Drugs and "Drug War"

Bad science, and really bad reporting

Note: An article about this very study was published in the News-Gazette this week. The paper uncritically reports on this sort of flaky stuff, but rarely notes any of the numerous much more rigorous studies that suggest significant medical benefits from cannabis, because those contradict the N-G Editorial Board's assertion that cannabis has no medical value.

by Pete Guither

So, of course, everyone in the media has been gushing about the study that proves that even casual pot smoking damages the brain. Of course, that’s not even close to what the study showed, even if you accept the study itself as legitimate.

The people who really know, know better.

Here’s John Gever, Deputy Managing Editor, MedPage Today: Striking a Nerve: Bungling the Cannabis Story

Correlation does not equal causation, and a single exam cannot show a trend over time. Basic stuff, right?

But judging by coverage of a study just out in the Journal of Neuroscience, these are apparently foreign concepts for many folks in the media. [...]

US Is an Oligarchy Not a Democracy, says Scientific Study

by Eric Zuesse

study, to appear in the Fall 2014 issue of the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, finds that the U.S. is no democracy, but instead an oligarchy, meaning profoundly corrupt, so that the answer to the study’s opening question, "Who governs? Who really rules?" in this country, is: 

Poll: Over 60% of Illinois Voters Support Marijuana Decriminalization

 

Supporters call on members of the House of Representatives to pass bills approved last week by the House Restorative Justice Committee that would replace criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Illinois with a non-criminal fine

By Marijuana Policy Project
[Note: Urbana provides a decrim option to its police, but this bill would make a much-needed, clear-cut break with past policy by removing all criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of cannabis in every Illinois jusrisdiction.]

CHICAGO, IL — Supporters of a bill that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Illinois released the results of a statewide poll showing strong support for such legislation. The Illinois House Restorative Justice Committee approved the bill last week, and supporters are now calling on members of the House to approve the proposal.

(Another) Poll Finds Increased Nationwide Support for Legalizing Marijuana

by Marijuana Policy Project

Majority of Americans think marijuana should be legal for adults and is less harmful than alcohol for the user and society; nationwide legalization seen as inevitable

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A poll released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center showed that for the second year in a row a majority of Americans (54%) support making marijuana legal.  This represents a two percent increase in support from last year.

Only 42% support keeping marijuana illegal. Three-quarters of those polled think that the sale and use of marijuana will eventually be legal nationwide.

The poll also revealed that 69% of respondents see alcohol as more harmful to individual health than marijuana, and 63% think alcohol is more dangerous to society.

Pew’s nationwide survey of 1,821 adults was conducted February 14-23. Detailed survey results are available at here.

Study: Medical Marijuana Legalization Doesn’t Lead to More Crime

by Thomas H. Clarke

Researchers Say Decriminalizing Medicinal Use May Even Reduce Homicide, Assault Rates

DALLAS, TX – Long before Washington and Colorado legalized pot for recreational use, opponents to marijuana legalization were arguing that allowing marijuana for medicinal purposes would result in higher rates of crime and delinquency. But a new study by researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas determined that not to be the case.

In fact, researchers say, decriminalizing marijuana may actually reduce violent crime rates.

“The main finding is that we found no increase in crime rates resulting from medical marijuana legalization,” explained Dr. Robert Morris, associate professor of criminology and lead author of the study, which was recently published in the journal PLOS ONE. “In fact, we found some evidence of decreasing rates of some types of violent crime, namely homicide and assault.”

ACLU Launches Online Tool to Fight Racial Bias in Marijuana Possession Arrests

To save a click or two, let's cut to the chase. In deep fiscal crisis, Illinois spent more than $200,000,000 in 2010 enforcing the law against marijuana possession. Enforcement has grown nearly 30% over the decade from 2001 to 2010. Nearly 60% of those arrested are black, despite use rates no higher than whites. Almost 98% of all marijuana arrests were for possession (although prosecutors often trump up charges with the nebulous "intent to deliver.") Illinois has a racial disparity in marijauna arrests that ranks 4th highest of the 50 states, with blacks more than 7.5 times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana.

Illinois is a national disgrace.

By The American Civil Liberties Union |  ACLU
 

Why Not Illinois? Maryland Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Advances to Senate Vote

The inequities that helped inspire change in Maryland are even worse in Illinois. In Illinois, minorities are almost eight times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession, where in Matyland they are only about 3 to 1. It makes no sense for simple possession of small amounts of marijuana to result in criminal charges. It also makes no sense for this situation to continue in Illinois, with Democrats holding power in both houses in the state legislature, the governorship and the state attorney general. So why hasn't Illinois decriminalized marijuana? You should ask all candidates and your representatives and senators what their position is and what the plan to do to quit wasting the lives of young people and our very limited state resources on criminal charges over a few grams of vegetable matter.

By Marijuana Policy Project |  MPP
 

We Must Stop Throwing People Away

by Harry Belafonte

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=84Bjm0OW3EQ

There is a crisis that demands our urgent attention. For the last four decades, this country has been obsessed with expanding the number of people we throw behind bars and the length of time we hold them there. Crime rates have been falling for the last 20 years, but still we have a massive and unsustainable prison population, particularly targeting the poor and powerless. We're not strengthening communities, we're using our criminal justice system to throw away certain people's lives – disproportionately the lives of Black and brown men, women, and children. This has decimated communities around the nation and it's gone on for far too long.

Dr. Gupta: 'I am doubling down' on medical marijuana

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent
 

Editor's note: Don't miss "Weed 2: Cannabis Madness: Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports," at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Also, Dr. Gupta will be answering your questions on Reddit at noon ET Friday.

(CNN) -- It's been eight months since I last wrote about medical marijuana, apologizing for having not dug deeply into the beneficial effects of this plant and for writing articles dismissing its potential. I apologized for my own role in previously misleading people, and I feel very badly that people have suffered for too long, unable to obtain the legitimate medicine that may have helped them.

I have been reminded that a true and productive scientific journey involves a willingness to let go of established notions and get at the truth, even if it is uncomfortable and even it means having to say "sorry."

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