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    Matt 7:48 pm on November 29, 2013 Permalink  

    Cannabis: the Exit Drug 

    Philippe Lucus
    By Philippe Lucas, CARBC

    Cannabis is neither completely harmless, nor is it a cure-all, but with polls showing that Canadians overwhelmingly support cannabis policy reform, it’s fair to assume that most people no longer believe that legalization would lead to the end of the world. Yet, some who support reform nonetheless have concerns that adding yet another legal drug (alongside alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals) for society to struggle with might result in an increase in use.

    But what if the legalization of adult access to cannabis also resulted in a reduction in the use of alcohol and other drugs? What if rather than being a gateway drug, cannabis actually proved to be an exit drug from problematic substance use? A growing body of research on a theory called cannabis substitution effect suggests just that.

    Read More

  • avatar

    Matt 9:13 am on July 2, 2013 Permalink

    Matter of Debate: Should Pot Be Legal? (Full Session) 

    Recent elections in the states of Washington and Colorado have legalized marijuana, catalyzing the national debate regarding drug policy and reform. Would it be easier on health and police departments now pulled between conflicting state and federal laws to just legalize marijuana? Underwritten by Booz Allen Hamilton

    Featuring Ethan Nadelmann, Asa Hutchinson, and James Bennet

  • avatar

    Matt 4:44 pm on May 16, 2013 Permalink

    Rep. Cohen Tears Into AG Holder On Marijuana 

  • avatar

    MaryJane 10:13 pm on June 13, 2012 Permalink  

    Endocannabinoid System 

    Drug Policy Question of the Week – 6-13-12

    As answered by Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts for the Drug Truth Network on 6-13-12.

    Question of the Week: What is the endocannabinoid system?

    According to the Drug Enforcement Administration in its July 2011 entry into the Federal Register,

    “Some 483 natural constituents have been identified in marijuana, including approximately 66 compounds that are classified as cannabinoids.  Cannabinoids are not known to exist in plants other than marijuana … “

    A Brazillian overview states that,

    “In the tip of secreting hairs located mainly on female-plant flowers and, in a smaller amount, in the leaves of cannabis plant, there are resin glands that have a considerable amount of chemically related active compounds, called cannabinoids.”

    A 2003 article in Nature Reviews calls cannanbinoids,

    “the active components of Cannabis sativa and their derivatives [that] act in the organism by mimicking endogenous substances, the endocannabinoids, that activate specific cannabinoid receptors.”

    Trends in Pharmacological Sciences in 2009 stated that,

    “most attention has been paid to [delta]9-tetrahydrocannabinol ([THC]), which is the most psychotropic component and binds specific Gprotein-coupled receptors named cannabinoid (CB1 and CB2) receptors. The discovery of a specific cell membrane receptor for [delta]9-THC was followed by isolation and identification of endogenous (animal) ligands termed endocannabinoids.”

    According to Wikipedia, ligand is, “an ion or molecule that binds to a central metal atom to form a coordination complex

    The Trends article goes on to read,

    “Cannabinoid receptors, endogenous ligands that activate them, and the mechanisms for endocannabinoid biosynthesis and inactivation constitute the ‘endocannabinoid system.’ With its ability to modulate several physiological and pathophysiological processes (e.g. neurotransmitter release in the central and peripheral nervous system, pain perception, and cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and liver functions), the endocannabinoid system represents a potential target for pharmacotherapy”

  • avatar

    Matt 12:33 pm on February 9, 2012 Permalink  

    Medical Marijuana Laws Send ‘the Wrong Message’: Don’t Smoke Pot, Kids! 

    By Jacob Sullum

    A new study reported in Annals of Epidemiology finds that, contrary to drug czar Gil Kerlikowske’s warnings, passage of medical marijuana laws is not associated with increases in adolescent pot smoking. Analyzing data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, researchers at McGill University found that teenagers in states that enact such laws are more apt to smoke pot, but that is because of pre-existing differences. It seems “states with higher use are more likely to enact laws.” The researchers found little evidence that allowing patients to use marijuana as a medicine makes teenagers more likely to use it recreationally. “If anything,” they write, “our estimates suggest that reported adolescent marijuana use may actually decrease after passing MMLs [medical marijuana laws].” They say such an effect “could be plausibly explained by social desirability bias or greater concern about enforcement of recreational marijuana use among adolescents after the passage of laws.” Evidently Kerlikowske is wrong to worry that linking a drug to cancer and AIDS patients makes it seem cooler to the kids.

    These results are consistent with the conclusions of reports from the Marijuana Policy Project and the Institute for the Study of Labor, both of which found no increase in adolescent use attributable to medical marijuana laws. The latter study did, however, find an increase in adult consumption, which was associated with a decline in traffic fatalities.

  • avatar

    Matt 2:45 pm on February 1, 2012 Permalink  

    Low-Level Marijuana Arrests Rise for Seventh Straight Year 

    Low-level arrests for marijuana possession in New York City increased for the seventh straight year in 2011, according to a study released Wednesday, despite a September memorandum from the police commissioner that officers should not arrest those with marijuana unless they have the drugs in plain view.

    Though arrests dropped significantly after Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly’s memorandum, an increase of 6 percent during the first eight months of the year more than offset the decline, according to the analysis, conducted by a Queens College sociology professor and released by the Drug Policy Alliance, an advocacy group critical of police marijuana-arrest policies.

    The year-end arrest total was 50,684, up 0.6 percent from 2010, the study found, constituting more arrests than in the entire 19-year period 1978 to 1996. Marijuana possession was once again the largest arrest category in the city last year, and the arrests cost the city about $75 million, said Harry Levine, the sociologist who did the analysis.

  • avatar

    Matt 11:24 am on January 25, 2012 Permalink  

    Why is MMA OK and smoking dope isn’t? 

    There seems to be little sense in which risks people find praiseworthy, and which we condemn, writes Dan Gardner

    Last week, a physicians’ group called on governments to make helmets mandatory for both children and adults on ski slopes. Lots of people support that. They feel that skiers should not be permitted to decide for themselves whether to wear a helmet because skiing without one is too dangerous. Two days later, Sarah Burke, a champion “superpipe” skier, died as a result of injuries sustained in competition. Burke was almost universally praised as a courageous and talented athlete who died doing what she loved.

    Does that make sense?

    Maybe it does. I don’t know. The question isn’t rhetorical.

    Risk is everywhere, always, which means we are constantly drawing lines, whether we are aware of it or not. We draw lines between risks that we are willing to personally engage and those we will leave to others. We draw lines between risk-taking that is praiseworthy and that which is foolish, between risks that should be promoted and encouraged and those that should not. We draw lines between what people should be free to decide for themselves and what should be regulated, restricted, or even banned.

    But we seldom compare the lines we draw and ask if, in juxtaposition, they make sense.

  • avatar

    Matt 8:34 am on January 16, 2012 Permalink  

    Marc Emery’s Advice for Aspiring Activists 

    My wife Jodie Emery and I both receive thousands of letters and inquiries with impassioned pleas that read: “I want to do something to make a difference. I want to legalize marijuana. What can I do? Can you advise or help me start? Where do I begin?” This is a question, without rival, that we hear most often.

    It comes mostly from Americans and Canadians, but I have received the same question from India, Australia, Europe, the Philippines, Japan, and all over the world. It is a universal desire shared by many people in the cannabis culture the planet over.

    If all these millions of people, largely high school and college students, could be harnessed into productive purpose, it would be a huge political force indeed! But most people who consume cannabis and believe in its worth still do nothing to advance our cause in any meaningful way.

  • avatar

    MaryJane 9:28 pm on January 15, 2012 Permalink  

    Marijuana Prisoners 

    Drug Policy Question of the Week – 12-19-11

    As answered by Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts for the Drug Truth Network on 12-19-11.

    Question of the Week: How many people are in prison for marijuana?

    Aficionados will recall that there are important statistics in drug policy that must be computed. These include the number of marijuana arrests and the number of people behind bars for marijuana offenses.

    To calculate the number of “marijuana prisoners,” two reports are necessary.

    Report #1 is “Prisoners in 2004,” from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Table 1, page 2. Find these numbers:

    Total Federal Prisoners in 2004 =  170,535

    Total State Prisoners in 2004 =  1,244,311

    Report #2 is, “Drug Use and Dependence, State and Federal Prisoners, 2004,” again from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, page. 4. Find these numbers:

    Percent of federal prisoners held for drug law violations in 2004 = 55%

    Percent of state prisoners held for drug law violations in 2004 = 21%

    Marijuana/hashish, Percent of federal drug offenders, 2004 = 12.4%

    Marijuana/hashish, Percent of state drug offenders, 2004 = 12.7%

    Now, do the math,

    Multiply total prisoners times the percent of prisoners held for drug law violations. Then multiply this product times the percentage of marijuana offenders. The result is:

    Federal marijuana prisoners, 2004 = 11,630

    State marijuana prisoners, 2004 = 33,186

    Total federal and state marijuana prisoners in 2004 = 44,816

    Thus, those in prison for marijuana offenses represent about 12.6% of those incarcerated for drug law violations and 3.2% of total state and federal prisoners. It should be noted that these numbers exclude those among the 700,000+ inmates who may be in local jail because of a marijuana arrest.

    These facts and others like them can be found in the Prisons and Drugs Chapter of Drug War Facts at

  • avatar

    MaryJane 4:52 pm on January 15, 2012 Permalink  

    Cannabis rescheduling 

    Drug Policy Question of the Week – 12-15-11

    As answered by Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts for the Drug Truth Network on 12-15-11.

    Question of the Week: How can cannabis be rescheduled?

    According to the Congressional Research Service, the current scheduling scheme for various drugs called the Controlled Substances Act

    “was signed into law as the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970.”

    Found under Title 21 of the U.S. Commercial Code. Subchapter I, Section 812 the CSA

    “established five schedules of controlled substances, to be known as schedules I, II, III, IV, and V.”

    In “Initial Schedules of Controlled Substances,” the CSA placed marijuana and its derivatives under Schedule 1, the most restrictive of the five categories.

    Note usage of the term initial. In theory, the schedule of cannabis or any other drug (there are hundreds) can be upgraded (to a more restrictive schedule) or downgraded (to a less restrictive one).

    The Congressional Research Service unfortunately notes that

    “Lawmakers have repeatedly rebuffed campaigns to reschedule marijuana under the CSA, a step that would permit marijuana to be used for some medical purposes. Likewise, courts have refused to carve out exceptions to the CSA, even for individuals who claim a dire need for the drug.”

    Thus, Congress has the authority to reschedule, as do the courts given the right case, but so far neither has done so.

    Robert Miklos in the Stanford Law Review counters that,

    “the CSA authorizes the Attorney General to [reschedule], in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the DEA. … the President would not need the consent of Congress to make this more fundamental change to federal law.”

    Thus, the President and his Executive Branch have the authority to reschedule cannabis, but so far refuse to do so.

    These facts and others like them can be found in the Crime and Medical Marijuana Chapters of Drug War Facts at

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