The face of medical marijuana: doc420

Nov 18 2009 Published by under Cannabis, Medicine and Law, Public Health

Sigh.
This, my friends, is a medical marijuana providing doctor. She is doing very little to reassure that this is a serious area of care. Starting with the website, www.doc420.com. You know, 4:20.
The jezebel article concentrates on the sexy pictures of the good doctor.

"Dr. Sona Patel, who worked as a model while going to medical school, is not your ordinary medical marijuana specialist. Her ads and her appearance emphasize glamour." I was bridling at this description. Then I saw her ad, at left:

I know the Intersection folks will enjoy this part of the equation.
The triggering LA Times piece on Dr. Patel is here.

The high fashion is just a style preference, said Dr. Patel, 34, who uses her own image in advertising materials, often in different hairstyles.

Calling Dr. Isis.
My interest, of course, is the actual public health issue. If (and that is still highly debatable) marijuana can become a viable medication, that's all well and good. I'm in favor of things which help to reduce medical problems and personal suffering.
I am also interested, along an orthogonal axis, in the way we mount an argument for a position. In how we shape change in the hearts and minds to bring about a different perspective in our fellow citizens. This seems intimately connected to the political process if you ask me. And the medical marijuana is not going to get traction without political support.
Finally, my regular readers know that I am even more interested in the way people are willing to engage in the most flagrant of hypocrisies and to advance disingenuous, internally inconsistent and laughably opposing arguments in an attempt to get their way. Naturally, I see a very large majority of the supposed medical marijuana support structure to be this latter. A total Trojan horse for those that simply want to facilitate their own recreational use of marijuana.
Where does ol' doc420 fit into this picture?
[h/t: arikia]

59 responses so far

  • Warren says:

    Finally, my regular readers know that I am even more interested in the way people are willing to engage in the most flagrant of hypocrisies and to advance disingenuous, internally inconsistent and laughably opposing arguments in an attempt to get their way.
    You mean like the past forty years that the drug warriors have been thwarting research into med MJ and then claiming there are no studies. Meanwhile touting blatantly flawed research by the likes of Gabriel G. Nahas. And finally clamping their hands over their ears screaming "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA" as the evidence continues to mount demonstrating the efficacy of marijuana in treating a variety of ailments.
    I'm sure that's what you meant. Because no matter how many med MJ advocates are dirty hippies in lab coats, it doesn't excuse forcing the sick and the ill to suffer needlessly.

  • Dan says:

    Check out the smoking cessation page. She used a copyrighted photo of a knotted cigarette from istockphoto.com. The watermark is visible in both the thumbnail and the larger background photo!

  • LadyDay says:

    Why does Dr. Sona Patel bring to mind a certain "Dr. Kylie Johnson" of MADtv fame?

  • Matthew says:

    "A total Trojan horse for those that simply want to facilitate their own recreational use of marijuana." I don't really see anything wrong with trojan horses. The civil liberties argument should be enough to decriminalize it, but it hasn't been. And on the medical side, it doesn't matter how many kooks might be on the same band wagon, even if only one person benefits from smoking pot (and no doubt there are countless others who wrongly believe they derive some benefit) then the argument is valid.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    I don't really see anything wrong with trojan horses.
    I do. As with the WMD lie, when you Trojan up for public policy goals you run the risk of doing things for the wrong reasons. sometimes the outcome is good, sometimes bad. Me, I think on the whole I prefer honesty. If the argument is to be made for recreational legality, make it. Win it on the merits. Don't screw around with dubious unproven medical claims.
    even if only one person benefits from smoking pot (and no doubt there are countless others who wrongly believe they derive some benefit) then the argument is valid.
    Uh-huh. Just like the argument against vaccines. and the argument for homeopathy and chi alignment and all manner of other woo. sorry but when it comes to public health policy we just don't do it on this wide-eyed libertarian basis. and for damn good reason. these alternative health "care" modalities are popular for a reason. they satisfy your criterion of "if one person" feels better, than it is okay. but it isn't okay. I'll refer you to white coat underground, respectful insolence and the denialism blog for starters on that.
    look it is fine if you are in favor of recreational use. just stick to that. why tart it up with easily falsified so-called principles?

  • Steve Clay says:

    Hmm, I thought you steered clear of legalization politics. Declaring this doctor as the "face" of MMJ seems like a political jab, just as if someone declared Glenn Beck to be the face of conservatism. Yes, we can find tons of examples to confirm the fact that CA's law resulted in de facto recreational legalization under the guise of medical use. I just think it's boring to do so over a decade after the law was passed.
    No words about the AMA position switch? Have you written about the Sativex trials?

  • Monster Bud says:

    Interesting. Names are not supposed to show up on the verification record. She ain't HIPPA compliant. How can she continue. I write verification systems for doctors in san diego. So I tried "1" "420" and whalla, patient names show up. Is she a quack?

  • Dennis says:

    Trojan horse? All other superficial argurments aside let's imagine that millions of people simply want an alternative to alcohol, a safer intoxicant that won't kill or won't cause loss of control or won't cause aggression or violence. An alternative that does not contribute to the breakup of homes and marriages. An alternative that won't distroy our livers! Society could only benefit if more people could choose cannabis rather than alcohol. I believe that millions of people would choose cannabis over alcohol and I also believe that therein is and has been the force behind keeping cannabis illegal...the alcohol cartel. The would lose billions of dollars to an alternative that can simply be grown anywhere. I can only hope.

  • Does it not seem strange that in this, “land of the free” that the government is still monitoring the minor indisgressions and leisure activities of its citizens. People should be able to use a glass smoking pipe in their homes without the threat of harassment by law enforcement.
    Sunflowerpipes.com

  • expat postdoc says:

    I'm not so sure about sexy.
    Seems like the standard women that I work with everyday as a postdoc (Stockholm). However, she is practicing in the US, which probably explains your "sexy" attribution (and that whole infatuation with Sarah Palin ... ugh ... seriously).

  • expat postdoc says:

    punch #4 into patient verification system

  • DoucheMonkey is just all pissed off because when he was in college it was a hassle even to get his hands on a fucking dime bag of headache-inducing ditch weed, and only the dealers got laid. Now every fucking freshman math-major dorkwad is strolling around with a motherfucking Z of wheelchair pot in one hand and a cheerleader in the other.

  • Haaahahaha! Doc420 huh? Maybe someone has a sense of humor.
    I think Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code deals with con artists.....just sayin'....c'mon, it's a little funny....

  • apalin says:

    #13
    Right moustache. CPP's humor is obscure. Doesn't know that Sarah Lee is well known as best prosecutor ever in the asian penal code.

  • becca says:

    I think we should go back to prohibition of alcohol.

  • RFWoodstock says:

    Valid medicinal value, it’s a victimless crime, the War on Drugs WAY too costly, too many arrests for simple possession, tax it and use the money to pay for health insurance and to reduce the deficit…Need I say more?
    Woodstock Universe supports legalization of Marijuana.
    We will giveaway a Woodstock Universe Prize Package to the best member blog on “Why we should legalize marijuana?”
    Prize package includes Woodstock Universe T-shirt and magnet, WDST decal, Radio Woodstock Live in Woodstock CD and Woodstock 3 days of peace and music Director’s Cut DVD.
    Join Woodstock Universe to blog.
    Add your vote in our poll about legalization at:
    http://www.woodstockuniverse.com.
    Current poll results…97% for legalization, 3% against.
    Peace, love, music, one world,
    RFWoodstock

  • DKKY says:

    dm,
    funniest thing is that prosecutor sarah lee has had an outstanding assistant (Mr 5x5 bill), a former enemy. that tells you something on sarah's heart and her assistant sense of convenience.

  • nutway says:

    As it turns out, trojan horses ride elegant isis cars. Isis cars last forever. have been designed by math geniuses and are mathematically maintained. just numbers and intrigue algorithms. So much that they are rarely desperate.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Yes RFWoodstock, you need say more.
    First, your medical claims. They are unproven. At present pretty much in the territory of other medi-woo albeit much less tested than some which have been soundly rejected. This is no basis for medical approval. The problems with so-called alternative and complimentary medicines are well exposed on other blogs. I refer you to those. Medical MJ is no different although we should recognized that there are at least a series of plausible and testable mechanisms. better than homeopathy.
    The notion of a victimless activity is absolutely and completely false. It is an addictive drug, it demonstrably causes addiction of a problematic nature for some individuals and this addiction, as with all others for licit and illicit substances, is never limited in impact to the individual.
    arrests and taxation are simple policy issues but for me you have to get past paying for the health costs of legalization before you can assert some sort of positive impact on general funds. the situation with tobacco and alcohol taxes is hardly encouraging.
    Dennis @#8 The would lose billions of dollars to an alternative that can simply be grown anywhere.
    What planet are you living on? Just about the month after broad legalization I predict BigTobacco will be rolling out their MJ products and getting up to their usual corporate lobbying tricks to dominate the market. Abetted by a political system that, very likely, will only ever pass for-realz legalization with regulation tied in. After all, if all the "taxes will pay for everything" have a valid argument, the gov has to regulate doesn't it?
    Steve @#6: the AMA position switch? you mean that we should actually do some research and test some claims? I'm always down with generating more information and using good evidence for policy decisions. Think I mentioned that on Twitter but no, no reason to blog it as yet.
    Sativex? yes, some interesting science there. for the peanut gallery, this is a multi-cannabinoid containing plant extract of allegedly well-controlled content. makes for a good test of the patient allegation that single-compound delta9-THC pharmaceutical product does not do as well as smoked marijuana for their ailments. In short, what are those other compounds doing.
    if it works as advertised, doesn't this put a big spike in one of the main Trojan horse arguments, my legalize-eet friends? I mean it verifies the hypothesis about other active constituents but falsifies the need for smoked MJ.
    if it *doesn't* work, this spikes the multiple compound argument. personally I think that puts us back on the track of route of admin and behavioral control over dosing...for delta9THC. Which puts the debate off smoked raw natural product and onto ways of better controlling dosing of delta9 itself.
    Either way, Sativex is not such a good thing for the Trojan crowd, way I see it.

  • Alex says:

    DM,
    As long as we're talking about the effects of policies, you are an outspoken ally of the under-represented and under-privileged. Do you have any thoughts on the way that current drug policies have disparate impacts on the poor and ethnic minorities?
    Being part Italian, I recall another policy that had a disparate impact (via crime) in ethnic Italian neighborhoods, back in a time when many whites regarded Italian immigrants as a bunch of undesirable, scary poor people coming to "steal jobs."* The repeal of that policy had a positive effect on Americans of every background, and certainly weakened organized crime syndicates in my grandfather's poor, immigrant neighborhood. Nowadays my relatives are considered mainstream and assimilated and even privileged, but once upon a time they were just a bunch of poor immigrants dealing with the disparate impact of a social policy.
    So I'm curious if you have any thoughts on the way that a similar policy has disparate impacts on under-privileged groups in the present.
    *They even had dark skin, spoke a Romance language, and attended Catholic churches.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Do you have any thoughts on the way that current drug policies have disparate impacts on the poor and ethnic minorities?
    Yeah, disparate impacts are bad. We should work to make sure all effects of policy are equitable. What's your point? That the solution to racist "driving while brown" police behavior, and other jollities, is to dismantle the legal system, rather than addressing the root problem?

  • Alex says:

    Ah, but the disparate impacts aren't limited to official conduct. The disparate impacts also come from the way that certain policies actually strengthen criminal gangs by creating lucrative illicit markets for them to exploit. These criminal gangs have their worst negative effects on certain populations.
    Basically, DM, are you comfortable with a policy that enriches the Mafia, the Crips, the Bloods, the Taliban, and the Tijuana cartels?

  • louisdobb says:

    #20
    Don't know if you are aware that the group you describe as underprivileged is receiving a wide welcome at universities with great programs on brain diseases. They are asked to participate in clinical studies, are part of their scientific administration ....
    Underprivileged for some reasons, adored and requested for other different purposes. Yes, I know, science admits everything.
    One more indicator of LouDobbsmania

  • becca says:

    DM, that's the kind of argument that says we should've kept literacy tests for voting, or for that matter segregation (separate but equal being the principle). After all, the disparate impacts "aren't the POINT of the legislation", and anyway the legislation is necessary to Save The Children? There's some legislation that is SO poorly written it will ALWAYS result in disparate impacts.
    I don't buy into many conspiracy theories about drugs. But the legal distinction drawn between cocaine vs. crack makes it pretty clear that, at least for some legislation, racism is part and parcel of how it will play out, and probably is part of the point of the legislation. To say disparate impacts are a SEPARATE PROBLEM is about as reasonable as saying the fact that a 'few' people can get addicted to marijuana is a SEPARATE PROBLEM from the question of whether legalized medical marijuana is a good idea.
    Saying "mmm yeah, disparate impacts are bad, mmmk. But drugs are worse, mmmk" is Not. Going. To. Cut. It.

  • Alex says:

    Going with what Becca said, as I recall, high officials advocating for an early opium law had a lot to say about how it was associated with "the heathen Chinese."
    Another group that was once very much under-privileged and clearly the target of a social policy.

  • J sub D says:

    Trojan horses are bad? I didn't know.
    We must then kill Medicare, Medicaid and Pelosicare because a complete governmental takeover of medicine is inside.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Saying "mmm yeah, disparate impacts are bad, mmmk. But drugs are worse, mmmk" is Not. Going. To. Cut. It.
    But of course I said no such thing and never have. Which you know perfectly well. Nice try though.

  • anonymous says:

    CP: I can't get my hands on any. Suggestions? Would be happy for pot to be legalized in any form. What's wrong with that, DM?

  • Taktix® says:

    The notion of a victimless activity is absolutely and completely false. It is an addictive drug, it demonstrably causes addiction of a problematic nature for some individuals and this addiction, as with all others for licit and illicit substances, is never limited in impact to the individual.
    Would you care to back up any of these unsubstantiated with, I don't know, proof perhaps? I thought it only fair, since you accuse your opposition of the same thing only one paragraph previous...

  • becca says:

    *exasperated sigh*
    Look DM, just admit it. You enjoy baiting potheads and zany libertarians. That's fine. But if someone handed you a logical and practical way to incorporate evidence based addiction science and evidence based sociology to do a policy cost-benefit analysis on a silver platter, you *still* wouldn't want to have that conversation (at least on the blog), since it's not as entertaining as FWDAOTI. That's ok too. Just don't pretend you are all about The Truth while everyone else is a denialist. This is not the topic you are most rational on.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Which? the addiction thing? got to archive, click cannabis, start reading. particularly focus on the out-points to the literature so you don't have to take my word for it.
    impact on others? go to your local library or bookstore and start reading up on the testimonial books. I recommend starting with Sheff's, Moyers jr's and Knapp's drinking a love story. This will clue you in to what you are looking for. perhaps expand your understanding of impacts on friends, family, dependents and vocational performance. (once you've reviewed book after book after book and are still in denial come back and perhaps we can get into the social sci lit.)
    Then you can feel free to tie the two together.

  • Alex says:

    So, continuing with historical analogies and experience with impact on others...
    I have relatives who have dealt with addiction, including alcohol addiction. I also have relatives who lived in Mafia-run neighborhoods.
    I can't think of a single personal problem that gets easier to solve when you involve the Mafia. As devastating as addiction has been for my family, organized crime has never made any problem better.
    DM, you probably live in a neighborhood where nobody has to deal with gang violence. People indulge their unhealthy vices through discrete transactions that don't result in turf wars. From your privileged position, you can pontificate on one aspect of the problem while completely ignoring the criminal problem created by a proposed solution. My stance is very simple: I want this complicated medical, social, and personal problem to be kept as far away from organized crime as possible. Nobody's life has ever improved by getting the Taliban, the Mafia, or the Crips involved.

  • DoucheMonkey, all those years of smoking ditchweed have ratcheted your motherfucking bunghole. If only you'd have had access to some real weed, you wouldn't be so fucking verklempt about sparking up a couple doobies.

  • becca says:

    Not on addiction per se. On the risks vs. benefits of legalization of cannabis. You ignore all the benefits as "not your area" or "separate issue!", whilst simultaneously mocking the marijuana fans for ignoring all the risks as "not existent" or "separate issue!". This is not logical.
    As far as impact on others- obviously this concerns me. It's a huge part of the reason why, upthread, I specifically said we should make alcohol illegal again. I mean, practically, I'd prefer an 'illegal but not prosecuted in the absence of operating a vehicle'; but I'd be open to reconsidering in the case I could find some good studies that supported more stringent regulation. My trouble is, you aren't basing your posts on policy studies. Heck, you're not even showing how marijuana is having a strong negative impact on others. And the truth is, I personally know people who's lives were improved by marijuana. Not in a "I like to get high" way, but in a "this parent didn't tolerate their antidepressants well, and was a rather dicey caretaker without either such drugs or smoking pot".

  • DrugMonkey says:

    If only you'd have had access to some real weed, you wouldn't be so fucking verklempt about sparking up a couple doobies.
    So...if everyone has access to good pot they are going to love it? Are you *seriously* advocating the one-toke-and-hooked-for-life thing? The commenters are going to tear you a new one holmes...

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Heck, you're not even showing how marijuana is having a strong negative impact on others.
    True. I have not bothered yet. Are you making a strong assertion? Do we need to get into this? Will you modify your opinion if we find harms to family or dependents or vocational performance associated with cannabis use?
    or will you goal post move into comparative harms and libertardian platitudes? Just asking before I go to the trouble...
    I personally know people who's lives were improved by marijuana.
    ...and alcohol and tobacco and caffeine and cocaine and hallucinogens and homeopathy and acupressure and religion and hating on vaccines and Republicanism and...
    the list goes on and on of anecdotal reports of improved lives.
    you will note that I am frequently found to observe that I think there is good reason to hypothesize that cannabis might be a valuable medication. Many such have attendant and proven harms that need to be considered. What I observe is that the quality scientific evidence has not yet been provided and all your anecdotes will not make that any different. So you are raising a straw argument to suggest that I make a strong denial of any potential value in cannabis for medical purposes.

  • So...if everyone has access to good pot they are going to love it? Are you *seriously* advocating the one-toke-and-hooked-for-life thing?

    No. I'm saying that all that ditchweed has fucked up your mind, holmes!

  • becca says:

    "So you are raising a straw argument to suggest that I make a strong denial of any potential value in cannabis for medical purposes."
    Except I never said that. Nice meta-strawman though.
    I would actually welcome some anecdotes on marijuana's negative impacts, because some of these types of stories are extremely emotionally compelling.
    But since you're going to (somewhat justifiably) pull the 'anecdote != data' stuff, I will insist on something more comprehensive e.g. instead of or in addition to anecdotes. Ideally something peer reviewed and specifically policy oriented.

  • I would actually welcome some anecdotes on marijuana's negative impacts, because some of these types of stories are extremely emotionally compelling.

    Just look at what all that fucking ditchweed has done to DoucheMonkey's mind! If that ain't compelling, I don't know what is.

  • becca says:

    I always assumed it was exposure to YOU that fried his neurons, CPP. Maybe there's a synergy?
    Experiments Must Be Done!

  • surgPA says:

    Boy DM, you sure touched a nerve on this one....
    Am I the only one who noticed that Dr. Patel charges a mere $85 for a new-patient exam and yet charges $100 simply to renew a "recommendation" for medical marijuana? Is it really harder to renew the recommendation for marijuana than to evaluate a new (perhaps even medically complicated) patient, or is this just market economics at play?

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Hahah I always do surgPA, I always do. PalMD has a related post today, folks. Go play!

  • anonymous says:

    No surgPA. Didn’t know that. Your long experience drinking and whining about lack of oversight and accountability for grant review has given you plenty of economic insights. Doesn’t look coherent though. Maybe, that’s the imprinting of your medical marijuana with your asian married postdoc. On the other hand, your whining was effective for quite a long time. Great theatrical performances.

  • DKKY says:

    @Anonymous,
    That's called economic learning plasticity. Be specific. His married postdoc was korean.

  • Pedro A. Ballester says:

    Thanks for your post!

  • Stephanie Z says:

    Becca, we can always chat about my brother. We can talk about what it's done to him and my niece to not have him in her life for the first several years while he was either using or in treatment. We can talk about the criminal record that's made it very difficult for him to get good employment. We can talk about what neglecting himself has done to his teeth and the rest of his health. We can talk about him being victimized by his user "friends."
    We can even talk about what a relief it was when I discovered I wasn't the only person who tenses up every time a headline says they've pulled another person out of the river. Lots of stuff to talk about.

  • Stephanie Z says:

    Oh, I almost forgot. We can also talk about the added stigma that he got thrown at him because nobody thinks pot is addictive. You know, people thinking he's just weak-willed. That's extra-fun stuff.

  • Anonymous says:

    You can talk about all you want and all the records you might like. I don’t need to talk about your track records and your colleague’s track records because they are in the public domain. Thank you and goodbye.

  • DuWayne says:

    becca -
    Why does it need to be policy oriented? There are studies that evince the addictive nature of cannabis, most of which DM's probably written about. One can reasonably accept the findings of those studies as valid and still advocate legalization. Indeed some of us see the addictive nature of it and other illicit drugs as being just another argument for legalization.
    There are a great many compelling reasons to legalize cannabis and other illicit drugs. From a basic liberty standpoint, to harm reduction, to the particularly negative impact on the poverty class, to a particularly large percentage of most state budgets getting thrown at enforcement and incarceration. And that is just a start. The harms associated with use exist and studies have born that out, over and over again.
    The question should not be; "does it cause harm?," obviously it does. The question should be; "is that a reasonable basis for the current public policies?" And the very reasonable response to that would be, no it is not. Not only is it not, but it is very likely that the harms could be substantively reduced by legalization. Especially if we include the immense harms caused specifically by the prohibition.
    DM -
    Will you modify your opinion if we find harms to family or dependents or vocational performance associated with cannabis use?
    Absofuckinglutely not. I will accede that without question or argument. Having experienced the harm first hand, I would be a fool and a hypocrite not to. But that does not reasonably translate to public policy.
    There is also a great deal of harm that stems directly from the illicit nature of illicit drugs and their use and abuse. Just as there is a great deal of harm that stems directly from our social perception of addiction and more importantly, the addicts themselves. We moralize addiction, making it a source of shame and worthy only of absolute and utter contempt. To the point that rather than admit one has addiction issues, we often find addicts - closeted and otherwise demeaning and dehumanizing other addicts.
    But it is all a fucking hypocritical scam. There are few people, if any, who do not engage in behaviors that, were they to cause harm, would justifiably be called addiction. Virtually everyone has firmly entrenched habits and patterns that are exactly like addiction, excepting the lack of harm or the low level of relative harm they cause. But rather than recognizing that virtually all of us, if not absolutely all of us have a penchant for becoming an addict, it is easier to make addiction and addicts into a ugly bogeyman (err, bogeyperson?). And because we have started that vicious circle, we can't admit to the underlying nature of addiction and it's similarity to behaviors that nearly all of us exhibit.
    I appreciate and support your desire to show the harms associated with cannabis use and other licit or illicit drugs, I think that is obvious by this point. But I will not accept the implication that this somehow justifies current public policies. And citing the problems related to alcohol and tobacco doesn't support the continued prohibition, it just supports the notion that we have a fundamentally fucked social addiction paradigm. One that is abusive and antithetical to the treatment of addiction. Not to mention abusive and antithetical to society as a whole.

  • becca says:

    I want policy because I know marijuana can be addictive. I also know gambling can be addictive.
    I was 100% in favor of gambling until I started reading the studies that indicate that casinos tend to be a net financial loss to a community, particularly with the many ripple effects on the friends/family of the few compulsive gamblers. Now, I don't much think poker amongst friends should be illegal or anything, but I wouldn't much want a casino in my neighborhood either. Even (especially?) if they do something sneaky, like they usually do, and tax it to fund education (seriously, we're screwed up if we won't budget enough for education without a sin tax on an ultimately detrimental industry).
    In other words, the basic liberty principle isn't terribly compelling to me- I need reasonable data about the practical benefits and harms.
    Similarly, I don't have any particular moral/philosophical objection to addiction. Dependency on a substance is true for diabetics with insulin, and I'm not about to judge that. It's *only* the medical and social harms I'm interested in. Any other consideration of addiction (including the basic neuroscience) is at best incomplete, at worst *missing the point out of puritanical moralistic obsession with eliminating things that feel good*. That's why the addiction-in-animal studies (although totally worth doing with respect to what they tell us about the brain!) are nonetheless orthogonal to my interest. I realize that's the kind of literature DM knows best, but it just isn't that relevant to how I think the social policy should be decided.

  • Tom Degan says:

    Why are we still having this conversation?
    Nearly three-quarters-of-a-century after it was made illegal; half-a-century after it was proven to be practically harmless - why is it still a crime to possess and smoke marijuana?
    Here is a list of ten famous people who died as a result of nicotine abuse:
    Humphrey Bogart
    Edward R. Murrow
    Nat King Cole
    George Harrison
    John Huston
    Noel Coward
    Betty Grable
    Walt Disney
    Gary Cooper
    Peter Jennings
    Here is another list. Ten famous people who died from alcoholism:
    Billie Holiday
    Jack Kerouac
    Truman Capote
    Lorenz Hart
    Veronica Lake
    Bix Beiderbecke
    Montgomery Clift
    Dylan Thomas
    John Barrymore
    Errol Flynn
    Now I'm going to ask you to name for me one celebrity who has died from too much grass.
    Go on, I'm waiting. Is it a "gateway drug" as they never tire of reminding us? Yeah, it probably is. But so is Pabst Blue Ribbon. Let's get a grip here.
    http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com
    Tom Degan
    Goshen, NY

  • Alex says:

    why is it still a crime to possess and smoke marijuana?
    Because organized crime rings would lose money if it were legalized. Less money for organized crime means less money to bribe cops and politicians. And think of the consequences if all of those smugglers and hitmen suddenly found themselves out of a job and on the labor market. Won't somebody think of the cartels?

  • Anonymous says:

    Yes. “are we still having this conversation ? (#51).
    I smoke cigarettes and I was terrified when Peter Jennings came on TV saying that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. Then Reeve’s wife died of lung cancer and she had never smoked. That took care of my fear for dying from cigarette smoking. The question is: Was I sufficiently motivated to quit?, Why do I smoke ? Smoking, recreational drinking are just different flavors of a wake-up call for unspoken problems.
    We all try to find answers (why?) to expressions of human behavior ?. Why is she smoking, why is he drinking ?. We can speculate as much as we can, find unsubstantiated claims, corroborate suspicions etc. But at the end we are left, most of the time, with just circumstantial evidence.
    I happened to be married to somebody who, very early in the marriage, used to do recreational drinking but the use was inconsistent. Not always, but coincided with periods of professional discontent: sadness and depression because “the system was fraudulent, professional judges were not the best professionals but only friends helping friends; no oversight; I will be forced into leaving the job and I cannot do anything else because this is what I am good at …. “ And so on. When one hears this for years and years, you start believing that the cause of recreational drinking (with potential for becoming a serious problem) is the unfairness of the system. If you care, you start looking for yourself if, indeed, there are problems in the system. And there were problems in the system. Then you start alerting the people who can deal with the problems in the system…..
    What happened with time?. One day you find yourself OUT, but your husband continues to be in and none of the threats he had been talking about were real. You are still happy about that. The explanation is that he has tenure and excellent scientific records. Then, one day “out of the blue” you come to know that your years of professional work, during his most intense recreational drinking period, have been concealed. You ask him, why ?, what happened ?. He responds, he is not sure. Then you alert publicly that there is missing information in the professional system. The next thing that you’re told is that you are being demonized.
    The questions are:
    Can recreational drinking be used to manipulate people feelings as to reach one’s goals, i.e. to remain professionally active ?. YES
    Does recreational drinking lead to loss of position or job of a recreational drinker ?. NO.
    Do recreational drinkers associate with superiors, supervisors and accommodate to their
    Needs as to maintain their positions ?. YES.
    Does professional smoking lead to job termination ? YES.
    This is just circumstantial evidence.

  • Cashmoney says:

    I may not be at my best today, head cold and all but ... @53- WHAT?

  • lunchstealer says:

    Where does ol' doc420 fit into this picture?
    She fits in in the same place that the lack of evidence for medical cannabis fits.
    Reputable doctors are discouraged from prescribing medical cannabis by federal law and DEA pressure. So you're going to get some whackaloons and quacks coming into the business at a higher rate as long as more cautious doctors are pressured to stay out of the business.
    Reputable researchers are discouraged outright prevented from engaging in peer reviewed research into the benefits of medical marijuana by federal prohibition and the threat of criminal prosecution by the DEA. So we have to go with anecdotal evidence, because you and other drug warriors continue to prevent the research that would prove or disprove the efficacy of medical marijuana and then point to the lack of research (that you prevented) to support your position. Talk about moving goalposts. The current powers that be in the DEA are making it illegal for researchers to even hold a ball to test their positions.

  • bikemonkey says:

    Nice try lunchstealer but..bzzzt. Wrong.
    http://www.cmcr.ucsd.edu/geninfo/index.htm

    Welcome to the University of California's Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR). The purpose of the Center is to coordinate rigorous scientific studies to assess the safety and efficacy of cannabis and cannabis compounds for treating medical conditions. The funding of the CMCR is the result of SB 847 (Vasconcellos), passed by the State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Gray Davis. The legislation calls for a three year program overseeing objective, high quality medical research that will "enhance understanding of the efficacy and adverse effects of marijuana as a pharmacological agent," stressing that the project "should not be construed as encouraging or sanctioning the social or recreational use of marijuana" (SB 847).

    This conspiracy stuff gets old. Just because hurdles make it harder than some other research or because you can't convince anyone to fund it doesn't mean it is prevented or blocked.
    This CMCR thing shows that if you have legit folks with a good track record and the ability to sustain attention to the cause, you can get stuff done.

  • lunchstealer says:

    I never said it was a conspiracy, it's just the groupthink of ONDCP and DEA. And yes there is a small amount of research, but that research is actively discouraged by the DEA and ONDCP, who also point to the lack of evidence. But fair enough, I did overstate a bit by saying that all research is prohibited. It's just actively discouraged by the same people who then point to the lack of research to support their policy positions.
    And again it isn't as if they're getting together in some back room and conspiring to squash research. It's the same out-in-the-open win-at-all-costs thinking that led the DC Metro to ban NORML ads advocating changing the current laws as "promoting illegal behavior".
    The thinking is "we've got to stop funding for medical cannabis because it undermines our message in the war on drugs". There really isn't any reason for a federal ban on cannabis research except for the fact that cannabis is seen as a moral problem, not a medical problem.

  • RICK MAIDA says:

    I'm a disabled veteran, who had and still have continue pain. Thera is, a project that I'd like to see hospitalized vets with what we care by people who are known to be people who like me and you and what it means to be unconditial love.

    hello again. I had an idea that may get you feel better and helps out if not the physical but mentally as well.

    hey guys, tell me how you feel about this?

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