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  Pot Less Harmful Than Alcohol or Tobacco
Posted by CN Staff on April 03, 2005 at 08:44:46 PT
By Andrew Petty, The Juneau Empire  
Source: Juneau Empire 

cannabis Alaska -- A representative from the Alaska Civil Liberties Union joined a handful of experts Friday to tell a Senate committee that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and even tobacco.

"There has not been a single case of lung cancer or emphysema triggered by smoking marijuana found in medical literature," said Dr. Lester Grinspoon, an associate professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School who has studied the effects of pot for almost 40 years.

In his assessment, he said the public has been "brainwashed" on the effects of marijuana. Senators reviewing a criminalization bill were hesitant to agree.

The bill would make possession of an ounce of marijuana a misdemeanor. Possession of 4 ounces would be a felony. Currently Alaska courts grant privacy protection to those possessing up to 4 ounces.

Last week a White House drug adviser and others told the committee that marijuana is dangerous and should be criminalized.

The Senate Health, Environment and Social Services Committee approved the bill Friday, but committee chairman Fred Dyson, R-Eagle River, said his vote did not mean he supports the proposal.

"Three of the committee members felt comfortable that it should continue in the process. And I know Sen. (Donald) Olson and I both plan on doing some research," Dyson said.

The bill moves to the Judiciary Committee next and then to the Finance Committee before going to the floor for a vote. The House of Representatives must also review the bill.

Gov. Frank Murkowski is pushing this law to criminalize marijuana and get findings on the record in order to open and overturn a 2003 Court of Appeals case that ruled Alaskans have the right to possess small quantities of marijuana in their homes.

Among the 19 findings in the bill are statements saying that marijuana is more addictive than heroin, it has a dramatically higher potency than before, and it leads smokers to commit violent crimes.

On Friday the AkCLU led a team of opponents who said the bill is based on a framework of evidence that is skewed to one view.

"The court will stand for a paper record of several hundred pages if the result is contrary to the evidence submitted," said Michael MacLeod-Ball, director of AkCLU.

The most debated finding throughout the afternoon was whether an increase in marijuana's potency has led to more addictions and associated problems.

"The marijuana of Cheech and Chong had a THC level of 1.5 percent," said John Bobo, adviser to the office of drug and alcohol policy U.S. Department of Transportation. He claims THC levels of homegrown pot today can be as high as 22 percent to 24 percent.

Mitch Earlewine, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Southern California, said that those high percentages are rare and the national average today is closer to 6 percent.

"When we give people cannabis that has 1 percent in the laboratory, they get a headache and claim it is placebo and they find it inactive and don't want to use it again," said Earlewine. "Obviously this wasn't the case in the 1970s or people wouldn't want to try it again."

Muscular sclerosis sufferer Jim Welch of Eagle River said the potency was a hidden "healthy" benefit: "That means I'm putting less smoke in my lungs."

Kelly Drew, a University of Alaska Fairbanks chemistry professor, phoned in to say that it is unlikely for marijuana to be addictive since it stays in the body's fat cells for about 30 days. Therefore, the body doesn't suffer withdrawal symptoms, she said.

Bobo also said that people under the influence of pot are more likely to commit accidents on the highways. The senators wondered why they haven't heard about marijuana being linked to such highway collisions.

"The media does not want to acknowledge there is a problem," said Assistant Attorney General Dean Guaneli, the bill's sponsor.

Note: Prof who is a 40-year student of the effects of marijuana says public has been brainwashed.

Complete Title: AkCLU, Experts Say Pot Less Harmful Than Alcohol or Cigarettes

Source: Juneau Empire (AK)
Author: Andrew Petty, The Juneau Empire
Published: April 3, 2005
Copyright: 2005 Southeastern Newspaper Corp
Website: http://www.juneauempire.com/
Contact: letterstotheeditor@juneauempire.com

Related Articles & Web Site:

Dr. Lester Grinspoon
http://www.rxmarihuana.com/

Lawmakers Weigh Pot Testimony
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread20444.shtml

MJ Bill Ramps Up Debate on Drug's Potency
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread20443.shtml

White House Expert: Pot is Dangerous
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread20401.shtml

Hearing On Outlawing MJ Stirs Strong Feelings
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread20399.shtml


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Comment #19 posted by Hope on April 04, 2005 at 14:12:24 PT
"Experts" at manipulation
They like to say "Cheech and Chong" to implicate we are some sort of comical characters to throw off our arguments.

They like to, as in the case of BC Bud, connect it with heroin and cocaine...if even just to say "it's traded pound for pound for cocaine and heroin" and then heck..let's just throw in guns and tobacco..."They take BC Bud out of the country and bring back guns and tobacco."

They know full well the effect of those sort of statements. They're laughing at us all the way to the bank.

Manipulative monsters....picking our pockets and filling their prisons with our sons and daughters, our weak and our poor, our sick and diseased, and our friends and neighbors.

I will not curse them. They curse themselves.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #18 posted by Hope on April 04, 2005 at 14:04:57 PT
My husband's old military saying is...
and he's joyfully admonished me with the words a few times, "Ah... looks like you just s#$t in your mess kit!"

About the media thing. When I read that "problem with media" bit...I thought...yeah you're right...problem is the media goes with the government prohibitionist propaganda crap and not the truth. That's the real problem with the media.

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Comment #17 posted by afterburner on April 04, 2005 at 12:20:59 PT
Whaaaa????
"The media does not want to acknowledge there is a problem," said Assistant Attorney General Dean Guaneli, the bill's sponsor.

In what universe? Propaganda commercials, propaganda woven into the storylines, propaganda newspaper and TV reports.

LOL: "He stepped on his D#@k." Too much, JustGetnBy.

"So Cheech and Chong never got high in the 70's? Why wasn't it legal back then if it didn't get you high?" My exact thoughts, mayan. I'm glad somebody *said* it!

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Comment #16 posted by b4daylight on April 03, 2005 at 19:51:44 PT
,,,
"Last week a White House drug adviser and others told the committee that marijuana is dangerous and should be criminalized"

so rock climbing is dangerous. go climb a frickin rock !

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #15 posted by ekim on April 03, 2005 at 18:51:16 PT
"Is Drug Prohibition Helping to Fund Al Queda?
Apr 4 05 Waterville Rotary 12:00 PM Jack Cole Waterville Maine USA Executive Director Jack Cole lunches with members of the Waterville Rotary and discusses issues related to the failure of drug prohbition.

Apr 4 05 Peoria Arrowhead Lions 06:30 PM Howard Wooldridge Peoria Arizona USA Members of the Peoria Arrowhead Lions Club welcome Board Member Howard Wooldridge for dinner and discussion of issues related to the failure of drug prohbition.

Apr 4 05 Superstitions of Mesa Kiwanis Club 06:30 AM Howard Wooldridge Mesa Arizona USA Hold on to your rabbit's foot when Board Member Howard Wooldridge meets with members of the Superstitions of Mesa Kiwanis Club to discuss issues related to America's failed drug policy. Follow Howard on his cross country tour at http://leap.cc/howard/

Apr 4 05 Portland Lions Club 05:30 PM Jack Cole Portland Maine USA Executive Director Jack Cole is welcomed by the Portland Lions Club to discuss drug prohibition issues such as the effects on minority populations, the relationship of prohibition to crime and specific issues related to the Lions Club's region of the country.

Apr 4 05 Is Drug Prohibition Helping to Fund Al Queda 04:00 PM Jim Gray New York New York USA The Expert Witness Show asks the question "Is Drug Prohibition Helping to Fund Al Queda?" This is the second of a of a two-part series featuring guests Judge Jim Gray of the California Superior Court and spokesperson for LEAP and Celerino Castillio III, the DEA agent who tried to prosecute Oliver North. Listen at WBAI 99.5 FM or http://www.expertwitnessradio.org. The first part aired on March 21st.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #14 posted by goneposthole on April 03, 2005 at 18:09:51 PT
informants exposed
http://www.whosarat.com/

http://www.unknownnews.net/0503290321narcsfingered.html

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #13 posted by goneposthole on April 03, 2005 at 18:03:17 PT
waning prohibition
We will all be able to wax nostalgic for the good bad old days of prohibition.

The genie is out of the bottle. There isn't a thing the government can do about it. Let them pass all of the laws they want. They can have it all. In the end, it will be of no use. The US gov can't make it all go away, no matter how much they wish for it all to be their own little utopia. They've got a story and they're stickin' to it. It's getting very old, too.

The collapse is coming. The harbinger was the blatantly corrupt US elections in 2000 and 2004. It will be the new meme. The America to come will be US government free. It will be like getting liposuction done to the bloated egos of the fathead politicians. It's hard to imagine, but that is how it is going to be. You want proof? Just look around and see what you see. Not too difficult to figure it out.

Thanks for the finest of the web, FoM.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #12 posted by global_warming on April 03, 2005 at 17:04:16 PT
Neither Do I
But there is something wrong, in this USA, Don't know, but willing to talk about it. gw

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #11 posted by billos on April 03, 2005 at 16:58:19 PT
............I don't get it............
Not one of those bastard politicians are ever held accountable for anything they say or do anymore so why the hell are they worried aboutsomething like this?

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #10 posted by global_warming on April 03, 2005 at 16:36:12 PT
Keeping Up Appearances...
"Alaska -- A representative from the Alaska Civil Liberties Union joined a handful of experts Friday to tell a Senate committee that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and even tobacco.."There has not been a single case of lung cancer or emphysema triggered by smoking marijuana found in medical literature," said Dr. Lester Grinspoon, an associate professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School who has studied the effects of pot for almost 40 years."

Lots of experts here, Even Bozo has something to say,

It's getting harder and harder, To find that Holy Spirit,

That Holy Spirit,

That gate, and portal,

That reveals common sense,

That Light, that offers, Comfort and peace,

That so few, on the edge, Face extinction, Like so many Cavemen, Even that flower, That laced the face, Of some Neanderthal child, Or some Pagan Cross, Offered its aroma,

Like every flower, We see, in like eyes, We first see in our children, Our beloved pets, Whose passion, Lights the forest in Flames?

The hottest sparks in the Night,

Are carried the highest in the hope,

Nurturing that Holy Spirit,

Our channel,

Our voice,

To God.

gw



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #9 posted by mayan on April 03, 2005 at 15:47:31 PT
Facts Vs. Fiction
Among the 19 findings in the bill are statements saying that marijuana is more addictive than heroin, it has a dramatically higher potency than before, and it leads smokers to commit violent crimes.

They must have drawn their conclusions by watching "Reefer Madness".

"The marijuana of Cheech and Chong had a THC level of 1.5 percent," said John Bobo, adviser to the office of drug and alcohol policy U.S. Department of Transportation.

So Cheech and Chong never got high in the 70's? Why wasn't it legal back then if it didn't get you high?

Bobo also said that people under the influence of pot are more likely to commit accidents on the highways. The senators wondered why they haven't heard about marijuana being linked to such highway collisions.

That's because there IS no link between cannabis use and highway collisions! The corporate media would jump all over the story if there was any link.

I agree, JustGetnBy. These prohibitionists sure are making themselves look awful silly by putting their fictitious arguments face to face with the facts.



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #8 posted by CorvallisEric on April 03, 2005 at 14:43:52 PT
Re: It means.... (comments 4 and 5)
At first, I was going to take Dyson's word for it: ... but committee chairman Fred Dyson, R-Eagle River, said his vote did not mean he supports the proposal. -- "Three of the committee members felt comfortable that it should continue in the process. And I know Sen. (Donald) Olson and I both plan on doing some research," Dyson said.

However, from a previous article: Dyson and Sen. Gary Wilken, R-Fairbanks, agreed there is enough evidence of a problem and gave the bill a "do pass" recommendation. See the last 3 paragraphs in http://www.freedomtoexhale.com/testimony.htm

It seems the process is transparent enough that we will know how everyone voted at every step along the way, so it may be difficult for Dyson to "have it both ways." It may be that some of the "findings" look so embarrassingly inept (the comparisons with heroin, the historic potency variations, the emergency-room data) that some lukewarm supporters of the bill will be content to let the clock run out.

Whatever the legislature does, it'll probably go back to the courts. Don't know about Gov. Murkowski, but I doubt that most lawmakers want to look like money-wasting fools.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #7 posted by JustGetnBy on April 03, 2005 at 14:26:40 PT
Fatal Mistake
I believe the Gov. & his prohib henchmen have made a fatal mistake by bringing the debate to this level. With "experts" on both sides bieng recorded in public documentation I don't see how these lies and mis-representation of the facts can stand up to light of day.

In the military we had a saying when somebody made a critical erroe that was going to cost them dearly, we said " He stepped on his D#@k )

Well I believe the gov. has stepped on his d#@k.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #6 posted by Sam Adams on April 03, 2005 at 12:17:25 PT
great article
It's disgraceful to see the government reps (paid by our work) spouting so many direct lies. However, this is overall a great article, look at the headline! We never get treated like that. With headlines like this, the prohib's effort is SURE to fail.

The only thing these scummy politicians fear more than Freddie Fred is being attacked in the local media.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #5 posted by WolfgangWylde on April 03, 2005 at 10:57:16 PT
It means....
...Dyson wants it both ways. If pot is recriminalized and his constituents are ticked off, he'll claim he didn't support it. If it remains legal and his consitutents are ticked off, he'll claim he did.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #4 posted by Hope on April 03, 2005 at 10:18:11 PT
Any ideas about what this could mean?
"The Senate Health, Environment and Social Services Committee approved the bill Friday, but committee chairman Fred Dyson, R-Eagle River, said his vote did not mean he supports the proposal."



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #3 posted by FoM on April 03, 2005 at 10:10:57 PT
goneposthole
I just want to say thank you. You're comments always make me smile.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #2 posted by global_warming on April 03, 2005 at 09:55:03 PT
Sounds Like BS, Looks Like BS, Must be...
""The marijuana of Cheech and Chong had a THC level of 1.5 percent," said John Bobo, adviser to the office of drug and alcohol policy U.S. Department of Transportation. He claims THC levels of homegrown pot today can be as high as 22 percent to 24 percent..Mitch Earlewine, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Southern California, said that those high percentages are rare and the national average today is closer to 6 percent."

This is such BS, surely this can be tested, right there in Alaska, some one must have a sample of fresh Cannabis, maybe even some of them stuffed shirt legislators,..Lets test in the labs, this is the 21st century, I'm sure that Alaska must have some modern labs.



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #1 posted by goneposthole on April 03, 2005 at 09:35:18 PT
Indica-tors
"There has not been a single case of lung cancer or emphysema triggered by smoking marijuana found in medical literature," said Dr. Lester Grinspoon

Is Dr. Grinspoon lying when he states that there hasn't been a single case of lung cancer or emphysema from cannabis use?

No. It is the big fat truth.

All of this prohibition stuff is getting tiring. Jaded, as it were.

Let's legalize this miracle plant just so we can all get back to reality, whatever that is. The way things are, everything is completely insane.

It will all fall at the same time. The war on drugs, the war on terror and the total collaspe of the US gov as it now exists will all dissappear at the same time. It will be like a tsunami hitting it all full force. Then things can get back to normal, just be patient. Until then, it's all too bizarre.

It's a nice day in US. It's another day, good and bad both; be glad you have one more.

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