DARE Removes Cannabis As A Gateway Drug

Psssst. Hey guys, guess what? The veil of fear and loathing around cannabis is getting shredded. There is just too much evidence that it is actually good for the vast majority of people coming to light. I guess I need to be more patient and remember that it took the FDA 30 years to admit that vitamin c can help fight off the common cold. Why should it be surprising that it takes almost 80 years to get any quasi-governmental acknowledgement that cannabis isn’t really a drug that drives one to prostitution and heroin?

But we still have the issue of whom we trust with our health care and decisions about what we ingest and to whom we give authority over our potential ingestion of this plant. Hemp seed alone is so amazingly beneficial it’s still a wonder that governments have gotten away with controlling it. Unfortunately, it looks like the corporate control and the “Reefer Madness” idiom we have been conditioned to accepting is still winning.

We do not need to have things that are so potentially beneficial for us (raw milk, food directly from the farmer, cannabis, sassafras) regulated and controlled by nameless faceless bureaucracies and legal systems. If we allow the powers that be to control our access to food, education, news, medicine, information(for example, the massive assault on the statement of evidenced benefits from essential oils) and the sharing of these things, then we may as well ask for permission to breathe as well. Potentially, they are already lined up for the license to breathe via the carbon tax mechanism and CO2 as a “dangerous emission”.

In my state, Missouri, we have two initiatives gathering signatures for the ballot in November. One of those (New Approach Missouri or NAM) is not changing the schedule of cannabis, thereby leaving it in the federal realm of a schedule 1 controlled substance that could cause you to lose your right to keep and bear arms should you get a prescription.  The other initiative, (Missouri Cannabis Restoration and Protection Act or MCRPA) changes that scheduling and does not allow the medical industrial complex further control over your health decisions. The problem is that the controlled and legally dangerous initiative has better organization and funding than the fully grass roots initiative. So, we are likely to get something that will only really benefit a few and keep power and money in the hands of the medical industrial complex, the state and the court system, and prevent people from helping themselves and each other.

Here is an article that pretty well reflects my opinion, and let’s us know about the issue with DARE’s policy change:

No More Pretending: D.A.R.E. Says Cannabis No Longer A Gateway Drug

I don’t smoke pot, but if I had a medical condition that warranted its use, I would use it without a doubt. I probably would not smoke it as I don’t want to inhale smoke into my lungs.  I would, however, find another way to reap all of its amazing therapeutic benefits, such as juicing, capsules, or using its potent essential oil.

I must admit that I would even risk being arrested for the sake of taking responsibility for my health. I am a mother with three children, and if using cannabis effectively allowed me to continue to be a mother… I would not refuse it.

There is far too much compounding scientific evidence  (see below) to support its therapeutic value, and besides… it is natural,  who can argue with that?

As more and more states (23 to be exact, plus DC) legalize the medicinal use of cannabis, the pressure is really on the federal government to loosen their restrictions and classification of this herb.

Humans have cultivated and used the flowering tops of the female cannabis plant, known colloquially as marijuana, since history was recorded. Archaeologists in Central Asia even found over two pounds of cannabis in a 2,700-year-old grave of a shaman. Written and pictorial evidence of cannabis use is scattered throughout numerous cultures, indicating a wide acceptance and use of the plant for thousands of years.

“The D.A.R.E. Program and Gateway Drugs”

Most recently, albeit rather quietly, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program

(D.A.R.E.), one of the biggest organized anti-drug groups in the world, erased marijuana from their list of “gateway” drugs. There was no big fanfare, no news conference, nothing. Marijuana simply disappeared off the list on their website, which still contains tobacco and alcohol.

The gateway theory basically states that people who start using “soft” substances like tobacco, alcohol and marijuana will move on to “hard” drugs like cocaine or heroin. For years, the D.A.R.E. program has been teaching that marijuana along with alcohol and tobacco are very dangerous gateway drugs. Two outta three ain’t bad, but there has been a tremendous amount of miseducation taking place. Here is what the D.A.R.E. website had to say about marijuana in 2014:

“While the drug [marijuana] is being legalized in some states for medicinal and, in some cases, recreational purposes, there are many experts who still consider it the path to a life of ruin.”

No need to look at the past, however. I celebrate, along with many others, the fact that the program has taken this step to help end marijuana propaganda that has been going on for a very long time. I am glad that they were bold enough to get off the cannabis-bashing bandwagon and acknowledge what science supports.

Less ammunition for those against legalization 

The disappearance of cannabis from the list gives those opposed to legalization of the plant a much smaller platform upon which to stand. Sorry to disarm you Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  Schultz, Democratic National Committee chair described pot as a dangerous gateway drug in an interview not too long ago. Here is what she had to say.

“I just don’t think we should legalize more mind-altering substances if we want to make it less likely that people travel down the path toward using drugs,” Schultz told The New York Times. “We have had a resurgence of drug use instead of a decline. There is a huge heroin epidemic.”

But she was actually far off course, studies show that the marijuana-gateway theory is wrong, hands down. Even the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that most people who use cannabis don’t move on to harder or more dangerous substances. Sadly enough, The Intercept reports that Schultz has been badmouthing cannabis while accepting generous campaign donations from Big Alcohol and Big Tobacco. Now that makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? 

Drug classification remains 

Although D.A.R.E. has made a courageous and historic stand by removing cannabis from their gateway list, federal prohibitions outlawing the therapeutic and recreational use of cannabis still remain. These restrictions were first imposed by Congress with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Later, the plant’s organic compounds (cannabinoids) were classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

This classification puts the plant in the same pool as heroin and states that cannabis possesses “a high potential for abuse… no currently accepted medical use… [and] a lack of accepted safety for the use of the drug… under medical supervision.”

In contrast, cocaine and methamphetamine, which are illegal for recreational use, may be consumed under a doctor’s supervision and are classified as Schedule II drugs. Examples of Schedule III and IV drugs include anabolic steroids and Valium. Analgesics that contain codeine are defined by law as Schedule V drugs, the most lenient classification.

Therapeutic value

Federal lawmakers continue to use the dated drug classification as a means to defend criminalization of marijuana. However, there appears to be very little scientific basis for the categorization of the plant. As its prohibition has passed 75 years, researchers continue to study the therapeutic properties of cannabis.

There are over 20,000 published reviews and studies in scientific literature that pertain to the cannabis plant and its cannabinoids, almost one-third of these have been published in the last four years. A keyword search on PubMed Central (the U.S. government library of peer-reviewed scientific research) shows 2,100 studies alone since 2011.

Joycelyn Elders, MD, former U.S. Surgeon General, wrote the following in a March 26, 2004 article titled “Myths About Medical Marijuana,” published in the Providence Journal:

“The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS — or by the harsh drugs sometimes used to treat them. And it can do so with remarkable safety. Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day.”

Ray Cavanaugh, PhD, national director of the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC), wrote the following in a 2002 article titled “The Plight of the Chronically Ill,” posted on the AAMC website:

“Many of the chronically ill have successfully sought relief with the use of medical cannabis, an age-old remedy that now shows real scientific efficacy. Hundreds of thousands of the sick have replaced disabling narcotics and other psychotropic medications with nontoxic and benign cannabis. The anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. Folks with spinal injuries able to give up their walkers, AIDS patients able to gain weight and keep their medications down, cancer patients finding relief from the terrible nausea of chemotherapy, chronic pain patients once again functional with their consciousness restored from narcotic lethargy, and folks once disabled from crippling psychiatric disorders and addictions, returned to sanity and society with the assistance of a nontoxic herb with remarkable healing powers.”

The American Nurses Association (ANA) wrote the following in its March 19, 2004 “Position Statement: Providing Patients Safe Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis,” posted on the ANA website:

“The American Nurses Association (ANA) recognizes that patients should have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis. Cannabis or marijuana has been used medicinally for centuries. It has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of symptoms and conditions.”

Researchers at the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research announced findings from a number of randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials on the medical utility of inhaled cannabis in 2010.

The studies used the FDA “gold standard” clinical trial design and reported that marijuana should be the “first line of treatment” for patients suffering from neuropathy and other serious illnesses.

Neuropathy is a type of pain associated with diabetes, cancer, spinal cord injuries, HIV/AIDS and other debilitating conditions. The trials indicated that marijuana controlled pain as well or better than available medications.

Scientists continue to study the effectiveness of cannabinoids all over the world. In Germany there have been over 37 controlled studies, with over 2,500 subjects, assessing the safety and efficacy of marijuana since 2005. In contrast, most FDA-approved drugs go through far fewer trials with less subjects but are approved for use.

ErasesCannabisGatewayDrugList_640x359The research on cannabis has shifted from studying its ability to alleviate symptoms of disease, such as nausea associated with chemotherapy, to its potential role in modifying disease. Medical marijuana has been shown to slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and moderate autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Where does this leave us?

Is marijuana a gateway drug? No way. Does it have therapeutic value that we would be foolish to overlook? Most definitely. The decision of D.A.R.E. to remove marijuana from their gateway list sends a message to all engaged in the cannabis debate. As more and more forward momentum is gained and the falsities of this plant begin to fade in the light of the true evidence, there is hope for millions of people who suffer needlessly in pain when a natural and highly effective remedy exists.

Clearly, where conventional medicine has failed or needs help, alternatives such as cannabis can and are starting to fill the gap.

—Susan Patterson

Susan is the Content Director at The Alternative Daily, a Certified Health Coach, Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor and Master Gardener. With an extensive knowledge of whole foods and wellness, Susan has authored over 3,000 articles and numerous e-books. She presently lives in the mountains of Arizona where she enjoys hiking, biking, gardening and pursuing a healthy lifestyle with her three daughters and numerous animals.

Sources:
http://extract.suntimes.com/news/10/153/16482/dare-program-no-longer-lists-marijuana-as-gateway-drug
http://norml.org/component/zoo/category/recent-research-on-medical-marijuana
http://www.cmcr.ucsd.edu
http://ireadculture.com/article-2940-convinced-of-the-cure.html

Medical Marijuana…Not such a great thing for those in need

If you’ve heard me speaking on the issue of cannabis and legalizing this plant the produces food, fiber, fuel, and medicine, you may have heard a little bit about why the “medical” initiatives are actually not a wonderful deal. Usually you have to exhaust all pharmaceutical attempts at addressing your issue. Then have a special doctor recommend medical cannabis for you or your loved one’s issue, then you have to get approved by the state for it, and then you have to get to an approved dispensary that sells it. In effect, it can be “legal” in name only and if you are found to have it without all the hoops being properly jumped through, you could be a felon.

Putting sick people through the meat grinder of the medical industrial complex with all the negative effects of pharmaceuticals doesn’t seem compassionate to me at all. Below is an article on this issue in New Jersey:

Medical marijuana patients still face hurdles in New Jersey

– Associated Press – Saturday, October 31, 2015

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) – Michelle Teel sees a pain specialist to help her manage the devastation that five years of breast cancer treatment has wreaked on her body. The 35-year-old Deptford woman suffers from bone pain and a stubborn six-inch leaking wound on her chest that won’t heal.

Oxycodone does little to ease her discomfort.

“I’m in pain every day,” the former reporter said.

“If I come up with the money, I want to try the (medicinal) marijuana,” Teel said. “I want to be on something that works.”

Though five alternative treatment centers are now open across the state, including two in South Jersey, patients still face hurdles accessing legal cannabis. Widely praised by doctors for its strict regulations, the state’s marijuana program faces bitter criticism from patients and their advocates.

“The program is so artificially restrictive, the vast majority of people who can benefit from medical marijuana therapy can’t access it in New Jersey,” said Ken Wolski, who leads the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey.

Since New Jersey launched its patient registry three years ago, about 5,600 people have enrolled in the medicinal marijuana program. In the three weeks since Compassionate Sciences, Inc., opened its dispensary in Bellmawr, it has served more than 460 patients, most commonly for intractable skeletal muscular spasticity, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis.

Doctors have been slower to sign on.

Currently, 354 physicians in New Jersey can write prescriptions for marijuana, 29 more than last year. Another 79 doctors are registered, but inactive. New Jersey is the only state that requires doctors to register in the program before they can write prescriptions for cannabis, Wolski said.

The state limits marijuana prescriptions to patients with certain qualifying conditions, including glaucoma; inflammatory bowel disease; intractable skeletal spasticity; lateral sclerosis; muscular dystrophy; multiple sclerosis; seizure disorder; severe or chronic pain due to cancer and HIV/AIDS; terminal cancer; and terminal illness.

Psychiatric conditions, such as post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression and anxiety, are not included. More debilitating conditions could be added to the state’s list, if they are approved by a review panel.

Though the state Department of Health must convene the review panel at least once a year, it hasn’t done so yet, according to Donna Leusner, a department spokeswoman.

“The Department is in the process of contacting individuals that were recommended to gather more information on their background and expertise,” Leusner said in an email.

Even if a review panel agrees more conditions should be approved, its decision can be overruled by the state health commissioner, Wolski said.

“It seems like an exercise in futility,” Wolksi said. “We’re not really hopeful there’s going to be meaningful expansion” of the medical marijuana program.

Parents of children with epilepsy have urged the state for years to permit the sale of edible marijuana products. For now, they brew marijuana-infused oil in their home kitchens, unable to test their homemade concoctions for potency.

The state hasn’t yet permitted dispensaries to manufacture other forms of the herb, such as topical ointments, lozenges or oils. Compassionate Sciences, Inc., in Bellmawr submitted an application earlier this year to produce two topical treatments and a lozenge. Leusner said it was still under review.

The program also requires a doctor’s approval before patients can get a marijuana card.

Physicians can only prescribe marijuana to patients they’ve seen at least four times. Typically, doctors only accept direct payment for such visits, Wolski explained.

Once approved by a doctor, patients are charged $200 to register in the state’s medicinal marijuana program for two years. Nearly half of those registered in the program last year qualified for a reduced $20 charge to register.

Patients must pay out of pocket for marijuana, which costs $480 an ounce at the Bellmawr dispensary. The marijuana is taxed at 7 percent.

New Jersey’s legal marijuana is “the most expensive” in the country,” Wolski said.

“Anybody whose been impoverished by their illness or marginally employed, they can’t afford this program,” Wolski said. “It’s a shell of what it could have been.”

Even so, patient demand is high, said Dr. Andrew Medvedovsky, a neurologist and pain specialist with RA Pain Services in Washington Township.

“Over the 2½ years I’ve been in practice, many, many patients have asked me about medical marijuana,” said Medvedovsky, who referred patients elsewhere before he joined the state’s program in July.

Since then, he has prescribed cannabis to about 50 patients, including children with severe epilepsy. He sees patients with complex conditions that can be difficult to treat with conventional pharmaceutical drugs.

Some of his patients take four pills at night to ease painful spasms, “and they still can’t fall asleep.” He’s also concerned about the side effects and addictive nature of powerful opioids and benzodiazepines.

“They don’t provide relief,” Medvedovsky said. “They don’t really help a large population of patients.”

Marijuana offers another option for patients who have hit the limits of conventional medicine, he explained. Still, some of his patients don’t qualify for the program, because they don’t have one of the approved conditions.

“Many patients told me if they could smoke marijuana legally,” Medvedovsky said, “they would be so happy to get off their other medications.”

But it’s not easy, even for those who clearly qualify. The program permits terminally ill people to receive medicinal marijuana, for example. Just over 300 of them were enrolled in the program last year, according to state records.

Wolski pins the blame on the state’s restrictions and its lack of outreach about marijuana’s therapeutic benefits. Besides controlling pain, the herb improves appetite, helps with bladder control, and raises the spirits of those facing a terminal prognosis, he said.

“It really helps people who are elderly and dying in so many ways,” Wolski said. “It’s a sin, really, to keep it from these people.”

__

Cannabis Legalization on Missouri Ballot: Two Paths from Which to Choose…Freedom, or Feudalism?

Cannabis Legalization on Missouri Ballot:

Two Paths from Which to Choose…Freedom, or Feudalism?

©Doreen Hannes

(((Look, I want to be very clear here. I don’t even use cannabis, because it IS illegal, and the seizure aspects are waaaay too high of a price to consider for something I would only rarely do if it were indeed legal….so I am not trying to get protections for my habit in position.)))

Over the course of the past few months I’ve been doing a fair amount of investigation on the issue of cannabis and various efforts to legalize the plant for the general benefit of humanity. Initially, I looked at the issue of legalizing cannabis as a simple matter of civil liberties with a massive pseudo criminal front propped up by drug court fees, seizure laws, probation and the expenses paid to the system in that, cheap prison labor and increased family court revenues due to foster care and custody issues…And yes, it also incidentally had benefits for people with serious medical issues.

Honestly, I have had a complete paradigm shift. Complete.

Not that the prison industry complex and costs to society associated with those issues are irrelevant, but there is a much larger, and much more evil truth about the control of cannabis that absolutely must become common knowledge. It’s particularly important that those who largely identify with conservative and Christian principles, or strong Constitutionalist ideologies become fully aware of the collusion between government and corporations to remove a beneficial plant from our access. Cannabis actually heals. And it restores life to people who are very ill. Hundreds of studies show this to be true, and also that cannabis is tremendously beneficial for our overall health.

The reason this has come to the forefront for many of us is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to hold to the idea that “Reefer Madness” has any basis in fact. It simply isn’t factual. Sometimes there are people that use cannabis that are just literally criminals and have no regard for their fellow man. These same criminals may also consume carrots, but the carrots are not the cause of their deficient characters. With or without cannabis, these people would be violent. Cannabis does not cause crime. Violent cartels exist because of cannabis being illegal. So in effect, the only violence that can truly be attributed to cannabis is state sanctioned violence through unjust laws. Simply put, the controls on this plant are the reason for violence associated with the plant or it’s distribution.

The tipping point on the truth around cannabis being put into the status of a Schedule One controlled substance (the Schedule One designation means it has NO medicinal value) has been achieved among the people. For those who have some qualms about whether or not this plant needs to be flatly legalized, please watch this video about Rick Simpson oil. This man has given people -as in freely given- cannabis oil, and they have been cured of all manners of disease including multiple types of cancer and terminal cancer. If you watch that video and still have any uncertainty left in you, watch this video, and forgive the one instance of yelling at the very beginning. The facts are that corporate interests paid to have cannabis categorized as a Schedule One controlled substance. Corporate interests, violent cartels, the prison industry and tyrannical seizure laws fattening the wallets of a few, have been the only beneficiaries of cannabis control.

Multitudes of people have died from being denied the best thing on earth to beat cancer. And the people in the corporations, the politicians that continue to be bought off from taking right action, and the pharmaceutical companies, are complicit in their deaths. Yes, I said complicit. The facts are in. Cannabis prohibition must end and will end very soon. Just look at this list of the plethora of studies that show the benefits of cannabis in treating human ailments. There are hundreds of studies on the effectiveness of cannabis, not just in treating symptoms of disease, but actually curing the disease in many instances. It can’t be covered up any longer. However, we do have some questions that we need to answer for ourselves as we move forward on cannabis.

The first question is whether or not we are happy with the current state of controlled and declining health and access to alternative/natural treatments? Currently, the FDA -who took 30 years to admit that vitamin C is helpful in thwarting the common cold- is in control of our food and our medicine. On average, FDA approved medications kill 100,000 people per year. Those are their own reports on the FDA’s website. The FDA has stated they are justified in exercising authority to control what we consume because the Almighty gave commands on dietary laws in Scripture. They think they have as much authority as the Creator of the Universe. Seriously. Check it out here. (page 26 of 30)The FDA also holds the position that “raw milk is inherently dangerous and should never be consumed by any one for any reason.” Never mind the fact that if that were a true statement, there would never have been a second generation of human beings.

Honestly, I could go on for a full-length book about the criminal behavior of the FDA in relation to our food and medicines, but I’ll restrain myself. Just watch network tv for one night, count up the recalls and suits being advertised along with all the new medications you should talk to your doctor about, then ask yourself if you think they are doing work that is truly beneficial for humanity. If you can truthfully say that you are pleased with the quality of our nutrition, not knowing whether or not you are consuming genetically modified organisms, and the health care system in this country, then you need do nothing. If you are not satisfied with the status quo of chronic pain, disease and debilitation, and lack of personal control, then it’s time to do things differently.

The next series of questions we must answer is what kind of business model “We the People” want to follow as we end prohibition on this plant? Do we want to stick with the controlled access, medical industrial cartel dialectic, where production, distribution, and access are licensed and heavily regulated, and keep fascism growing? Or do we want to seek free market enterprise and let everyone who is interested put their own money on the line and succeed or fail on their own merits? Have layers of bureaucrats proven themselves to be beneficial to our literal wellbeing? Do we think we personally should have the ability and choice to make decisions about what we consume? Or do we believe the bureaucrats, paper pushers and corporations have proven themselves to have a legitimate and beneficial hand in securing our health?

Once we’ve answered these questions to our satisfaction, then we must decide how we move forward on the issue of cannabis legalization and access. In Missouri, we will have two very different initiatives on the ballot in 2016 for a proposed Constitutional amendment.

Since I’m from the Show Me state, and these two initiatives are responsible for bringing me to the paradigm shift I mentioned above, I bring you “The Tale of Two Initiatives”. One is very short and flatly legalizes it. The other is 4 pages of small print and proposes to regulate cannabis within the Constitution of the state.

From that short overview, it is very likely that those who know me have already determined which initiative has won my support. But it’s necessary for everyone to make up their own minds about this, so the remainder of this rather lengthy article is going to focus on the nuts and bolts of these two initiatives. Other states have similar proposals in position.

Let’s deal with the short one first. This initiative, identified as 2016-013, was written by Mark Pedersen formerly of the Kansas City NORML group. Even many major proponents of legalizing cannabis have said it was too radical. Notably, the national level of the KC group that worked with Pedersen, NORML (the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws) is reported to be the biggest opponent of this initiative. We’ll have to deal with the reasons behind NORML opposing this amendment in a subsequent article. For now, we’ll just look at the “radical” amendment first and talk about possible pros and cons related to it.

2016-013 is currently being circulated for the collection of signatures to get onto the 2016 November ballot. It proposes to remove cannabis from the controlled substances list. It doesn’t place limits on the amount one person may possess or grow. It also doesn’t have any age limits set within the confines of the proposed amendment to the Constitution. It secures the right of people to grow enough for their personal use and prevents extra regulatory controls on farmers and processors of all cannabis products, including all strains, cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, cannabis ruderalis, and crosses of these cannabis strains. It prohibits the mere presence of cannabis and cannabis products from serving as cause to charge with impaired driving. And I do admit that it does indeed seem radical on its face. But let’s examine the issues so we can make determinations with solid information.

First up, let’s look at the “radical” idea of not limiting the amount that an individual may grow. This is terrifically important. If you watched the Rick Simpson “Run From the Cure” video I linked earlier, you are aware that a single full treatment for cancer or serious health issues requires a pound of cannabis. The oil from the plant is extracted and a pound will render about 2 ounces of oil. It’s a lot of cannabis. What’s more, if a person has received chemo or radiation, they will need at least 2 full protocols of the cannabis oil to fully heal. It can take a lot of plants to get those amounts of cannabis. The street value of a single treatment amount bought by the ounce is about $4800.00 right now. If you can get the entire pound and buy it all at once you might be able to get a discount and get it as low as $3400. Is that too high of a price to cure cancer? Certainly not, but what if you don’t have $3400 to $4800? Does your ability to pay for a treatment make you worthy of having it? Conversely, does the inability to pay make you a less valuable human being? If there aren’t limits placed on the number of plants one may have, it opens the door for people to be better able to heal themselves and to take personal responsibility for their own well being.

Next let’s look at the thing that really struck me personally about the 2016-013 initiative. There is no age limit set forth for possessing or using cannabis. I thought that was pretty over the top, and I told the people who contacted me about the initiative that it was my opinion that it needed an age limit. They made some pretty good arguments against it. One of those arguments was very basic from a freedom advocate’s point of view. The age of majority isn’t stipulated in the Bill of Rights. Also, it isn’t a static thing. It is 21 for some things and 18 for other things and it isn’t something that should be ensconced in our Constitution to secure a right. Even more importantly, in light of the healing potential of cannabis oil, would anyone with any compassion in them want to prohibit a parent faced with a seriously ill child from being able to help that child? I wouldn’t. It would be unconscionable to put anyone in that position, and instead run them through a bureaucratic and medical industrial complex maze to do what every parent must do to be right in the eyes of their Creator and provide for the child help in a time of trouble. Also, it is emphatically evident that parents have a duty to protect their children from ingesting things that they shouldn’t be ingesting. If you are going to have cannabis in the house, you have to be responsible and not allow your children to use it on their own. In other words, BE A PARENT!

Next let’s take an actual look at the issue of THC in the system and driving under the influence. THC being present in the system is simply not at all equal to impairment. Yes, THC is the psychoactive chemical in cannabis, but its presence within a person’s system doesn’t mean that the person is impaired. It isn’t like blood alcohol content, in that a person could have high levels of THC in their system, but still not be impaired. If someone is using cannabis to treat themselves for health reasons, THC will be high, but they are not likely to be impaired if they have been following a protocol for any length of time at all. There is a lot of science behind this fact, and it is important to look at the science and make logical decisions about THC as opposed to emotional decisions predicated on a faulty basis. In no way shape or form am I saying that you cannot be impaired by cannabis consumption. You certainly can be impaired. That impairment would be evident in a motor skills test that was video taped and witnessed by at least two witnesses. Whether people like it or not, that would be evidence of impairment, but THC levels are not a credible assessment of impairment.

Here is an excerpt from a paper on this issue:

A study using coordination testing showed inevitable failure on field sobriety testing if blood THC levels were 25 to 30 ng/ml. But, many failed testing at 90 and 150 minutes after smoking even though plasma concentrations were rather low. The researchers had the foresight to conclude that “establishing a clear relation between THC plasma concentrations and clinical impairment will be much more difficult than for alcohol”. This is because alcohol and THC are chemically different and are metabolized differently inside the body.

Now we are ready to take a look at the “Show Me Cannabis” (aka Mo NORML) initiative proposition.

First off, this initiative, 2016-009, isn’t being circulated for signatures yet because the proponents of the initiative have reportedly “gone back to the drawing board”. However, it is available from the Missouri Secretary of State’s office at this link. I have put in a couple of emails asking for a conversation with the gentleman heading up this initiative and have received no replies, so I cannot relate any responses to questions I have regarding this initiative.

In the first sentence, this initiative is providing for regulatory control of cannabis to Missourians over the age of 21. It stipulates that regulations are to be promulgated for many purposes. Here are a few of those. Promulgate regulations to allow for state licensed producers, retailers, and distributors of cannabis. It states that revenue generated by cannabis will be used to fund police and firefighter pensions and retirement plans as well as elementary and secondary schools. That the revenue will be used to prevent: the establishment of cartels, under age 21 use, and to prevent advertising cannabis to those under the age of 21. It allows for households to grow up to six plants, have up to 16 ounces of dried cannabis, or 20 ounces of liquid cannabis. It proposes to expunge nonviolent cannabis convictions. Also to require a person to get a license to purchase, sell, manufacture, deliver or process cannabis. It requires the labeling of the THC content on all cannabis products, and provides for limitation on the level of THC allowed in cannabis that may be sold. It provides for a 25% excise tax on the first “fair market sale” of all marijuana….And more. Lots more, actually.

Let’s start with the 25% excise tax on the first “fair market sale” of any cannabis. Well, right there we have a problem. “Fair market sale” is defined in this proposed amendment as “means with respect to the sale of a product, a sale in which the purchase price of the product is not less than the price that a willing seller would accept and a willing buyer would pay in the open market and in competition with other similar products.” Hmmm.

If this is absolutely constrained to the FINAL sale of the product to the consumer of the product, that means that if you are buying from a “licensed retail establishment” that you will be paying approximately 33% in taxes to the State. (The 25% excise and the 8% sales tax) It doesn’t state that it is on the final sale though. It says it is on the “first sale in an open market”. So…does that mean when the grower sells to someone for either distribution or manufacturing that the grower has to collect the 25% for the state? Here is the definition of an excise tax. (It’s rather complex, and this article is already very long, so please read the link) It certainly sounds to me as though the tax is something that is supposed to be collected on the sale by the grower after he pays the license fee to be able to sell the product at all.

He must then increase the down line cost of the product by adding an additional 25% cost to the next in line. Then when you get to the retail portion, the cost of goods is further increased by the state sales tax. So, let’s say the licensed grower sells an ounce for $100 for his labor and upkeep, and has to collect $125 from the licensed wholesaler/distributor or manufacturer to whom he sells. The distributor or wholesaler then has to mark up the product by whatever percentage will allow him to pay his license fee and make a living wage to the retailer, who then must again mark up what he sells the product for in order to cover his own living wage. Presume you do typical mark up of 30% for the distributor/wholesaler (more for the manufacturer as there are additional processes involved) as the distributor/wholesaler is supposed to be moving volumes. Now you’re looking at $125 + $37.50= $162.50. Then the retailer usually has to double as they have more insurance liability by having people come in and out of their location, and they have to deal with displays and such. Now you’re looking at $325 per ounce before the typical 8% sales tax ,which is another $26, so the cannabis consumer pays $351 per ounce and the state makes $51 plus licensing fees every step of the way. Mind you, $100 an ounce as a starting price is terrifically low. But is this really going to help out the average person a whole lot? I’m all for the State making money on the retail, but my rule of thumb is what did Yahweh ask for a tithe? Only 10%. Why does the State deserve more than 2 and half times what He requests? Maybe I’m the only one who thinks this way…I kind of doubt it though.

Someone will say, “But you can grow up to six plants, and that surely is enough for a household!” Well, let’s look at the six plant limit. Below you’ll find a little scenario that is not at all unreasonable. Just ask anyone who has ever gardened.

So you decide you like to garden and you’ll grow your own cannabis and therefore bring down the cost of making cannabis available for your household. You order seeds and spend $90 for ten seeds. Really. That’s a pretty good price, too. So you very carefully germinate your seeds and 9 out of ten germinate. Now you have to throw three down the toilet or you’ll be over your six plant limit. You carefully place these in small pots. They begin to put on leaves and now you have your six plants! You’re all legal and looking forward to excellent yields…Then you come home from work and two of your seedlings wilted on you. You mist them and hope they’ll recover. Well, they don’t. So now you have four plants and no more seeds to germinate. You figure that’s all fine because the advertisement said this was a high yielding variety and you can only have 16 ounces of dried product anyway. So when they get to be about 15 inches tall you put them outside into the best area of your backyard for good sun, but not too much, and you check on them daily. You patiently wait for September when you should be able to harvest. In the end of June, you and your family go away for the weekend and when you come home, one of your plants has simply disappeared. And the Japanese beetles picked that weekend to hatch out and eat your remaining plants up like crazy. So you set about making a protective enclosure for them and that involves shade cloth and posts and a gate and it takes you the rest of the week to get that done. You only have a couple of hours to work on it every night because this endeavor isn’t one that actually pays the bills. At this point you’re thinking it’s probably a lot easier to just buy the stuff, but you’re stubborn and keep after it until September. They’re looking okay, but the yields in the advertisement don’t look attainable…Harvest time comes and you get a total of three ounces from your three plants. Probably because the Japanese beetles hit right at flowering time…So you have three ounces after 6 months of tending and you’re scratching your head to figure out if it’s even worth trying again.

Imagine going through that when you are ever so hopeful that you will get a good yield on a strain that will help your child with epilepsy, or a parent with debilitating arthritis, diabetes, or cancer. Six plants? At what stage of maturity? And what happens if you are over that level and get caught by Code Enforcers or the police? Well, we can’t answer that other than to say the legislature will authorize fines and penalties for going over the “Household Exemption” level. It does limit it to up to $1000 or a year in jail. Does that sound good? Does it count toward the retirement funds and school funds prescribed in this amendment proposal? The proposed amendment says “revenue”. Do the enforcement fines and penalties count toward revenue?

Let’s consider the issue of using the amendment to aid law enforcement and firefighters pensions and retirements, and helping out the public school system with additional funds. While I am pro-education and pro-firefighter and all for peace officers, don’t we already spend a fair amount of tax money on these things? Are these funds being managed well? Isn’t this what various lottery proceeds are supposed to enhance as well? If we throw more money at them, do the actual students and the actual public servants ever really benefit? With the seizure laws that have been so onerously used, I have a really hard time thinking the public needs to give more money to police so that they can get more money by citing more people for regulatory violations as promoted in this proposed amendment.

There are some good things that are done in this proposed amendment. One is expunging of nonviolent cannabis offenses. But when you compare these two initiatives that, on their face, are supposed to legalize cannabis in Missouri, one flatly does so, and the other creates a plethora of bureaucracies and potential regulatory abuses along with continued legal system fines and penalties.

Let me be very clear here, while there is no part of me that wants to tolerate minors “getting stoned” or people driving while impaired, it is apparent that the ability to control those things still exist within our legal construct. Minors do NOT have the same rights as adults. Nor do they have the same responsibilities. People who drive while they are chemically/physically impaired by cannabis to the point that they cannot properly react to the hazards on the road are not being responsible, and should be charged with driving under the influence. Video evidence should be sufficient for the enforcement of driving while impaired.

Please check out all the links I posted in this incredibly long article. It’s very important that when we have amendments to consider on the ballot that we are wise in our decisions about them. We cannot be reactive and responsible at the same time. Study it out and be certain of your decisions.

I encourage you to read these amendments again, and if you have concerns, please feel free to voice them and let’s see if we the people can positively, and responsibly, disentangle ourselves from the corporately controlled nanny state on this issue.

 

http://www.truthfarmer.com