Archive for the ‘Cannabis’ Category

I’m sure most of you know my stance on illicit drugs, if you don’t I’ll admit I’m very liberal on it all. Your body is yours and you should be able to do what you like to it whether that includes injecting things, breaking, cutting, modifying it, whatever. If you hurt no one else in the process, be my guest!

This recent article was posted on www.marijuana.com (you can imagine their stance on such matters too). It draws attention to a recent article in particular in The Huffington Post that reports that 300 economists have thrown their support behind the legalization of cannabis. And as they should! Keeping it illegal is by far the more expensive option, where the rest of us (the government included) suffer double the loss when it comes to paying to prevent its distribution in our countries, which we suck at if you haven’t noticed, and also missing out on the taxation that would be gained from appropriate and rationally thought out regulation of the substance (let alone all other illicit drugs), no instead that goes straight into the pockets of each countries organised criminal syndicates, and tax free I might add. (Sorry that was a long sentence).

Anyway have a read of this article, and throw your helmets on if you suss out the linked articles as they’ll throw quite a lot of good information your way.

We have all heard the classic argument. Marijuana could save the government a ton of money if it were legalized primarily in the savings from having not to enforce marijuana laws, not to mention the additional income that could be made from government taxation on the product. But, while this discussion is usually reserved for a stoned debate, 300 noted economists have released a study that backs all of this up, and big time.

The Huffington Post reports that 300 economists, which includes 3 Noble Laureates, “have signed a petition calling attention to the findings of a paper by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, which suggests that if the government legalized marijuana it would save $7.7 billion annually by not having to enforce the current prohibition on the drug. The report added that legalization would save an additional $6 billion per year if the government taxed marijuana at rates similar to alcohol and tobacco.”

The petition does not directly call for an end to marijuana prohibition, but, rather, suggests that both sides begin an “open and honest debate” about the current state of pot prohibition and whether it is actually causing any benefits.

In addition, as the article points out, with a $1.5 trillion budget deficit, the government is forced to choose between cutting programs and raising taxes as a way to make ends meet, while ending marijuana prohibition seems like a way to ease a small part of this financial need without the cuts or taxes.

A recent article in Businessweek takes this 13.7 billion figure and trumps it, stating that “based on the amount of money he thinks it would take to produce and market legal marijuana, combined with an estimate of marijuana consumers, (Stephen) Easton guesses that legalizing the drug could bring in $45 to $100 billion per year.” At the high end of that estimate, you are beginning to knock out a large portion of the budget deficit.

Do you think that legalizing marijuana would help the U.S. with their financial burdens? What other ways do you think the government can reduce their deficit?


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Here’s an article written by a friend named Cam Phillips on a topic I’m pretty passionate about, the legalisation and regulation of drugs.

In what could easily be the next international crime thriller for the digital age, authorities have made arrests in three continents as part of an online drug racket take-down operation.

An online narcotics marketplace, known as ‘The Farmer’s Market’ sold illegal drugs to 3,000 people across 34 countries, including every single state in the US, according to a federal indictment released yesterday in Los Angeles.

The Farmer’s Market processed over $1 million in sales in less than three years. The website’s offering included Ecstasy, psychotropic mushrooms, LSD and high-end marijuana. In order to remain anonymous, the site’s operators utilised a network called Tor, which allows users to mask their IP address with encryption. They also screened and vetted suppliers, offered a delivery guarantee and took a commission on each sale. At least in that sense, The Farmer’s Market was operated just like any other virtual marketplace.

The lead defendant, Marc Willems, a Dutch national, was arrested by local police at his home in Lelystad, Netherlands. Another defendant, this time a US man living in Argentina, was arrested as he was leaving Bogota, Colombia. Six others were also arrested from various places in the US for acting as suppliers or ‘cash drops’ for laundering profits. Payments to the site had been made using services like Western Union or PayPal and were routed through overseas locations.

The defendants face charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to launder money. If found guilty of distribution, the defendants could face a maximum of life in prison.

For those innovative entrepreneur’s that might be eyeing off this recently vacated niche, the fate of The Farmer’s Market’s operators should serve as enough of a deterrence. We can admire them for their e-commerce knack, but everyone in online retail knows that you can’t make a long-term business by selling dodgy product, right?

By Cam Phillips

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The evidence is becoming more and more clear these days regarding the effects of marijuana, or cannabis, have on their users. We’ve known for decades now (since at least 1974) that cannabis can fight and even cure cancer, let alone it’s uses alleviating the symptoms of other diseases like HIV AIDS, glaucoma, alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory skin disease, and on and on and on…. On top of this, it has been disproven to be a causative factor in acquiring schizophrenia, it has also shown not to cause brain damage (it’s been shown to protect brain cell death caused by alcohol), to the contrary it has been shown to stimulate the growth of neurons (this study also found it reduced measures of anxiety and depression).

Shall we keep going? It’s been shown to be protective against the neurotoxic effects of stroke and head injury. Further evidence has also proved that cannabis is able to slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, MS, Parkinson’s, and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

But more recently, and this is the crux of my post, the greater effects of marijuana on society are being studied.

Two recent studies published in the IZA Journal have found that the legalisation of marijuana for medicinal purposes has some interesting side effects. Although an increase in adult users has been found, surely because it becomes more acceptable and more readily available, no increase is seen its use by minors. Furthermore, and this is the interesting/awesome part, US states that have legalised medicinal marijuana has been found to be linked with a significant decrease in suicides, and on top of that a significant decrease in fatal car accidents (by being a substitute for alcohol).

The abstracts from the two studies:

High on Life? Medical Marijuana Laws and Suicide

Using state-level data for the period 1990 through 2007, we estimate the effect of legalizing medical marijuana on suicide rates. Our results suggest that the passage of a medical marijuana law is associated with an almost 5 percent reduction in the total suicide rate, an 11 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 20- through 29-year-old males, and a 9 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 30- through 39-year-old males. Estimates of the relationship between legalization and female suicides are less precise and are sensitive to functional form.

Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption

To date, 16 states have passed medical marijuana laws, yet very little is known about their effects. Using state-level data, we examine the relationship between medical marijuana laws and a variety of outcomes. Legalization of medical marijuana is associated with increased use of marijuana among adults, but not among minors. In addition, legalization is associated with a nearly 9 percent decrease in traffic fatalities, most likely to due to its impact on alcohol consumption. Our estimates provide strong evidence that marijuana and alcohol are substitutes.

This suggests that the effects of legalising cannabis could be positive in many more ways than helping its medicinal users. Who’d have thunk it? If we legalise weed it may apparently become safer on the roads, and fewer people are would commit suicide…

Of late the argument I often hear and read as to why people don’t care about marijuana legalisation one way or another is simply because they are either ignorant to its uses and effects, or they just don’t use it themselves and thus don’t care. It’s high people started looking at the evidence, politicians included, and start making laws that help people instead of deny people help, let alone their personal freedom.

I think it’s only a matter of time before the US completely legalise marijuana. However, that said, people have been saying the same thing since the 1960s. Until that happens I’m going to remain incredibly ashamed of our society staying tough on marijuana (and other drugs), and continue to deny both the sick and the recreational user access to it. Especially, if in the process people’s lives are being lost that could otherwise be saved.

Our society has plenty of issues that need our attention, and this may not be the most important one to focus on for everyone, but it is a good place to start. And good law reform and increased public awareness and education is only going to help improve our society dramatically.

I’ll throw up a few docos and some links FYI:







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Currently watching this documentary on Discovery, and I thought I’d share it with you. Luckily I found the whole thing up on YouTube, win!

It illustrates the effects of four illicit drugs, cannabis, heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine, on your body. They have a person who uses each of these substances pretty much daily to take part and do specific tasks prior to and after having used their substance of choice. The results are interesting, not to mention surprising, in a lot of the cases. What’s even more surprising is Robbin Williams hosting it and controlling his epic sense of humour. I don’t think he’s made a single joke yet… Probably not the best place to I guess haha.

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Easily one of the most compelling short videos/speeches on why cannabis should be legalised, whether in the US or Australia. 

It’s brilliant to see that as the scientific evidence piles up and more and more people are seeing the light with regards to the prohibition on drugs, specifically cannabis, fewer and fewer people believe it should continue to be prohibited. Undoubtedly a good sign considering this terrible prohibition has lead to the arrest and incarceration of more than 22 million American citizens since 1965.

At the end of last year, during the Obama Administration’s attempt to shortchange the American public’s most population action petition (cannabis legalisation), and was effectively declaring war on medicinal cannabis through DOJ, IRS, etc. the Gallup polls showed 50% of Americans now think cannabis should be legal. The highest percentage since the first Gallup poll was held on the issue in 1969.

Below is a video reacting to the news of this Gallup poll outcome at the end of last year with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell’s giving a 4 minute condemning speech of those who are for the war on drugs and anti-cannabis legalisation, specifically politics (many of whom have admittedly partaken in said indulgences).

Hopefully this sort of clear logic illuminates the hypocrisy surrounding drug prohibition that has lead to the ruining of countless millions of peoples’ lives world wide, which has lead to much more devastating harm to individuals than any illicit substance ever could.

In my opinion, anyone who is against the legalisation and proper regulation of illicit substances like cannabis are at best completely ignorant of the science and facts, and are at worst complete and utter hypocrites who know the science and facts but still believe they should be prohibited (unlike more harmful substances, alcohol/cigarettes).

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Members of Canada’s federal Liberal party have voted to make the legalisation of cannabis a new party policy, alongside not cutting off the monarchy strangely enough. Strangely for the latter policy not the first.

The party is wanting to take a new direction they hope will resonate with Canadians. Hopefully they’re also worried about what’s right and not just which policies will obtain them the most votes possible.

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Salon.com columnist David Sirota appeared on The Young Turks last night speaking about the politics of drug legalisation and the so called ‘extreme’ view. In the light of recent polls it’s obvious the extreme view no longer entails being pro-legalization of drugs, but the opposite of being against the legalization of drugs.

Sirota explains how 50% of Americans now support the legalisation of cannabis, and that an even larger 77% support the legalisation of medicinal cannabis.

It seems a common tail these days that conservative religious groups like the USA’s Republicans are themselves often the extremists who point at those sharing the mainstream centrist view, legalising drugs in this case, as being the extremist, though neither the polls nor scientific evidence can support their position. It just comes down to a screaming match where whomever has the loudest and most obnoxious  voice seems to be deemed correct.

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