marijuana has an addiction level anywhere close to that of booze or nicotine.
This might be my favorite part:

"Most adults were teenagers themselves during the 1970s, 80s and 90s, a time when drug experimentation could be dismissed as a rite of passage to adulthood. But times have changed. Marijuana today is 15 to 25 times more potent than the pot smoked 30 or 40 years ago. "

Anyone else smell bullshit? What a hypocrite.
You really have to read this one to believe it friends. Write an op-ed in response if you have the time.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Cracking down on sober driving

Under 18? Smoked pot in the past 30 days? A new bill in the Illinois state legislature would deny you access to a drivers license, just for having THC metabolites in your system.

Good thing our good friend Pete Guither was interviewed by the press so he could inject some common sense into the debate. (FYI: Pete is the author of the quintessential drug policy blog Drug WarRant and faculty advisor of SSDP's kick-ass chapter at Illinois State).
"I think it is ridiculous, silly, inappropriate and ineffective. Here's the issue. Really what you need to be dealing with when it comes to driving is impaired driving. Drug testing at the time of permit or license has absolutely nothing to do with that. What it does is simply go out of its way to target young people who have used marijuana, regardless if it has anything to do with their driving," Guither said.

"The drug test would probably be very specifically targeted at marijuana because its metabolites can stay in the system for days, so that is what can be tested. It would be silly to say, 'We're going to test people that have had a drink of wine two days ago. That is a reason for them not to be drivers.'"


According to Guither, every study done has shown that alcohol is the more dangerous factor when it comes to road safety.

"It is not even a close consideration with marijuana, which is somewhat in the same area as cell phone usage and being tired," he said. "It's really just a way for Congress to act tough. It is just not constitutionally a good idea."
Great work, Pete!

Caution: Rita Rubin May Be Evil.

So my girlfriend kindly saved me an article she found in USA Today titled "Caution: Marijuana May Not be the Lesser Evil" by Rita Rubin. Well, the title says it all folks, but after reading it about 10 times and highlighting the disputable facts and downright lies/exaggerations, I decided to go to the USA Today website and leave a comment.
I went back today to see if there are any responses to what I wrote only to find that mine had been erased. Hmmmm. Interesting.
If you have read the article already or viewed any of the responses on our fellow drug policy reformers pages you know what a subjective and biased article this is.
In the year 2007 we should expect articulate and responsible journalists to avoid using words like 'evil" to describe a drug. Marijuana is not evil, it is not holy, it does not have the ability to be either of these things.
Rubin finds youth for her article who, after using marijuana, are helplessly thrown into a world of heroin abuse, teen pregnancy, poor grades, and arrests (the largest danger of marijuana use).
Her article really makes you believe that marijuana alone, not parenting, not lack of effective drug education programs, and certainly not the fact that marijuana is easier for teens to acquire because of the black market, is to blame for these "wasted years" as she calls them.
Rubin could have easily found high school and college students that use marijuana and do just as well in school and other areas as their peers that do not. Just as easily, she could have found teens that do not use marijuana and have poor grades, abused harder drugs like alcohol, gotten pregnant etc...
The potency of marijuana is also again exaggerated claiming that "Back then [1970's], she says, plants typically contained only 2% THC. Today, she says, marijuana plants typically contain 15% THC." To claim that marijuana typically contains 15% THC is a lie and the idea that high school students would typically be able to afford it is just stupid.
Please write an LTE in response to this article and send it to USA Today.
I did, and so should you.

DEA's ALJ Rules in Favor of MMJ Advocates!!

As we all know, the DEA has made it extremely difficult for research of medical marijuana to take place. I mean, why would they want the scientific community to prove them wrong and improve the lives of suffering Americans?

Luckily, or rather sensibly, on Feb 12 the DEA's own Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) ruled that the DEA has been improperly blocking the needed research of medical marijuana that could help save lives. The decision came after MPP's grant program funded a lawsuit against the DEA.

Here's what happened:
Professor Lyle Craker of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, working in conjunction with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, has been trying for years to solve this problem. Back in 2001, he applied to the DEA for permission to grow a private supply of marijuana for use in clinical research. The DEA delayed making a decision for nearly three and a half years and then finally rejected Dr. Craker’s application, fallaciously claiming that international treaty obligations prevented it from granting permission.
DEA ALJ Mary Ellen Bittner ruled that the DEA had no basis to reject Dr. Craker’s application. Read her ruling here.
Quite a message to send to the DEA and Karen Tandy in particular. Hopefully she'll come around and listen to science... naaaaaaaaaah.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Just Say No to Toast...

Funny stuff:
Research on bread indicates that:

1. More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread users.
2. Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on standardized tests.
3. In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; many women died in childbirth; and diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever, and influenza ravaged whole nations.

4. More than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread.
5. Bread is made from a substance called "dough." It has been proven that as little as one pound of dough can be used to suffocate a mouse. The average American eats more bread than that in one month!

6. Primitive tribal societies that have no bread exhibit a low incidence of cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, and osteoporosis.
7. Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat begged for bread after as little as two days.
8. Bread is often a "gateway" food item, leading the user to "harder" items such as butter, jelly, peanut butter, and even cold cuts.
9. Bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body is more than 90 percent water, it follows that eating bread could lead to your body being taken over by this absorptive food product, turning you into a soggy, gooey bread-pudding person.

10. Newborn babies can choke on bread.
11. Bread is baked at temperatures as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit! That kind of heat can kill an adult in less than one minute.
12. Most American bread eaters are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaningless statistical babbling.

In light of these frightening statistics, it has been proposed that the following bread restrictions be made:

1. No sale of bread to minors.
2. A nationwide "Just Say No To Toast" campaign, complete celebrity TV spots and bumper stickers.
3. A 300 percent federal tax on all bread to pay for all the societal ills we might associate with bread.
4. No animal or human images, nor any primary colors (which may appeal to children) may be used to promote bread usage.
5. The establishment of "Bread-free" zones around schools.