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'Medical marijuana' is a Trojan horse

My post about “medical marijuana” stirred a lot of comments, some of them approving, the vast majority hostile and vituperative -- and one or two actually threatening. So, let me try this again. As I wrote, I think decriminalization of marijuana is worth debating. I have no objection to letting AIDS patients and other truly desperately ill people smoke marijuana if it makes them feel better. I have no objection to the administration of THC, pot’s active ingredient, in properly tested and dosed pharmaceuticals. What I do object to, strongly, is the claim that smoked marijuana is some sort of wonder cure with a multiplicity of proven, but officially repressed, therapeutic uses.

There’s a good survey of the literature on the American Cancer Society’s Website; it calls the research findings “mixed”:

The most in-depth investigation into the medical use of marijuana was authorized by the U.S. Government in 1997....
First, it found that scientific data indicate that cannabinoids, particularly THC, have some potential to relieve pain, control nausea and vomiting, and stimulate appetite. Cannabinoids probably affect control of movement and memory, but their effects on the immune system are unclear. It found that some of the effects of cannabinoids, such as reduced anxiety, sedation, and euphoria, may be helpful for certain patients and situations and undesirable for others. Based on the many studies reviewed, researchers also found that smoking marijuana delivers harmful substances and may be an important risk factor in the development of lung diseases and certain types of cancer. The IOM stated that because marijuana contains a number of active compounds, it cannot be expected to provide precise effects unless the individual components are isolated.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Website offers this:

There is a very real need for additional therapies to treat stubborn and often painful symptoms of MS. However, based on the studies to date -- and the fact that long-term use of marijuana may be associated with significant, serious side effects -- it is the opinion of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's Medical Advisory Board that there are currently insufficient data to recommend marijuana or its derivatives as a treatment for MS symptoms. Research is continuing to determine if there is a possible role for marijuana or its derivatives in the treatment of MS. In the meantime, other well tested, FDA-approved drugs are available (including baclofen and tizanidine) to reduce spasticity in MS.

Why does this bug me so much? It always bugs me when some group of true believers tries to foist its views on the public in the guise of science (e.g., "creation science"). This is especially pernicious when it involves selling phony remedies for real diseases (or real drugs for phony diseases). Yes, the Food and Drug Administration is a highly imperfect agency. But it’s all we’ve got -- and a considerable advancement over the deadly unregulated market, which the Pure Food and Drugs Act replaced more than a hundred years ago. I don’t know what you call it when a doctor “recommends” smoking a dried plant (perhaps under a brand name like “Afghan Gold Seal”) at a lounge where the dosage and purity of the active ingredient cannot be systematically controlled. It sure doesn’t sound like medicine to me. Of course, laws like California’s, which, in practice, permit people to get pot for practically any purported malady under the sun, show that the medical rationale is a cover for recreational use. I note that a Denver alternative newspaper recently posted an ad for a “medical marijuana" reviewer.

“Medical marijuana” is obviously a Trojan horse for legalization of pot as a recreational drug. In a democracy, people should pursue their policy objectives openly, not under false pretenses. In that respect, I thought that the attorney general created a certain amount of inevitable confusion when he announced his non-prosecution policy toward consumers and sellers of pot under state “medical marijuana” laws, while continuing to pursue large-scale traffickers and growers. Is marijuana a sometimes-therapeutic substance, as the AG implied by referring to “medical marijuana” smokers as “patients,” and those who provide pot to them as “caregivers” following "treatment regimens?" Or does pot have “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States” as federal law provides -- and, I would add, the evidence suggests? To be sure, the Justice Department's directive to prosecutors focused on individuals with "cancer or other serious illnesses" who are complying with state law. But since many people who don't have cancer or anything close to it are getting high under medical pretenses, plenty of ambiguity remains.

By Charles Lane  | October 22, 2009; 5:14 PM ET
Categories:  Lane  | Tags:  Charles Lane  
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Comments

Well Chuck Lane, I have MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS and have been treating my PAIN for over 5 years without any opiates, living as an outlaw medical marijuana patient in Iowa.

And Chuck, why don't you see what the National MS Society of Great Britain and Canada say, in countries where research is not limited.

Posted by: RevRayGreen | October 22, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Well Chuck Lane, I have MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS and have been treating my PAIN for over 5 years without any opiates, living as an outlaw medical marijuana patient in Iowa.

And Chuck, why don't you see what the National MS Society of Great Britain and Canada say, in countries where research is not limited.

Posted by: RevRayGreen | October 22, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Vicodon and OxyContin are also recreational drugs, people DIE from abusing them.

btw Chuck, MARIJUANA IS NOT A DRUG

Posted by: RevRayGreen | October 22, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Ever wonder why Marinol is filled with THC and no other cannabinoids?

They basically strip away all the therapudic properties of cannabis and overload this pill with the main PSYCHOACTIVE ingredient of cannabis and call it medication. What’s wrong with this?

If Marijuana has no medicinal value, why is the medical community trying to make a synthetic medicine from the healing properties of this plant?

Posted by: RevRayGreen | October 22, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Lane, it is not false pretenses, it is personal, peace-loving, relaxation for whatever PERSONAL choices we make each day.

At the moment, a land-marked stride has been accomplished through the true power of the people (www) to express their sacred individual freedom of thoughts and actions of which our ForeFathers and ForeMothers set in place for these past centuries.

It is The Constitution Of The United States Of America to accept and do what is best and right for the good of ALL People.

A sick vomiting cancer patient today, of which sadly are too numerous, can at least forget a needless worry of being criminalized, by medicating to the best of one's ability and it is a turtle step.

But of course it has been the most urgent step into a positive new future for each and every one of us (U.S.) citizens.

No one orders you what to do or not to do -a person either likes it or they don't. Much the same as a cup of coffee or glass of wine, or a cigarette.

Why are cigarettes legal?

The studies funded since 1976 have been hidden from the American Public up until now because there are millions upon millions of whom can see the new light at the end of the tunnel.

Innocent people have suffered and died far long enough. Peace (and Prayers if I May)for Truth and Justice.

Posted by: Utah2 | October 22, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

It is just a plant. Know how it works and how to safely use it, or leave it alone. Reading a book is a great first step towards that knowledge. Simple!

Posted by: jakbikesdc | October 22, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Chuck Lane, I have to wonder why the Post still has you hired as an editor. Your ignorance and stupidity should be the first alarm.

Your first article was appalling. This article is just another weak attempt to gain back some kind of... followers?

Posted by: not_too_shabby | October 22, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

and Chuck, one does not need to SMOKE marijuana for relief.

Posted by: RevRayGreen | October 22, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Grow up Lane

Posted by: mydnytmover | October 22, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

I read your previous article, and after seeing the lashing you already got I decided to just leave it alone.

Maybe you should have left it at that...

You say that we are insulting your intelligence, you say that we are being devious about the method of full legalization, what you fail to mention is that Judge Francis Young of the DEA in 1988 stated in his own words that "Marijuana in it's natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man". IE, it can not kill you! It is physically impossible to die from an overdose, you can not consume enough. Water can kill you if you consume too much, so really it is safer than water.

You fail to mention that the FDA fails to give authorization for research unless that research is designed to show the harms not the benefits of smoked marijuana as medicine. When the FDA does allow research, it usually shows marijuana in a positive light.

FDA regulated pharmaceuticals kill a lot of people every day, they get abused every day, alcohol and tobacco cause a lot of individual and social harms, yet they remain legal. Marijuana is incapable of killing you. There are zero deaths associated with its use.

There are people who can not consume alcohol responsibly, do you drink alcohol? Do you do it for the taste, or the effects? Was alcohol banned as a medicinal substance during prohibition? Was the Catholic church allowed to continue consuming alcohol during alcohol prohibition?

Have you ever tried marijuana? Do you really know anything other than what the government websites tell you? I have used it in different capacities for over a decade, I have never moved on to anything harder, in fact I drink maybe a six pack of beer a year in social settings. I use it for pain management, would you rather I use the inferior Marinol, or highly addictive Hydrocodone et al? Marinol costs a lot more than a plant in the garden.

Should we make alcohol illegal? It is far worse than marijuana in every respect. Should we punish the responsible alcohol consumers because of the minority of drinkers who choose to be irresponsible with its use?

When was the last time you ever heard of a cop having to fight a stoned person? How about a drunk person?

Marijuana is safer, and should be treated the same way.

Where are the harms, where are the problems? I just simply do not see them. I am a responsible adult who only breaks one unjust law, and if you can trust me with alcohol, you can trust me with marijuana.

So, please quit insulting the intelligence of marijuana consumers by regurgitating the governments lies. Every argument you have supplied about marijuana can be readily applied to our two legal intoxicants.

If medical marijuana is a Trojan horse to full legalization, then good, because prohibition causes far more societal and individual harm than marijuana ever will.

Peace and Love,
Rev. Logos

Posted by: Logos | October 22, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Why do you want people to suffer and die from cancer Chuck? Are you a demon??


Marijuana proven effective in treating different types of cancers
Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard
Posted: 10/18/2009 01:27:25 AM PDT


Marijuana opponents in the federal government are up against the wall and the wall is crumbling. The feds have fought marijuana use for decades, disregarding its medicinal applications, in a senseless war against the herb.

The demonized killer weed is turning out to be anything but that. As myths about this ancient herb are dispelled, scientists are using it to treat everything from chemotherapy-induced nausea to different cancers.

In August, The British Journal of Cancer published the results of a study that found THC (the main active component in marijuana) is effective in fighting prostate cancer. Reportedly, pot attacks prostate cancer cell types that do not respond to the usual hormone treatments.

more:
http://www.times-standard.com/othervoices/ci_13588713#

Posted by: mydnytmover | October 22, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Lane-

Now I realize you clearly aren't very well educated so I won't try to bog you down with too much truth that you apparently have trouble digesting. I would just like to alert you to the over 17,000 peer-reviewed studies documenting the bona fide medical uses of cannabis and cannabinoids for a variety of conditions.

How about you do a little studying before you decide to write on a topic you have no knowledge of.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18777572

Posted by: headmitten92 | October 22, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Chuck Lane, riding a one-trick trojan pony all the way to nowhere..... _______v''''

Posted by: RevRayGreen | October 22, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Chuck, Chuck, Chuck ... do you enjoy being an uneducated ignorant ba$tard or is it by accident? Seriously Chuck ... Cannabis (the PROPER term to use) is the SAFEST MEDICINE ON THE PLANET. It can't kill you no matter how much you take. Now, take 13 aspirin and that will be the last headache you ever have! Legalization of Cannabis is A LOT more than just allowing folks to use it "recreationally." Cannabis Hemp can be used for fuel, food, and ANYTHING ELSE that we currently make out of synthetic materials. Henry Ford's Model T was originally made out of Hemp materials (did you know you can make plastic out of hemp) and ran on hemp fuel. Yeah, DuPont didn't like THAT too much. The other deal is that you can't patent a PLANT ... THAT is why the pharmaceutical companies are trying to create a synthetic version for people to use. It is the only way they can make MONEY off of it. Cannabis hemp has been used ALL OVER THE WORLD for THOUSANDS of years. One acre of Hemp can make as much paper as FOUR acres of trees and the paper is better quality! Did you know that 50% of the world's pesticides are used on cotton? Hemp doesn't need to use pesticides and uses MUCH LESS WATER. Hemp vs. Cotton ... hemp wins HANDS DOWN.

Chuck, quit being a puppet of the false propaganda that has been vilifying this amazing miracle plant for way too long. Cannabis is WAY safer than cigarettes or alcohol and it can't kill you the way cigarettes and alcohol can. Don't believe me? Do you own research ... OUTSIDE OF THE US ... there as been a dark ages moratorium on cannabis research in the US since 1973. There DOES need to be more research - REAL research that gives us the TRUTH ... not false propaganda based on what a bunch money grubbing liars dish out.

Cannabis Hemp IS the tree of Life ... a gift given to the world by GOD. It can end world hunger and ease the suffering of millions ... and you still want to keep it illegal? I guess that puts you in the group of money grubbing liars.

EDUCATE YOURSELF!!!! http://www.jackherer.com/

Posted by: PeaceKitten | October 22, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Most of these comments aren't really responding to the information, which comes from credible sources and is perfectly accurate. The "medical" use of marijuana is not a cure for anything; it is a relief of symptoms, and research is mixed so far on its effectiveness. The driving force is recreational use; in CA the vast majority of "medical" card holders are young people who want to get high. The mm pushers are no longer even trying to disguise the drive for legalization.

Now CA cities are cracking down on the mm dispensaries because they've brought too many problems and haven't been run according to state guidelines. The Obama administration says it is not for legalizing marijuana, and it will still go after dispensaries under certain circumstances, so why the big announcement for so little change? To keep the liberal base happy? The policy is so subtle it's incoherent, but the state and city officials in CA are taking a stronger stand as the feds pull back because they're scared that their towns are going to be taken over by the cultists and turn everyone into zombies and real estate into grow houses and the national forests into hemp fields. I'm sure the cultists will be ecstatic when the state is taken over by one big monoculture of that creepy looking, foul smelling dried out crap.

Posted by: samantha5 | October 22, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

A founding principle of America is that we a free to speak our minds. We are also free not listen. It apparent to me that though you have opinions and have a forum to express them, on this subject you have a lot to learn. On e very frustrating aspect of the "debate" about cannabis is that we are forced to put up with vast amounts of ignorant prattle by people who are convinced their opinion has merit.
Cannabis is an herb, the plant is not a drug. It is possible to concentrate the active, useful molecules from the rest. Even that
is a soft drug. A drug with no lethal dosage.
Prohibition is a failed destructive policy! It surrenders control to
the black market. Any harms to anyone from use or abuse to cannabis are compounded many times over by all the unintended consequences of prohibition. It has gone on for decades and has not succeeded in it stated goals. Why not take a different approach to seeing to it that the "drugs" that exist in the world that have potential for abuse beyond their normal use (yes cannabis can used without abuse) are regulated for quality,
taxed, and distributed in a reasonably controlled manner like the Hard drug, alcohol?

Posted by: nedhoey | October 22, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Cannabis is too great a threat to The Pharmaceutical industry as it can not be deemed Intellectual Property, and licensed accordingly, so for the sake of greed the status quo must be kept.

Posted by: Dude23 | October 22, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

oh samantha5 my little PIGOT......there may be no hope to reprogram you.

Posted by: RevRayGreen | October 22, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

marijuanna should not be a drug, but it is. A drug much like alcohol and tobacco, but i, personally, would like to say it is an herb. i mean, you can cook with it, right? why criminalize an herb?

mr. lane, i'm sure people sell others marijuanna and say, "this will cure ANYTHING!" in fact, i don't doubt it, knowing how rude, irresponsible, and straight-up greedy humanity is today. but what we're trying to say is this:
we've tried it for ourselves. we're not believing it's a miracle drug. we smoke it. you don't. period.

Posted by: bubbacatlove | October 22, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

BTW ~ TRUE medicinal users do NOT smoke this medicine, they vaporize it or eat it. Smoking ANYTHING is bad for your health.
Educate Yourself!
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20327251.100-legalise-drugs.html

Posted by: PeaceKitten | October 22, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

i dont want to be sick to get high,the war on americans who just want to relieve some stress is pursicution of people who want to watch tv, laugh, maybe play some music.
its injustice.crimminal activity occures
because its illegal.to me its not a cure all.and i dont smoke anymore because after 25 years im unemployed ,and it was a luxery
that i can no longer afford.if i could i probally would.what i cant accept is the hypocrisy.tabbaco products and alchohol are leagle and taxed and abused and kill
people.we put regulations on them and change their packages .but they will not outlaw them like pot.because why they are known killers?because they tax those .i could probally grow tobacco or brew beer but as long ive use those .ive never even tried .ive quit smoking pot wasnt real hard .id like to but dont have to.i will drink a few beers every now and then i dont like the hang overs now that im older it takes longer to recover.but as far as nicotine goes i cant control myself i would spend my last dime,go out in the middle of the night.im eating nicotine lozenges now tring again to quit but addictions dont go away.this addiction will haunt me the rest of my life.but cigarettes are leagle and so easy to get.im standing at the counter of a conveinance store or gas station almost every day.and right there they are.they even ask at my regular stops" need cigaretts"they know my brand .its just plain hypocrocy.

Posted by: maxiis | October 22, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

"In a democracy, people should pursue their policy objectives openly, not under false pretenses."

Sure, but backers needed a test case to support the argument. Don't tell me most CA voters weren't open to this possibility when they passed such an open-ended law. And obviously the results of this test case have come back positive, as 56% of CA residents now support full legalization.

As for medical necessity, while smoking isn't a great delivery system, eating is very safe, and the mix of cannabinoids deliver effects that single isolated compounds don't produce. At the end of the day pot, while euphoric, is simply easier on the body than things like opiates or stimulants. I am curious what you all think of the story of the mother who treated her autistic 9-year-old with marijuana? (On Slate.)

Posted by: Nissl | October 23, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Yes, medical marijuana is in a way a trojan horse, but it is not the reason we push for medical marijuana. Some recreational users believe as I do that once people see more above ground medical use and the sun still came up the next day, they will see that they experienced no harm from legal marijuana use. I also believe that as they talk to medical users they know, they will come to understand that this is a drug that is safer and less harmful to society than alcohol. Then, down the road when they are asked to vote for full adult legalization, they will be able to vote yes with a more informed perspective. People like me use it regardless of what laws you place infront of me. The reason people like me support medical marijuana is we are in the best position to understand the hipocracy of telling a sick person you are OK with them taking a synthetic THC pill, but not ingesting a natural plant that is nontoxic and one that you can not overdose on. We are for medical marijuana because we understand it's benifits firsthand.

Posted by: DrWinky | October 23, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Samantha5 wrote:

The "medical" use of marijuana is not a cure for anything; it is a relief of symptoms, and research is mixed so far on its effectiveness.

--------------

I assure you, "relief of symptoms" is far, far better than no relief, even if cannabis doesn't cure you. Half of the drugs in the U.S. pharmacopoeia relieve symptoms while not "curing" the illness. Should aspirin and Tylenol be banned?

As for the threatened action against the Los Angeles dispensaries, a judge has just struck down City Attorney Trutanich's attempt. The main complaint against the marijuana dispensaries seems to be that they are making "too much money." It's a relief to see the true motivation of the opposition emerge. Obviously, someone has not been allowed to "wet their beaks." Or did anyone believe that the L.A. city honchos are attacking the dispensaries because of the immorality of smoking pot? In the City of Angels? Come now. The attempts on the dispensaries will continue until enough money has changed hands and then a modus vivendi will be found, just watch.

Cannabis legalization in California will open the way to a horticulture industry that will make California cannabis as reputed and esteemed as our fine wines. Also, legalization will deal a severe blow to the Mexican drug cartels that do such damage to our national lands. No one wants Mexican marijuana when a superior grade cannabis is grown right here at home. Export quality, in fact. There will no longer be a need to gut houses for secret grow-ops. Everything will be aboveboard and legal as tomatoes. Have you ever heard of a house gutted for a secret tomato patch? The idiotic prohibition has made a weed more expensive than many precious metals, weight by weight.

There is no point trying to reassure fearful people that they would hardly notice if marijuana were legalized, that the streets wouldn't suddenly be filled with "cultists and zombies," Doritos-munching stoners, raging criminals, and slackers who would destroy any productivity that's left, accompanied by a contingent of stoned airline pilots and surgeons. All those who want to smoke marijuana already do. The fear of cannabis users is irrational and is a testament to the insidious power of propaganda. The cure is similar to countering a crippling fear of spiders, for example. Gradual, predictable exposure leads to hesitating acceptance, eventually to realizing that spiders can be kind of cute, (especially the wolf spiders with their enormous eyes that follow you, but I digress ...) I hope that you will eventually conquer your prejudices regarding cannabis smokers, samantha5. It's all in the company you keep.

Posted by: RichardHode | October 23, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

It's true, there isn't enough research showing the beneficial properties of marijuana.

The solution is, have the government fund MORE research.

Posted by: theoshul | October 23, 2009 1:13 AM | Report abuse

Wow, this is pathetic. A 'pundit' reads the propanda from a couple of highly suspect sources, including a notoriously unethical nonprofit and a government that prevents scientific inquiry into the subject, and claim them to be truth. What an easy deluded clown you are: Stephen was just one of many, I see.

I have a recommendation for you. Read Thomas Levenson's four part lashing of Megan McCardle here: http://bit.ly/RiLqF. In it, you will find a rich guide to deflating the empty punditry of science ignoramuses. Levenson teaches science writing at MIT and is ideally suited to catch shoddy work like yours and McArdle's.

As for scientific value, do some serious study into the effect of 'marijuana' on intraocular pressure in glaucoma, its place in controlling chronic vomiting, and its many thousand year history of treating migraines.

Posted by: NotStephenGlass | October 23, 2009 1:14 AM | Report abuse

Sure, there are ailing people who feel better, or are convincing themselves and others, that marihuana is The cure. They are not the problem. The problems are, in the healthcare/ law realm, the Surgeon General who is not rushing to declare the benefits of marihuana. Why? Either she knows that there aren't any or she doesn't know otherwise. Then, there is our superactive Attorney General. This particular beholder sees the grass problem next to Guantanamo. Good for him. The last, but ,oh, not the least problem with the creeping(read "medical") or revolutionary legalization of marihuana and the following windfall of new taxes, the main problem is the mood of the Mexican cartels. I'd like to bet the AG for a buck that the cartels won't love this initiative. I hate to describe how, with their 150,00 foot soldiers,they will respond.Maybe, it's time to broaden the discussion, i.e. to bring in national security experts, to approach the RAND corporation. etc.

Posted by: felix155 | October 23, 2009 1:15 AM | Report abuse

Chuck Lane, you don't know what you're talking about. The medical efficacy of cannabis is undisputed, it's theories like yours that are trojan horses, red-herrings....

Posted by: scottportraits | October 23, 2009 1:18 AM | Report abuse

While I'm all for making pot available for medicinal purposes, a search on weedneedz.com indicates that there are way too many dispensaries around Los Angeles and Oakland - they seem to be growing like Starbucks with one store next door to another. Is there really that much demand solely for "medical" purposes, or are people abusing the system (aka fraud) to have access for recreational purposes???

Posted by: Fred1963 | October 23, 2009 1:55 AM | Report abuse

Hi Fred1963 - From what I have read on the subject, one of the issues with the dispensaries around LA is that the regulations were not being enforced, which led to a real feeding frenzy. And now the DA and City Council are cracking down hard, rushing through some measures this week to close up a good number of dispensaries. It's kind of like closing down the neighborhood drugstore because some customers got a fake prescription.
These businesses must be closely scrutinized to make sure they are operating within the law as non-profits, at least until this "Green Rush" buzz wears off. The DA has not made it much of a secret that he wants them all closed down. (One might take some time to see where his campaign contributions are coming from.)

Posted by: itsjustaplantman | October 23, 2009 2:42 AM | Report abuse

I want the gateway to other crap broken, legalization & non-importation is the only way I can see to do it.

If anyone's got any better ideas that don't go all Molly Hatchet & don't work, I'd like to hear them.

We tried criminalizing pot, it has not worked well for us at all. It's made cartels literal boatloads of money though, it's fueled the hard drug trade a lot too.

The history of anti-pot laws is pretty seamy and filled with self interested people clothing themselves in piety for ulterior motives. I don't see any good reason to cling to a soggy log while it sinks.

Posted by: timscanlon | October 23, 2009 2:55 AM | Report abuse

Ultimately, yes, it is about the freedom. The medical area is one in which the rights of citizens are particularly well-articulated. A doctor can recommend a treatment, but ultimately we must make the decision as to treatment. Normally we trust our doctors, but the locus of decision remains with the patient. I can choose aspirin or ibuprofen. And I should have the freedom to choose beer or cannabis, or aspirin or cannabis. Over the counter. Ever notice that certain people who give a lot of lip service to freedom don't really value it at all. How often do you see the liberty of citizens mentioned in the context of the cannabis debate?

Posted by: scientist1 | October 23, 2009 3:11 AM | Report abuse

We are having a debate about legalization. This is part of it. Remember when Obama talked about issues we can't talk about? This is one of those gorillas at the dinner table. The medical pot BS gives them a fig leaf. And where would our politics be without fig leaves?

These states can't figure why pot is such a giant problem, are loosening up their laws, and watching to see if the sky comes tumbling down around their ears. If it doesn't you will see defacto legalization for small quantities or maybe a "don't ask don't tell" kind of Dutch solution, though Holland has been tightening up under pressure from the EU, as I understand it.

Even in Germany, where I lived for a while, pot is still officially illegal, but no cop is going to lock somebody up over a joint two or a little hash.

Posted by: bawrytr | October 23, 2009 3:42 AM | Report abuse

Regarding smoking:

Medical cannabis users are encouraged to use the vaporization and/or oral consumption delivery methods. Like the smokeless tobacco cigarette, vaporizers heat the dried cannabis flowers to release the active compounds, called cannabinoids. The vaporization method prevents combustion of the dried plant matter, so that no particulate-laden tarry smoke is created. It's like a humidifier. Oral consumption can work well for people with intractable pain, but not so well for people who use cannabis for nausea, as eating can take an hour for the medicine to take effect. Different people have different results with different delivery methods and they are encouraged to find the dose and method appropriate to their physiology.

Smoking cannabis alone has never been shown to cause cancer. Though the smoke does contain carcinogens, studies have shown that cannabis smokers have a reduced incidence of head, neck, and lung cancers compared to those who smoke only tobacco. Cannabis smoking seems to offer some protection against some types of cancers. And that's Pretty Darn Cool.

Posted by: itsjustaplantman | October 23, 2009 4:19 AM | Report abuse

If marijuana was going to destroy the minds of the youth and tear societies apart it would have done it years ago.
You can't keep selling reefer madness to a nation that knows better.

Legalize marijuana, regulate it, tax it, and put it to rest.

Posted by: dccamp68 | October 23, 2009 4:21 AM | Report abuse

We can not simply 'legalize' it. We have a huge problem tied to importation of it and other drugs that are far, far worse.

The so-called hard drugs just slay people & completely ruin lives. I wonder if we can manage a societal contract that lets us be more permissive about pot to stop harder & more addictive drugs.

I've put too many damned friends in the ground from hard drugs to want to tolerate the status quo anymore. What we have been doing as a society has not worked, we need to change if we want to fight hard drugs & win. That's really the bottom line, and any other consideration pales to me next to that one. Anyone who isn't focused on that is missing the picture & has some tunnel vision going on.

Posted by: timscanlon | October 23, 2009 4:38 AM | Report abuse

FDA approval and Schedule I status:

The FDA is in Phase II/III trials with the drug Sativex, an oral spray containing the active cannabinoids THC and CBD, derived directly from botanical cannabis. This differs from Marinol, which is synthetic THC only. Sativex is already approved for use in Canada and the UK for treatment of neurologic pain and MS.

The US Government holds a patent on the use of cannabinoids, #6630507, for the use of cannabinoids to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and AIDS-related dementia.

This, along with thousands of years of documented use in traditional medicine without a single death, seems to suggest that there indeed are proven medical applications for this amazing plant. Think about this, and research it for yourself: Is it really the medical marijuana patients and collectives who are being disingenuous?

Posted by: itsjustaplantman | October 23, 2009 4:44 AM | Report abuse

"In a democracy, people should pursue their policy objectives openly, not under false pretenses."

Your instincts are absolutely correct, O fearless drug warrior. You've been outmaneuvered. But there are no false pretenses: Marijuana is helpful to many medical conditions.

And it is the drug warriors who have outmaneuvered themselves. If the DEA had not had a long term policy of suppressing medical research on marijuana and denying the existence of medicinal uses, medical applications would not now be under such loose and decentralized control.

Posted by: fzdybel | October 23, 2009 4:46 AM | Report abuse

How is this man, Chuck Lane, an editor of one of America's leading newspapers?

I left the newspaper industry partly because of ignorant, selfish liars like yourself. How embarrassing it must be for others at the Washington Post to know that this ignoramus/liar is one of their editors.

Mr. Lane, it would do you some good to read a little more about marijuana instead of continuing to speak these tiresome lies that have been perpetrated for years.

Just because a person keeps lying repeatedly, doesn't make the lie a truth. This seems to be the M.O. of you and the rest of your lying, ignorant cohorts.

Keep lying. People are starting to catch on and soon your voice will be drowned out, as will your reputation as a respected writer and editor.

Posted by: rc34foli | October 23, 2009 4:49 AM | Report abuse

You write, " It always bugs me when some group of true believers tries to foist its views on the public in the guise of science (e.g., "creation science")."
there's some irony there! for decades anti-marijuana zealots have tried to push their ridiculous agenda on grown adults who want to smoke weed in peace. this includes a ton of warnings w/ no real force of scientific study behind it: marijuana is a gateway, it will make you paranoid, sterile, give you schizophrenia, etc. etc.
what the hell is it to you if i want to get "high" whether i'm sick or not? do i go to your house and lecture you about having a drink? the arrogant self-righteousness of pointing fingers at adults who want to exercise control over their own bodies and using terms like "trojan horse." legalize weed. if you don't want to smoke, don't. and how are you in any way competent to judge whether marijuana has medicinal properties and how it effects individuals? i'll be the judge of that for myself.

Posted by: memorybabe1 | October 23, 2009 4:53 AM | Report abuse

Why can't I legally grow this medicinal plant in my backyard like our founding fathers did? It's certainly less dangerous than rhubarb, eggplant, tomato, or potato leaves, which are members of the nightshade family! I can even cultivate valerian root, the botanical source for Valium. There are countless other medicinal plants that have helped humanity through the ages.

If we are going to eradicate every plant on the planet that has a possible "negative" or psychoactive use, what are we going to have for dinner? Maybe not even meat, since many mammals (& plants, too) contain one of the most powerful known hallucinogens, DMT. DMT, a Schedule I substance, is produced right at home here in the good ol' human brain, and may have some visual function in dreaming and near-death experiences. How illegal did you get last night?

Okay, that's kind of an absurd argument. But making a plant illegal is a pretty odd cause for an entire planet to undertake. Especially a non-toxic plant with low addiction and low dependence potential, whose active compounds are clinically shown to shrink lung cancer tumors in mice.

Posted by: itsjustaplantman | October 23, 2009 5:27 AM | Report abuse

Charles, B.S.-
When Scott Morgan said -
"Yes, there is a massive lie at the center of this debate, but we're not the ones telling it. The drug war itself is the true Trojan Horse that masquerades as a symbol of health and safety, while harboring destruction within its folds."
-he hit the nail on the head.

Being controversial with your writing is one thing but to be such an idiot on a topic with science to back it up is beyond the pale. Your own editors had a fit, I mean editing a story after publication for "Shocking insensitivity" ...wow, nice work.

Do everyone a favor, either step in from of a fast moving vehicle or shut that ignorant cake-hole of yours, you obviously have no clue what you're talking about.

Posted by: ntessier | October 23, 2009 5:31 AM | Report abuse

It looks like you did some research before expressing your opinions: Very refreshing. I find this approach less dangerous than acceptance of an uncontrolled approach to medicine. Hopefully more research money will be available in the future.

Posted by: Anthony17 | October 23, 2009 5:48 AM | Report abuse

What "bugs" me is the idea that cehmistry and physics are wrong and there is no carbon monoxide if one smokes pot. Only tobacco has that result.

Piffle.

Smoke is smoke and all of it can harm us. Even if it is religious holy pot. Miracles only go so far.

Posted by: gary4books | October 23, 2009 6:09 AM | Report abuse

Dead on and never said better. Five joints of cannabis have the same quantity of carcinogens as a pack of cigarettes. Cannabis increases liver fibrosis (hastening cirrhosis) in HCV and is more harmful to the lung that cigarettes. The anti-science bias of medical marijuana advocates is evident: evil doctors, in cohoots with the pharmaceutical industry, are keeping a wonder drug from the people so as to enrich themselves.

Posted by: mainedoc | October 23, 2009 6:15 AM | Report abuse

I learned to regard with great skepticism everything the government said back in the 60's. It's a hard habit to break, esp. in light of our absurd cannabis laws.

Posted by: leajones99 | October 23, 2009 6:40 AM | Report abuse

MAINE DOC: "Five joints of cannabis have the same quantity of carcinogens as a pack of cigarettes."

Not many folks are going to smoke five joints a day, Doc. But you knew that.

Absurd stat.

Posted by: leajones99 | October 23, 2009 6:43 AM | Report abuse


I once hurt my back on the job in my youth. I needed to go to the doctor and have it looked at. It was a workman's comp case so the company I worked for sent me to THEIR doctor. The Doctor to no surprise said I was fine and maybe the pain I was feeling was all in my head. I went for a second opinion and found out that I had damage to a few disks in my back.If you want marijuana to be bad then pay a researcher to say it's bad. If you want marijuana to be good, pay that same researcher to say it's good. The bottom line is it's whoever the research company is in bed with.
I say we need a non biased, non partisan research company to once and for all do a study and put this baby to bed. That won't happen though because the DEA won't allow independent research company's access to Marijuana to do the study.
As for legalization, RESPONSIBLE ADULTS should have the RIGHT to decide what you can and cannot do in the privacy of their own home as long as it's not harming anyone else. I have a mother and father and you nor the government are them so please stop telling me how to live my life!

Posted by: DJFlorida | October 23, 2009 6:50 AM | Report abuse

I don't think it is your view on the usefulness (or not) of smoking pot that fires people up (get it?). I think it is the clear hypocritical stance of US laws that have pot as a schedule 1 illegal drug, but allows the mass over-medication of our entire society, as long as it's a giant pharma company making the money off of it, and condones the proliferation of alcohol, one of the deadliest abused drugs. It makes all your real, debatable arguments seem silly in the greater context of how drugs are illegal/legal in this country.

Posted by: blackmask | October 23, 2009 6:53 AM | Report abuse

I highly suggest everyone to watch this very informative documentary!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CyuBuT_7I4

Posted by: DJFlorida | October 23, 2009 6:58 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you Mr. Lane. The topic deserves an honest debate and the facts need to be seperated from the fiction. I personally don't think much has changed with the AGs announcement. I recognize there are a lot of people who have serious health issues that have found relief from marijuana. However, I suspect none of these people have been prosecuted by the feds for this personal use.

Posted by: justanotherguy | October 23, 2009 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Take another pill... Pfizer was going to pay how much to the Washington Post for a dinner with their reporters?

Posted by: gjcomm | October 23, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Yet another conservative who is mortified at the concept that someone, somewhere, is enjoying themselves.

Posted by: frantaylor | October 23, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Mr Lane, I love your line "In a democracy, people should pursue their policy objectives openly, not under false pretenses." The reason marijuana is illegal is steeped in the government enacting laws "under false pretenses". The original laws were based on the fact that public perception that marijuana was a mexican or black mans drug and it would send them into criminal binges (the reefer madness stage) then it was targeting hippies by equating it to Heroin under the Controlled Substances Act Schedules. The fact is that marijuana is a drug, predominantly a recreational drug. And while it does have possible health side effects they pale in comparison to two other perfectly legal recreational drugs cigarettes & alcohol. So we have, in our society recognized that humans use recreational drugs. Due to the overwhelming number of marijuana users in the US, the fact that they come from every walk of life and the money that is spent on trying to persecute smokers (persecution through prosecution)legalization is the right course (not just medical marijuana but recreational). Last but not least all efforts to control marijuana use in the United States have failed, and will continue to fail. All we are doing is making the Cartels richer and harassing our citizens.

Posted by: rcc_2000 | October 23, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Marijuana is a gateway drug - it's illegal/controlled status has allowed local and federal government agents to kick in doors, shoot people, and seize assets of American Citizens.

ENOUGH!!!

We've had enough. Time to focus on violent crime, not criminalize the smoking and possession of a weed.

Posted by: mdsinc | October 23, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

You must have accounting in your blood... trying to "precisely control" the effect of any drug is impossible in something as complex as the human body.

There is undeniable evidence that marijuana vastly improves the quality of life for multitudes of people with side effects that are tolerable. It is proven to be one of the safest drugs, if not THE safest drug, with no deaths from overdose, ever. What other drug can claim such safety?

As for cancer... not one proven case.

Why do you find this so hard to accept?

Posted by: johnvandermyde | October 23, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

This is a pretty dumb article. If Chuck worries about legalizing pot because of the possible long term harmful effects, then I presume he is also agitating for criminalization of alcohol, sugar, and deep frying.

Posted by: PJTramdack | October 23, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

When you write to us about the evils of the harder, more addictive, "Jesus Approved" and lobbyist supported drug nicotine, you might come across as something other than a Gerson wannabe.

Posted by: coloradodog | October 23, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

The single, most compelling reason to legalize pot is because it would free the police to concentrate on real crime such as robbery, rape, murder, extortion, etc. in other words, crimes that really hurt people.

If you dopey parents would have a meaningful relationship with you kids, so they trust you, then you can keep them from abusing ALL substances including tobacco and alcohol. Pot has been unfairly demonized.

As for those of you who argue that pot is a gateway drug, consider the reality that it is more likely to be a gateway to snack foods than it is to hard drugs.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | October 23, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Adrienne, among others, makes my case quite well. Trojan horse, Mr. Lane? What would you call alcohol and tobacco, two drugs that have insinuated their way on to the right side of the public moral compass under the veneer of legality? This Lane is just another conservative wackjob incapable of thinking for himself but merely parrots the establishment line.

Posted by: Terkelguy | October 23, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

In the nearly 25 years of the "Drug War" little if no impact has been made by the Government. They spend more than the make in fines to prosecute possession cases. The only thing that has grown is the profits the Cartels are making. Fact is, those who are against legalization are in the same camp as the Cartels. What amazes me is the hypocrisy. These same folks have no problem with Alcohol or Tobacco both of which are far more harmful than Marijuana yet there seems to be no concern about public health for those drugs. When doing a side by side comparison of the health effects of Alcohol, Marijuana and Heroin you will find that the similarities of Heroin and Alcohol are far greater than that of Marijuana. Those who say that marijuana use will go up with legalization are probably incorrect in the long run. Usage over the past decades has been pretty steady and will probably continue to be so. Regulation and taxation is the logical, sensible and correct direction. We need to stop the feeding money to the cartels and start supporting American homegrown (every pun intended) farmers.

Posted by: rcc_2000 | October 23, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

why should anybody care what you think on this issue?? all anybody has to do is look at who benefits from illegal marijuana: drug cartels in Mexico, the prison industrial complex, big Pharma, and the right wing kooks who still have some power.

you're just another dumba$$

Posted by: ssfs20007 | October 23, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

One last thing, why is it that these GOP conservatives who are all about individual rights and state rights backtrack on these positions when it comes to marijuana? As an adult American I should have the right to use a substance, created by God, at my own risk? As I should choose to do with tobacco & alcohol?

Posted by: rcc_2000 | October 23, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

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 for a number of reasons. Check them out and vote in our poll "Should marijuana be legalized?" at http://woodstockuniverse.com

Current poll results: 96% for legalization and 4% opposed. Add your vote. Poll runs through October.

Peace, love, music, one world,
RFWoodstock

Posted by: rfwoodstock | October 23, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Basically Conservatives like Mr. Lane care more about helping the cartels stay in business than they are of equality and fairness of their citizens. The GOP and Mr. Lane have supported the cartels for years and will continue to do so instead of supporting American growers and the millions of pot smokers who besides their illegal act of smoking marijuana are upstanding citizens who pay taxes and have legitimate and often high-powered careers. The marijuana laws have been created to target certain groups (black and Mexicans in the 30's & liberals & hippies in the 70's). The argument about marijuana has nothing to do with health. It has everything to do with prejudice.

Posted by: rcc_2000 | October 23, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

As a Dutch citizen it's funny to read this discussion. In the Netherlands the authorities stopped prosecuted the use and selling of 30 grams hash and marihuana in 1969 and this became law in 1976. The first coffeeshop (called 'Mellow Yellow') was opened in Amsterdam in 1972. Carefully at first. Only open after 18.00 PM and without promotion or pictures of weed leaves on the door. It didn't take long before the customers were standing in line and the rest is history. Nowadays you have to be 18 before you can make a purchase and the amount of coffeeshops is restricted (they have to get a license).

Posted by: LadyN46 | October 23, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

It is what it is and the citizenry is in favor of it. The war on drugs has set up a "black market" that has a kid down the hall from my son at school set up with dime bags on demand. Pot is easier to acquire for kids than anything else.....all because it is illegal. That kid down the hall doesn't have a case of beer or a bottle of Jack Daniels because for him and virtually all other juvenile "pot sellers", alcohol his harder to get his hands on than pot. If adults can buy it with proper ID and there are harsh punishments for supplying minors, the black market will evaporate. If you don't believe me ask yourself this question. Did repealing prohibition in the 30's put most all black market alcohol dealers out of business?????? The answer is YES!!!!!!! Wake up and smell the coffee, it's rough when your head is in the sand!!!!

Posted by: alydar2 | October 23, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

You frekin square! If I wasn't so high right now I'd pop you in the nose!

Posted by: johng1 | October 23, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Lane, on the day you obtain an M.D., your remarks on medical marijuana might contain merit. Until that day, as Archie Bunker once said, "Go stifle yourself!"

Posted by: Chitchco | October 23, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Chuck Lane, you are a fool. I guess no drug can have any beneficial effect in your book unless Big Pharma is making a buck off it. Marijuana SHOULD be legalized, but more importantly it should be made legal for those who NEED IT to assuage pain and nausea associated with serious illness. But you wouldn't care about them because you are too busy grinding your axe...

Posted by: jerkhoff | October 23, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Lane again writes an uninformed, poorly (if at all) researched article on the medical properties of marijuana (or cannabis, or whatever variety).

Repeating the same absurdities only makes you even dumber than you appeared in the first place.

Who gave this dolt a job at WaPo?

Posted by: Gatsby10 | October 23, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

OK so medical marijuana is a trojan horse, blah blah blah.

Marijuana will be "legalized" because the Dems need the tax money to fund their programs, and we need to cut our southern neighbors out of the deal. Right now the money is going towards funding for the overthrow of the Mexican government by drug lords, and terrorists. Personally I'd much rather have the money deposited in our bank account instead of some scumbag drug lord.

Posted by: Degenerate | October 23, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Nice straw man, Chuck, but I don't see any claims out there that marijuana is being touted as a "cure" for anything or as a treatment for anything but pain and nausea.

If you're going to spout pejorative nonsense like pot being "no worse" than alcohol, then expect to be ridiculed.

Posted by: st50taw | October 23, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I agree that the medical use--along with hemp clothing--is a Trojan horse. But so what?

The war on drugs is a Trojan horse for extending government control over aspects of people's lives that government has no business sticking its nose in.

Prohibition is a failed philosophy, and ultimately incompatible with Democracy.

Posted by: SageThrasher | October 23, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Charles, you need to get a life. You sound like an uptight conservative that has never had a fun day in his life. Going to church on Sundays is probably the highlight of every week for you. It’s obvious that you know close to nothing about MJ. Our government and government agencies have NEVER done fair, unbiased research on MJ. So what if people want to use it recreationally? There are many legal substances that are far far far more harmful physically and to society.

All of the propaganda that has created a negative perception of MJ comes from the pharmaceutical industry, big agriculture, the Christian right, the prison industrial complex, and other groups that could not care less about the wellbeing of American individuals, because they all stand to benefit financially from it remaining illegal. Our country needs to get out away from this medieval thinking.

Posted by: miknugget | October 23, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Legalize. The current slipshod semi-prohibition only helps the Mexican drug lords.

Posted by: rusty3 | October 23, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Chuck Lane: Dumb and Dumber.

Posted by: Gatsby10 | October 23, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

So now you're a doctor Mr. Lane.

Posted by: CyberspaceCowboy1 | October 23, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

People that want to smoke marijuana refer to it being for health benefit but come on they just want to do it for personal reasons. I dont see what the big debate is about. Marijuana is no where near as a big problem compared to heavier and other drugs. The attention needs to be reflected on the deadly drugs.

Posted by: xbiracialxbeautyx | October 23, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

speaking of true believers . . . let's see the war of drugs, big pharma, moralizers in the media. If there is a lack of scientific research on the medical uses of marijuana it is because it has been highly restricted by the govt. That aside, the evidence suggests that marijuana isn't remotely as hazardous as alcohol and so its prohibition makes sense, well, only for true believers like Lane.


Posted by: goexplode | October 23, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

The cartels think GOP stands for Generate Our Profits. Just like the GOP supports Big Business and the Pharma industry they support the drug cartels. Of course that is no big surprise, when they were in power they did everything they could to support the terrorists.

Posted by: rcc_2000 | October 23, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Lane I find your report just too silly to waste another min reading it. Ending this failed prohibition and taxing and regulating the stuff is the only thing that makes sense in the 21st century! Enough lies sir! We are wasting too much of our Nations resources on this cannabis issue. Let's move on to find answers to real and obvious health issues like cancer to name just one. I spent my life working for the Federal government protecting the public, I know things you do daily that would make you ill just hearing about it. Do you know what an FDA Import Alert is Lane? Before you talk your FDA trash look it up hot shot. You will see the reality of what dangers the American public faces each day including you and everyone you know.
Do you know what Listeria monocytogenes bacteria is? Have you ingested a betel nut lately? Are you ready for your finger plate culture Lane… to test for e-coli? Have you done an acid test on the ceramic ware you eat off of daily? Have your sunglasses been drop ball tested? Have you ever been in a dry storage food warehouse and watched the owner's as they used a pellet gun to hunt down rats? Is the medication your mother takes for her joint pain a counterfeit look alike? Was the French wine you drank last night contaminated will pesticides and other lethal chemicals? Does your chocolate covered resins have a chocolate covered rodent dropping hidden inside? Do you know what happens to body organs after 24 years of eating food contaminated with radionuclide’s?
I could write a series of books regarding potential health issues unknown to the public that are many times more pathologenic than cannabis.
I have had it with all the air head prohibitionists using their lies and attempting to use the Federal FDA to corroborate and support their lies.

Go the fda.gov or usda.gov or epa.gov and see for yourself people!!

Posted by: xfdacsi | October 23, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

So Lane believes 'Medical marijuana' is a Trojan horse. He may be on to something. In ancient Greece, cannabis was used as a remedy for earache, edema, and inflammation.

The oldest known therapeutic description of cannabis was by the Emperor Shen-Nung in the 28th century B.C. in China, where the plant had long been grown for fiber. He prescribed cannabis for beri-beri, constipation, "female weakness," gout, malaria, rheumatism and absentmindedness (Bloomquist, 1968: 19).

In Egypt, in the 20th century B.C., cannabis was used to treat sore eyes. Additional medical usage was not reported until much later.

Prior to the 10th century B.C., bhang, a cannabis preparation, was used as an anesthetic and antiphlegmatic in India. In the second century A.D., a Chinese physician, Hoa-Tho, prescribed it as an analgesic in surgical procedures (Mikuriya, 1969: 34).

From the 10th century B.C. up to 1945 (and even to the present time), cannabis has been used in India to treat a wide variety of human maladies. The drug is highly regarded by some medical practitioners in that country.

The religious use of cannabis in India is thought to have preceded its medical use (Blum and Associates, II, 1969: 73; Snyder, 1970: 125). The religious use of cannabis is to help "the user to free his mind from worldly distractions and to concentrate on the Supreme Being" (Barber, 1970: 80).

Cannabis is used in Hindu and Sikh temples and at Mohammedan shrines. Besides using the drug as an aid to meditation, it is also used to overcome hunger and thirst by the religious mendicants. In Nepal, it is distributed on certain feast days at the temples of all Shiva followers (Blum & Associates, 1969, 11: 63).

The Hindus spoke of the drug as the "heavenly guide," "the soother of grief." Considered holy, it was described as a sacred grass during the Vedic period (Fort, 1969: 15). A reference to cannabis in Hindu scriptures is the following:

To the Hindu the hemp plant is holy. A guardian lives in bhang ... Bhang is the joy giver, the sky filer, the heavenly guide, the poor man's heaven, the soother of grief ... No god or man is as good as the religious drinker of Mang. The students of the scriptures of Benares are given bhang before they sit to study. At Benares, Ujjain and other holy places, yogis take deep draughts of Mang that they may center their thoughts on the Eternal . . . By the help of Mang ascetics pass days without food or drink. The supporting power of Mang has brought many a Hindu family safe through the miseries of famine (Snyder, 1970: 125).

Posted by: alance | October 23, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Its just a plant and if you just happen to set it on fire it has some effects...hungry,happy,and sleepy. thats it!!! legalize it!

Posted by: SkinsEmAll | October 23, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

A common sense approach is the best approach. What is the writters motivation - it clearly is NOT common sense.

Posted by: Kathy5 | October 23, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

The stuff stinks as bad as tobacco and can't be any "better" for the lungs than cigarettes. Other pain killers probably work as well, but people who acquire a taste for pot probably prefer it, the same way others stick to a particular brand of cigarettes or beer.

The biggest "losers" in a legalization would be the inderdiction industry, the armies of penitentiary correction officers, and the underworld traffickers. Cocaine continues to nourish the FARC, and Opium enriches the Taliban. To prevent a shift to more traffic or prosecution of other substances, such as cocaine, why not decriminalize them all?

If legalized, continue to apply restrictions on lighting up in public buildings or vehicle use while intoxicated. The breathalizer test used for alcohol might need a bit of modification, though.

Posted by: jkoch2 | October 23, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Charles, are you asking for consistency in how we make policy? Can you find an issue where we have been consisent and rational?

We are always inconsistent over questions of recreational uses of drugs, issues related to sex, and questions related to how we handle money. These emotionally charged subjects "cloud men's minds" more than any drug.

We can't even find a way to look at our inconsistency without getting into emotionally charged battles and name-calling.

But, thanks for trying to point out the rationality we need as a guide in the discussion of our drug policy.

Posted by: goodgovernment | October 23, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Just legalize it. Who even cares?

Posted by: monongahela79 | October 23, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Geez, Mr. Lane, I was kind of sympathetic to your argument in your first article, but your second really makes you sound a lot dumber than I think you are.

"People should pursue their policy objectives openly?" What world do you live in? When the oil and coal industry argues that CO2 isn't a pollutant but is good for us, is that honest? When health insurers say that reform is going to raise insurance rates, are they really thinking about our wallets, or theirs? When Dick Cheney told us about the nuclear threat from Iraq, was that "openly pursuing" a policy objective?

And let's look at what made marijuana illegal in the first place, shall we? Have you examined any of the debate from back then? Prohibitionists were telling us that marijuana would cause our daughters to be violated by black jazz musicians and psychotic bouts of murderous rage from otherwise good, wholesome kids. It was on that pretense that marijuana was banned in the country.

And NOW you want an honest, open debate? I agree; let's go back to square one, when marijuana was not illegal or regulated, and have an honest debate FROM THERE.

Posted by: Buddydog | October 23, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"In a democracy, people should pursue their policy objectives openly..." You mean the way the DEA has by demonizing an herb with centuries of safe testing?

The research has established about as much concrete evidence of its harmful effects as its benefits; and when cannabis is eaten or vaporized, even those harmful findings vanish into smoke. Yet this is a schedule 1 narcotic worthy of prosecution and severe punishments? Democracy my a$$...

Posted by: lanlord10 | October 23, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

There is about a 4000 yr. history of marijuana being of value to treat a multitude of illnesses. The FDA is not a disinterested scientific body and most research you might site against the efficacy of marijuana, if you investigate to the source of funding, is biased in favor of the pharmaceutical industry. Most university research is funded by these companies. All drugs, including prescription meds, have side effects. One must assess the helpful outcome with the potential bad results. This is true with all drugs. Do you know of the damage done by chemotherapy? The after effects are horrific, yet it is legal and FDA sanctioned. Lane should read Parker's post in Washingtonpost.com from yesterday. And, so what if this is how marijuana will gain legitimacy for general and legal use. It is a relatively harmless drug people enjoy recreationally among friends. Let's get over the "reefer madness" nonsense already.

Posted by: seethewest | October 23, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and while we're "debating openly:" I would LOVE for one person - just one - to tell me the rational reason that marijuana is illegal while tobacco and alcohol is not.

Something makes me think I haven't heard the answer to this question because people haven't been completely open. There is no reason, so far as I can see, but I'm open to hearing one.

Posted by: Buddydog | October 23, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Having actually known medical marijuana patients. To call it a Trojan horse is not only absurd but to those suffering it is the equivalent of holocaust denial.

I knew Robert Randal, the first legal patient for medical marijuana, and an american hero.

I have heard too many stories of people with other disease being forced to suffer because they could not get decent pain medication.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 23, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

i use it to sleep
i sit in my bed, smoke it, laugh for half an hour
and then sleep like a rock
six hours straight
i dont understand why kids use to get 'eletric'

Posted by: jaderdavila | October 23, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

And on the "in a Democracy" bs... if that were true the war on drugs would have never happened in the first place.


The stuff was made illegal because the Hemp industry was a direct threat to the lumber industry, along with issues of anti-mexicanism in the SW US, all under the guise of "think of the children reefer madness"

Posted by: alex35332 | October 23, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Well there's not a whole lot I can add here that hasn't been said repeatedly already.

However I must ask this fundamental question. Why, Mr. Lane, do you care so much about what other people are doing if it doesn't hurt you? If I light up a joint right now at home, does it bother you that you can't control it?

Lets forget about the personal effects of the drug for a moment and look at the big picture. Legalization, if done right, would pretty much eliminate the black markets for pot. This would likely produce a large decrease in drug related crime and violence.

It would also mean that we stop throwing non-violent everyday people in jail for possession, which would generate HUGE cost savings and go a long way towards solving our overcrowded prisons problem. The U.S. jails more people than almost any other country, and pot possession laws are a big reason why.

Also, all of the free marketers should be supportive of legalization, because it would create new and largely untapped industries, both for medical and recreational use. Attention conservatives, you can make lots of money! (psst..It would also create jobs)

The government can tax this new industry just like they do with tobacco, which would be a great help to reduce our deficits, especially for the states.

The benefits to society are numerous, and I can't really see any drawbacks. Sure, it will probably lead to more people using it, but what's the big deal. Most people drink in moderation and no one cares, and alcohol is far more toxic. The drawbacks only exist on a personal level, and would result from individual people being dumb. If someone smokes continuously, they are probably going to see some negative effects on their health. But this is no different than alcohol or tobacco.

Actually no, it is different. Tabacco is strongly addictive and alcohol binging can kill (alcohol also has addictive properties). Pot has neither of these properties. It's not exactly going to be good for you, particularly your lungs, if you smoke a lot long term. But that's like saying that eating multiple ice cream sundaes a day long term has negative health effects.

I would be very interested in hearing any arguments about the potential harm to society from legalization.

Posted by: mjm67 | October 23, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

It makes people happy and does society little harm (except make some kingpins rich because it is illegal).

Btw, Chuck, you might want the Post to remove your picture, you look like a meathead.

Posted by: kenk3 | October 23, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Btw, Chuck, you might want the Post to remove your picture, you look like a meathead.

Posted by: kenk3 | October 23, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse
LOL
I thought the same thing, only people I know with hair that stands up like that usually are on something themselves.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 23, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I am in the camp that thinks marijuana should most definitely be legalized. I had always assumed that medical marijuana was a trojan horse for de facto legalization. Now when I say that I am not implying at all that marijuana does not have real therapeutic benefits for many ill people. Its just that my understanding of the movement is that the medical approach was born only after (and almost immediately after) the recreational campaign failed. I think that the initial thrust behind the movement was for eventual legalization and indeed that has been the route taken in CA.

Posted by: jmcdavisum | October 23, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Forget decriminalization - legalize it and tax it. All those billions the government could have, but they'd rather let the schools, roads, and infrastructure go to hell than tax it. Just think, we wouldn't have to look at constant tax increases, the people getting high would pay them for us. Who are the dummies here?

Posted by: Brue | October 23, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"In a democracy, people should pursue their policy objectives openly, not under false pretenses."

Yeah, right. Like the WMD’s we went to war over. And the fact that the FDA “regulates” what type of testing can be done on marijuana?

Give me a break. So, we the voters need to be honest and open but not the g-men. Yeah, right.

Look, this situation has gotten out of control on both side of the argument; it’s time to let adults be adults. Treat the damn plant like beer and cigs; regulate it to get it out of the hands of the crooks and the kids.

Posted by: enzoab | October 23, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

>>> Democracy my a$$...<<<

There you go.

Posted by: enzoab | October 23, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Did you know the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services got a patent for "cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants" in 2003? http://spryeye.blogspot.com/2008/11/uncle-sams-pot-patent-proves-pot.html

Former U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders says we "can avoid the hazards of smoke through simple devices called vaporizers" in a 2004 editorial, also dispelling other myths: http://www.projo.com/opinion/contributors/content/projo_20040326_26ctelder.22fed4.html

It's no wonder people dislike "your" opinion about our medicine. Stay out of our lives. Only a mercenary (which we presume you are) or an idiot would presume to deny us, while, like most "journalists," drinking alcohol, which as every cop knows, kills people directly and when they drive. Pot is safer than aspirin.

Posted by: EvanRavitz | October 23, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Who gives a dog turd what you think? Marijuana should be legal. Plain and simple. It's time the U.S. got smart about things like this. Countries in which it is legal have levels of addiction far lower than ours, and they don't divert ridiculous sums of money to fighting a "drug war" that cannot be won.

Didn't prohibition teach us anything at all?

Posted by: GeorgHerbet | October 23, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

IF marijuana is available by prescription then it should be under FDA rules. Proper warning labels, such as cigirettes, childproof containers since I assume (maybe wrongly) that it won't be sold to kids, sold only by a registrared and licensed pharmacists, and finally checked prior to packaging for purity. Now that said I am willing to join up with a group to suit every stupid person that supports letting an illegal drug industry sell uncontrolled products to ill people. I would suggest that since our Congress ignores the need for Medical tort reform that we find some liberal trial lawyers, there are millions that give to the Democratic party to keep the court open to their worthless suits and we sue the hell out of the doctors' writing the perscription. Sue the state that allows unregulated prescription medication and finally the unlicensed and regulated "dispenser". That will offset all the tax money that working Americans' have to pay for drug rehabilitation for these morons.

Posted by: staterighter | October 23, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Medical associations get a huge chunk of their funding from Big Pharma so it is highly unlikely they would take the risk of touting anything that isn't produced in a factory.
Pot doesn't 'cure' anything but neither does medical science so until they come up with a better idea, the associations should stick to organizing walk-a-thons and their annual meetings in Vegas and Maui.

Posted by: SoCal | October 23, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

samantha5, you said "The driving force is recreational use; in CA the vast majority of "medical" card holders are young people who want to get high"

i'm curious how you know this. did you conduct research on all medical cannabis card holders in CA to make this determination? were you able to get passed HIPAA laws that strictly protect medical privacy, and look into all medical cannabis card holders' records to decide that they are not really sick? that's really amazing that you were able to do that. may i look at your medical history and decide what treatments are best for you?

charles lane, shame on you for questioning angel raich's medical conditions and implying that they aren't as "serious" as you personally believe they should be. i don't see your medical degree referenced anywhere on this site. can you please post a copy for us to see? btw, angel is having surgery on her BRAIN STEM next week, to try to remove a BRAIN TUMOR.. is that serious enough for you mr. lane?

you are an uneducated, misinformed insensitive fool with no journalistic integrity to speak of.

Posted by: runstrails | October 23, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Two related benefits of legalization -- taxing controlled distribution (as with alcohol) could generate much needed funds and would undercut funds now funneled to hostile regimes and drug lords.

Posted by: cypheractive | October 23, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Response to this article:

http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle_blog/20
09/oct/22/medical_marijuana_isn_t_trojan_h

Posted by: enzoab | October 23, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: staterighter
>>> Sue the state that allows unregulated prescription medication and finally the unlicensed and regulated "dispenser". That will offset all the tax money that working Americans' have to pay for drug rehabilitation for these morons. <<<

Staterighter,

The plant is not “prescribed” it is “recommended” by a physician. I do agree that the dispensaries which do not follow the letter of the law should be shut down.

Better we use the “moron money” the government spends on this prohibition (8 billion tax dollars a year, friend), on education, etc.

Staterighter, your fight against drugs, especially on marijuana has lost and was lost. It’s time to think out side of your Limbaugh box.

Posted by: enzoab | October 23, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

D.E.A.th

Posted by: mydnytmover | October 23, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

When I was in the Army heading for Korea, I was given the shots for my over seas tour, I was told the shots was ok and them found out after I had a very bad reaction to them One of them was to be the anthrax shots. I started having all kinds of health related problems from Nero Mental to Constant Flue like health problems to this very day and have never found anything other then pain killers an or Weed or pot that has really helped. I then had a Child that died at the age of 11 months of age with some of the same health related problems after she had her H.I.B. Normal baby shots, some people do have reactions to many different kinds of shots. After I got out and the death of my daughter I contacted many places trying to understand things, I found through the many veterans grass roots groups a condition known as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity disorder. And then I found out that some people are even effected By Radios, cell phone and the like, Look up EMP Or EMF health related illness.


Down With Obama Nationalism,

It has been the views of people like him that have kept me from getting the medical help I could be getting for something as simple as grow-ing my own Medical Help at Home.

Posted by: WindSong | October 23, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

There is a reason this article is posted in the opinion section. Opinions dont have to be based on science and research.

Posted by: JustLegalizeIt | October 23, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Worth debating?

What a bureaucratic ruse.

Guys like Lane hide behind `worth debating´ on something that´s been hiding in plain sight for all of us since high school

Worth debating?

Exactly the kind of career saving ruse that self-interested individuals like Lane engage to avoid supporting common sense laws.

It´s cowardly fence-sitting like Lane´s that leaves people needing to engage in the ruse of medical dispensaries and doctor´s notes.

He contributes to the problem, then blames others.

Kathleen Parker, by contrast, took a stand.

Get a backbone Lane. For legalization, or against it?

Posted by: tdn0024 | October 23, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Wow, you have hit a nerve here. I agree with you whole heartedly that Medical excuse marijuana is a cover up for just getting high. LA is over run with dispensaries, who knew there were that many sick and dying people out there. I guess its all the smoke...cough, cough.

Believe me I feel compassion for individuals who can not find relief for their pain. But I feel no compassion for people who use the sick and dying as an excuse to just get high.

If marijuana smoking is supposed to make users mello and happy, what is wrong with most of these people out here who have responded to your article? They sound agressive and edgey to me, maybe they need to increase their dosage.

Posted by: jojenn | October 23, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

After four decades of a 'War on Drugs,' is there even a SINGLE CITY that is 'clean?'
Nope.

Is it even POSSIBLE that in a country of 300 MILLION free citizens, that we can hope to control everyone's behavior via such a 'War?'
Nope.

Is there anyone that thinks putting drug addict in prison HELPS them?
Nope.

Is there anyone in the DEA or ONDCP capable of admitting defeat, or recognizing these strategies are utterly unsuccessful?
Nope.

They won't do it on their own, we have to TELL them what to do. Write you congress-critters, TELL THEM you recognize the futility and expense of an unwinnable war.

NO, drugs aren't good for you (and cannabis is actually GOOD for many things), but Prohibition does not work, has never worked, and WILL never work.

Posted by: FredEvil | October 23, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

jojenn - What happened to us? We've been oppressed, vilified, incarcerated, had our rights violated, our families torn apart, lost our children, our spouses and our freedom to a FOOLSISH 'War on Drugs,' yeah, some of us are a little bitter about that! We're TIRED of taking this abuse and mistreatment, and we're not gonna take it anymore!

DON'T TREAD ON ME!!!

Posted by: FredEvil | October 23, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

2%, why that sounds like a statistic! Or is it just a wild-ass guess? Since they don’t provide citations, I have to assume they are referring to Dale Gieringer’s and Dr. Tod Mikuriya’s work documenting the conditions suffered by 2,480 California patients surveyed, which showed:

* 4.6% = Nausea / Appetite Loss (AIDS, hepatitis, cancer chemotherapy, etc.)
* 9.2% = Spasms / Convulsions (brain injury, epilepsy, paralysis, multiple sclerosis, Tourette’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, etc.)
* 7.2% = Migraines / Neuralgias (migraine, neuropathy, amputation “phantom pain”, etc.)
* 17.5% = Arthritis (fibromyalgia, lupus, etc.)
* 14.8% = Spinal / Skeletal (scoliosis, spinal stenosis, crushed vertebrae, degenerative disc disease, etc.)
* 2.3% = Traumatic injury (sprain, whiplash, carpal tunnel, etc.)
* 2.7% = Gastro-intestinal disorders (GERD, ulcers, Crohn’s disease, etc.)
* 1.2% = Other inflammatory diseases (endometriosis, pruritis, etc.)
* 26.6% = Mood disorders (PTSD, depression, anxiety, ADD, OCD, etc.)
* 2.9% = Insomnia
* 5.5% = Substitution (alcoholism, heroin dependence, etc.)
* 1.0% = Glaucoma and eye diseases
* 2.1% = Asthma
* 2.5% = Miscellaneous (PMS, chronic fatigue, Lyme disease, etc.)

Posted by: RevRayGreen | October 23, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

marijuana being illegal = gateway to drug cartel profits

drug cartel profits = gateway to gun show profits

gun show profits = gateway to NRA contributions

NRA contributions = gateway to political lobbying and contributions

political lobby and contributions = gateway to Huckabee politicians

Huckabee politicians = gateway to Hiatt's neocon writers defending marijuana being illegal

Hiatt's neocon writers defending marijuana being illegal = marijuana being illegal

marijuana being illegal = rinse and repeat

Posted by: coloradodog | October 23, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Some of the most commonly prescribed drugs in this country are antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds. Marijuana, when vaporized or eaten, can be a safe and effective treatment for these and other medical conditions. I would guess that for every person who goes to their doctor for Xanax and then sits at home on a Friday evening high on Xanax, there is someone doing the exact same thing with marijuana without having to run to their doctor.

Posted by: consumer_dave | October 23, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

In a free society the government has no business telling adults what they can or cannot do or use to get high. It's freedom of choice.

Posted by: Woodstocknative | October 23, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

"vituperative" ?

Maybe Lane is a George Will wannabee instead.

Posted by: coloradodog | October 23, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Charles Lane is an idiot. The only reason this blog is getting attention is because his views are so biased is ticks people off.

Posted by: JohnSmith10 | October 23, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I have recently looked up my home state’s position on medicinal marijuana – the state of Georgia. I never had cause to even consider what my home state's position was on marijuana until my aunt, a wonderful, caring lady, who has multiple sclerosis and glaucoma, has recently become so sick, that she cannot eat, or keep food down. She's down to 95 pounds, getting worse, and the family is scared to death. Nothing the doctors have tried has worked. I don’t care about the “FDA-approved drugs” for spasticity in MS. Trust me, they’ve tried them all. They’re not working for her and the concern here is about an early death for a good woman who deserves a shot at another treatment option.
President Obama and Eric Holder's recent decision to stop pursuing arrests of medicinal marijuana users in states that support medicinal marijuana is a landmark decision and one that I have to laud - not for myself, and not for people to get "high", but for my aunt, and people like her, though it will not help them in Georgia right now. The concept that marijuana will ease nausea and increase appetite is not a joke - it's so obviously true. The Federal government in the U.S has forbidden any kind of meaningful research for decades, so your quotes of "mixed" findings here in the US are meaningless. However, HIV and cancer patients have thoroughly debunked the concept that there is no medicinal value to marijuana, and even the "stoner jokes" of old are about increased appetite. I would give up a lot right now to give my aunt an increased appetite. The State of Georgia could easily do that, but old outdated stereotypes, and old outdated politicians are condemning her to a painful illness and poor health that could be prevented. We deserve better. Mr. Lane, I would hate to wish any sickness on you, but your viewpoint is cold, callous and uninformed.

Posted by: tish69 | October 23, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Annual Causes of Death in the United States
Tobacco 435,000
Poor Diet and Physical Inactivity 365,000
Alcohol 85,000
Microbial Agents 75,000
Toxic Agents 55,000
Motor Vehicle Crashes 26,347
Adverse Reactions to Prescription Drugs 32,000
Suicide 30,622
Incidents Involving Firearms 29,000
Homicide 20,308
Sexual Behaviors 20,000
All Illicit Drug Use, Direct and Indirect 17,000
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Such As Aspirin 7,600
Marijuana 0


So why the rhetoric about marijuana? Whose pocket are you in?

Posted by: alexday | October 23, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

What hypocrites those Huckabees high on Xanax, Valium and/or alchohol and many addicted to nicotine judging and condemning the choices of others just because Jesus, Upjohn, Roch, Seagram and R. J. Reynolds Tobacco paid off politicians with their lobbyists to legalize their drugs of choice which may include side effects of delusion, self-righteousness, intolerance, hatred and exclusion of others, racism, homophobia, severe dependence, lung cancer, emphysema, changes in appetite; changes in sexual desire; constipation; dry mouth; increased saliva production; lightheadedness; tiredness; trouble concentrating; unsteadiness; weight changes, severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); confusion; decreased urination; fainting; hallucinations; loss of coordination; memory problems; menstrual changes; muscle twitching; new or worsening mental or mood problems (eg, depression, irritability, anxiety); overstimulation; red, swollen blistered, or peeling skin; seizures; severe dizziness; severe or persistent trouble sleeping; suicidal thoughts or actions; trouble speaking (eg, stammering, stuttering); yellowing of the eyes or skin, alcohol poisoning, cirrhosis of the liver, asphyxiation by vomiting, death by motor vehicle, domestic abuse, child molestation, cardiovascular disease, malabsorption, chronic pancreatitis, cancer, drowsiness, impaired motor functions, impaired coordination, impaired balance, fatigue, depression, anterograde amnesia and reflex tachycardia, nervousness, confusion, constipation, diplopia, dysarthria, headache, hypotension, incontinence, jaundice, changes in sex drive, nausea, changes in salivation, rash, slurring of speech, tremor, urinary retention, vertigo, irritability, insomnia, muscle cramps, suicide, rage and/or violence.

Posted by: coloradodog | October 23, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

First, ditto to everyone about how marijuana should be legalized based in its medical uses (which we would all love to know more about but the government...) or recreational use.

But Mr. Lane, what you and many on this board have failed to mention is that the harm caused by making marijuana illegal is immensely larger than the harm caused by making it legal.

To illustrate, we all know that the drug violence in Mexico is severe. Literally thousands of people die each year as the drug cartels battle for profits (the majority of which are derived from Marijuana). It is the exact same as Capone's gangs terrorizing Chicago (and the country) during our own alcohol prohibition. Yet still, you ignorantly expound that marijuana "might" cause cancer, or "might" get abused. Sure, that can happen (as mentioned above, not any different than cigarettes or alcohol) BUT BY MAKING IT ILLEGAL WE GUARANTEE THE DRUG VIOLENCE CONTINUES TO TAKE INNOCENT LIVES. I don't care that the people dying are Mexican (do you?), they are dead people based on our prohibition. I happen to know a lot of Mexicans, and I love them all (especially my wife and her family who happen to be from Chihuahua, MX where the violence is at its worst).

You position is indefensible.

Posted by: rpesek6904 | October 23, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

what our columnist is forgetting to tell all of us while quoting these medical sources is that the overwhelming majority of clinical trials, testing, and research opportunities for these studies were conducting using money made available by pharmaceutical companies, partnership for a drug free america (who coincidentally enough are funded by tobacco and alcohol companies), and HMO's that would like nothing more than to have cannabis stay illegal. lets face it, if cannabis were decriminalized or made legal, these companies would lose billions of dollars in the first few weeks alone. any anti-depressant, pain killer, muscle relaxer, headache/sleep, etc....would lose instantly. these products, with their countless side affects, and liver/organ destroying properties would no long need to be produced. not only that, but countless industries would no longer serve a viable and cost productive means for today's society, and that equates to loss of jobs (the only non-partisan issue now-a-days). take for example using hemp for energy purposes, it can be made into clean burning ethanol (that can be regrown, and supplied endlessly), or used as a fuel in power plants (resin is essentially the stoner equivalent of coal, same natural processes create both, and can be burned as fuel).

all i am arguing is that the cannabis plant has been used since the beginning of recorded human history for thousands of different reasons, from medical, to industrial and in some cases economic applications, and has virtually no negative side affects. but what really sets us as a nation back is that since 1971 it has been taken out of the hands of researchers, and chemists, and doctors who can make this a more even handed, rational, and (most importantly) informed discussion. should we as a nation let other countries take the lead on this kind of groundbreaking research and development; medical or otherwise, because of nothing more than propaganda, half-truths, and flat out ethnic biggotry?

the fact is, the consequences of laws passed by ill informed, politicians in 1913, and once again in 1971 (see nixon's own panels findings), are worse for our country on an economic, medical, and spiritual level than the plant itself.

Posted by: steve95 | October 23, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Chasing pot dealers makes as much sense as chasing moonshiners in the 20s. All the crooks get rich, the cops get new toys, and the taxpayers get screwed as usual. We wouldn't have this problem if pot was as legal as alcohol (a real killer) which we make a lot of here in the US. Legalize and tax pot. Be sensible, it's never going away.

Posted by: Cleareye | October 23, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Wow, citing a 1997 study (and a government one at that - don't you think politics plays a role in such studies?) is just ridiculous - it is now 12 years old. Perhaps a look at more recent research would enlighten Mr. Lane. For instance, a study published early last year found that cannaboids may actually nuetralize carcinogen receptors in the lungs and help prevent lung cancer. The study itself said more research was warranted. As to "back door" legalization, well maybe, but prosecuting medical marijuana users and dispensaries is simply insane. State law should rule in that instance.

Posted by: fwillyhess | October 23, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

False pretenses you say Mr. Lane? Please read the findings of the Laguardia Commission of 1944 and the Schaffer Commission of 1972 and their final recommendations.

From the 1972 Shaffer Commission:

Chapter V
marihuana and social policy
A Final Comment

In this Chapter, we have carefully considered the spectrum of social and legal policy alternatives. On the basis of our findings, discussed in previous Chapters, we have concluded that society should seek to discourage use, while concentrating its attention on the prevention and treatment of heavy and very heavy use. The Commission feels that the criminalization of possession of marihuana for personal use is socially self-defeating as a means of achieving this objective.

The Nixon admin which set up this commission completely shelved the findings in the final report and instead decided to wage what we have come to know as the modern day war on drugs. Do you still want to talk about false pretense Mr. Lane?

Posted by: JKJ88 | October 23, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Lane, you write: “ 'Medical marijuana' is obviously a Trojan horse for legalization of pot as a recreational drug. In a democracy, people should pursue their policy objectives openly, not under false pretenses"

You're right - it is a trojan horse. Unfortunately, legalization advocates have tried for years to "pursue their policy objectives openly, not under false pretense". They have been ignored, ridiculed, marginalized, and subjected to the exact same dishonest tactics you now take them to task for using.

There comes a point, sometimes, where you have to fight fire with fire. The FDA, backed by the DEA, the pharmaceutical industry and ignorant drug crusaders of the DARE ilk, has made it quite clear by its (non)actions that it has no intention of EVER allowing an honest, rational discussion of the issue.

Posted by: drewdane | October 23, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I see what you are saying but your pretending that the side against pot doesn't put up claims that are ridulous. Its about politics. Whoever said the truth is involved in politics. Medical marijuna has helped a lot of people that is why it has some popular backing. Using medical pot is the best way to get pot decriminalize and then legalized. You see that is the american way. Baby steps are usually successful if they take hold. People are getting use to pot as a medicine. Then to make it decriminalized is not such a big step. California will be the perfect example. I would say it will be decriminalized in Cal in 5 or 10 years.
I would suggest your problem is that by arguing about medical pot, the people in support of pot are winning and that is what is upsetting you.

Posted by: niceday971 | October 23, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

if the US would have a rational discussion on the following: legalized marijuana, abortion, and gay marriage, we'd be much better off, and in the end our efforts could be focused on more important things.

Many studies done by the US in the 60's/70's showed no ill effects from pot; the studies were ignored; the experts are ignored; long-term users are ignored. Who is listened to? Only the people that want to keep it illegal.

if the FDA would allow anyone to do research without the intent of finding harm, we'd have more honest information.

The US has it's head up it's a$$ for drugs, nudity/sex, and recently, science and math. We've been headed in the wrong direction - we need to turn the car around.

Posted by: Michael_A1 | October 23, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Chuck, are you trying to gain fame a la Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck? Say anything, lie about anything to rile up the populace while stuffing money into your pockets?

I cannot say it better than the above commentators' posting.

Posted by: Rich393 | October 23, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Just do both.

Medical marijuana in all states.

And legalize - but distribute only to adults at places like liquor stores where you can check ID - highly taxed marijuana.

There. Now stop whining. Respect the Constitution!

Posted by: WillSeattle | October 23, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

all your evidence is weak! Could do this, might do that. You sound like Bush selling the Iraq war.

Posted by: obrier2 | October 23, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Mr Lane, I agree that medical marijuana is the Trojan Horse to get it legalized but, I do not care how it gets legalized just that it does. It is wrong to have plant illegal that grows naturally in the wild that an individual can not over dose on. Why not spend the money that the government is wasting in the billions to health care and help people instead of punishing good Americans.

Posted by: dfnk123 | October 23, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

If you do not find marijuana to be safe and effective to treat the symptoms of your illness, Mr. Lane, you are free not to use it. Those who do find marijuana use to be a safe and effective treatment should be free to use it for that purpose. Those who find marijuana use to be an enjoyable recreational activity should be free to use it for that purpose.

I would gladly advocate full legalization more completely and openly, but there are too many busybodies like yourself, in government and elsewhere, minding other people's business for a campaign like that to be immediately successful. The best we can hope for now is offer relief to the sick and dying.

If some recreational users slide in under the guise of medicinal users, thank medical marijuana advocates for saving your tax dollars from being wasted on prosecuting and warehousing these harmless people.

Posted by: autofyrsto | October 23, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

From a scientific standpoint Mr. Lane is quite correct and the links between cannabis and it's medical usages is shakey. However this doesn't mean he is correct. There are more things under heaven and earth tyhen are dreamt of in our science. There is considerable anicdotle evidence that cannibis does help some people with pain and nausea. My wife does use occasionaly to help with migraine pain that conventional pain pills either don't help or have severe side effects. The exact reason for why this is so is unknown but that doens't make it any less real. Mr. Lane's article bespeaks of a closed mind for reasons other then science. Also I will reatste the follwoing point from the previous article;
I'm not going to argue we should legalize marijuana but consider the following when thinking about it;

If you wish to know the risk of a certain behavior you should ask those who assess risk. Insurance companies. They are some of the oldest and largest companies in the world. If their assessments are wrong it costs them millions.

From an life or disability income insurance underwriting perspective there is no correlation between recreational marijuana usage and either mortality or morbitity. Frequent usage (defined as 1-2 months) would give you the same rates as ciggerrete smoking. Somwhwat higher mortality and morbiitity but easily classifiable.

By comparison recent cocaine usage would automatically decline you for either coverage.

Something to think about.


Posted by: kchses1 | October 23, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

A "Trojan horse"? Oh my goodness, circle the wagons! Marijuana should have been legalized decades ago. There are more people in jail in the USA per capita than China or Russia, neither of which makes any claim to being a "sweet land of liberty." When did all that liberty become illegal? So-called drug offenders languish in the slammer so that people like Phillip Garrido can walk. Lovely. Get a clue, Lane.

Posted by: rbmurals | October 23, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

If people and drink and smoke tobacco then they surely should be able to smoke pot.

In fact we ought to do away with the black market all together and take the money wasted on our Prison Industrial complex and focus on rehab or help for addicts and take the tens of billions that would be left over and apply it to our debt. You will never be able to curb the appetite for drugs here or anywhere else in the world.

People won't be cutting each others heads off over a regulated and taxed product.

Posted by: theobserver4 | October 23, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I can agree that "medical marijuana" is a trojan horse for legalization, but I feel it is a fair tactic. Marijuana DOES have therapeutic uses -- many people with the illnesses mentioned here swear by it. Legalization for medical purposes takes away some of the stigma attached, and otherwise the debate is simply irrational, so it is reasonable for advocates of legalization to try this semi-rational approach. The "War on Drugs" is the single biggest social disaster our country has faced since Prohibition... umm, it IS Prohibition. These five (violent and criminal) Mexican drug cartels that our attorney general yesterday described as being "in all 50 states" would not exist is marijuana itself was legal. Meanwhile I don't know of a single study that suggests marijuana, when abused, is anywhere near as dangerous as either alcohol or cigarettes. Let's do legalize, but lets take any possible steps to get there from here, including "medical marijuana" laws.

Posted by: rjciardo | October 23, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

It strains belief that The Washington Post allows Charles Lane to follow up his first column on medical marijuana with still more misleading statements.

Having read most all of the posts (he's right, they're mostly negative), Lane seems to have no problem ignoring the significant arguments posed and instead misrepresents respondents with strawman statements like, "What I do object to, strongly, is the claim that smoked marijuana is some sort of wonder cure with a multiplicity of proven, but officially repressed, therapeutic uses."

In fact, only a tiny fraction of the many, many commenters made a point approaching his characterization. Most writers were thoughtful and based their comments on established data (e.g.,the FDA has severely limited marijuana research over the years).

As a retired law enforcement officer and high school teacher, I find his ramblings disingenuous at best.

My advise to Mr. Lane: consider penning articles on subjects in which you have some considered knowledge and/or expertise.

Posted by: mbarrexp | October 23, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Why not establish - The Church of the Holy Smoke - based on the short but Holy life of Bob Marley?

Yes, we can learn from our brothers and sisters in Jamaica. Ganja is a Holy weed. Then we simply ask for a religious exemption.

Posted by: alance | October 23, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse


I believe authoritarians are manufacturing and manipulating public fears about drug use in order to create a police state where a much broader agenda of social control can be implemented, using government power to determine what movies we may watch, determine who we may love and how we may love them, determine whether we may or must pray to a deity. I believe the war on drug users masks a war on democracy.
After all, what is the vision of a Drug-Free America? Millions in prison or slave labor, and only enthusiastic supporters of government policy allowed to hold jobs, attend school, have children, drive cars, own property. This is the combined vision of utopia held forth by Nancy Reagan, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, William Bennett, Daryl Gates, and thousands of other drug warriors. News media and "public interest" advertising tell us this is the America for which all good citizens yearn.

—Richard Lawrence Miller, author of Drug Warriors and Their Prey

Charles Lane; your name obviously belongs on that list.

Posted by: malcolmkyle | October 23, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

7,000 people will be brutally murdered this year because we keep marijuana illegal.

So it doesn't matter whether marijuana contains a lot of risk or some risk or no risk at all, keeping it illegal is killing children and innocent people and we have to STOP these murders.

Undercutting cartel marijuana prices is the ONLY way to end these murders! According to the ONDCP two-thirds of the cartel's incomes come from selling marijuana in the U.S.

Don't assist the cartels with your silence - demand legalization now!

Posted by: jway86 | October 23, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Don't you remember when folks used alcohol "for medicinal purposes"? Remember when only sinners drank? When it was illegal in America?

Sure alcohol has its problems but making it illegal wasn't the answer. Unfortunately its association with the counter-culture of the 60's and the Black music scene of the 40's has made any discussion a red flag in the continuing 'Culture Wars'. Anyone studying Marijuana was instantly challenged as having an "agenda" and no significant research was ever carried out until very recently.

Legalize it, regulate it and study how it might be used. Keeping it illegal only helps the Drug Cartels.


Posted by: thebobbob | October 23, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"If marijuana smoking is supposed to make users mello and happy, what is wrong with most of these people out here who have responded to your article? They sound agressive and edgey to me, maybe they need to increase their dosage."

A decent point. I'm not really much of a pot smoker, so why do I care enough to post here?

The answer is that this issue isn't about the drug itself. It's about the prohibition of the drug, which is causing very real damage to our society and has been doing so for a long time. Legalizing it is about reducing crime and violence, keeping otherwise good people out of jail, and decreasing funding for regimes that are hostile to the U.S. It's a social issue, not so far removed from things like health care reform. Most people, whether they smoke or not, should be able to agree that these are good things to achieve.

For example, if I get busted for pot possession, I could face up to a couple of years in jail, depending on the state. Thats a couple years in which I'm a total drain on society, living completely off the taxpayer's dime while contributing nothing to society myself. I'm a normal and productive person, so this would be a loss to society. Multiply it by tens of thousands, and it becomes a huge loss. I've always found it very ironic that fiscal conservatives champion self sufficiency and are against the welfare state, but they have no problem with locking people up so that they are completely supported by the government. Not an efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

And then there's the more idealistic among us who get fired up because few policies in the U.S. are as strongly based on lies and ignorance as our current pot laws. People who see the world and its truths in a logical way can be quite upset about this.

Either way, I don't think many people making "angry" posts here do so out of a some desperate desire to smoke up. That's already really easy to do, as the drug is ubiquitous and some states don't do much to enforce the laws.

Posted by: mjm67 | October 23, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Well, Charles Lane, what's your response to all this? Do you have another article up your sleeve telling us what liars and hypocrites we are for emphasizing the medicinal aspects of cannabis? In a country where "democracy" had meaning, cannabis would be legal. But "democracy" doesn't talk, money talks. The single, solitary reason for the prohibition is that there are an enormous number of people who make their living from the drug war. Entire towns in depressed economic areas depend on the construction of new prisons which, along with the prison support services, provide a shot in the arm to many impoverished rural communities. The drug prisoners are used as dehumanized commodities that generate profits. I cannot find words to describe the immorality, viciousness, and outright crime of cynically declaring a use of a common herb a criminal offense in order to increase the pool of convicts to make money off others' misery.

I am ashamed of the American political class that engages in such immoral and criminal conduct, and even more of individuals like yourself, journalists who work as their claque and attack dogs. You have no credibility, which is evident by the comments you have received.

Posted by: RichardHode | October 23, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

"If marijuana smoking is supposed to make users mello and happy, what is wrong with most of these people out here who have responded to your article? They sound agressive and edgey to me, maybe they need to increase their dosage."

I don't use marijuana at all and would be highly unlikely to even if it was legal. If I sound edgy or aggressive maybe I do need it! But I support legalization for one reason only -- the damage prohibition has done to our society and the many thousands of otherwise law abiding citizens lives. Again, again and again (how many times do we have to say this before it sinks in?) there is no evidence, NONE, that marijuana is as dangerous as alcohol or cigarettes which ARE ALREADY legal in our society. Let people smoke it if they want to and lets save our country billions of dollars in "enforcement" that is really just harassment. Let's deprive mobs and mafias of whatever nationality of this PRIMARY means of profit, and let's get our country out of the violence and illegality that the drug trade entails. To me this is a no-brainer. I haven't seen a single cogent argument for why marijuana should be illegal in ANY of these posts. If it's "just" a cultural norm, it is one we had best abandon before we end up, as a society, like Rio de Janeiro, with drug violence and drug deaths a common enough occurrence that our society is destroyed by it. There is no need to ban a relatively harmless substance that everyone who wants it could easily grow themselves. There is no need to drive a huge part of our economy, (largest cash crop) underground. There's no need to imprison tens of thousands of people who's only wish is to enjoy relaxing on a weekend night, as most of the rest of us do over a few beers. There is NO benefit to this prohibition and it is long since time we learned better. A society that cannot learn from its mistakes is bound to fail.

Posted by: rjciardo | October 23, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

END THE PROHIBITION AND THIS WILL NOT BE AN ISSUE. PEOPLE DRINK IN EXCESS EVERY DAY AND THEY TAKE MORE THAN THEIR SHARE OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS THAT THE LAW APPROVES. PEOPLE DIE EVERY DAY FROM DRUG OVERDOSE FROM LEGAL DRUGS.

THIS IS A NATURAL PLANT SUBSTANCE THAT KILLS NO ONE.

YES, I AGREE, GROW UP CHUCK.

Posted by: healthyherbi | October 23, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr Lane
Twenty nine years ago my brother died , after five years of therapy for neuroblastoma. He was only seventeen years old when diagnosed, and suffered off and on for those years, the medical care essentially bankrupting our parents as my brother watched many of his cancer ward friends die.

At one point my father had to wander the streets of San Francisco to find marijuana for my brother, because the chemo had suppressed his hunger as it caused him to throw up any food he ate.

Years later, when we had a chance to legalize marijuana for medical purposes in California, I thought it was a great thing, because of our experience with my brother. I never foresaw that the bogus use of the law, passed as Proposition 215, would make my hometown a mecca for growing marijuana, with an estimated 1000+ sites growing marijuana, around a half dozen outlets for the supplies required for marijuana grows, and my city reduced to busting grows when the wiring is overloaded, causing a fire. So the police bust a couple dozen grows a year while 1000 grows keep right on producing.

This is a problem, in many ways, but to me the worst of it is that it undermines the efforts of anyone who believes in honest work as the best way to achieve a happy life. The drug culture says the opposite. It says " grow marijuana, or make methamphetamine, or deal drugs, it's lucrative and you probably won't get caught."

I think our country had a drug problem before Proposition 215 passed in California, but it is worse now, and unfortunately, people like me voted it into law. Maybe we should repeal Prop. 215.

thanks

R. Glover

Posted by: reg7001 | October 23, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I will have to say this...

Mr. Charles Lane is in the MINORITY of this country regarding where and what we should be doing regarding marijuana.

America is ready for legalization/decriminalization! We need to out vote the older generation (70+/-). Young people reassemble.

Posted by: not_too_shabby | October 23, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Lane, you and your kinds time has come jackson. The bullying and terroizing of the sick for using cannabis is deplorable. your blind rhetoric about cannabis is through. the studies are done and cannabis is safer then most prescription meds not to mention tobacco or alcohol. you are shameful!

Posted by: doc_gannon | October 23, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

On the one hand, I believe that marijuana should have been legalized years ago. Whether it helps people with different symptoms or is just being used for recreational use doesn't matter in my opinion. The government could start paying down it's debt or finance national health care with the tax money it could get. I mean, why not? They seem to do a good job taxing cigarettes and alcohol and it doesn't affect you the way alcohol will yet alcohol is legal and look at how many people get killed every year because of that? Prohibition didn't work for alcohol and drug wars aren't working for drugs.

on the other hand, as for it helping people medically, I'm sure it does. My deceased husband smoked it daily for chronic pain and it helped him, but it also gave him a lung disease.

Posted by: inspiration44 | October 23, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

END THE WAR ON DRUGS!!! THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, OR ANY GOVERNMENT FOR THAT MATTER SHOULD NEVER HAVE THE RIGHT TO DECIDE WHAT THE PEOPLE DO TO THEMSELVES, WHETHER BENEFICIAL OR HARMFUL!!! LOCKING UP AND RUINING THE LIVES OF HARD-WORKING AMERICANS CAN NO LONGER CONTINUE!!! WE, THE PEOPLE, NEED TO COMMUNICATE THIS MESSAGE TO OUR GOVERNMENT AND LET THEM KNOW WE LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY WHERE LAWS ARE BASED ON THE INTENT TO PROTECT OUR SOCIETY!!!! WE ARE NOT ELECTING LEADERS TO A FASCIST GOVERNMENT THAT BELIEVES IT CAN REGULATE THE CITIZENS AND THEIR ACTIONS!!!

Posted by: headmitten92 | October 23, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

You want a debate. then why won't the Post allow Bruce Mirken of MPP post a rebuttal to you article. As I see it your writing is one sided and hypocritical. If you want a debate then let MPP respond, better yet Why don't you debate Bruce..Perhaps it will help in opening your otherwise closed eyes, and as other have posted the question, what research have you done on the subject.. None from the sounds of it.. Your only regurgitating false hoods that have been around for 70 years or more..
Allow MPP to post a rebuttal and you sir to have the nads to openly debate this issue with those far more knowledgeable than you.. I forgot, having debate may actually compel you to research the subject before inserting mouth.

Posted by: rcoleman731 | October 23, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Since most people have come to realize is that marijuana, regardless of the reason for its consumption is relatively benign. People who understand the devastation that the Drug War has wrought can no longer justify the costs of prohibition.

That being said, yes, there are a lot of people who would like to see end to marijuana prohibition who are routing for medical provisions. This fact does not, in any way, invalidate or diminish the needs of the terminally ill and suffering.

Mr. Lane thinks himself clever in realizing the existance of perscription fraud! Whether we're talking oxycontin or marijuana, this really is old news. Thankfully, this is already understood and accepted by most people on the simple level of common sense.

I'm certian that there are some people who are recieving perscription marijuana under false pretenses to get high. Great. People do the same thing at the Right Aid across the street from my home all day, every day. Why make such an ignorant dinstinction in regards to marijuana?

Posted by: MPR22 | October 23, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

If the active ingredient is all that is important, why does it have to be smoked, rather than in pill form?

If it was marijuana suppositories, it wouldn't be so popular...

Posted by: dennyc | October 23, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

I see that a lot of people have already responded to this so forgive me if I'm going over stuff that's already been said; I'm not going to read every post here, just add my 2 cents.

"It always bugs me when some group of true believers tries to foist its views on the public in the guise of science"

Brother, truer words were never spoken. But who's doing the foisting here? Proponents of legalization aren't trying to make anyone do anything! They're simply trying to reclaim the right to decide what to put in their own bodies. It is proponents of prohibition who are foisting their views on everyone, through violence or the threat of it. And, I might add, with a heaping pile of "phony arguments" and hypocrisy of their own.

Your claims are also completely absurd in light of the history and atmosphere behind the prohibition of certain drugs. You wrote that "Medical Marijuana is obviously a Trojan horse for legalization. In a democracy people should pursue their policy openly." First, if you'd read a little bit of history about prohibition, you'd know that the banning of cocaine, marijuana and opium were in reality just a Trojan horse for rounding up blacks, Hispanics and Chinese, respectively. It's a matter of Congressional record - for example, "experts" on drugs, who pretty much made up their facts as they went along, testified that cocaine would cause black men to rape white women. So if legalizers are using the issue as a Trojan horse, it is only to overturn a policy that is itself a Trojan horse.

It's also because they're forced to.

It must be easy for you to sit there and write that people should pursue policy objectives openly when your own political views don't make you a target for police investigation or in fear of losing your job. In fact, many people are pursuing their policy objectives openly, only to have their efforts aggressively thwarted
by the juggernaut that is prohibition. I've watched it with my own two eyes on C-SPAN. Every effort at even having an open debate is quashed. Proponents of prohibition must know that their position would crumble if examined too closely.

To take the argument further, the Nation's Drug Czar is required by law to oppose legalization efforts! With hundreds of millions a dollars of our tax money every year at his disposal, even if that means cooking up phony statistics, wild hyperbole, fear-mongering, and out-right lying to the American public.

It's my own "wingnut" opinion that prohibition is just a Trojan horse for a police state. I could keep going but I've wasted enough time already; this is probably falling on deaf ears...

Posted by: MDGuy1 | October 23, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm... Another brilliant rag from Lane, who continues to ignore that with a prohibition on cannabis research in the U.S., of course U.S. research has not passed the FDA.

Researcher Donald Tashkin, MD, of UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine recently conducted research that suggests that cannabis DOES NOT increase risk of lung cancer. How many years old is the long quote you copied and pasted.

Lane, your insight is next to zero. Come out of your Tower of Seclusion and meet some actual people.

By the way, the only way to end the drug cartels that rule over half of Latin America and Asia... is to legalize. Prohibition has never saved a single life, but these people are killing innocent victims every day.

Posted by: 2030 | October 23, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Allow Bruce Mirken of MPP to post a rebuttal to you article.

Posted by: enzoab | October 23, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

If it's so obvious then how can it be a Trojan Horse? If it is a stealth tactic to finally re-legalize cannabis the so be it. What's nucking futs is that I can legally commit slow suicide with tobacco and alcohol with the government happily taking the tax but I'm a criminal if I choose God's blessed herb.

You sure have a bee in your bonnet about this but I hope you get over it. You're on the losing side of history so enjoy prohibition while you can.

I don't know why anyone would bother to threaten you. It's not like you've done anything except to prove few agree with you and besides there's no use beating a dead dog.

Posted by: Br_John_Henry_Phelan | October 23, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

As for the Washington Post publishing a rebuttal by Bruce Mirken of the MPP, the newspaper is frightened to take that step because it would anger influential drug warriors. The Post gauges the winds carefully to avoid upsetting powerful interests. As the pressure grows to legalize cannabis, the time will come when the post will publish rebuttals in order to transition to the new reality, as it sees things are changing. The press is a notorious chameleon that slants its reporting according to the power structure it has to deal with.

A good example of this was demonstrated by the French press early in the nineteenth century. Napoleon had been sent into exile on the isle of Elba and France was again a monarchy, when suddenly Napoleon managed to leave Elba and land in the south of France. Here are the headlines that appeared in the Paris newspapers between the 9th and the 22nd of March 1815 reporting Napoleon's advance to Paris:

March 9 - "The Man-Eater Has Left His Den!"

March 10 - "The Corsican Ogre Has Landed At Cape Juan!"

March 13 - "The Tyrant Has Passed Through Lyon!"

March 19 - "Bonaparte is Advancing With Rapid Strides. But He Will Never Enter Paris!"

March 20 - "Napoleon Will Tomorrow Be Under Our Ramparts!"

March 21 - "The Emperor Is At Fontainebleau."

March 22 - "His Imperial And Royal Majesty Arrived Yesterday Evening At The Tuileries."


The Washington Post always runs with the hounds. Change the hounds' direction, and the Post will follow.

Posted by: RichardHode | October 23, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

I hope you've learned at least one thing from this Charles Lane: Most people now detest propagandized zombies like yourself that are counted on to perpetuate the drug problem. Mindless drones who help keep drugs illegal and the illicit profits flowing.

How come you refuse to see the damage that you're helping to cause? -- The harm that drug prohibition has done to society is one of the greatest horrors, one of the greatest insults to freedom and justice, one of the greatest indignities happening in society and around the world today. it's a shameful fascist enterprise all the way through to it's stinking and rotting core.

Posted by: malcolmkyle | October 24, 2009 5:56 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Lane, I'm sure that you are aware that marijuana in various forms, not necessarily smoked, has been used therapeutically for centuries in many parts of the world. Marijuana appears to provide relief from pain, nausea, and other symptoms, with fewer ill effects and a greater margin of safety than many other classes of drugs. In particular, marijuana appears to be far safer than the narcotic drugs commonly administered for pain, and safer even than the non-narcotic drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and related compounds that are responsible for a few hundred fatal poisonings each year (_www.acponline.org/journals/annals/15sep97/nsaid.htm_).

In 2008, the American College of Physicians stated: “Evidence not only supports the use of medical marijuana in certain conditions but also suggests numerous indications for cannabinoids. Additional research is needed to further clarify the therapeutic value of cannabinoids and determine optimal routes of administration. The science on medical marijuana should not be obscured or hindered by the debate surrounding the legalization of marijuana for general use.” (_www.acponline.org/advocacy/where_we_stand/other_issues/medmarijuana.pdf_)

Mr. Lane, I tend to believe you: Some people may be getting high under the pretense of the medical marijuana law. That does not, however, take away from the facts: marijuana offers important symptomatic relief to many people with difficult-to-treat pain and neurological ailments. I hope that you are not suggesting that these ill people continue to be jailed just to make sure that nobody "gets high" from marijuana. The non-medical use by some should not serve as an excuse to jail people for whom marijuana is serving a valuable therapeutic function.

Posted by: conservativechristian1976 | October 24, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I have every right to come home after a hard day and relax with couple puffs of some good herb or a "cannabis lollipop". Especially when everyone knows it won't kill me or give me a hangover that I don't want to take with me to work the next morning. Oh and by the way Charles, before you start throwing out research work make sure you post references backing up your findings if you want to be taken seriously. The rubber and smog I breath every day on my morning bike ride is more dangerous than those couple puffs I take when I want to relax. Our government is a joke when it comes to our own health therefore I am going to take it upon myself to do my own research and decide whats good for me. To many good productive people have been killed or locked up by our own government for making themselves feel better. They need to stop that stupid crap and let us decide whats best for our self. Regardless of there bogus findings. It does this and this does that. If I ate lettuce over and over again and nothing else I would freakin die of cancer. Give me a break!

Posted by: lipa1 | October 24, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

In my humble opinion, every drug needs to be legalized. Why should I have to beg a doctor and pay out a ton of money for 10 Vicodin for a toothache? Why can't I relieve my own pain? So what if I'm a drug addict (I'm not). I'm not forcing it on you so why should you or anyone else dictate to me what I can and cannot put in my own body? Alcohol is legal and it kills thousands and thousands of people each year. All pot does is make you silly, hungry and paranoid. You don't start fights under the influence of pot. I just hate the moral majority who decides what is and what is not legal. Give me a break.

Posted by: divotdawg | October 24, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Chuck, cannabis is a gift from the Creator. Sounds like you are sad because you did not get to drive in one of the nails at the crucifixion.
Join the human race and let people live in peace. Don"t be another George Bush.

Posted by: cbsan | October 25, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

How about the "science" proving marijuana use is harmful, Mr. Lane?

The fact is that all of the studies which only go as far as "suggesting" (not concluding) that marijuana use "may" or "can" (not does) cause harm are seriously flawed.

None of these studies factor in accurate intake amounts (such pinpoint accuracy critical in determining the harms and benefits of any pharmaceutical drug), intake method (e.g. is the reported damage due to marijuana or the act of smoking?), or strain of marijuana (the effects can vary substantially between strains).

None of the studies that prompt you to support a ban on marijuana use can be considered true science.

And none of that even matters in the U.S., because despite Supreme Court rulings to the contrary, no rational American can find the authority to ban possession of certain drugs in the commerce clause.

But none of that will stop the likes of you, Mr. Lane, will it?

Posted by: scott77 | October 25, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Alcohol is sold at sporting events, grocery stores etc. What do these places have in common?? They allow people to get drunk around children. It is legal to purchase alcohol with children, it`s legal to get drunk around children in stadiums and at home. And unless the child reports abuse, these drunks continue to enjoy the freedom of using this liquid drug around children. Does the FDA approve getting drunk around children? They must because they are not putting people in prison for it. And we all know what would happen if you smoke a joint at a football game whether children are there or not. They don`t care if you are sober or not, they just commence to destroying your life. Enough of this alcohol-pharma-government coalition of power. First you need to get drugs away from children. What message do they think they are sending to children by allowing drunkenness around children. Broken bottles, drunk drivers killing thousands. I don`t use alcohol. I don`t use anything around children. Can the hypocrites at the FDA say the same? Can most of our society say the same? No! So again stop the medical B.S. and put marijuana on the table with alcohol,along with all the pills big pharmaceutical companies are pushing on our children. The hypocrites in charge that abuse alcohol keep changing the subject because they want to stay drunk. I`m sure a lot of people in the FDA abuse alcohol around children. It`s just commonplace in a society of drunks. So we need to give breath tests and urine test every 30 minutes to all people in power, so they can prove they aren`t hypocrites, until this issue is resolved....or legalize marijuana the way god intended. These plants were put here for all humanity to use for whatever reason. Stop playing god!!!

Posted by: common_sense1 | October 25, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Lane, If there is any "foisting" it's by you. Your bias and ignorance is beyond words. You are for the continued criminalization and therefore prison sentences for some users, for diverting expensive and limited legal resources to chase and criminalize recreational users, because why? You find studies that "suggest" benefits are magnified or harm might occur? You mean the lab rats that chain-smoked joints over how long a time? Please grow up & find something serious to do with your spare time other than empty moralizing.

Posted by: hans3 | October 26, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Prohibition is the REAL Trojan horse that has created a major underground market that has allowed terror to threaten our safety. To continue in the way we are will result in many innocent lives being ruined by these worms of society. Booze had the same problem and the harder the stance on forcing people to be without only helps the bad people increase their profits. Do yourself and your family a favor. Spread the truth and let WE the people. THINK FOR OURSELVES!!
"Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded."

-Abraham Lincoln (1809-65) U.S. President.

Speech, 18 Dec. 1840, to Illinois House of Representatives

Posted by: spiderman5150 | October 27, 2009 4:55 AM | Report abuse

You have no idea what you are talking about. You are obviously too stupid to go out and think for yourself BUT the ACTIVE PSYCHOACTIVE CHEMICAL IN MARIJUANA MAY BE THC but it is no the ONLY ACTIVE CHEMICAL. You can vaporize the cannabis and still retain all the cancer fighting canabanoids and not inhale toxic smoke!

Learn 2 research idiot

Posted by: toadstooler | October 27, 2009 5:54 AM | Report abuse

I read both posts on "medical marijuana" by Charles Lane and have a recommendation for him. Why don't you actually educate yourself on the topic of medicinal cannabis by attending The Sixth National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics that will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick, RI on April 16-17, 2010? You can meet and hear from researchers from the US, Canada, Brazil and Israel who can educate you about the therapeutic use of cannabis. It is not a cure-all; no drug is - but cannabis has a remarkably wide margin of safety and is effective for a wide range of conditions and illnesses. It WAS approved medicine before Congress created the reefer madness hysteria and passed the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Are you aware of the recent discoveries about the endogenous cannabinoid system in the human body? Do yourself a favor and attend this conference with an open mind - bring your questions - we will have thoughtful and evidence-based answers for you regarding the medical efficacy of cannabis. The conference is sponsored by Patients Out of Time (www.medicalcannabis.com).

Posted by: mlmathre | October 27, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

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