President Obama Could Fix the Medical Marijuana Problem

From what I have been reading, decisions about moving marijuana into a less stringent schedule than schedule 1 are in the hands of the the Attorney General with that authority granted in the Controlled Substance Act. The Attorney General has delegated that authority to the DEA Administrator. So far the DEA has not acknowledged any of the mountains of evidence of the efficacy of marijuana as a medicine. Instead they choose to fight all attempts to reschedule marijuana and ignore all evidence of marijuana’s lack of harm to society and the fact that it is overwhelmingly safer than the two most prominent recreational drugs in America, alcohol and tobacco.

In a Reason.com article written by Mike Riggs on Jan 22nd, http://reason.com/blog/2013/01/22/in-fight-over-marijuans-scheduling-appea

The Washington D.C., U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the DEA acted according to their rules in denying a rescheduling of marijuana. The Court did not consider whether the evidence presented as to marijuana’s efficacy was relevent to the issue but that the DEA had followed its own rules in reaching its decision.

According to the appeals court, the DEA was following its own rules (there are five in all) when it claimed that petitioners for rescheduling marijuana had failed to provide “adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy.”

Americans for Safe Access in turn argued “that their petition to reschedule marijuana cites more than two hundred peer-reviewed published studies demonstrating marijuana’s efficacy for various medical uses, and that those studies were largely ignored by the [DEA].”

“At bottom,” the court wrote, “the parties’ dispute in this case turns on the agency’s interpretation of its own regulations. Petitioners construe ‘adequate and well-controlled studies’ to mean peer-reviewed, published studies suggesting marijuana’s medical efficacy. The DEA, in contrast, interprets that factor to require something more scientifically rigorous.”

In other words, The DEA will not reschedule marijuana unless it would meet FDA approval. That is a very unlikely scenario when considering the close ties the FDA has with the pharmaceutical industry. However the decision to reschedule marijuana seems to swing on the opinion of the DEA Administrator of what is considered “adequate and well-controlled” medical studies, and “accepted safety”. Since this authority is delegated to the DEA Administrator by the Attorney General, surely the Attorney General could take that authority back. The office of the Attorney General as well as the office of the DEA Administrator are filled by appointment by the President of the United States. Surely the President would have enough influence over those he appoints to those positions to have them reschedule marijuana, either by Executive action or just replacing them with someone who would. While this would do nothing for the millions of recreational marijuana users. It would stop the raids that deny the sick and dying the medicine they believe improves their lives (palliative and curative), and the punishment of those who supply medical marijuana in compliance with state law. Although the President does not have the authority to legalize marijuana, the responsibilities for the current raids on medical marijuana are all his.

Thanks President  Obama

  • (b) Evaluation of drugs and other substances

The Attorney General shall, before initiating proceedings under subsection (a) of this section to control a drug or other substance or to remove a drug or other substance entirely from the schedules, and after gathering the necessary data, request from the Secretary a scientific and medical evaluation, and his recommendations, as to whether such drug or other substance should be so controlled or removed as a controlled substance. In making such evaluation and recommendations, the Secretary shall consider the factors listed in paragraphs (2), (3), (6), (7), and (8) of subsection (c) of this section and any scientific or medical considerations involved in paragraphs (1), (4), and (5) of such subsection. The recommendations of the Secretary shall include recommendations with respect to the appropriate schedule, if any, under which such drug or other substance should be listed. The evaluation and the recommendations of the Secretary shall be made in writing and submitted to the Attorney General within a reasonable time. The recommendations of the Secretary to the Attorney General shall be binding on the Attorney General as to such scientific and medical matters, and if the Secretary recommends that a drug or other substance not be controlled, the Attorney General shall not control the drug or other substance. If the Attorney General determines that these facts and all other relevant data constitute substantial evidence of potential for abuse such as to warrant control or substantial evidence that the drug or other substance should be removed entirely from the schedules, he shall initiate proceedings for control or removal, as the case may be, under subsection (a) of this section.

  • (c) Factors determinative of control or removal from schedules

In making any finding under subsection (a) of this section or under subsection (b) of section 812 of this title, the Attorney General shall consider the following factors with respect to each drug or other substance proposed to be controlled or removed from the schedules:

  • (1) Its actual or relative potential for abuse.
  • (2) Scientific evidence of its pharmacological effect, if known.
  • (3) The state of current scientific knowledge regarding the drug or other substance.
  • (4) Its history and current pattern of abuse.
  • (5) The scope, duration, and significance of abuse.
  • (6) What, if any, risk there is to the public health.
  • (7) Its psychic or physiological dependence liability.
  • (8) Whether the substance is an immediate precursor of a substance already controlled under this subchapter. http://www.fda.gov/RegulatoryInformation/Legislation/ucm148726.htm#cntlsbb

As for the millions of recreational marijuana users, your best bet is to try to influence your Congressional leaders, or replace them with those in favor of legalization. It is very unlikely the Supreme Court would rule against Congress on the legality of marijuana. Without reasonable attempts to change Congress’ stance on marijuana the Supreme Court would be unlikely to even hear evidence.

http://house.gov/

http://www.senate.gov/

http://www.whitehouse.gov/

Randy Johnson

itsmycountrytoo.org

Drug Related Violence is Increasing Exponentially

The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization, a think tank, dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues. Highlighted in this article are a few examples of the violence on Americans at the hand of law enforcement in the failed war on drugs. Increasingly paramilitary no knock raids are used to search homes and businesses in search of illegal contraband. All too often mistakes are made where the wrong house is raided, the information about the occupants is wrong, or police or citizens die in the conflict. We have the right to use deadly force to repel home invasions. If my door was broken down at 2 or 3AM I would be inclined to try to defend my family. The justification seems to be that if no knock raids are not used, the suspects may destroy evidence. Wouldn’t shutting the water off keep people from flushing the evidence just as effectively without all the violence?                                                                                   http://www.cato.org/

In a commentary at CATO Institute written by Radley Balko titled Raiding Reality.

Is it fair to blame Congress for these types of mistakes?

I think so. Here’s why: Since the late 1980s, Congress has made a bounty of surplus military gear available to local police departments, either at steeply discounted prices, or for free. Millions of pieces of equipment have been transferred this way. Once stocked with military-grade weaponry, local police departments look for ways to put their new equipment to use. So they form SWAT teams. More drug-war incentives from Congress-this time in the form of grants for drug arrests-then induce those departments to send the SWAT team out for routine warrant service of nonviolent drug suspects.

The result? An explosion in the number of “no-knock,”forced-entry type raids in the U.S. One criminologist who’s studied the phenomenon estimates that the number of SWAT “call-outs” in the U.S. has increased from about 3,000 per year in the 1980s to more than 40,000 per year today. It’s of no coincidence that this dramatic rise began in the early 1980s, just as we began ratcheting up the War on Drugs. http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/raiding-reality

In this video Mayor Cheye Calvo of Berwyn Heights, Maryland describes the errant SWAT drug raid on his home where his two dogs were shot.                                    http://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-video/cheye-calvo-details-swat-raid-killed-family-dogs

This interactive map highlights some of the botched paramilitary drug raids in this country which now happen at an estimated rate of 40,000 per year. These no knock drug raids are happening all too often on the homes of nonviolent drug offenders and people mistaken to be nonviolent drug offenders.            http://www.cato.org/raidmap

http://www.cato.org/news-releases/2006/7/17/time-curb-rise-deadly-paramilitary-police-raids

An 88 year old Atlanta woman is killed in a wrong house drug raid where she believed she was being victimized in a home invasion and fired a gun at police officers who quickly shot her to death.               http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/28/us/28atlanta.html?_r=2&ref=us&oref=slogin&

Cory Maye may have escaped the death penalty where he used a gun in what he believed was self-defense in a botched drug raid of his home. http://www.cato.org/blog/cato-policy-analyst-who-may-have-saved-mans-life

Buffalo, New York’s paramilitary SWAT team has found a use for their new toys. “Shock and Awe”. 78 people were arrested, 21 ounces of marijuana was confiscated along with 7 ounces of crack cocaine and 5 guns in the raids of almost 40 homes over a three-day period. This story highlights the way police are increasingly using other government entities such as housing and safety inspectors, Alcohol Beverage Control officers, or Game Wardens to circumvent the need for warrants to raid suspected drug dealers. So much for constitutional guarantees against illegal search and seizure.  http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/buffalos-stampede-against-privacy

Barry Cooper, a former narcotics officer in Texas who has made countless arrests found himself in trouble when he started busting relatives and friends of politicians. He came to realize that the practice of raiding homes of people looking for drugs was wrong and felt guilty about the atrocities involved with the raids he was involved in where Mom and Dad would be dragged to jail and their children taken to Child Protective Services over a bag of pot. He has fought back releasing a video http://www.nevergetbusted.com/  and written a book, “After Prohibition”. Barry is not alone where many law enforcement officers, attorneys and judges have broken ranks and formed Law Enforcement Against Prohibition http://www.leap.cc/.

This article and video from Reason.com highlight the tragedies involved, and lives destroyed by the war on drugs. Please watch. http://reason.com/blog/2011/06/18/reasontv-replay-lindy-no-knoc

I believe it is time to end this war on drugs. Prohibition is damaging our freedom and destroying our relationship with law enforcement. Our politicians seem oblivious to the damage to society from this failed war on drugs where countless lives and families are destroyed. America only has 5% of the world’s population but we have 25% of the planets prison population. Something is terribly wrong with this approach. Please call or write to your elected officials and let them know how you feel.

http://house.gov/

http://www.senate.gov/

http://www.whitehouse.gov/

Randy Johnson

itsmycountrytoo.org

The War Against Marijuana Users Is Based On Lies

The war against marijuana and its users is based on lies and misinformation. Laws built on lies should not stand.

The National Commission on Drug Abuse was created by law under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970 to study marijuana to see if it really belonged in the schedule one class of drugs with heroin and LSD. The commission consisted of two members appointed by the President of the Senate and two appointed by the President of the House of Representatives and nine appointed by President Nixon. The 39th Governor of Pennsylvania, Raymond P. Shafer was the chairman. When Richard Nixon appointed people to this commission, he had advised them that marijuana should be treated as heroin and it should be demonized, and he made several attempts to influence the outcome of the report. Nixon reportedly told Schafer,”You’re enough of a pro to know that for you to come out with something that would run counter to what the Congress feels and what the country feels, and what we’re planning to do, would make your commission just look bad as hell.” When the report was released titled “Marijuana A Signal of Misunderstanding”, it denied any relation with marijuana use with the crime and violence portrayed in the propaganda from decades past. The report also found little evidence of physical or psychological harm with casual use. It questioned the constitutionality of marijuana prohibition, advocated removing marijuana from the schedule one category of drugs, and asked that criminal penalties be removed for sale and possession marijuana. The report met stiff resistance in Congress and subcommittee hearings were held in 1974. led by Senator James O. Eastland where experts from other countries presented evidence and it was concluded that marijuana is far more hazardous than previously thought. The original report “Marijuana a Signal of Misunderstanding” was buried and marijuana was labeled as public enemy #1 in the war on drugs.

http://www.csdp.org/publicservice/nixon06.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Commission_on_Marihuana_and_Drug_Abuse

http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/studies/nc/ncmenu.htm

http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/21cfr/21usc/801.htm

It’s also interesting that marijuana is not listed in the DEA list of drugs and chemicals of concern yet they still claim that marijuana is a danger to society.

http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/21cfr/21usc/801.htm

A U.S. Department of Justice report titled Violence-Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments written by Michael R. Rand reads, “In 14% of the violence-related injuries treated in ED’s in 1994, the ED record indicated that the victim or someone else involved in the incident had been drinking or using drugs. This estimate should be considered a lower bound of the percentage of injuries involving alcohol or drugs. Usually the ED’s did not test patients for intoxication but indicated alcohol or drug involvement if cited by patients or other involved persons or if ER personnel observed the patient under the influence of alcohol or drugs.” “Almost all of the alcohol/drug citations on the hospital records reflected alcohol involvement. Drugs were cited on the hospital record in less than 1% of all violence-related injuries treated.”

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/VRITHED.PDF

The United States Government also owns a patent (6630507) on marijuana that describes in detail the medical benefits associated with marijuana.

http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/6630507.html

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6630507.PN.&OS=PN/6630507&RS=PN/6630507

“If this plant were discovered in the Amazon today, scientists would be falling all over each other to be the first to bring it to market,” said Dr. Donald Abrams, chief of oncology at the University of California San Francisco, which has also found science behind marijuana’s efficacy.

http://patients4medicalmarijuana.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/nbc-news-marijuana-compound-fights-cancer-human-trials-next/

The United States Government has known that marijuana has curative powers over cancer since 1974 yet hid this from the public to continue this failed war on marijuana and its users.

U.S. KNEW IN ’74… AND AGAIN IN ’96!

This wasn’t always the case. In fact, the first ever experiment documenting pot’s anti-tumor effects took place in 1974 at the Medical College of Virginia at the behest of the U.S. government. The results of that study, immortalized in an August 18, 1974 Washington Post newspaper feature, were that “THC slowed the growth of lung cancers, breast cancers and a virus-induced leukemia in laboratory mice, and prolonged their lives by as much as 36 percent.”

Despite these favorable preliminary findings, U.S. government officials banished the study, and refused to fund any follow up research until conducting a similar – though secret – study in the mid-1990s. That study, conducted by the U.S. National Toxicology Program to the tune of $2 million concluded that mice and rats administered high doses of THC over long periods had greater protection against malignant tumors than untreated controls. However, rather than publicize their findings, government researchers shelved the results – which only became public one year later after a draft copy of its findings were leaked in 1997 to the journal AIDS Treatment News, which in turn forwarded the story to the national media.

Nevertheless, in the nearly eight years since the completion of the National Toxicology trial, the U.S. government has yet to fund a single additional study examining pot’s potential as an anti-cancer agent.
Have they no shame or humility?

http://patients4medicalmarijuana.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/marijuana-cures-cancer-us-government-has-known-since-1974/#comment-14964

Please call or write to your leaders in Washington, DC and tell them you want an end to the prohibition of marijuana.

http://house.gov/

http://www.senate.gov/

http://www.whitehouse.gov/

Randy Johnson

itsmycountrytoo.org

Please Leave Medical Marijuana Alone

This was mailed to all members of Congress and the President Christmas Eve 2012. I will post replies as I get them.

Thanks and Merry Christmas

Randy Johnson

The continued war against medical marijuana defies logic on so many levels it is very hard to understand why the United States Government has taken its position on this issue. In July of 2011 the DEA ruled again that marijuana is dangerous and has no known medical use, yet past investigations and mountains of evidence refute these claims.

In 1972 NORML petitioned the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs to have marijuana rescheduled from a Schedule 1 drug. After 16 years of stonewalling by the United States Government a hearing was finally scheduled in September 1988. DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young after hearing extensive testimony from patients and doctors on the medical benefits of marijuana proclaimed “In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many of the foods we commonly consume. For example eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care.” It was determined that marijuana was effective in controlling nausea associated with chemotherapy and also pain and spasms associated with Multiple Sclerosis. She recommended that marijuana be rescheduled to a Schedule 2 drug and that still has not happened. (Marijuana Rescheduling Petition Docket No. 86-22)

When the Controlled Substances Act became law in 1970 part of the law authorized a special federal commission to complete a comprehensive study into all aspects of marijuana use to confirm that marijuana should remain a schedule 1 drug. After 2 years of study it was claimed to be the most comprehensive study of marijuana ever done in the United States. On March 22, 1972 Richard Nixon was presented the report from the study entitled “Marijuana; A Signal of Misunderstanding”. The study refuted the claims by politicians and law enforcement of the negative effects and crime associated with marijuana. It claimed in plain language that marijuana use was not associated with violent behavior and even went on to say that it tends to pacify its users. The report stated that there is little evidence of any physiological or psychological damage to individuals from casual use and emphasized the fact that the overwhelming majority of marijuana users do not progress to other drugs. It also recommended that marijuana be rescheduled and that private possession and use should not be criminalized. It even called for Congress to remove all criminal penalties for possession, use, and sale of the drug. These recommendations were ignored by Richard Nixon and Congress who over the next few months declared war on drugs and labeled marijuana “Public Enemy Number One”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Commission_on_Marihuana_and_Drug_Abuse

http://cannabis.net/politics/richard-nixon.html

Justice Gustin Reichbach of the New York state Supreme Court who just died July 14th, had been suffering from pancreatic cancer and he claimed marijuana gave him relief from nausea associated with chemotherapy in a moving op-ed piece in the New York Times this last May. “Because criminalizing an effective medical technique affects the fair administration of justice, I feel obliged to speak out as both a judge and a cancer patient suffering with a fatal disease. I implore the governor and the Legislature of New York, always considered a leader among states, to join the forward and humane thinking of 16 other states and pass the medical marijuana bill this year. Medical science has not yet found a cure, but it is barbaric to deny us access to one substance that has proved to ameliorate our suffering.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/opinion/a-judges-plea-for-medical-marijuana.html

Dr. Donald Tashkin has done an extensive 30 year study of marijuana on pulmonary function at the University of California and reviewed several other similar studies and come to the conclusion that using marijuana does not increase the occurrence of COPD nor does it increase the risks of head, neck or lung cancer even in heavy use. Video testimony by Dr. Tashkin can be seen at http://mmar.ca/multimedia.html. Dr. Tashkin has also stated that he favors the legalization of marijuana. The DEA is still quoting Dr Tashkin’s original hypothesis about marijuana use from about 20 years ago when he stated that marijuana has many of the same carcinogens as tobacco and believed marijuana may cause cancer. Dr Tashkin no longer believes that is true. In fact marijuana has been shown to have a mild cancer fighting effect.

According to http://www.reuters.com/ an Israeli company named Tikun Olam has developed a strain of marijuana called Avidekel with very low THC content but high in CBD (Cannabidiol) that has anti-inflammatory benefits without the psychoactive effects. Ruth Galily who works for the company and has been studying CBD for more than 12 years said CBD has impressive anti-inflammatory properties and can be used for treating diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Colitis, liver inflammation, heart disease and diabetes and has no side effects. Marijuana is used in Israel to treat Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, cancer, Crohn’s disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder.http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/03/us-israel-marijuana-idUSBRE8620FU20120703

According to Time Healthland http://healthland.time.com/2012/06/14/10-reasons-to-revisit-marijuana-policy-now/ recent studies conclude marijuana is effective in treating opioid resistant pain associated with cancer, the spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis and post-traumatic stress disorder. Another study concluded CBD another component of marijuana can treat schizophrenia as effective as prescription drugs without the side effects. Also THC and CBD have shown cancer fighting abilities against lung cancer.In the same article studies have found no link to crime associated with medical-marijuana dispensaries and real marijuana is probably far safer than the synthetic cannabinoids sold such as K2 or Spice.

A study titled Ganja in Jamaica- A Medical Anthropological Study of Chronic Marijuana Use by Vera Rubin and Lambros Comitas and sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health Center for Studies of Narcotic and Drug Abuse found no relation of marijuana use to crime except marijuana arrest, no impairment of motor skills, smokers and nonsmokers had identical work records and a battery of psychological test found no impairment of sensory and perceptual-motor performance, tests of concept formation, abstracting ability and cognitive style and tests of memory. Also the study found that the use of hard drugs is unknown among working class Jamaicans. These studies were confirmed by the 1980 Cannabis in Costa Rica- A study in Chronic Marijuana Use which found no discernible damage to the native population’s chronic marijuana users.

The American Medical Association House of Delegates as of October 16th 2011 is calling for the rescheduling of marijuana to allow for research into medical benefits of marijuana. Melvin Sterling, MD a California Medical Association delegate stated “Schedule 1 is very appropriate for heroin and other noxious substances that have no place in medicine, but cannabinoids are useful drugs. There is compelling research that cannabinoids are helpful in treating the spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis and in persistent nausea associated with chemotherapy and they may have other uses yet undiscovered. Why are they undiscovered? Because it’s a schedule 1 drug.” The AMA House of Delegates stopped short of endorsing state-based medical marijuana programs and the legalization of marijuana or admitting marijuana meets standards for prescription drugs.

Amednews.com ran an article by Alicia Gallegos June 16 2012 about a handful of governors petitioning the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to have marijuana reclassified. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire and Rhodde Island Governor Lincoln Chefee had signed the petition as of Dec 2011. Colorado Governor John Hinkenlooper’s administration has made a similar request. According to Gregoire, poll after poll shows an overwhelming majority of Americans now see medical marijuana as legitimate with an ever-growing number of doctors telling thousands of patients that they might find relief in the use of marijuana. http://www.amaassn.org/amednews/2012/01/16/gvsc0116.htm#top

According to The Sacramento Bee http://www.sacbee.com/, over a dozen years, California’s historic experiment in medical marijuana research brought new science to the debate on marijuana’s place in medicine. State-funded studies costing $8.7 million found that marijuana may offer broad benefits for pain from nerve damage from injuries, HIV strokes and other conditions. Between 2002 and 2012, 7 completed trials, 5 published and 2 pending show that marijuana does have therapeutic value. According to Dr. Igor Grant a neuropsychiatrist who served as director of the Center for Medical Cannabis Research “ Every one of the studies showed a benefit, The convergence of evidence makes me convinced there is a medical benefit here, and there may be a niche for cannabis.” Grant said the listing of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug on par with heroin and LSD is completely at odds with existing science.http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/12/4625608/california-pot-research-backs.html

In an article at http://newsfeed.time.com/ : According to a U.N. report on global drug use, cannabis was the world’s most widely produced, trafficked, and consumed drug in the world in 2010. Marijuana boasts somewhere between 119 million and 224 million users in the adult population of the world (18 or older). And there are no signs to indicate the popularity of marijuana will fall anytime soon. Cannabis is consumed in some fashion in all countries, the report says, and it is grown in most. Though the use of the drug is stabilizing in North America, and Oceania, smoking pot is on the rise in West and Central Africa, Southern Africa, South Asia and Central Asia. In 2010, marijuana use was most prevalent in Australia and New Zealand. The U.S. and Canada came in second, followed by Spain, France, Italy, and the Czech Republic. Nigeria, Zambia, and Madagascar were tied for fourth place.   Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/06/29/marijuana-now-the-most-popular-drug-in-the-world/
With marijuana now being the worlds’ most popular recreational drug and evidence shows that it is far safer than the other most popular recreational drugs, tobacco and alcohol. Why does our government insist on refusing to allow 18 states to continue the medical marijuana experiment without the harassment of otherwise law-abiding citizens? These states voted in their right to access medical marijuana by due process and yet the Federal Government refuses to honor the will of the American people. There is really no good reason to keep marijuana illegal for recreational purposes, let alone forbidding the sick and dying the things that bring them relief. To forbid the sick and dying the things that bring them relief is nothing short of barbaric.

Marijuana prohibition has not stopped or even diminished its use. Many people enjoy using marijuana and historical evidence has failed to show that marijuana has caused appreciable damage to its users or society. While this may still be debatable about marijuana and I believe it is high time we had that debate, the evidence against alcohol and tobacco are no longer in question. Why not give people a safer alternative to the worst recreational drugs on the planet, alcohol and tobacco when considered by the number of people killed by these drugs every year and the damage to society from the violent crime associated with alcohol, and let people choose for themselves the safest recreational drug on the planet that is now the most popular drug in the world. While I am thrilled that people who are suffering find both palliative and curative relief with marijuana, I still believe that needing a doctor’s note to buy marijuana is like needing a prescription to buy beer. People who use and sell alcohol should remember the effect prohibition of alcohol had on America and Americans and be glad their freedom was restored. Our freedom should be no less important.

Beginning this article I mentioned that it is hard to understand our government’s reasons for its stance against medical marijuana use. It is not a lack of evidence supporting the use of marijuana for medical reasons and it can’t be that they are worried about our health, because marijuana is not nearly as harmful as tobacco or alcohol and some of the over the counter medicines available, when considered by the number of fatalities associated with each drug every year. And with millions of people currently using marijuana and scarce evidence of any damage to society or individual users, who and what are they protecting us from? Juvenile use would be easier to control if the people selling marijuana were required to check IDs to make sure customers were of appropriate age.
The only thing that makes any sense to me is that marijuana as a plant cannot be controlled and that our government may be protecting the Pharmaceutical Industry, the Alcohol Industry, the Tobacco Industry and others from competition with marijuana and hemp. These are industrial giants with enormous influence on our elected officials who are supposed to be charged with protecting our freedom. My question to them is, Have We Been Sold Out?

Randy Johnson
itsmycountrytoo.org

White House Responds to Petitions About Legalizing Marijuana

The White House has responded to several of the petitions to end federal prohibition of marijuana. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/response/what-we-have-say-about-marijuana-and-hemp-production The response cites sources on their concerns about marijuana use. From the health aspect the White House cites The National Institute of Drug Abuse  http://www.drugabuse.gov/ where the health problems associated with marijuana smoking are discussed such as memory loss, bronchitis, psychosis and the risk of cancer. Also cited are the instance of emergency room treatment in association with drug abuse at.  http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/2k10/DAWN034/EDHighlights.htm  And voluntary substance abuse treatment at. http://oas.samhsa.gov/TEDS2k7highlights/TEDSHighl2k7Tbl3.htm

The White House also denies that marijuana has any medical use, citing that no sound scientific studies support medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States. It also states that marijuana is a dangerous drug that belongs in the schedule 1 of the Controlled Substance Act . Reality paints a much different picture where 18 states and the District of Columbia have medical marijuana programs, 2 states have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes and mountains of evidence now support marijuana as a treatment for a myriad of different ailments.

“Marijuana is listed in schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the most restrictive schedule. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which administers the CSA, continues to support that placement and FDA concurred because marijuana met the three criteria for placement in Schedule I under 21 U.S.C. 812(b)(1) (e.g., marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision). Furthermore, there is currently sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful. A past evaluation by several Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), concluded that no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use. There are alternative FDA-approved medications in existence for treatment of many of the proposed uses of smoked marijuana.” http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2006/ucm108643.htm

The response also claims that marijuana potency has tripled over the last 20 years raising serious concerns about the safety of marijuana use. This argument has little meaning when we consider that most people smoke only to the point where they reach a comfortable high. It is like comparing beer to hard liquor. Would it be reasonable to assume people would drink the same amount of alcohol by volume if they were drinking 3.2% beer or 151 proof rum?                            http://home.olemiss.edu/~suman/potancy%20paper%202010.pdf

The White House also has specific claims to the efficiency of substance abuse treatments.  http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment/frequently-asked-questions

And the use of drug courts which require the defendant to plead guilty and pay for substance abuse treatment or counseling and submit to periodic and random drug testing also at their own expense for at least 1 year, where any failure will result in the original sentence being administered resulting in incarceration. This also drives up the number of people involved in voluntary substance abuse treatment even if they volunteered to avoid incarceration or just to save their job. http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment/frequently-asked-questions

It is worth noting that the only sources listed are government-funded and controlled. In the SAMSHA.gov reports about emergency room treatments it is also worth noting that the results are skewed because adult use of alcohol (age 21 and up) is deliberately left out of the results, leaving the impression that emergency room treatment associated with marijuana use is almost as prevalent as that of alcohol. It is also interesting that marijuana is listed alone but alcohol is listed alone and as used with other drugs. It would be a better comparison if all parameters were equal. It is also worth noting that just because the drug was listed as associated with an emergency room visit, it may not be the cause or the reason for the emergency room visit, just that it was noted that the patient was under the influence.

Table 1. Drug-Related Emergency Department (ED) Visits, by Type of Visit: 2009
Type of Drug-Related ED Visit Number of ED Visits* Percent*
Total Drug-Related ED Visits 4,595,263 100.0%
Drug Misuse or Abuse 2,070,439   45.1%
Misuse or Abuse of Pharmaceuticals 1,244,679   27.1%
Illicit Drug Use    973,591   21.2%
Alcohol Involvement**    658,263   14.3%
Alcohol Involvement with Drug Use    519,650   11.3%
Underage Drinking    199,429     4.3%
Adverse Reactions 2,287,273   49.8%
* Because each visit may represent multiple types of visits and multiple types of drugs, the estimates add to more than the total number of visits and the percentages add to more than 100. ** Alcohol involvement includes use of alcohol in combination with other drugs for patients of all ages and use of alcohol only for persons aged 20 or younger. Underage drinking includes both use of alcohol in combination with other drugs and use of alcohol only for persons aged 20 or younger. Source: 2009 SAMHSA Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN).

 

Table 2. Misused or Abused Drugs Most Commonly Involved in Emergency Department (ED) Visits: 2009
Drugs Number of ED Visits Number of ED Visits per 100,000 Population
Alcohol in Combination with Other Drugs*    519,650 169.3
Underage Drinking**    199,429 227.2
Illicit Drugs    973,591 317.1
Cocaine    422,896 137.7
Marijuana    376,467 122.6
Heroin    213,118   69.4
Pharmaceuticals 1,244,679 405.4
Pain Relievers    595,551 194.0
Narcotic Pain Relievers    397,160 129.4
Oxycodone Products    175,949   57.3
Hydrocodone Products    104,490   34.0
Drugs to Treat Insomnia and Anxiety    433,600 141.2
Benzodiazepines    373,328 121.6
Antidepressants    104,940   34.2
* Use of alcohol in combination with other drugs is recorded by DAWN for patients of all ages. ** Underage drinking includes both use of alcohol in combination with other drugs and use of alcohol only for persons aged 20 or younger. Source: 2009 SAMHSA Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN).

The White house also reported that they have increased the funding for the Drug Free Communities Support Program where 7.9 million dollars was added to the already 76.7 million dollar annual funding for organizations such as http://www.drugfree.org/. That is a lot of money that these organizations have available for advertising to keep public opinion against marijuana. If you are tired of the prohibition of marijuana and want change, then we must act. Inaction will always produce zero results. If we do nothing, nothing will change. We must tell our elected officials that we want change and describe what kind of change. We must also raise public awareness of our desires and encourage public debate. The best way to accomplish that is through advertising. Please donate generously so that I can resume advertising. The opposition already has 84.6 million dollars to use for advertising given to them out of your taxes. Also please call or write to your elected representatives and let them know how you feel.

http://house.gov/

http://www.senate.gov/

http://www.whitehouse.gov/

Randy Johnson

itsmycountrytoo.org

LEAP Urges The Justice Department to Honor the Will of Voters

In a blog at the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition web site, http://www.leap.cc/, 73 judges, police officers, prosecutors, and federal officers signed a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder November 20th, urging him and the Justice Department to honor the will of the voters in Colorado and Washington.

The words of Executive director Neill Franklin say it best when considering the failure of the war against marijuana.

“We seem to be at a turning point in how our society deals with marijuana,” said
Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, the
group that authored the letter. “The war on marijuana has funded the expansion
of drug cartels, it has destroyed community-police relations and it has fostered
teenage use by creating an unregulated market where anyone has easy access.
Prohibition has failed. Pretty much everyone knows it, especially those of us
who dedicated our lives to enforcing it. The election results show that the
people are ready to try something different. The opportunity clearly exists for
President Obama and Attorney General Holder to do the right thing and respect
the will of the voters.”

The letter sent to Eric Holder can be read at; http://copssaylegalize.blogspot.com/2012/11/law-enforcement-leaders-ask-department.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LawEnforcementAgainstProhibition+%28Law+Enforcement+Against+Prohibition%29

Please contact your representatives in Washington and let them know you also want an end to marijuana prohibition.

http://house.gov/

http://www.senate.gov/

http://www.whitehouse.gov/

Randy Johnson

itsmycountrytoo.org

We Have Lost a Great Statesman

As we live our lives as Americans it is worth reflecting on where we came from. Our country started with boundless hope for a better tomorrow and a vast supply of new land and freedom to make our lives into whatever we might choose. We were led by great statesmen such as Ben Franklin, George Washington,Thomas Jefferson and Samuel Adams whose lives were devoted to the principles that all men are created equal and that freedom comes from God and not the will of men. Statesmen who gave us the Constitution as a guide to maintain our freedom and preserve our prosperity.

We have had several bumps in the road to where we are today, some we should be proud of, and others that should bring us shame and a change in our future direction.  Our government has been on the wrong side of many decisions in foreign and domestic affairs.The way our country was stolen from the Native Americans is deplorable as well as the enslavement of African-Americans. As a nation we have formed alliances with and supported the likes of Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega and Osama Bin Laden only to find later that the enemy of our enemy is not necessarily our friend. Instead of being a beacon for freedom and democracy we have used our military and wealth to try to buy or force compliance of our will on foreign powers. This intrusion into foreign governments is seen as arrogance by the rest of the world and causes hatred and mistrust of Americans. Only when America promotes freedom and democracy by being a shining beacon of fairness and tolerance for diversity will the rest of the world respond favorably. Consider how you would feel having foreign troops on United States soil in any capacity of authority. Would you not feel as though you were at war or at least resentful? We have no right to push our agenda on any other country. Our military should only be used in defense of our nation or nations in alliance with us, never as a tool to promote our agenda.

This country began with vast untapped riches of timber, iron, oil and agricultural land. With entrepreneurial freedom and the right to own property came a boom of growth and innovation. We quickly became the envy of the rest of the world as a monetary superpower and products made in America were sought throughout the world. Now we have become a nation of consumers of foreign products with an unpayable debt to foreign powers and an economy on the verge of collapse. We have so many regulations governing everything from how much water we can use to flush our toilets to what light bulbs are acceptable it is almost impossible for small business and consumers to comply and only partially enforceable due to the complexity and sheer number of rules and regulations that are currently part of our legal system. We have so many laws our government admits they are uncountable, yet thousands more pages of law are passed every year, and most limit our freedom or restrict business in some way or give special interest an advantage over another party. While it is right and good for government to protect us from fraud and promote an even playing field among business, it is wrong for government to favor one business over another. Interference and regulation drive the cost up for consumers and stifle innovation. Free enterprise can and will solve most economic problems in society if left to self regulate. The better mousetrap will prevail and the consumer will choose the best product at the best price and if a product or service cannot compete it would be replaced with a better more effective product or service. Companies would change with the needs of consumers or be replace with companies more in line with current needs or wants.

Our country was started on the principle that hard work and innovation were the essence of success. The principle that education builds a better society and furthers innovation. People in this country are our greatest asset, but only when they accept responsibility for their own successes and failures. It is not the job of government to take care of those capable of caring for themselves and arguable those that can’t. Before the social welfare systems of today local charities and churches accepted that role and were quite successful. While I would not care to draw a line as to how much social welfare we should maintain as a society, it is worth noting that a large percentage of Americans are not vested in how the government spends its tax revenue. We have a progressive tax structure that heaps the lions share of government expenses onto the wealthiest of Americans and lets the poorest have no income taxes and some even have a negative income tax where they receive more of a refund than they paid. As long as we have people voting on how our government spends tax money that do not pay into the system, we will have uncontrolled spending by our leaders in Washington. The progressive tax also contributes to the idea that those who pay more should have more influence on our representatives. Those representatives who would vote to limit government spending are quickly voted out as being against the poor, yet the money currently spent by our government on social programs is unsustainable. Representatives who do not lend an ear to the wealthiest in society quickly lose funding for relection.This has led us to a fiscal cliff and little hope to survive the economic future with any resemblance to our present prosperity and the entire burden of debt placed on the shoulders of the youngest Americans.

Ron Paul was a visionary who saw these problems in society and tried to fix them. He was an outspoken opponent of government excess and a tireless champion of freedom and the Constitution of the United States. These are the things that led to his popularity as a public servant and to the growing number of people who support smaller government and more freedom. Congressman Paul you are a great statesman and will be surely missed. It is my hope and prayer that you have inspired more people to become statesmen and to further your love for freedom and prosperity in America. Thank you and God bless you Ron Paul for your service to America and Americans.

Congressman Paul’s farewell to Congress speech can be read at :

http://paul.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2025&Itemid=60

Or watched at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/28/ron-paul-democratic-party_n_2206788.html

Randy Johnson

itsmycontrytoo.org

End the War on Marijuana Now

This letter was mailed today to the President, all members of the United States Congress and to several news organizations to try to reach as many Americans as possible.

To the President of the United States, to members of the United States Congress, and to all Americans,
As Americans we are supposed to be a free people. Our Declaration of Independence even goes so far as to state that we have unalienable rights ordained by God and among those rights are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. These three items encompass the whole of how we choose to live our lives from the choices we make about religion to the type of food we choose to consume and how much. It also encompasses our choices of what are acceptable risks for us in our daily lives and our right to self-defense. If we are not allowed to choose what risks are acceptable for us as individuals we are not free at all, but only free to do as we are told. In short, decisions about our own personal health and safety are ours. They do not belong to society or to those who govern us. Our freedom was paid for with the blood of fellow Americans. The most sacred trust we have in our elected officials is that they protect that freedom.
The war against marijuana and the people who use marijuana is a direct assault on those rights and needs to end immediately. We are not the enemy of this country, we are Americans. We have been legally separated from society, labeled criminals, denied employment, had our children removed from our custody, had our property seized, stripped of our Second Amendment rights, and are no longer secure in our personal property due to improper searches. We have neither been represented nor had a chance to present any defense in face of the accusations of our supposed harm to society. Should we not have had a day in court before being stripped of our constitutional rights?
It is time for these hostilities to end. It is time to end the war against marijuana and the people who use it. Our freedoms are just as important as anyone else’s. Of the 3 most common recreational drugs, alcohol, tobacco and marijuana; marijuana is the safest from a medical standpoint and safer than alcohol from an at risk behavior standpoint. What is so horrible about marijuana that society must try to ruin our lives? We are not harming this country. If marijuana use is so offensive that it cannot be seen in public, then forbid public display, but stop ruining people’s lives for choosing a drug that is safer for the individual and society than alcohol or tobacco and leave us alone. All we really want is to live in peace with society. We are not the enemy, we are Americans.
Please support house bill H.R 2306 titled “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011
Randy Johnson
806-275-9228
itsmycountrytoo.org
imctmail@cableone.net
706 S. McGee St.
P.O. Box 5170
Borger, TX 79008-5170