cannabisnews.com: Feds Sound New Warning About Marijuana Use










††Feds Sound New Warning About Marijuana Use

Posted by CN Staff on May 03, 2005 at 13:16:14 PT
By Pauline Jelinek, Associated Press Writer †
Source: Associated Press †

Washington, D.C. -- Youngsters who use marijuana are more likely to develop serious mental health problems, the government said Tuesday. A private group said law enforcement increasingly is targeting people who smoke and deal the drug. Past medical studies have linked marijuana with a greater incidence of mental disorders such as depression or schizophrenia. But questions remain about whether people who smoke marijuana at a young age are already predisposed to mental disorders, or whether the drug caused those disorders.
Government officials say recent research makes a stronger case that smoking marijuana is itself a causal agent in psychiatric symptoms, particularly schizophrenia."A growing body of evidence now demonstrates that smoking marijuana can increase the risk of serious mental health problems," said John P. Walters, director of the White House Office of Drug Control Policy.Administration officials pointed to a handful of studies to make their case. One, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, found adult marijuana smokers who first began using the drug before age 12 were twice as likely to have suffered a serious mental illness in the past year as those who began smoking after 18.The ratio was 21 percent to 10.5 percent. Those who first started as teens also were at significantly higher risk.Also Tuesday, The Sentencing Project released a report that found the government's "war on drugs" has become the "war on drug" as police agencies increasingly target marijuana.Begun in the 1980s, the war on drugs was aimed at stopping large-scale narcotics traffickers, particularly those selling cocaine. But since 1990 more of the focus has been on catching users and low-level dealers. And more often than ever, the drug targeted is marijuana, according to the group, a national nonprofit organization that works on judicial reform and favors alternatives to jail.Of some 700,000 marijuana arrests in 2002, 88 percent were for possession, it said. And only one of every 18 of those arrests ended in a felony conviction."Arresting record numbers of low-level marijuana offenders represents a poor investment in public safety" and diverts resources from "more serious crime problems," said Ryan King, co-author of the report.King found that in 1992 arrests for heroin and cocaine comprised 55 percent of all drug arrests and marijuana 28 percent. A decade later heroin and cocaine arrests accounted for less than 30 percent of all arrests, while marijuana's share had risen to 45 percent.Jennifer deVallance, spokeswoman for the White House drug office, said there are many reasons for the greater focus on marijuana. Among them: Marijuana is the single largest drug of abuse in the nation, the strains are more potent than ever and more is known about health dangers."For the first time, more kids are seeking treatment for marijuana use than alcohol," she said.The Sentencing Project called for renewed national discussion of the war on drugs, an idea echoed by the conservative American Enterprise Institute. The group reported last month that despite spending at about $40 billion a year now and toughening drug sentencing laws, "America continues to experience the Western world's worst drug problems."An epidemic of heroin use more than three decades ago, followed by a 1980s epidemic of cocaine and crack, prompted a massive intensification in drug enforcement while giving short shrift to prevention and treatment, the institute reported. It decried budgeting that spends two-thirds of drug control funds on enforcement, 25 percent on treatment and just 12 percent on prevention.Associated Press reporter Kevin Freking contributed to this story.On the Net: The Sentencing Project: http://www.sentencingproject.org Office of National Drug Control Policy: http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Pauline Jelinek, Associated Press Writer Published: May 03, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Associated Press Related Articles: What's The Drug Czar's Problem?http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread20610.shtmlDrug Czar Plays Defensehttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread20597.shtml

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Comment #19 posted by Hope on May 03, 2005 at 20:57:59 PT
"serves a political purpose" 
Runderwo, that's what this is all about. Itís purely political. No doubt.B4daylight, I completely disagree about their pot war being "moral"...(although I know what you mean...that part of their incentive is some sort of perverted sense of morality as they see it), but that said, it's as "moral" as the Inquisition or the Witch Trials were moral. Their "pot war" is hideously immoral. It's loaded down with lies, deceit, greed, murder, theft and abuse.And speaking of "abuse", I am so sick of their abusing people. That's why I got into this movement to change the laws in the first place. They, our government, our leaders, their enforcement are flagrantly ABUSING PEOPLE in the name of a war on drugs. It's got to stop.
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Comment #18 posted by lag on May 03, 2005 at 19:07:43 PT
Err...
If any mental disorders come from use of Marijuana, I would have to say that it would stem from the disconnect between the reality that exists, and the reality that people in power try to shove down our throats. We are constantly being marketed to from every area of our lives, and I'm not just talking about companies advertising in our dreams, but from the media, the government, our neighbors...
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Comment #17 posted by mayan on May 03, 2005 at 16:45:44 PT
No Credibility
"A growing body of evidence now demonstrates that smoking marijuana can increase the risk of serious mental health problems," said John P. Walters, director of the White House Office of Drug Control Policy.John Pee Walters has done nothing but lie to us since he became drug czar. Why should we believe him or his skewed propaganda-like studies now?It's nice that the media is actually starting to question these lies. Sorry, Johnny Pee. Your credibility has been absent for some time.
 
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Comment #16 posted by global_warming on May 03, 2005 at 16:37:10 PT
So Sorry
"Government officials say recent research makes a stronger case that smoking marijuana is itself a causal agent in psychiatric symptoms, particularly schizophrenia."When Jesus lost it and chased the bankers out of the church, he might have been locked up in a psychiatric institution, what little survives of that thinking, is strong, and all those Christians, all understand and recite those words.Sometimes them voices in your head, are only your conscience, your own self talking to you, sometimes you want to scream and rage against how Jesus was treated, how we all are treated.I suspect that what is called "mental Illness" in our times, may be nothing more than a rebellion against society, and the much touted chemical imbalance , may easily be diagnosed as a rejection for the collars that corporate interest insist on putting on our necks.Once I had a relationship, with a bi-polar person, when she stopped taking her medication, she became dark and light, she was a genius and confusing, she always had a gentle hand, and I Loved Her.How many children are being abused right now?To try to stop the Birth of the Holy Spirit, is like taking away sunshine on a spring day, to stop the rain, that feeds the gentle herbs, to stop birds from singing, to blind with the latest techno tele-marketing.With each new message, our brains are being fried, this assault by the money lenders, only reminds that a benign world, can survive "even" longer than greed, corruption, and the constraints of the "almighty dollar".Peace to all...
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Comment #15 posted by b4daylight on May 03, 2005 at 16:04:45 PT

567
Comment #2 posted by FoM on May 03, 2005 at 13:24:12 PT
Related AP GraphicNiceComment #6 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on May 03, 2005 at 14:10:12 PT
Abuse?Ohh come on every one knows caffine is. )Comment #9 posted by cloud7 on May 03, 2005 at 14:39:57 PT
"Feds Sound New Warning About Marijuana Use"Really who belives these people they have no creditablity. MY comment...
what about meth, In my state AZ it is an epidemic. The meth heads walk around like zombies. 
Pot sells for 500 bucks a pound. Prescription drugs is a short jaunt over the border. Illegals sit at Home Depot waiting for work. We have so many problems it would be nice if they would seperate the dangerous problems from the moral issues, and put effort at something that does not need a study to show it is frickin dagnerous. 
Here they have to back up claims (or not )becuase no body belives them with their moral pot laws. 
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on May 03, 2005 at 15:21:06 PT

Dankhank
I asked Puff and he said yep! LOL!
Puff
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Comment #13 posted by Dankhank on May 03, 2005 at 15:17:01 PT

Toker00
I'll toke to that ...Hey ain't it 4 2 0 somewhere?
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Comment #12 posted by afterburner on May 03, 2005 at 15:06:28 PT

#9, Or US Supreme Court Justices in Raich Could...
Use These Concerns as a Smokescreen for Uncritical Acceptance of what the paid liars of the ONDCP present as scientific evidence (like the Canadian Supreme Court did in Regina v. Clay, Malmo-Levine, and Caine, discounting the report of their own Senate Special Committee). 
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Comment #11 posted by runderwo on May 03, 2005 at 15:02:44 PT

existing studies
I find it interesting that when these new scare studies come out, they make no attempt to refute or even acknowledge the existing body of research, as if it never existed. Ignoring contradictory evidence serves a political purpose I guess - we wouldn't want people to do anything besides take this study at face value, after all.In all these scare studies I've seen so far, the symptoms of "serious mental illness" they bring forth are typical short-term effects of cannabis. Of course the term "mental illness" sounds like a person should be put in a straitjacket and padded cell, but if we were honest about such things we would realize that nearly everybody has a "mental illness" of some sort relative to someone else.I'm rather disinterested in "mental illness" unless it is accompanied with a qualifier. For example, "undesired", meaning the person has received effects he does not want from cannabis. Or "permanent" - listing short-term effects of cannabis intoxication as mental illness is not exactly honest. Or "disabling", meaning it has had a measurable negative effect on the person's life from his perspective. Otherwise, it just comes down to value judgements and perspective who is mentally ill and who is enlightened.
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Comment #10 posted by Toker00 on May 03, 2005 at 14:51:22 PT

Abuse?
"Alcohol is the single largest drug of abuse in the nation"I'll Toke to that!
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Comment #9 posted by cloud7 on May 03, 2005 at 14:39:57 PT

"Feds Sound New Warning About Marijuana Use"
Well, at least this seems to be a good sign for the Raich ruling. Nothing like some scare stories to drown out an unpleasant truth. 
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Comment #8 posted by potpal on May 03, 2005 at 14:21:05 PT

"Question authority !" said the teacher...
"Why?", said the grasshopper.Millions and millions of people have tried/used pot, how come we don't have more insane asylums than we do prisons. What about alcohol's role in mental illness, prespcription drugs, tobacco (every crazy person's favorite), etc etc. You want to make someone crazy, take away their license to drive, cage them, hang the fear of a cage over their head, lock up their mother or father, deprieve them of medicine, etc etc.Reefer madness is a psycosis all its own. 
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on May 03, 2005 at 14:11:19 PT

Oh JR
Thanks you made me laugh! I needed that!
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Comment #6 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on May 03, 2005 at 14:10:12 PT

Abuse?
"Marijuana is the single largest drug of abuse in the nation"I'll drink to that!!
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Comment #5 posted by Taylor121 on May 03, 2005 at 13:57:34 PT

Glad to see
I read the original press release by the ONDCP this morning. I am aware of the studies that they are referring to, and I am also aware that there were some problems with the methodology of at least one of them. It is good to see the AP questions the officials, cause afterall, the press is NOT supposed to be the government's lapdog. I'm tired of the press simply delievering what the government has to say instead of showing both sides of the issue. That is why this article is a step forward. The Australian news reports and many local ones here in the states appear to be using a shortened version of it that only focuses on the the government officials. But looks like many other national reports are picking up the AP story. Hopefully the trend will continue towards the AP article to get the other side of the story on there.I agree with the methodology problems present in the studies that the government's claims are really not legtimate. However, even if we took these claims at face value, why should we continue arresting adults that use marijuana responsibly and should we not try to help our younger generation instead of hurting them with a record and incarceration? Legalizing marijuana for adults would allow us to control marijuana with licensed distribution requiring children be carded before they could buy their pot. Our youth can already buy marijuaan easier than they can alcohol or tobacco. Make the marijuana regulation as strict as liquor and the problem is reduced. Couple that with a strong, honest education campaign, the problem is even further reduced. Our elected officials could figure this out if they had half a brain, but it is up to us to educate them. Part of the problem with legalizing comes from a fear that an explosion of marijuana use would follow and kids would be smoking more, but there is no evidence to back up this case. The evidence that exists from the dutch experiment and various nations and states that have decriminalized marijuana shows that use is not so much related to the law but other independent factors. 

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Comment #4 posted by FoM on May 03, 2005 at 13:47:10 PT

Off Topic: W3 Sober Bug
My anti virus just caught and isolated a virus that looks like what I put in the subject line. I thought I should mention it so everyone is aware and updates their anti-virus program if necessary.
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on May 03, 2005 at 13:39:55 PT

Encouraging
I'm pleased to see that the AP is clearly making a concerted effort to balance the fed's press release with some countering viewpoints. Good job guys!Of course, the BS study is totally worthless....once again, NO CAUSALITY! They made no effort to control for other factors, like poverty, poor diet, family history, etc, etc, etc. It's easy to see why; there's been a steady stream of properly conducted studies that prove over and over than cannabis does NOT cause mental illness.The government grow increasingly Orwellian; even their own lies backfire. If it WAS true that more kids are seeking treatment for marijuana, then that's an indictment of our drug policies over the last 10 years, in which more and more people are arrested.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on May 03, 2005 at 13:24:12 PT

Related AP Graphic
Chart shows marijuana arrests and total drug arrests, 1990-2002. (AP Graphic) http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/050503/480/gfx52905032002
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 03, 2005 at 13:17:55 PT

Finally Found An Article
It has a little more information then the other AP articles so far.
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