08 January 2018

"Side effects include euphoria, increased appetite..."

An interesting article in Politico this past week suggests that Jeff Sessions' to reimpose federal restrictions on state cannabis policies may lead to a backlash that may eventually favor nationwide legalization.
Business leaders in an industry that was worth $7.9 billion in 2017, called Sessions’ action revoking “outrageous” and “economically stupid.”

Capitol Hill screamed just as loudly. And it wasn’t just the Democratic members of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. It was Republican senators, too...

Thursday may well turn out to be a pivotal moment in the marijuana industry’s evolution as a political force. Nearly 70 percent of Americans believe in some form of legalized marijuana, but does the nascent industry have the sway to rewrite nearly 50 years of federal drug policy?..

“There’s a lot of [legislators] trying to have it both ways who are now going to have to make up their mind,” said Tick Segerblom, the Nevada state senator who is considered the father of the state’s legalization movement. “Are they going to go with what the voters of their state support, or are they going to join Sessions and crack down and try to re-instate prohibition?”  Right now, the answer seems to be the former...

The fact that marijuana has now risen to the height of top-tier budget negotiations is a sign that the pro-marijuana coalition is no longer merely a menagerie of loud-mouth hippies, stoners, and felons, as the pro-pot crowd has been characterized in the past. The community of Americans who now rely on legal medical marijuana, estimated to be 2.6 million people in 2016, includes a variety of mainstream constituency groups like veterans, senior citizens, cancer survivors, and parents of epileptic children...

As of late Friday, POLITICO Magazine could not find a single member of Congress who had issued a statement in support of Sessions’ actions. 


  1. I cannot comprehend how it is, apparently, just fine to have legalized alcohol, but not legalized marijuana. For that matter, I'm not 100% sure that legalized alcohol doesn't imply legalized opioids.

    We know that Prohibition gave rise to vast criminality. Not only because if you happened to be caught making, selling, or running it, you were, BY LAW, a criminal. And to the organized enterprises--think Al Capone--that made it their job to break the law, that resulted in murder, violence, and so much issue that Prohibition was repealed.

    Yet when it comes to the problems caused by making marijuana illegal (BTW, I've never smoked marijuana) and opioids illegal, we can't seem to make the connection. Just eliminating the cartels alone--or at least their effect in the U.S.--makes changing the law a consideration. When you also take into account the lives that are routinely trashed in the prison system (consider some mild, very benign, uncle of yours, who likes to smoke "weed," being thrown into a prison filled with serious felons), it makes it even worse....

    I HAVE A THEORY that the problem is not, say, opioids at all! No, it is the fact that addicts must do highly risky, even dangerous, things to get more drugs. They pay far more than the drugs are actually worth, if bought legally...this, in turn, perhaps forces criminal behavior to obtain the wherewithal to purchase the drugs.

    BUT I THINK THERE IS ANOTHER ISSUE WE MISS.... Years ago, after a surgery the had horrific complications (first time I ever remember "screaming" in pain), I was given opioids via IV. What an almost immediate relief! I was utterly exhausted by the hours of pain that I had experienced before the doctors got around to helping me, but in the moment, I had an epiphany: I suddenly "got" why a person could become addicted. I realized that while I was in terrible physical pain, that anyone who needed "relief" from whatever they were struggling with (e.g., depression, loneliness, sorrow, etc.) would have a very good reason to want narcotics.

    I went home with a prescription. When I had only a few pills left, I grew quite concerned that I wouldn't have enough to carry me over a weekend, say (I was not a good planner, apparently). I would get on the phone, etc.--ANYTHING!--to get my prescription renewed.

    Over time (I eventually got well and no longer took the pills), I came to believe that it is the FEAR/CONCERN ABOUT THE NEXT FIX/DOSE/HIT that causes the real problem. If I had known that all I had to do was run to Walmart and buy another bottle of pills--with no hassle, no prescription--I wouldn't have been concerned. Now, multiply my situation by 10x. The addict no doubt feels absolute alarm/panic/hysteria when he/she realizes that they have to get some more pills. I never resorted to crime, but I can tell you that I would certainly understand people doing so if they felt it was an almost existential threat to their sanity if they didn't have those pills.

    Meth? Heroin? I would be willing to wager that meth and heroin are what people turn to when they can't get or can't afford opioids. Now, will people abuse it even if it's legal? OF COURSE! They do with alcohol, don't they?

    If drinking coffee or Coke was made illegal overnight, millions would be criminals tomorrow. Over time, as the law cracked down, people would sell it and buy it on the black market--for a lot more than they were paying in the grocery store. And in time, gangs would spring up...then cartels. And folks would likely resort to all kinds of petty (or not so petty) crime to fund their "habit."

    If we allow alcohol, I cannot for the life of me see how we can argue against drugs. The opioid deaths? The meth deaths? Consider that if alcohol were illegal again, we might be dealing with a significant boost in alcohol deaths.

  2. Totally agree... Another aspect is that the people who are prescribed the opioids are not the ones abusing the substance. It is usually a friend or family member who steal the drug and either sell it or use it themselves. The patient is heavily dependent upon receiving their regular dosage -- there is no way they would sell their dosage, they are so dependent upon the pain relief. I'm talking mainly older people with chronic pain who can't even walk if they don't have their medication. Instead, all these older people are brushed with the stigma of drug abuse when that is completely erroneous.

  3. Love it, at 71 I still have hope for New York.


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