Prohibition on Marijuana Does More Harm Than Good

Prohibition on Marijuana Does More Harm Than Good
Posted by CN Staff on April 08, 2005 at 12:44:16 PT
Guest Viewpoint By Kris Millegan 
Source: Register-Guard
The April 4 guest viewpoint by two ex-federal law officers appears to be a cleverly constructed attack that uses the current scourge of methamphetamine to denounce medical marijuana, throw cheap shots at some Democrats and confuse citizens about the effects of prohibition. The authors declare our attitudes to be at fault. If citizens will just change their attitudes about drug abuse, they say, abuse will revert to pre-1960 levels. Now, I am no fan of methamphetamine. I subscribe to the 1960s hippie epithet, "speed kills." 
The use and abuse of chemical stimulants is nothing new. Amphetamines first were synthesized in Germany in the 1880s. Methamphetamine originated in Japan in 1919. Until 1965, Benzedrine pills and related drugs were taken legally by military personnel, truckers, dieters, college students, etc., because amphetamines were available over the counter without a prescription. There was abuse, but nothing like it is today. And that abuse was dealt with medically, not by police. It's another historical example of the fact that prohibition does not work. Once a substance is banned and enters a black market, the age of the users goes down, the volume of abuse goes up, and civil and criminal corruption rises. Michael Spasaro and Jim Feldkamp feel that if our young people hear the words "medical" and "marijuana" together, their attitude toward drugs will be affected. They don't mention that all of us, and our children, are bombarded daily by the dubious claims of drug manufacturers. And actually, growing numbers of our children are being fed "speed" daily. Desoxyn (methamphetamine hydrochloride) and Ritalin (methylphenidate) affect the physiologies of children the same way as methamphetamine. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration says Ritalin is widely abused and "ranks in the top 10 most frequently reported pharmaceutical drugs diverted from licensed handlers." And children die from Ritalin use - not from abuse, just regular, prescribed use. Legal drugs are toxic and kill more than 100,000 people a year. There is not one recorded toxic death from marijuana. There is more to educating our children about drugs than simply telling them some "drugs are bad." Spasaro and Feldkamp simplistically suggest that because tobacco use has been reduced through education, we can prevail in the current war on (some) drugs. They fail to mention that tobacco is available legally and that abuse is treated as a medical problem, not by jailing and attacking citizens with lethal force. Fanciful theories, re-education centers, more police, more jails and billions of dollars aside, what are the true social costs of prohibition? Legal access in the Netherlands has reduced the user population. Marijuana (cannabis or hemp) has historical, sacred, secular, industrial and medicinal usage. Hemp sails caught the wind for Columbus. Hemp canvas covered the Conestoga wagons of Oregon's pioneers. And marijuana has been known as a medicine throughout recorded history. Why are some folks so scared about marijuana? Parts of the lumbering, paper, petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries were glad when a major competitor was taken off the shelf. And a "war" has raged for more than a century between institutionalized allopathic medicine and the people's millennia-old herbal remedies. In a battle of this war, the citizens of Oregon stood up and voted, in defiance of the federal government, not to use the power of the state against the least among us, those afflicted with medical problems. The United States Constitution says nothing about medicine, and specifically states that powers not delegated federally belong to the states or to the people. In my opinion, that and other factors make the current marijuana prohibition statutes unconstitutional and void ab initio, or from the beginning. Feldkamp and Spasaro state the No. 1 tool that they need to fight drug abuse is a strong economy. The drug war brings great costs to the economy, while legalization and a properly regulated marketplace would have enormous economic benefits. The simple ability to grow industrial hemp could mean millions of dollars annually to the local economy. The war on some drugs is not about our kids, our community, or our health; it is about keeping in place a corrupting black market. Vice cops don't work - never have, never will. Lying to our children doesn't work, either. What we need to do is to tell the truth, stand up for our rights, vote and pray that our politicians will have the courage to discuss and find solutions instead of reruns of the same old tired rhetoric. Kris Millegan -- ramillegan -- is a publisher and Eugene coordinator of the sixth annual Global Marijuana March. This year's march starts at noon May 7 at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza, 125 E. Eighth Ave. Source: Register-Guard, The (OR) Author: Kris Millegan Published: April 8, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Register-GuardContact: rgletters guardnet.comWebsite: Articles:Marijuana Bill Sends Wrong Drug Message Legalization Would Help Society of Abuse Doesn't Mean MJ Should Be Illegal
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on April 10, 2005 at 08:24:26 PT
Drug abuse in the medical profession has been with us for so many years and nothing has been done to help with the problem. We had a local Doctor ( in the 60s ) that was caught pressing Qualudes in the basement of his office. He was my mother's doctor. He didn't do much time if any that I can remember and everyone that wanted diet pills went to him after the incident. Those were crazy times. 
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Comment #14 posted by Nick Thimmesch on April 10, 2005 at 03:18:29 PT:
Maybe Walters & the ONDCP...
...should pay more attention to the following:Medical Boards Let Physicians Practice Despite Drug Abuse By Cheryl W. Thompson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 10, 2005; Over the past 20 years, John F. Pholeric Jr. struggled on and off with cocaine addiction, cycled in and out of rehab and was convicted of a felony. During that time, he also practiced medicine. Pholeric, 55, an ear, nose and throat specialist in Fairfax and Loudoun counties, admitted snorting cocaine "three to four times per week" in his office in 1999. He stole drugs from hospitals where he worked and wrote more than 40 fraudulent prescriptions for his own use, according to Virginia and District medical board records. Several times, the Virginia Board of Medicine took up Pholeric's case. But it never took away his license to practice.Pholeric, who retired last month after he was questioned by a Washington Post reporter about his substance abuse, is not alone. Virginia Board of Medicine records show that an Arlington ophthalmologist who performed cataract surgery under the influence, his hands shaking and his speech slurred, still has his license. So does a Loudoun County gastroenterologist who deprived his colonoscopy patients of painkillers and injected himself with the drugs between operations. Scores of physicians in the area and across the country have been given repeated chances to practice, despite well-documented drug and alcohol problems, a Post investigation has found. They have stayed in business with the permission of state medical boards and hospitals, even when many have relapsed multiple times and posed a danger to patients, records show. When physicians were disciplined, the process sometimes was so slow that they moved to another state and became licensed before a paper trail surfaced detailing their transgressions.According to a review of medical board records, 74 doctors in the District, Maryland and Virginia were disciplined for substance abuse from 1999 through 2004. In five other cases, the boards found that doctors violated the law by abusing drugs or alcohol but took no action despite the doctors' repeated substance abuse. In nine other cases, the physicians surrendered their licenses for the time being to avoid investigation and possible punishment, according to board records.
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Comment #13 posted by Richard Paul Zuckerm on April 09, 2005 at 09:52:39 PT:
Please attend the May 7, 2005, GLOBAL MARIJUANA MARCH? Please consult with, for more information?Richard Paul Zuckerman, Box 159, Metuchen, N.J., 08840-0159.
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Comment #12 posted by runderwo on April 09, 2005 at 00:09:33 PT
which war?
She uses the term "war on some drugs" which I've seen before and nicely promotes the hypocrisy. Another fitting one is "war on drug users". People need to face it that current policies are not about the drugs as much as punishing the users as some kind of undesirables. Are the cops more eager to destroy the stash or to jail the user? Which one looks like a better bust on a drug warrior's record?
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Comment #11 posted by AOLBites on April 09, 2005 at 00:07:09 PT
ot:check this s #$out..
PUT YOURSELF in Mike Bolesta's place. On the morning of Feb. 20, he buys a new radio-CD player for his 17-year-old son Christopher's car. He pays the $114 installation charge with 57 crisp new $2 bills, which, when last observed, were still considered legitimate currency in the United States proper. The $2 bills are Bolesta's idea of payment, and his little comic protest, too.For this, Bolesta, Baltimore County resident, innocent citizen, owner of Capital City Student Tours, finds himself under arrest.Finds himself, in front of a store full of customers at the Best Buy on York Road in Lutherville, locked into handcuffs and leg irons.Finds himself transported to the Baltimore County lockup in Cockeysville, where he's handcuffed to a pole for three hours while the U.S. Secret Service is called into the case.Have a nice day, Mike."Humiliating," the 57-year old Bolesta was saying now. "I am 6 feet 5 inches tall, and I felt like 8 inches high. To be handcuffed, to have all those people looking on, to be cuffed to a pole -- and to know you haven't done anything wrong. And me, with a brother, Joe, who spent 33 years on the city police force. It was humiliating."What we have here, besides humiliation, is a sense of caution resulting in screw-ups all around."When I bought the stereo player," Bolesta explains, "the technician said it'd fit perfectly into my son's dashboard. But it didn't. So they called back and said they had another model that would fit perfectly, and it was cheaper. We got a $67 refund, which was fine. As long as it fit, that's all."So we go back and pay for it, and they tell us to go around front with our receipt and pick up the difference in the cost. I ask about installation charges. They said, 'No installation charge, because of the mix-up. Our mistake, no charge.' Swell."But then, the next day, I get a call at home. They're telling me, 'If you don't come in and pay the installation fee, we're calling the police.' Jeez, where did we go from them admitting a mistake to suddenly calling the police? So I say, 'Fine, I'll be in tomorrow.' But, overnight, I'm starting to steam a little. It's not the money -- it's the threat. So I thought, I'll count out a few $2 bills."He has lots and lots of them.With his Capital City Student Tours, he arranges class trips for school kids around the country traveling to large East Coast cities, including Baltimore. He's been doing this for the last 18 years. He makes all the arrangements: hotels, meals, entertainment. And it's part of his schtick that, when Bolesta hands out meal money to students, he does it in $2 bills, which he picks up from his regular bank, Sun Trust."The kids don't see that many $2 bills, so they think this is the greatest thing in the world," Bolesta says. "They don't want to spend 'em. They want to save 'em. I've been doing this since I started the company. So I'm thinking, 'I'll stage my little comic protest. I'll pay the $114 with $2 bills.'"At Best Buy, they may have perceived the protest -- but did not sense the comic aspect of 57 $2 bills."I'm just here to pay the bill," Bolesta says he told a cashier. "She looked at the $2 bills and told me, 'I don't have to take these if I don't want to.' I said, 'If you don't, I'm leaving. I've tried to pay my bill twice. You don't want these bills, you can sue me.' So she took the money. Like she's doing me a favor."He remembers the cashier marking each bill with a pen. Then other store personnel began to gather, a few of them asking, "Are these real?""Of course they are," Bolesta said. "They're legal tender."A Best Buy manager refused comment last week. But, according to a Baltimore County police arrest report, suspicions were roused when an employee noticed some smearing of ink. So the cops were called in. One officer noticed the bills ran in sequential order."I told them, 'I'm a tour operator. I've got thousands of these bills. I get them from my bank. You got a problem, call the bank,'" Bolesta says. "I'm sitting there in a chair. The store's full of people watching this. All of a sudden, he's standing me up and handcuffing me behind my back, telling me, 'We have to do this until we get it straightened out.'"Meanwhile, everybody's looking at me. I've lived here 18 years. I'm hoping my kids don't walk in and see this. And I'm saying, 'I can't believe you're doing this. I'm paying with legal American money.'"Bolesta was then taken to the county police lockup in Cockeysville, where he sat handcuffed to a pole and in leg irons while the Secret Service was called in."At this point," he says, "I'm a mass murderer."Finally, Secret Service agent Leigh Turner arrived, examined the bills and said they were legitimate, adding, according to the police report, "Sometimes ink on money can smear."This will be important news to all concerned.For Baltimore County police, said spokesman Bill Toohey, "It's a sign that we're all a little nervous in the post-9/11 world."The other day, one of Bolesta's sons needed a few bucks. Bolesta pulled out his wallet and "whipped out a couple of $2 bills. But my son turned away. He said he doesn't want 'em any more."He's seen where such money can lead. ------------
now, isn't that absurd.
arrested for Legal tender money!!!
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Comment #10 posted by ekim on April 08, 2005 at 20:58:21 PT
rchandar -- i had good thoughts about cannedheat
"A Retired Police Captain Speaks Out" 
Apr 7 05 KPFT 90.1 FM--Drug Truth Network 06:30 PM Peter Christ Houston Texas USA The Drug Truth Network on radio station KPFT 90.1 FM interviews Board Member Peter Christ. The interview will cover a myriad of drug prohbition issues such as mandatory minimums, wasted tax payer money, methods of harm reduction and the impact of the war on drugs on the world as a whole. The interview is being recorded to be aired the following week on approximately 20 other stations in the US and Canada. Please visit for more information. 
Date: Saturday, April 9th 2005
Time: TBA - TBA
Location: The Hawg Stop Bar
City/State: Houston, TX
Category: MusicEmerging in the mid 1960's, Canned Heat was founded by blues historians and record collectors Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson and Bob "The Bear" Hite. They gained international attention and secured their niche in the pag...
More Info ...
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Comment #9 posted by rchandar on April 08, 2005 at 20:33:09 PT:
Canned Heat. On the "Greatest Hits" record. A good one.--rchandar
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on April 08, 2005 at 18:28:08 PT
Kris Millegan 
I tip my hat to you.
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Comment #7 posted by global_warming on April 08, 2005 at 16:56:54 PT
What Is Drug Abuse?
All these cats and no mouse, just what is drug abuse, when can someone point a finger and say that some one is abusing drugs or abusing an animal a wife or child?Exactly what is the "reasoning" that supports drug abuse, or any other abuse?Some people abuse Liberty, some abuse cheeseburgers, some people abuse the legal system, and some abuse our sacred history, some abuse people, and some abuse goodness.It has been said, that the human body is a temple, that should not be defiled, as I sit in my rocking chair, I wonder, what God's plans unfold.Have courage, we, can all see each others faces, in the mirrors of time, and as this universe, reveals to our minds and souls, we shall have the opportunity to comfort and hold, our most beloved, our loves.We are the witness to this birth of this universe, and we, are the children, that can shape this child, born in the shrouds that vail the Light, that all life seeks.Praying for illumination,gw
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Comment #6 posted by Sam Adams on April 08, 2005 at 14:55:20 PT
What a great one, she even referenced my own beef with the crusade against herbal medicine!Too bad people are so dumbed-down and apathetic. The failure of Prohibition is SO obvious! It could only exist in our near-Orwellian society. MDMA (ecstasy) is another drug where use EXPLODED after it became illegal in 1985.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on April 08, 2005 at 14:54:19 PT
I Like This Sentence
I agree speed kills as we said so many times back in those days because we saw people who got really burnt out but it wasn't a criminal problem but a medical one where I lived and that was the east coast.Kris Millegan said: And that abuse was dealt with medically, not by police.
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Comment #4 posted by potpal on April 08, 2005 at 14:44:55 PT
Kudos to Kris Millegan. Beautifully stated.It's getting better all the time.
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Comment #3 posted by observer on April 08, 2005 at 14:43:20 PT
Marbury v. Madison
In my opinion, that and other factors make the current marijuana prohibition statutes unconstitutional and void ab initio, or from the beginning.''an act of the legislature, repugnant to the constitution, is void.'' -- Marbury v. Madison (1803)
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on April 08, 2005 at 12:59:55 PT
yes! good response
This is a great response to that idiotic article from a few days ago in the Register-Guard. Thank God for smart people!
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 08, 2005 at 12:47:51 PT
Good Article
We sure have had good articles today! It gives me hope once again.
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