12/15/2008

Crazy Laws and Crazier Lawmakers

A friend sent me an email, which will follow my own rant. His note includes a movie recommendation and his correspondence with his US Representative. One statement from the bureaucrat particularly offended me. "As a former prosecutor, I have seen firsthand the detrimental effects of marijuana use and how it often escalates to the use of more serious drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Studies show that the harmful effects of long-term marijuana use are many and varied. Effects include lung and asthma problems, loss of ability to set long-term goals, and a propensity to graduate to other, more powerful drugs." That is among the dumbest things I have ever seen in writing. Where are his citations for any of those claims? His personal experience is more of a self-justification than evidence of anything useful.

You make people buy grass from dealers who would rather sell you more expensive addictive drugs and, then, claim marijuana use causes the escalation to "serious drugs?" The doofus is just trying to justify the lives he has ruined as a prosecutor. We all know the legal system is terrified of the serious drug users, distributors, and producers. What they tell themselves is that all illegal drug use is equally hazardous and harmful to society. What they know is that argument is bullshit and criminally negligent.

Any comparison of alcohol and marijuana demonstrates an obvious injustice. However, for me the religious tone of the Drug War illustrates an obvious arrogance in the anti-marijuana argument; the same people who believe an all-knowing god created the world and everything in it also believe that god screwed up when he created marijuana and other naturally occurring substances. They, on the other hand, believe that man-made narcotics are perfectly moral as long as a rich corporation gets to distribute them.

T.W. Day
Chief Rat and Rat Bottle Washer
http://ratseye.blogspot.com/

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If you ever get a chance to watch or rent this documentary please do. From the NetFlix description:
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"A/K/A Tommy Chong"
In 2003, the U.S. government allocated an astounding $12 million to apprehend the elusive Tommy Chong -- better known as half of the classic comedy team Cheech and Chong -- for selling bonglike glass pipes over the Internet. In this fascinating documentary featuring interviews with Richard "Cheech" Marin, Jay Leno and Bill Maher, filmmaker Josh Gilbert chronicles the sting that came to be known as "Operation Pipe Dream."
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Makes me so very angry, but it also reinforces my opinion of our government's "War on Drugs". I'm always writing my state and federal Senators and Representatives. Ron Kind (D. WI) is my representative and I write to him at least a couple of times a month. Last month I wrote him a long tome on his Web site "contact" form concerning medical Marijuana. I told him of all the pain I have and how about the only thing I've ever tried that seemed to give me relief was that herbal medication, but because it is illegal I cannot use it. The guy is really quite liberal on most things, but this is what I received in response:
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From: Congressman Ron Kind [mailto:wi03ima@mail.house.gov]
Sent: Sunday, November 23, 2008 3:37 PM
To: sheldon@. . .
Subject: Re: Your recent email.

Dear Sheldon:

Thank you for contacting me about the legalization of marijuana. I appreciate hearing from you.

While I appreciate the points you make regarding legalization, I do not believe that marijuana should be legalized. As a former prosecutor, I have seen firsthand the detrimental effects of marijuana use and how it often escalates to the use of more serious drugs such as heroin and cocaine.
Studies show that the harmful effects of long-term marijuana use are many and varied. Effects include lung and asthma problems, loss of ability to set long-term goals, and a propensity to graduate to other, more powerful drugs.

The use of marijuana for medical purposes is a contentious issue filled with conflicting scientific evidence, and I remain willing to listen to both sides of the debate. I understand that marijuana was once popularly recommended for various illnesses, although in recent years its medical use has declined. This decline is due to the increased availability of alternative medicines and the federal government's increasing role in curbing international drug importation and fighting domestic substance abuse.

I have heard from several medical professionals and citizens that, in a controlled environment, the benefits of the drug outweigh the possible risks to the patient. They present evidence that marijuana's chemical properties increase the quality of comfort and care afforded to patients suffering from illnesses such as cancer and AIDS.

Data from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, however, raises legitimate concerns as well. While illegal substance use has declined since the 1970s, marijuana has remained the most common drug among illicit users.
If marijuana is to become a legal form of medication, further research and consideration must be given to both sides of the issue and a consensus must be reached between the health care and law enforcement professions. Please be assured that should legislation regarding this issue be introduced, I will keep your views in mind.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Should you have further questions or comments, I hope you will not hesitate to be in touch with my office. Also, I encourage you to visit my website, www.house.gov/kind, where you kind find updated information, send me e-mail, and signup for my e-newsletter.

Sincerely,
Ron Kind
Member of Congress
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I lost some respect for him when I got this reply. He seems to be telling me that he is open-minded, but in the same breath is appears that he already has made up his mind.

What a shame that our government would withhold an effective treatment from we who suffer with massive pain, and continue a "war on drugs" that in reality is a "war on people", especially the poor and elderly.

The "A/K/A Tommy Chong" documentary will be shown on Showtime several more times this month. Here is the schedule although I have Dish Network so your channels may be different:

SHO2e 320 12/17/2008 3:30 PM
SHO2e 320 12/18/2008 4:00 AM
SHOW 318 12/21/2008 1:35 PM
SHOWW 319 12/21/2008 4:35 PM
SHO2e 320 12/22/2008 4:00 PM
SHO2e 320 12/26/2008 11:30 AM

Very sad,
Sheldon

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