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Doctors' Stance on Pot is Sick
Posted by CN Staff on October 19, 2011 at 19:43:29 PT
By George Skelton, Capitol Journal
Source: Los Angeles Times 
From Sacramento -- Let's get this straight: The California doctors lobby believes that marijuana has questionable value as medicine. Pot users risk damage to body and brain. But the drug should be legalized?In case you missed it, the California Medical Assn. last Friday officially recommended the legalization and regulation of weed.
It comes as the California marijuana industry is gearing up for another legalization effort next year at the ballot box."There simply isn't the scientific evidence to understand the benefits and risks of medical cannabis," a CMA news release quoted Dr. Paul Phinney of Sacramento, the organization's board chairman."We need to regulate cannabis so that we know what we're recommending to our patients. Currently, medical and recreational cannabis have no mandatory labeling standards of concentration or purity. First we've got to legalize it so that we can properly study and regulate it."Whatever happened to studying a drug first to determine its benefits and risks, then deciding whether it's safe enough to legalize? I couldn't get a satisfactory answer. But the CMA thesis is that marijuana research is inhibited because the federal government classifies pot in the same illegal category as heroin and LSD.The CMA Board of Trustees adopted the "legalize pot" position on behalf of the association's 35,000 physician members. Its action was based on a 14-page "white paper.""It really should be called the Cannabis Medical Assn.," says Covina Police Chief Kim Raney, vice president of the California Police Chiefs Assn. "It's probably one of the most irresponsible, disgraceful position papers I've ever read."What raised my eyebrows was a repeat of the old canard about how locking up stoners eats up too much tax money.The CMA report lamented "the diversion of limited economic resources to penal system costs and away from the other more socially desirable uses such as funding healthcare, education, transportation, etc."That's a stretcher, at least in California.Our prisons aren't exactly bulging with people who were sent there for growing or selling grass, let alone ingesting it. Fewer than 1% of the inmates have been sentenced for marijuana or hashish crimes of any sort, according to state prison data.They total 1,325 out of 164,156. If you do the math  each prisoner costing nearly $50,000 a year  it isn't chump change: around $66million. But it's hardly noticeable in a $10-billion prison budget."With all the strains on our resources, going after small levels of marijuana possession is not a priority," says Scott Thorpe, chief executive of the California District Attorneys Assn. "To go to prison for a drug offense, it's going to be very, very, very rare that it's for a first offense. Any drug."Back in the 1970s, when Jerry Brown was governor the first time, California made possession of less than one ounce of marijuana  about a sandwich baggie full  a low misdemeanor punishable by a fine. Last January, that penalty was reduced even further to an infraction, equivalent to a traffic ticket.People run afoul of the law when they grow crops or possess pounds of pot to sell, unless it's for so-called nonprofit medicinal purposes. California voters sanctioned that 15 years ago.Although it's still against federal law to toke up, the feds were turning the other way and ignoring medicinal use until the California pot industry became brazen. Cultivation and storefront dispensaries mushroomed, often in defiance of local ordinances. Now the Obama administration is starting to crack down on the worst offenders.I asked the author of the CMA report about the implication that incarcerating potheads was draining the state treasury. He sidestepped."The worry for us as physicians is not cost, it's human health," said Dr. Donald Lyman, a state public health department official. Lyman got state permission to head up the CMA report on his own time, he emphasized."We don't know what's in the cannabis. We don't know where it comes from. It needs some regulatory structure."Under California law, doctors can write a "recommendation"  it's not called a prescription  for medicinal marijuana. Asked if he felt the law was being abused, Lyman replied: "Clearly yes. People out there are writing recommendations right and left without any justification."The law "inappropriately places physicians in the role of gatekeeper" between pot users and the product, he asserted.But it's voluntarily. There's no one forcing doctors to stand at the gate. They don't have to write "recommendations."The CMA report notes that in the last decade there have been a dozen U.S. clinical trials and more than 20 studies worldwide investigating the therapeutic benefits of pot smoking. "Current data have shown that the medical indications for cannabis are very limited," the report says."Cannabis may be effective for the treatment of pain, nausea, anorexia and other conditions, but the literature on this subject is inadequate  and cannabis side effects may not be tolerated."OK, still, if someone feels the healing need for marijuana, it can legally be acquired in California.How about the risks?The CMA report cites assertions by the National Institute on Drug Abuse that "cannabis use can result in distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty thinking  and problems with learning and memory."It also warns of "long-term personal health problems such as addiction, anxiety, depression, psychosis, respiratory problems and heart attack."And, oh yes: "Adolescents and young adults have a much greater vulnerability to the toxic effects of cannabis on the brain."Plus there are "second-hand effects by posing health risks to those members of the public around the user."That's enough study for me. One clandestine baggie-full at a time should suffice.Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author: George Skelton, Capitol JournalPublished: October 20, 2011Copyright: 2011 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: http://www.latimes.com/URL: http://drugsense.org/url/L9RxNDmlCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/cannabis.shtml 
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Comment #15 posted by museman on October 24, 2011 at 10:51:59 PT
Oleg #12
Somewhat rhetorically speaking;Let us do that, by refusing to compromise, by 'just saying no' to the immoral laws and systems of control that rule our lives. Or we could accept a few bones and table scraps from a corrupt and malignant government, so we can 'get on with our lives' -like so many who apparently like their enslavement and 'professions' -even though the contributions to eco-destruction, and maintenance of an ignorant populace are all about that choice. Should we then accept all the compromise that maintains the control and manipulation of our lives, or reject it?The rejection cannot be only 'in part' because the system is embedded with corruption. The weights and measures that are being upheld by the ruling factions are only for their benefit, and have never been for any other reason.The current revolution the 'occupy' movement has rightly focused on the "1%" -because it is those values of fake wealth, fake power, and fake authority that keeps us all down, keeps us un-empowered, and keeps the status quo hanging over liberty like a threat.Yes the choices are all here for us now, asking us to step up to a bigger picture, and great change.The change will not come about easily if so many keep clinging to their false society- their bank accounts and material possessions. The resistance to change is all bound up in the falsely perceived need for money, and the middle-men-do-nothings who broker basic human needs for profit.Freedom is not limited to one issue, though cannabis prohibition is at the crux, because many people who partake, begin to see what the powers that be -the bankers, lawyers, cops, many preachers and teachers, and almost if not all the 'professionals' really are, which is plain old corruption and little else.Legality is not something we must ask permission for. Who gave them the power to force that upon us? And what kind of warriors for liberty are we if we bow down to their false power and authority -on any level?If we aren't willing to 'go all the way' why even bother?LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #14 posted by Oleg the tumor on October 21, 2011 at 17:52:31 PT:
The last line is the hardest.
"That's enough study for me. One clandestine baggie-full at a time should suffice."I'm so glad the oracle has spoken. No further or differing thoughts need apply.Thank you, George, for trying to give "clandestine" some
positive spin - at least in your social class. But the
truth is, George, that "clandestine" sucks.
In other words, you are telling me that its OK by you that if I should die as Federal criminal, it "should suffice".
And as for that "one baggie at a time" comment-is that a full OZ or are you dealing only in halfs and quarters or are you referring to dime bags? You know where the profit is. THERE'S PROFIT IN ILLEGALITY. Why can't you comment on that? 
You have no problem with people being shot to death over a weed, do you? "It serves them right", you might even say. Give the thinking, taxpaying human a break, will you!Legal-like alcohol! 
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Comment #13 posted by Oleg the tumor on October 21, 2011 at 17:20:35 PT:
The "Close Cover Before Striking", school of 
Journalism is proud to award the "Close Mind Before Writing" prize to . . . George of the Jungle!
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Comment #12 posted by Oleg the tumor on October 21, 2011 at 17:12:01 PT:
A Modest Proposal
It has come to my attention that the number of George Skeltons out there, scribbling mindlessly away to afford "their fat and psychopathic wives" (as described by Pink Floyd) are actually communicating with us from a position in space/time equal to the darkest of our dark ages.
I humbly propose that we leave all of them there and move forward. 
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on October 20, 2011 at 21:50:24 PT
One more thing from that article at Norml
 ""There is good evidence now that cannabinoids may be either an adjunct or a first-line treatment for ... neuropathy," researchers concluded."To my knowledge they never gave me anything to help or prevent the neuropathy. I don't think there is anything to prescribe for it and some people suffer horribly from it and in some people the damage is permanent. I fell down four times during treatment because my feet and legs wouldn't work right. Mine, thankfully, has improved drastically. It gradually has diminished to virtually nothing. I have it in the evenings sometimes if it's been a very busy day, but only just noticeably. Not bad and crippling like it was during treatment. Sometimes it felt like my feet were being deep fried. Other times it felt like I was skating on ice barefoot... hours on end. A drumming, painful numbness, like my feet had "fallen asleep", at it's mildest.Yes. It's bad people that keep us from this plant. Very bad people.
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on October 20, 2011 at 21:09:53 PT
And George Skelton...
Your stance on cannabis makes you a bad man. I know. You don't know what you're doing. You don't realize how ignorant you are, but you're publicly supporting something that is wickedly wrong and encouraging others to support it, too. That's bad. Any way you look at it, it's still bad.
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on October 20, 2011 at 21:01:30 PT
Forgot this...
Marijuana component could ease pain from chemotherapy drugshttp://medicalresearch.com/category/pain-research/From Paul Armentano's post at Norml that Afterburner posted.
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on October 20, 2011 at 20:53:26 PT
Cannabidiol
I remember some time last year or maybe earlier this year that Herbdoc and Storm Crow were talking about this stuff. Herbdoc spoke how important they'd realized it was and that they had bred some plants that were specifically high in this Cannabidiol. Wow. That's so wonderful. It can be grown. Fields of it could be grown.Prohibitionists would die and kill, and have, and probably, will continue to for awhile yet, to keep it from people. Sick. Prohibitionists are so messed up in the head... and the heart.
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on October 20, 2011 at 20:14:19 PT
Afterburner Comment 4
Oh God.This prohibition is so cruel and insane.Having recently been through cancer treatment and that misery of nerve pain... all I can say is... "Oh God". And why must it be this way?
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on October 20, 2011 at 11:04:22 PT
Pot Genome Sheds Light on Hemp Domestication
October 20, 2011URL: http://www.livescience.com/16638-pot-genome-sheds-light-hemp-domestication.html
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Comment #5 posted by Oleg the tumor on October 20, 2011 at 10:57:37 PT:
The Doctors Don't Have To -
be accussed of "side stepping" when asked about incarceration costs, as if it were OK to lock people up over a natural plant that was found "non-toxic", by Congress's original study after the Supreme Court overturned Timothy Leary's conviction.We must separate MJ from "Narcotics"! 
Marijuana is not a narcotic. A narcotic will cause death in case of an overdose by respiratory failure.
If pot is a narcotic, then Religion is an Opiate.
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Comment #4 posted by afterburner on October 20, 2011 at 10:23:20 PT
NORML News of new study
Cannabinoid 'Completely' Prevents Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathy, Study Says.
October 19, 2011 - Philadelphia, PA, USA
http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=8710
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Comment #3 posted by dongenero on October 20, 2011 at 07:37:05 PT
where do they come up with these "journalists"
"Whatever happened to studying a drug first to determine its benefits and risks, then deciding whether it's safe enough to legalize? I couldn't get a satisfactory answer." Seriously?That's an easy one Mr. Skelton, I'll give you the answer you missed in the CMA statement. You should go back and read the statement again. What happened to studying first is, "Schedule 1"........In fact you reiterate that very point in your own article when you quoted the CMA!
No one can get approval to study cannabis or supply cannabis for studies. Schedule 1 is effectively set up as a road block to independent study.
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on October 19, 2011 at 22:36:11 PT
Very, very good
US CA: OPED: Susan Shelley: Federal government wrong in its marijuana crackdown U.S. prosecutors are presently informing marijuana dispensaries in California that they have 45 days to cease operations or face criminal charges and confiscation of their property. 
The dispensaries are operating legally under state law, but according to a letter sent to at least a dozen marijuana dispensaries in San Diego and obtained by the Associated Press, federal law "takes precedence over state law and applies regardless of the particular uses for which a dispensary is selling and distributing marijuana." There's only one problem with this assertion. The U.S. Constitution doesn't give the federal government any authority whatsoever to ban marijuana that's grown, sold and used within the state of California. True, there's a clause in the Constitution that gives federal laws supremacy over state laws, but there's a big qualifier in it: only laws made "in pursuance" (following or carrying out) of the Constitution take precedence over state laws. A federal law that is not made "in pursuance" of the Constitution is unconstitutional. The supremacy clause, which can be found in Article VI, states: "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding." 
There's no use arguing that the supremacy clause gives the federal government unlimited power. The entire Constitution prohibits the federal government from exercising unlimited power. cont. (it gets better)http://www.dailynews.com/opinions/ci_19141876
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on October 19, 2011 at 20:21:54 PT
Thanks a lot George!
The pool of cannabis prohibitionists is full of smart ass ignoids.HELLO, George Skelton! The doctors say "the consequences of criminalization outweigh the hazards."HELLO!Rational folks realize, "the consequences of criminalization outweigh the hazards."-0-People like George Skelton are harmful to America and the rest of the world.-0-CN ON: PUB LTE: Cannabis naysayers a danger to society Webpage: http://www.windsorstar.com/opinion/Cannabis+naysayers+danger+society/5571466/story.htmlPubdate: 19 Oct. 2011 - Source: Windsor Star (CN ON)
 Author: Stan White
Referred: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v11/n615/a10.html?1457
 
Cannabis naysayers a danger to societyRe: Prison no place for marijuana users, by Ken Zulian, Oct. 6.Ken Zulian is correct. Citizens who use or grow cannabis (marijuana) should not be caged. However, his list of those who endanger the lives of other people is incomplete.Those who perpetuate the discredited prohibition, persecution and extermination of the God-given plant cannabis clearly have endangered the lives of other people, including our children.The U.S. has proven mandatory minimum sentences for growing more than six plants(. This - {omit}) will only exacerbate violence and deplete scarce resources.Cannabis prohibitionists are directly and indirectly responsible for 40,000 murders in Mexico, violence throughout Canada and the U.S., and cannot even pretend to stop citizens from using cannabis. Cannabis prohibitionists are unquestionably a danger to society.The question is, what should society do with them?-0-George helps cartels in Mexico and gangs through out America and Canada to make a buck.Thanks George.Thanks a lot.
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