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Poll: Cannabis sativa, medical marijuana and cities

April 25, 2010 Crime, Drug Policy, Popular Culture, Sunday Poll 12 Comments

I’ve inhaled once, the year was 2005 and I was 38 at the time (There Is A First Time For Everything). I was with three friends, all very responsible adults, and I was curious.  I see marijuana as less destructive than alcohol or tobacco.

ABOVE: The Cannabis sativa plant. Image from Wikipedia
It was not medicinal.  But in more and more cities medical marijuana is being legally sold:
DENVER — Medical marijuana dispensaries are springing up in Colorado’s major cities like coffee shops, nail parlors, tanning salons or taco shops.

It’s been 10 years since Colorado voted to allow the use and sale of marijuana for medical reasons. But in the past six months, the number of patients and dispensaries has skyrocketed.  (USA Today)

I should note that a friend, who is a doctor, sent me studies showing connections to cancer.  I don’t doubt the connection.  She questions the need for many that have prescriptions, where legal. As states begin to legalize medical marijuana the cities in those states are faced with policy issues about dispensaries.

OAKLAND, Calif. – Like hip-hop, health food and snowboarding, marijuana is going corporate.

As more and more states allow medical use of the drug, and California considers outright legalization, marijuana’s supporters are pushing hard to burnish the image of pot by franchising dispensaries and building brands; establishing consulting, lobbying and law firms; setting up trade shows and a seminar circuit; and constructing a range of other marijuana-related businesses.  (NY Times)

Cannabis sativa is often misunderstood:

Cannabis sativa is an annual plant in the Cannabaceae family. It is a herb that has been used throughout recorded history by humans as a source of fiber, for its seed oil, as food (see hemp), as a drug (see cannabis (drug)), as medicine (see medical cannabis), and for spiritual purposes (see spiritual use of cannabis). Each part of the plant is harvested differently, depending on the purpose of its use.

While hemp is not a drug, growing it is illegal.  Environmentally friendly hemp products are imported or hemp material is imported so products can be made.Federal lawmakers need to allow farmers to grow industrial hemp.

The poll this week is designed to get your thoughts on Cannabis sativa.  I hope I have a good variety of answers.  This week I’m testing the ability for you to select up to three answers.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "12 comments" on this Article:

  1. What about total legalization?

  2. charliestl says:

    From my research, cannabis has been show to prevent and often eliminate cancer. I'm curious where your doctor got her information. There are older studies that show a cancer link but they've mostly been disproved by newer studies.

  3. aaronlevi says:

    I eat a serving of hemp protein powder every morning. it's a great source of animal free protein, contains all essential amino acids, omega's, and 50% of my daily recommended fiber. unfortunately, it's grown in Canada and imported to the US. I'm in favor of full legalization of MJ, but at minimum, the USA would be wise to allow the growth of Hemp, it is a very useful plant.

  4. JZ71 says:

    It is a drug, like nicotine and alcohol. They all have side effects that some users find pleasureable, as do prescription drugs that are also consumed for the same reasons. As a society, we've taken four approaches, mostly based on when the drug became widely used and who the user groups were/are:

    make it illegal – spend money enforcing the ban and generate no revenue (marijuana, heroin).

    make it available by prescription only – typically generate little revenue and pretend that illegal use doesn't occur, or attempt to mitigate or outlaw non-intended uses (meth labs, Oxycontin, medical marijuana)

    make it legal, primarily for adults, without a prescription – generate revenue through sin taxes and accept or attempt to mitigate the negative side effects (alcohol, tobacco).

    make it legal for everyone and accept or attempt to mitigate the negative side effects (sugar, caffeine, guarana, other “herbs”).

    Is all of this logical and consistent? No, obviously not. Any drug will have negative side effects, and someone (the end user? the FDA? our legislators?) needs to weigh the negatives against the positive uses. Add in the desire by many to tell others what they should do, along with a continuum of potential uses, and you get our present jumble of local, state and national laws, rules and regulations.

    Personaly, I'm conflicted. I lean toward personal choice and personal responsibility, but I also see way too many examples of poor choices, every day. As a start, I'd like to see more consistency, some parity between tobacco and marijuana. And, in a perfect world, I'd like to see a scientific basis for strict enforcement versus sin taxes. These days, having marijuana in the illegal column seems to create more problems than it solves, as does the dysfunctional concept of both raising taxes and limiting places where tobacco can be consumed.

    Bottom line, if it's really bad, it should be illegal. But if it serves a purpose, even if it's just recreational, let's make it available, tax it appropriately, and deal with any stupid consequences with our existing laws against stupid behaviors. As another driver, I don't care if you're drunk, high or texting, just don't hit me. But if you're in the privacy of your own home, be as stupid as you want, just don't burn down or blow up the place!

    • Mark Godfrey says:

      Why don't adults just make their own decisions?

      • JZ71 says:

        Because, in many cases, they're not allowed to, or other “adults” have already decided for them. Marijuana is relatively benign, probably less harmful than alcohol. But, when it was made illegal, it was done by the white majority, whose drugs of choice were alcohol and tobacco. Was that right back then? Is it right now? It all boils down to who you elect and what issues they make a priority. And once it's “illegal”, thus dangerous, it's much harder to remove any stigma.

        Societal values change over time. Going to college and rock concerts in the '70's and '80's, pot smoking was highly illegal yet widely accepted by people of my generaton. Today, I'm amazed to find people objecting to pot smoking at concerts, yet tolerating cigarette smoking around them. In a perfect world, we'd all just get along. But, in today's world, apparently you need to control what you neighbor is doing to make your own life better . . .

        • Douglas Duckworth says:

          Weed was made illegal because hippies and blacks were smoking it. Nixon needed a way to address dissidents and he created scheduling to do that.

          Far worse drugs are legal today due to billions in big pharma. Neither of these decisions have anything to do with societal values.

          • Chris says:

            Weed was made illegal because it Mexicans in the Southwest smoked it originally back in the 1930's. Same racist overtones, though.

  5. Mark Godfrey says:

    Cannabis cures cancer, it doesn't cause cancer. This was first shown on 19 August 1974 at the University of Virginia Medical School by government researchers Hell bent on proving the opposite.

  6. Mac says:

    I would simply add that all prohibition (of anything) does is make criminals richer. If you think the current setup/situation is better than complete legalization you haven't done your homework.

  7. studs lonigan says:

    Sweeping criminalization of reef can be traced to the 1930s, interestingly just as our nation was abandoning prohibition of alcohol. Weed was deemed addictive, likely to cause insanity and to compel its depraved users to commit crimes, acts of perversion, etc., all of which is closer to campy depictions in silly scare films like “Reefer Madness” than to the chemical reality of THC. Maybe Burroughs was right. Maybe criminalization of drugs is a pretext for extending police control.

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