Marijuana

There’s only one good thing about Cancer. Cancer brings about the ability to discuss marijuana in a smart way. Plenty of folks discuss pot in all sorts of ways, but cancer (and other chronic illnesses) bring the medical community into the discussion. If they aren’t stoned, it’ll be a riveting discussion.

In 2007 nearly 75,000 marijuana related arrests were made. What is the real cost of those arrests? Is it $100 per arrest? Is it a thousand per arrest? What could those police officers have been doing with their time?

The cost of the drugs wars is astronomical and it’s a colossal failure.

Clinton didn’t inhale.
Bush snorted how much cocaine?
Obama “inhaled frequently, that was the point”

The last three men to hold our highest office have all defied the law, but no one cared. I’m sure some pundits cared while the cameras were rolling, but the reality is that no one in their right mind cares if adults smoke weed.

Los Angeles is dotted with medical marijuana clinics. Every few months a group of homeowners gets together and screeches Ooh, get them out of here! Which, on the surface, seems prudent. Except one thing. Those same homeowners would gladly smoke a joint if it came their way. Where did it come from? Criminals? Gangs? A Meth House?

What if you’re sick? What if chemotherapy has you so nauseous that you can’t keep food down? Should you waste away and die? AIDS? Anorexia? TMJ disorder is helped by marijuana.

I’d daresay I worry less about pot than alcohol. Did you ever see the police come to break up a stoner brawl? Me neither.

I figure sex, drugs and rock and roll are all a part of young adulthood. With my kids zipping through their early childhood and one entering her adolescence, I worry less about the boogeyman, and more about shining a light on things.

Marijuana isn’t scary, but the laws surrounding it are.

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Comments 30

  1. In my mind, if tobacco and alcohol are legal, marijuana should also be legal. The drug can mess with your physical and mental health, but beer and cigarettes pose often greater threats. How much money would we save if we let the pot smokers out of jail? How much money would we MAKE if it were legal, regulated, and taxed like cigarettes? Make it illegal to smoke in public places, like cigarettes in maybe states, and let people do it in the privacy of their own homes.

    I’ll never smoke it, and my son would be in just as much trouble with me for smoking pot as for smoking cigarettes, but who am I to say that other adults can’t indulge in a little recreational drug use, so long as they aren’t hurting anyone but themselves?

  2. I offered pot to my eleven year old daughter just a few days shy of her passing (cancer). I remember the trepidation with which I said: “I can get you something to help you with the pain, and to help you sleep. But…you’d have to smoke.”

    Bless her heart…she was aghast at the thought. She told me that “smoking is bad for you!!” and of course she would not do THAT!

    Later, I sought out the petitioners to have my signature put on the ballot to legalize medicinal marijuana in Michigan. It is something I feel strongly about and would hope that anyone reserve negative judgments about that until and unless they have walked that road. As one who has (only in the support person capacity)…I’m all for it.

  3. With all do respect, how many pot clinics do you have within walking distance of your house? I’ve got 2, and another 4 within a 2 mile radius. Now a violent crime has been committed here in Woodland Hills, and someone was shot at a robbery at one of the clinics. The amount of break-ins has gone up in our neighborhood, and a couple of dudes parked their can in front of my house and just sat there doing bong loads. I moved into what I thought was a safe neighborhood five years ago, and that has radically changed within the last year.

    If you want to make pot legal, make it totally legal and free to grow in everyone’s backyard. Or have people pick it up at their own doctor, not at a “clinic” in a neighborhood that attracts crime and a general unpleasant element. Before you criticize this statement, think about how close you are willing to have a pot clinic near your home, office or school.

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      I have 3 within walking distance of my home. They’ve been good neighbors.

      Bank of America and Bank of The West are frequently robbed though, and we’ve had the neighborhood shut down a number of times.

  4. Yes! Yes!

    Marijuana is less intoxicating than alcohol any day of the week. The fact that it is still illegal and people are going to jail over it is ridiculous. We need to MOVE ON.

    I never smoked pot as a teenager. Or even as an adult until I was diagnosed with severe anxiety (less than a year ago). It has helped me so much more than prozac, effexor, xanax or any other pharmaceutical drugs.

    People against legalization say that medical marijuana is a con and that it doesn’t help anybody. That stoners are just looking for a way to get their bad habits legalized. I mean, seriously, it’s just insane.

  5. I watched my dad die from lung cancer last fall just before Halloween, so I really can’t support smoking in any form. After having watched my first husband die from a neurogdegenerative disease two years earlier, I can say that watching someone’s lungs bubble up out of there nose and mouth is probably the most horrible thing I have ever witnessed. I don’t smoking should be promoted as recreation. But that’s just me.

    Getting buzzed/high is getting buzzed/high and whether you prefer to abuse your liver or lungs in the process is a personal choice, but it’s hair splitting (and hypocritical) to say that alcohol is okay and pot isn’t.

    1. There are other ways to ingest marijuana that do not hurt your lungs, such as in the form of food (ie cookies, chocolate, butter,) I think they even have pills now (don’t quote me on that) or you could use a vaporizer.

      I am fully behind the legalization of marijuana and educating the public on it’s benefits and removing the stereotypes associated with it.

  6. How many pot heads do you see killing numerous people in motor vehicle accidents? Not too many, they have the munchies so bad they would rather eat than drive. Legalizing pot across the board would be the wisest thing to do in order to control the drug problem, tax the users, tax the retailers, win-win for everyone. However, every buyer must report to the DEA just like you do with purchasing prescription drugs from your pharmacy.

    I have met fewer jerks on pot than on alcohol. However, the down side to pot is that it can be a gateway drug for high end abuse with more volatile substances. But the same can be said for alcohol. Pitfalls and benefits for each, just a matter of time before mainstream catches on to the profitable idea.

  7. I saw an interesting story on the news the other night about a mother who was baking pot in brownies to help him with his developmental disability (I came in to the story late, so I don’t know what it was). She said that she noticed a huge positive difference in him, and worked with his doctor to ensure the right dosage.

  8. I can think of many reasons why marijuana should be legalized, but saying that stoners are peaceful isn’t one of them. Nor is it necessarily accurate.

    Legalize it and tax the hell out of non medical use.

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    Karie, with Obama, Clinton and Bush (and almost every adult I’ve ever met) having smoked it can we stop pretending it’s a gateway? Gateway to what?

    Jack, I was just reacting the “violence” people seem to think surrounds pot, it’s not pot that begets violence, it’s the fact that it’s illegal.

    Concerning cancer? Uh, smoking isn’t the only way. :)

  10. I was just about to ask whether smoking marijuana is the only or the most efficacious delivery system for medical application. Then you said smoking isn’t the only way — is that what you were referring to?

    I’ve heard so many stories of how marijuana helped chemotherapy patients and chronically ill/pain patients — is there a way for them to get the same benefits other than smoking the marijuana?

    Thanks!

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      Yes yes Julie!

      Lollipops, brownies, butter on a slice of toast. There are zillions of ways, most of them do no harm, and for those who enjoy the smoking, it’s not much in the way of smoke, it’s not like cigarettes where you’re having 10 or even 40 a day, it’s a few puffs.

      There are also vaporizers. You inhale a mist.

      It doesn’t have to be about smoking.

    2. A vaporizer is the best route to eliminate most of the carcinogens that cause damage to your body!! regarding the main topic though….my opinion is not to legalize it… but to decriminalize it!!! legalized would mean it is grown and distributed by the government like cigarettes, where as decriminalizing it removes the criminal offence of growing it and just having it in general. Herbs are used for medicinal porpose’s on a regular, why is marijuana so different?!? people react stranglely to different herbs just as some react adversly to pot… so it’s at your own disgression, but why is it punishable by law?? especially with sooooooooo many medical benefits..for me it’s an anti-nausea, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxent and it also helps with many other specific pains I endure, replacing the concoction of prescriptions and all their nasty side-effects the doctors were happy to give me ~ though this is not the case for everyone, for some pot brings on anxiety and so on, but just like anything else, you test what works for you… pot cookies or a doobie? have you tried a vaporizer? it eliminates almost all the smoke and removes most of the carcinogens…. all things to consider :) PLUS we have got to get rid of the stereotype of a “stoner” I for one, am always working on something, helping someone or being productive not sitting on the couch starring at the wall saying ” duh… look at all the pretty colors..” yes it helps to relax you, but it doesn’t turn you into a couch potato starring at the wall for hours…..

  11. Thanks! So what is the big issue, then? If there are other equally efficacious ways to provide the benefits of marijuana to these really sick people, then why isn’t it in practice?

    Palliative care includes morphine as SOP — does it include marijuana too?

    If not, why not?

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  12. I agree. They say it’s a gateway drug, but I’m not sure into what. But I see it being a gateway (if legalized and regulated) giving those with more serious addictions crying out for the legalization of other. I realize it may be far fetch etc. But can’t scientists, polls, doctors, find a benefit to anything if they want? No I’m not saying that is how it is. I’m just curious. I do think marijuana has less adverse or violent reactions as alcohol etc.

    I do say that I don’t care who’s puffing etc. But while my kids are under the age of 18 and it’s still illegal, they will get in trouble. Not because I don’t approve, but because they will and I will pay the consequences of it. I don’t know. This is a subject I would love to learn more on before have a definitive view, I suppose.

  13. Jessica, I live in Texas; I never ask my local government anything. ;) (And those who know me understand how very ironic I am being.)

    It is a good question for the medical community, though. And now I’m curious.

  14. Jessica- I salute you for taking on the issue.

    Today, tobacco, alcohol and medicine have a lot to loose and, guess what, they vehemently oppose it.

    The opposition has roots even deeper than them. To your tweet, it wasn’t just King Cotton that wanted to hemp abolished as an agricultural competitor decades ago, try the paper industry- lead by William Randolph Hearst,

    Hearst’s newspaper dynasty relied on paper. Paper made from wood. Wood harvested from trees. Trees taken from forests that he owned. You get the idea. Problem was, he owned the equivalent of radio, TV and internet of the day- the newspaper.

    One reason, “Citizen Kane” ranks among the best movies of all time is its “nod, nod, wink, wink” portrayal of Hearst and his empire. Hollyweird had this figured out a long time ago.

    The days of one person, or one medium, holding that much influence and power,
    and the resulting corruption in the interest of preserving one’s interest,
    is gone.

    Today, the inmates are running the asylum.

    Today there is Advertising.

    The aforementioned Trinity (booze, medicine and tobacco) wield enough clout- and harbor enough reason- to insure only a grass-roots (yes- pun intended), citizen movement will change this sad, ridiculous situation.

    I agree with those that label this as the era of “pot prohibition”.

    Prohibition was something even most tea toadlers realize was simply wrong-minded. The gangster crime associated with alcohol Prohibition has parallels today in pot.

    Back then, Prohibition helped bring about the Kennedy dynasty and NASCAR.

    Today, we’ve got wimpy politicians and Beer Pong.

    Decriminalize it,
    tax the hell out of it
    and move on to things doing more harm to societal health in general, you can start with junk food.

    Oh yeah, they spend in a lot on advertising, too. We’re screwed.

  15. Jessica,

    I supported the legalization of marijuana for medicinal use, and believe it should be legalized (and taxed) for use by the general public. Yet, I have trouble reconciling, smoking pot while it is still illegal and/or obtaining a “prescription” with false claims. If I defy the law, even if I think the law is ridiculous, doesn’t that make me a part of the problem?

    I fear that illegal use of marijuana by parents, suggests that other laws can be disregarded based on our individual opinions – a slippery slope.

    Do you think I am overstating?

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  17. Jack, I was just reacting the “violence” people seem to think surrounds pot, it’s not pot that begets violence, it’s the fact that it’s illegal.

    I wonder if there is a gender thing going on here. There is nothing profound in saying that men and women react differently to situations.

    My experience has shown me mean drunks and mean stoners. I have been around lots of guys who were all too happy to throw a punch and it had nothing to do with the legality of what we were doing.

    It is a bit of a man thing. At 5, 15, 20, 40 and beyond there is that pissing contest that we get into.

    Anyway, it is not real significant disagreement. It is more a question of how to go about this.

  18. I remember when my Uncle got AIDS back in the 80’s. He didn’t last more than a few years and was so frail, skeletal and just plain miserable towards the end. I wonder if he smoked or ate (or drank? Pot smoothie, anyone?) to make the pain bearable. I hope he did.

    And I hope it’s legalized soon. I will support that legislation, even though I would never enjoy it myself (tried it twice, not for me). It’s about my Uncle… and it’s about the greater good. Legalize something and it looses that mystery that makes people do bad things to get it.

  19. i’ve known a ton of pot smokers. none of them have been violent. yet, you’re right…bar room brawls with drunk and angry idiots has happened at every bar around the world.
    i don’t smoke pot. not in years. personally, i never liked how it made me feel. i like my wine.
    BUT…
    drinking is way more dangerous yet it not illegal and it’s more socially acceptable. AND you don’t have to hide to do it…unless you’re under age, but even then…
    marijuana for medicinal use…
    i have a neighbor who sits on her front porch smoking that stuff…all day long. her eyes. and she drives a car (omg)in my subdivision to “look” for her dog when he escapes. she is HIGH. and blind. seriously.
    like binary blonde says…
    if it’s legal, it won’t be a problem anymore. kids won’t care about it because it will lose it’s allure and mystique. it’ll put a ton of drug dealers out of business. i could go on about the potential benefits of legalizing pot.
    so yeah, to make a long story short. absolutely. it’s absolutely ridiculous that it hasn’t been made legal already.

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  21. I love pot. Drinking? Eh- I always wake up hungover and regretful. I’d like to say I’m waiting for it to be legal, but that’d be a lie. Having a younger brother in school pays off sometimes.

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