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Marijuana Casebook Notes

Why ? It is impossible to get into the minds of those who perpetrate this outrage. One suggestion is that if marijuana becomes a common medicine - Grinspoon of Harvard predicts it will be as useful as aspirin - the public will become aware of the gross exaggerations and lies now being floated about marijuana and question why marijuana is illegal at all. 

If marijuana is made legal and this proves to be as beneficial as reformers suggest, it may call into question the entire structure of prohibition and the veracity of government claims that support it. 

Some credence for this line of thought is the government claim that medical use is a smokescreen for total legalization of marijuana. 

This ignores the medical validity of marijuana use. And the only way such a "smokescreen" could succeed is if there was a shift in public thinking about full legalization. To fear the public's future judgment about such a shift - especially after they have better information - is to disrespect the public and the democratic process. 

Perhaps the answer lies in special interests as described in Follow The Money. Many have pointed to the fact that a powerful pharmaceutical industry might lose business if a natural plant - which can't be patented - proves to be a better medicine than some now being used. 

All we know is that when both science and the polls agree and the politicians still won't respond, it is reason for deep concern. 

 [1] The 1854 United States Dispensary said this about marijuana: 

"Extract of hemp acts as a decided aphrodisiac, increases the appetite, and occasionally induces the cataleptic state. In morbid states it has been found to produce sleep, to allay spasm, to compose nervous inquietude, and to relieve pain. In these respects it resembles opium in its operation; but it differs from that narcotic in not diminishing the appetite, checking the secretions, or constipating the bowels. It is much less certain in its effects; but may sometimes be preferably employed, when opium is contraindicated by its nauseating or constipating effects. The complaints to which it has been specially recommended are neuralgia, gout, tetanus, hydrophobia, epidemic cholera, convulsions, chorea, hysteria, mental depression, insanity, and uterine hemorrhage. 

Dr. Alexander Christison, of Edinburgh, has found it to have the property of hastening and increasing the contractions of the uterus in delivery. It acts very quickly, and without anesthetic effect. It appears, however, to exert this influence only in a certain proportion of cases." 

[2] See: Gateway 

[3] New York Times, 3-18-99 

[4] Albuquerque Journal, 10-8-99 

The Message of the Drug War 

To elaborate a bit on the messages contained in this story that go far beyond this specific issue: 

* Note that the officials select the experts to report on a subject and then contradict or ignore them. This is a recurring pattern. 

* The public is not to be trusted with the truth, regardless of the harm done to them. If it takes a bald faced lie to protect a political agenda, so be it. 

* Even causing death and suffering are not to stand in the way of political considerations and ideology. 

* When special interests are at stake, even polls showing 75% support will be ignored. (A TIME/CNN poll in October 2002 found 80% of the public believes that it¹s OK to dispense marijuana for medical purposes.) 

* The state and local role in governance is always defended until it becomes inconvenient; expediency trumps principle. 

* The people protecting us from medicine are the same people who are protecting our children from drugs with a drug war that makes the drugs more dangerous and more available to them. 

See: Children


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