How global warming research is like pot research

Reefer madness title screen

Reefer madness title screen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While pro-warming political pundits like to demonize climate skeptic research by comparing it to that of tobacco company research and marketing, it seems there is a parallel between the story of global warming and marijuana demonization. This story is about the parallels in research, and does not represent any position on drug use by WUWT – Anthony

Guest Essay by Dr. Robert G. Brown, Duke University (elevated from a comment)

Judith Curry’s remarks [Scientists and motivated reasoning], as usual, are dead on the money.

Here’s an almost perfectly analogous problem: CNN recently completely reversed its editorial policy and now calls for the legalization of Marijuana. Sanjay Gupta, its “resident physician editorialist”, who had previously somewhat vigorously led this opposition from the scientific point of view completely reversed his own position, and explained why in considerable detail both in text and in online video.

Historically, marijuana was both legal and considered to be a useful medicine all the way up through the beginning of the twentieth century. At that point, William Randolph Hearst had invested heavily in pine forests in Mexico, intending to sell them to his own newspapers to make newsprint. The Dupont family were discovering petrochemicals including plastic and oil-derived pharmaceuticals. A machine was invented that was the equivalent of a “cotton gin” for hemp — it mechanically stripped down the hemp plant and turned it into useful fiber, oil, and vegetable waste that could be used as an animal fodder (yes, we can imagine some very happy cows, can’t we?:-). One of many uses for the now inexpensive hemp fiber was to make equally inexpensive newsprint paper that was clearly superior in quality and cost to wood pulp paper. Another was that the oils and fiber could be used to synthesize various chemical products. Both Dupont and Hearst were suddenly hundreds of millions of dollars at risk.

They turned to Harry Anslinger, who happened to be Hearst’s brother in law. Anslinger was a suddenly idle ex-prohibitionist working for the FBI, and he created a propaganda campaign that portrayed hemp as literally maddening those that actually smoked it, leading them to commit acts of rape and robbery and moral turpitude. At the same time, political revolutions in Mexico (funded and fought by a private army belonging to Hearst) and a negative portrayal of blacks and Mexicans as common users of hemp for recreation purposes added a useful racist hook. Between these, congress outlawed hemp.

So matters remained until the Viet Nam war and the 1960s and early 70s. As part of the quiet “revolution” against what many perceived as a military-industrial complex with a life of its own that was fighting a series of expensive and pointless wars, pot had become “the” recreational drug of choice among young hippies and freaks as well as the military draftees who fought the war. Its use was so prevalent that Texas dropped the question about cannabis use from its entrance exam to police academy, because “asking a vet of they had ever smoked pot was like asking them if they smoked Camels”. Suddenly a large fraction of an entire generation of U.S. citizens had smoked pot and discovered that no, it does not turn you into a crazed rapist, and usually does not make you insane unless you are most of the way there on your own already. They also discovered that it is neither physically addictive nor dangerous in the sense that it is literally impossible to overdose on marijuana — it is literally one of the safest compounds we know of, with no meaningful fatal dose.

However, Ronald Reagan took office in the 80′s, an immediately declared a “War on Drugs”. Marijuana was reclassified as a schedule 1 narcotic by the federal government [in 1970], trumping communities that had already begun to experiment with decriminalization or even legalization. This once again gave law enforcement agencies lots of useful work (helpful if you are trying to build a police state), gave cops everywhere the ability to selectively enforce drug laws and thereby control the populace, and caused us to rather suddenly need to build enormous numbers of prisons because it rapidly turned out that by making marijuana trafficking a felony and putting even mere users in jail (just like heroin, cocaine, and actually dangerous drugs) somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of all prison sentences were being handed down for low grade drug offenses. Our expenditure on controlling pot went from next to nothing to tens of billions of dollars a year. Obviously, many profited from this, including (as usual) the money launderers and organized criminals that made fortunes providing marijuana on the black market, and the politicians and bankers that provided well-paid-for top cover.

And now to the interesting bit (although I think all of the above is interesting:-). One of the reasons given for making marijuana a schedule 1 felony class drug [in 1970] was that we didn’t know about the harm it might cause, and there was no known medical benefit. Yes, it had been used as a medicine for centuries, the founding fathers literally “mandated” the growing of hemp on American farms because it was so useful a plant both industrially and medicinally, but we had entered the era of double blind placebo controlled drug trials, and there were now enormous pharmaceutical companies whose billion-dollar products were at risk, dwarfing even the Duponts’ complaint back in the 30′s. Its risks were similarly unstudied.

A period of research then ensued. If you wanted to study pot, you had to both get funded and get the experimental marijuana from a single, small farm in Mississippi that grew “legal” pot for this purpose. The government itself was in complete control, in other words of what research got conducted, because even if you could find outside funding, you couldn’t get legal pot to do the research with without approval.

Gupta initially opposed marijuana legalization because a review of the medical literature showed him that 96% of all published articles found some sort of negative effect of marijuana, and almost no articles showed a benefit, especially compared to existing approved medications. However, a couple of anecdotal cases coming out of the states that had legalized medicinal marijuana in SPITE of the federal governments laws caused him to go back and reexamine the funding model. In retrospect it shouldn’t have been surprising, but he learned that 96% of all funded research was to look for negative effects of marijuana, and that to get funded and permission to get government grown pot was so difficult that there simply weren’t all that many papers in the first place. In well over thirty years of intensive examination, all of the examination was literally preselected to find problems, almost none to find benefits, and one had to walk on water and push much paper to do either one (and relatively few scientists had bothered).

That caused him to examine the body of emerging, still anecdotal, evidence from the states that had legalized medical marijuana. They showed that — again unsurprisingly — marijuana is a rich pharmacopeia with multiple legitimate medical uses that could survived double blind placebo controlled investigation, while at the same time having minimal side effects and no known lethal dose. Perhaps he came to realize that its negative effects might, conceivably, have been a bit exaggerated or might arise from confounding uncontrolled elements. Confirmation bias is, after all, the bete noir of science.

This situation almost perfectly matches the evolution of “climate science”. Nobody cared about it for decades, but suddenly a group of individuals emerged that all benefited from the demonization of carbon. This included environmental groups, that hated civilization itself and the burning of anything (as long, of course, as their own lifestyle was preserved), energy producers that saw in this the opportunity to triple or quadruple their profits by creating artificial scarcity of a plentiful resource, politicians that saw in this the opportunity to raise taxes, get elected on a world-saving “issue”, and perhaps line their own pockets along the way, and a United Nations that saw an opportunity to transform it into a way to tax the rich nations and transfer money to developing nations (while again lining various pockets along the way). The role of Anslinger was admirably met by one James Hansen, a True Believer who never stinted and does not stint today in exaggerating the data and claims of disaster (five meter sea level rise! temperatures like that on Venus!). And suddenly, quite literally all funded research was on how burning carbon was bad for the climate.

Even completely ethical scientists have to eat, and if the only way they can eat is to get funded, and the only way they can get funded is to submit proposals that seek to prove that CO_2 is bad, guess what they will propose to study? And if they want to get funded AGAIN, guess what they will find? Climate science has been effectively corrupted beyond any hope of objectivity.

On the good side of things, scientists are actually usually pretty ethical. Also, in the end data talks, bullshit walks. The hypothesis of CAGW or CACC could, in fact, be true (across a wide spectrum of the meaning of “true”, in fact). However, recent data is not in good correspondence with the theories that have predicted it, and many good scientists are in the process of reassessing their conclusions. As is the almost simultaneous case with regard to marijuana, the confounding evidence is starting to overwhelm to narrowly funded and directed arguments to date. We will see where the future takes us, in both cases.

======================================================

Addendum by Anthony:

1. I have added links to historical references into the essay along with some small edits [in brackets] for clarity.

2. This paragraph:

A period of research then ensued. If you wanted to study pot, you had to both get funded and get the experimental marijuana from a single, small farm in Mississippi that grew “legal” pot for this purpose.

Has a parallel with source data for global warming research. If you want to study the surface temperature record, there is one source: NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) who is not only the administrator, collator and keeper of the surface temperature record for the United States, but also the world via their Global Historical Climatological Network (GHCN). All other surface temperature datasets, HadCRUT, GISS, and even the supposedly independent BEST, are derivatives and/or custom interpretations of this source data, which as we know, is custom blended with NCDC’s own set of adjustments.

Like with pot research, the government is again the only source for data to study the surface record.

And people wonder why I spend so much time and effort to examine weather stations and adjustments.

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Nixon, not Reagan was the first US President to use the term War on Drugs

Latitude

marijuana is a rich pharmacopeia with multiple legitimate medical uses that could “””survived””” double blind placebo controlled investigation
====
typo
Opiates were not illegal for a long time too……….

Pot does have a lethal dose. Bruce Lee died of a hash overdose. It is difficult to OD by smoking as the effect from smoking is very rapid and you pass out before you get hurt. Eat enough high potency pot and you will indeed die of an overdose. That being said, there is enough cyanide in 15 pounds of almonds to kill a human as well. Good luck getting that into your stomach all at once.

r murphy

Horrific when one realizes that these families lust for power caused the destruction of lives on the scale of the world wars. The unquestioning, law abiding citizens cooperated fully, even religion was on side. An article for serious reflection, thanks.

Anyone who thinks pot was made illegal because two newspaper publishers didn’t want better that better paper from hemp to come onto the market is smoking something. The real analogy is this: People should simply make the case for recreational pot legalization, and those concerned about pollution and our environment should stick to facts and raising awareness about the benefits of a cleaner environment, rather than inventing reasons like “Man-Made Global Warming,” which, like the numerous “reasons” why pot was made illegal, is bogus.

Marijuana was made a Schedule I drug in the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970.

mkelly

RGB says: “…that hated civilization itself and the burning of anything…”
Well there is one thing they usually don’t mind burning.

Jim Cripwell

As an aside, we are now growing hemp, not marijuana, in Canada, in substantial quantities.

Pamela Gray

Guess what ad popped up when I clicked on this thread? Potato chips! I kid you not!

Nylo

Stephen Abbott says:
August 22, 2013 at 7:59 am
Anyone who thinks pot was made illegal because two newspaper publishers didn’t want better that better paper from hemp to come onto the market is smoking something.
It’s not THE reason. It’s just how it all started, the original impulse. Similarly, IPCC started because of Margaret Thatcher’s desire to criminalise coal to deal with a domestic problem involving miners strikes. The reason why CO2 is now officially a Devil’s product is not because of the UK miners. That’s just how everything started rolling.

I stand corrected. Bruce Lee did not die from hash. My bad.

On the whole, Dr. Brown does an excellent job. However, there is an inaccuracy and it is an important one. He says that “…recent data is not in good correspondence with the theories that have predicted it” ; Actually, the climate models are not “theories” in the scientific sense of the word and they do not “predict” but rather “project.” A model that predicts supplies information to a maker of policy on CO2 emissions about the outcomes from his or her policy decisions. A model which, like the current crop of climate models, “projects” provides a policy maker with no information.

Pamela Gray

So how come if environmentalists are so concerned about burning stuff that they drool when thinking about burning my money?

Luther Wu

Where did I leave the Whole Earth Catalog?
Or did I?

PabloNH

This passage:
However, Ronald Reagan took office in the 80′s, an immediately declared a “War on Drugs”. Marijuana was reclassified as a schedule 1 narcotic by the federal government, trumping communities that had already begun to experiment with decriminalization or even legalization.
is misleading at best, dishonest at worst.

“All other surface temperature datasets, HadCRUT, GISS, and even the supposedly independent BEST, are derivatives and/or custom interpretations of this source data, which as we know, is custom blended with NCDC’s own set of adjustments.”
The vast majority of our data sources is GHCN daily and GSOD. Neither of these products has a NCDC adjustments applied.
You can, as Zeke and I have, construct a global record from GHCN daily data only, even with no QC applied. The answer you will get is the same.
Using daily unadjusted non QCed raw data you can see what youve never denied before Anthony. The world is warmer than it was in the LIA. After applying QC ( like removing daily temps of 15000C) the answer remains the same. Its getting warmer not colder. That estimate,
done with a method like RomanMs method, is within the confidence interval of every other published record
To repeat.
1. Daily data. No adjustments
2. RomanMs method, see jeffIds page for a discussion.
3. Final answer
A) Its getting warmer
B) The answer is statistically indistinguishable from all the other methods and data
sets.
This doesnt mean that there isn’t room for argument and debate about uncertainty and arguments about potential micro site bias, but the repeated mis information make
that discussion more difficult.
REPLY: Mosh, as an employee of BEST, I know you want to defend it as your own, that’s fine. I agree that daily data has no adjustments, but few (if any) trend demonstrative datasets use daily data, they use the monthly data, which is in fact adjusted before publishing on the GHCN FTP website. Can you show me time series temperature plots done for public consumption done with DAILY data? Can you show me a NOAA or NASA “state of the climate” report done for public consumption with daily data? Can you show me an alternate source of global surface temperature data that is not from NCDC?
“This work is often used as a foundation for reconstructing past global temperatures, and is used in two of the best-known reconstructions, that prepared by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), and that prepared by NASA as its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) temperature set.[1] The average temperature record is 60 years long with ~1650 records greater than 100 years and ~220 greater than 150 years (based on GHCN v2 in 2006). The earliest data included in the database were collected in 1697.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Historical_Climatology_Network
And, it makes the record warmer, with each successive version of the adjustments, we are now on GHCNV3, as I illustrate here:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/01/06/does-noaas-national-climatic-data-center-ncdc-keep-two-separate-sets-of-climate-books-for-the-usa/
The switch from one version to the other changed July 2012 from 76.93°F to 77.6°F.
Yes it is getting warmer, but what is the real number? That’s my question. Final answer. – Anthony

Keitho

Thanks for those thoughts Dr Bob. That will cause some cognitive dissonance on both sides of the argument which you have no doubt considered. As an active, though amateur, researcher in both climate science and pot I can certainly see the parallels you highlight. It will be interesting to watch this debate take its own road to better understanding.
Based on 45 years of research I can state quite categorically that the negative aspects of marijuana are very hard to find Likewise after a shorter, but rather intense, period looking at the effects of man made CO2 it is also very difficult to find any downside. I do hope that I find that I am not the only pot vaping climate skeptic in the world because the two debates are hugely polarised. If you smoke pot you are supposed to be a tree hugging, hippie climate alarmist not a politically conservative successful engineer with his own business who thinks AGW is a pile of steaming horseshit.

Doug

Bruce Lee did not die from hash oil. If you do the research you will find that there is no accepted cause. There is no proven “lethal” dosage, and no deaths caused by hemp or its extracts listed in the literature. Tylenol is more dangerous and detrimental to health.

ShrNfr

Hemp used to grow fiber and hemp used to grow mj are quite a bit different in their cannaboid content. Fiber hemp will give you the effect of smoking an “El Ropo” for good reason. The effect can hardly be considered a high.

Rud Istvan

As fun as RGB’s post is to read, it is 1/3 truth and 2/3 urban legend living on the Internet on sites advocating legalization. That is the main way it resembles CAGW. A half hour of fact checking easily shows this assessment is directionally correct.
Personally, I think it detracts from the very important and sometimes personal points Dr. curry made about motived climate science reasoning, and the resulting ‘monopolization’ and then ‘corruption’ of some of the underlying essential data, as Anthony’s crowd sourced project has proven. Fighting bad science using bad analogies to motivated urban legends is bad technique.

Steve C

Luther Wu says (August 22, 8:19 am)
Where did I leave the Whole Earth Catalog?
Oh, sorry, man, I’ve got it. Here, I’ll sweep these bits back into the stash … 😉
Nice analogy, RGB. Thanks.

Ken Hall

Climate Science is not a science. It is a political religion and is funded and organised accordingly.

Robert, thank you for your hysterically clever post

Tom in Florida

I have always said that anyone who is running for public office and is from my generation and claims they didn’t try/smoke pot is lying.

DirkH

As an industrial raw material hemp is interesting, and the history of its prohibition as well. Doc Brown has an inaccuracy with the start of the War On Drugs AFAIK but that’s a minor nit.

dudleyhorscroft

Margaret Thatcher did not “desire to criminalise coal”. She was looking for a way to insulate the UK from the possibility that the miners might try again to take control of the government of the UK. See:
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100211031/margaret-thatcher-godmother-of-global-warming/
The miners’ strike was 1984. Her speech to the Royal Society was 1988. She opened Hadley CRU in 1990.
I don’t know if she read Carl Sagan, but she may well have come across some of the rubbish he wrote in “Scientists confront Velikovsky” or “Broca’s Brain”. If she did, we can attribute the great CAGW scam to the writings of Sigmund Freud!

Theo Goodwin

Terry Oldberg says:
August 22, 2013 at 8:11 am
Thanks for teaching about scientific method. Like freedom, scientific method is something that must be won again every day.

Bert Walker

Dr Brown, would you please elaborate on ” …and usually does not make you insane unless you are most of the way there on your own already.”
in light of the excerpt from D.J. Castle, Cannabis and psychosis: what causes what?
F1000 Med Reports2013, 5:1 (doi: 10.3410/M5-1)
Published: 11 Jan 2013
“…a number of cohort studies from different parts of the world have converged in finding an association between cannabis consumption in youth and later schizophrenia/schizophreniform disorder. The first of these was a study of 50,087 Swedish conscripts [25], which showed an adjusted hazard ratio for schizophrenia of 3.1 (CI 1.7, 5.5), with a dose-response relationship with increasing exposure to cannabis. The Dunedin birth cohort [26] is particularly instructive in that it assessed individuals from a representative birth cohort at a number of time points and had excellent participant retention. In that study, the risk of schizophreniform psychosis at age 26 was 10.3% in those who had used cannabis in their teens, as opposed to 3% in the rest of the cohort (adjusted odds ratio 2.9 [CI 1.2, 7.0])”
25 Andreason S, Allebeck P, Engstrom A, Rydberg U: Cannabis and schizophrenia: a longitudinal study of Swedish conscripts. Lancet. 1987, ii:1483–1485.
26 Arseneault L, Cannon M, Poulton R, Murray R, Caspi A, Moffitt TE: Cannabis use in adolescence and risk for adult psychosis: longitudinal prospective study. BMJ. 2002, 325:1212–1213.

Bob B.

Dude, this post is like killer man. I just had one comment…. uh, oh, I forgot what I was gonna say. Oh well, just keep rockin’ dude.

Theo Goodwin

I always enjoy Dr. Brown’ valuable contributions. I would like to point out one or two differences between the demonization of pot and the demonization of fossil fuel. In the case of pot, there was a call from the citizenry for the government to do something. Armies of mothers of teenagers sought relief from what they saw as the quickly growing negative effects of pot on their communities. In the case of fossil fuels, there has been no spontaneous mass movement against them.
Our government might have put its thumb on the scale in the case of pot but what it has done in the case of “climate change” is far worse and far scarier. Several government agencies that have ‘science’ in their names have put a hand and an arm on the scale. To take my favorite example, the National Science Foundation must be held accountable for abandoning scientific method in its awarding of grants for research into “climate change.” What is so scary is that we have seen our own democratic institutions bent in a way that would have made Lysenko proud.

Bill Wood

In the sixties, I took a graduate level seminar in psychopharmacology. To indicate the naivete of the time and place, there were four students in the course. Our instructor, Dr. Swartz, was experimenting on the effects of LSD on neural pathways in cats.Unfortunately, at the same time, Dr. Timothy Leary was experimenting on undergraduates. College sophomores being the normal test subjects in most psychology departments. This lead to Sandoz recalling all experimental samples of LSD. Given that LSD is probably the most powerful drug in existence by volume, the lack of pure samples effectively ended all research other than government projects blessed by the Bureau of Narcotics or the CIA.
The current reversal of attitude on marijuana has led to an absence of research into cannibinoid hyperemesis, uncontrolled vomiting brought on by exposure to marijuana smoke. The emphasis on marijuana as a calming agent and appetite enhancer has led to repetitive misdiagnosis of this condition. By the way, if anyone sees uncontrolled vomiting accompanied with a desire for constant hot showers due to a disfunction of the body’s temperature regulating mechanism, tell the subject to get off the weed ,and avoid even contact highs.
Sponsored research has long since ceased to be a real search for truth. Climate change is only the latest victim.

Patrick

Fruity language, if I may…

Kevin “Bloody” Wilson…

Onlooker from Troy

Tom in Florida says:
August 22, 2013 at 8:39 am
I have always said that anyone who is running for public office and is from my generation and claims they didn’t try/smoke pot is lying.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Yep, same with all the people who entered the armed forces in the 80s-90s (at least), especially the 80s. Declaring under oath that you had not used any illegal drugs was just a formality, no doubt dealt with by a wink and a nudge at the Pentagon, etc. Couldn’t have filled the recruiting quotas without giving just lip service to the issue. Of course the idea of barring anybody who had simply experimented a few times is absurd. But God knows they couldn’t deal with that honestly, not in the midst of the “drug war.”

Berényi Péter

Well, the case of cigarette smoking has similar elements. There is no doubt smoking can be detrimental to health, especially for those with the wrong genetic makeup, smoking cigarettes with unchecked carcinogen contents. However, the extremely poor science behind it is taken over by activists a long time ago to the extent one can hardly find out unbiased facts any more.
I have read a paper about the effects of smoking ban in Italian pubs. It has declared victory based on figures collected less than a year after the ban was implemented, saying number of cases hospitalized with heart attack has already dropped significantly. Well, I have the bad habit of double checking proposition. It turned out what they have said was true, but.
I have found mortality statistics for the same period and the same region of Italy. It turned out number of deaths due to heart attack has actually increased. How can that be?
Well, the most likely explanation is old alcoholics (a high risk group) used to spend their time in pubs, drinking & smoking. When they fell off the chair in agony, the barman called ambulance and bang! the guy was “hospitalized” in no time, where he had some chance of recovery.
After the ban this group took up a new habit of taking their drink home and having it alone at the kitchen table while smoking like mad. And, of course, as soon as the guy hit the floor with a heart attack, he had no chance whatsoever, because there was no one there to call the ambulance for him. He was found on the spot several days later, when neighbours could not stand the smell any more.
That’s how activist science works.
You may also want to check the Japanese smoking paradox to see how activist science is turned into mass murder.

Pamela Gray

Bert, I happen to know about schizophrenia. I would not consider it to be “adult psychosis”. It is well known to be a genetic-based disease that likely has early subclinical signs that become clinically manifest, usually, by age 18. The use of pot is likely related to the severity of early signs and is being used as a way to self-medicate the intolerable parts of this devastating disease. So the association is probably disease first, pot use a secondary side-affect with increased use tied to the severity of the disease. It may also be used to reduce the horrible side-affects of prescribed mood control drugs.

Ike

The corruption of research rather sounds like the “ozone hole” scare and nonsense of the 1980’s, and Dupont was implicated in that one, as well, since its world-wide patents on Freon were expiring. Soon, unfortunately, it will no longer be possible to believe any published research or publically released “information”, no matter the source. We’re very close to that already with the government’s economic statistics and the various “fudges” that go into their creation and release. Doesn’t look good for reason, rational thought and science … or for the rest of us, either.

Bill

I have read that schizophrenics are often heavy smokers of tobacco and that it seems
to help them a bit with their symptoms.

Tamara

“Medical marijuana” should be held to the same requirements for safety, purity, and efficacy as any other drug. Once it has passed through rigorous clinical studies the questions of safety, dose and application will be answered. Otherwise, the designation of “medical” marijuana is hypocritical.
Those who advocate for medical marijuana also want to be able to grow and sell it independently. But, these growers are frequently selling the product for recreational use. You can’t do this with any other medicinal drug.
It should be treated as a recreational drug like alcohol, with similar oversight.

Bill

Rud,
97% of us here are 95% certain that what RGB wrote is most likely 90% correct.

ConTrari

Ambivalence. Can’t make up my mind whether to embrace a potsmoker or put on South Park episode “Die, Hippie, Die” (9th season).

For too much info on Cannabis (or any other drug) see
https://www.erowid.org/plants/cannabis/cannabis.shtml

Colin

Tom in Florida says:
August 22, 2013 at 8:39 am
They might not be “lying”. They might not be telling the whole truth. I can swear on whatever you want me to swear on that I never smoked marijuana. And I’m of the age to have lived through the 70’s. However, I can tell you I have been in rooms where I didn’t NEED to smoke the stuff to have received the effects of it. So, there may be some politicians who have not SMOKED it. But I bet they would have received the “benefits”. But the article draws a very good analogy.

David Smith

Personally, I feel that all recreational drugs should be legalised (even the hard ones such as crack and heroin). Why? Because people will never stop taking drugs and we’ve been taking them since we first walked the Earth. Legalising it all would take the trade out of the hands of gangsters and third-world despots and into the hands of regulated and monitored retailers.
Many addicts die because they have switched dealers, been supplied a dose that hasn’t been cut with as much brick dust and crushed chalk as their last dealer used to add, and then consequently overdosed. If they had been buying their drugs from a legal retailer they could read the strength that would be printed on the side of the packet (just like the alcohol percentage proof printed on the side of a bottle of wine).
On the financial front, govts could make a fortune from taxes levied on the sale of drugs and we would have an instant market that many drug retailers could legally profit from, thus boosting the economy. Right now, that money just goes (untaxed) into the pockets of murders and thugs.
When I once explained my beliefs about the legalisation of all drugs to a guy in a bar, he was outraged and said that it would create a whole world of crack-head zombies wandering the planet. I then asked him if heroin was made legal tomorrow would he start taking it? Of course, he said he wouldn’t (just as I said I wouldn’t). The guy then told me that he would “never take drugs of any kind” and proceeded to take a massive swig of his pint of beer…..

Onlooker from Troy

David
I agree. It’s the prohibition itself that causes the greater harm to society. It creates the black market and empowers those who will be brutal in the growth & defense of their business. (and on and on) We learned nothing from our great prohibition experiment. Absolutely nothing.

SasjaL

Here we go again …
Another bunch of junkies who want their “prrrecious” drug legalized!
Man is the only mobile species I know of, where not all members instinctively shun the smoke and fire smoke is (what we all (?) knows) dangerous to our health … (I’ve heard excuses like, “yeah, but we can control the fire …“, which is not the same, as the smoke can still be avoided …
Isn’t it a mistake created by a higher power, whether substances other than carbohydrates can affect the reward system in the brain, as the true purpose is for our survival …
… and the man is seen as an intelligent species …

OldWeirdHarold

This is timely, given the semi-legalization in Colorado and Washington. We may soon get some real answers about the pharma and non-pharma claims of the hempsters. My guess is that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. I’m not expecting to be reading any dead-hemp media any time soon.
I can hear the claims now. “Internet killed the hemp industry!”

Patrick

“Pamela Gray says:
August 22, 2013 at 9:19 am
It may also be used to reduce the horrible side-affects of prescribed mood control drugs.”
Maybe not mood control, but mood “changing” such as beta-blockers. I wish I knew, ~4 years ago, what I now know about these drugs.

Gerry

“Based on 45 years of research I can state quite categorically that the negative aspects of marijuana are very hard to find”
Ever look in the Oval Office?

Keitho

You must surely admit the probability that he may well have been worse. Hard to measure the degree of worseness I know, but it’s a possibility.

Bruce Cobb

Excellent analogy. Money, politics, and propaganda powered the anti-marijuana campaign in a similar fashion to today’s anti-“carbon” campaign. Both claimed to be based on science, but that was merely a fig-leaf. Both had an agenda, which was basically to sway people emotionally. A comparison between Reefer Madness, and AIT could be made. The one advantage today of course is that information is much more readily available, via the internet.

Bruce Lee did not die from hash oil. If you do the research you will find that there is no accepted cause. There is no proven “lethal” dosage, and no deaths caused by hemp or its extracts listed in the literature. Tylenol is more dangerous and detrimental to health.
As is aspirin, and arguably even caffeine (although caffeine is also very safe). To address the issue more directly, you might want to visit:
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=1005120803779
(among many other review remarks). Basically, there are no credible reports of death from an overdose of THC, and animal studies suggest that the dose that is lethal in 50% of the population is so large (scaled to human terms) as to be inaccessible to anyone not literally trying to commit intravenous suicide with purified THC.
This is not to assert that it is completely safe or without negative effects. Smoke inhalation alone is not very good for you. But it is way safer than Tylenol, aspirin and yes, probably even caffeine. Alcohol and tobacco are absurdly more dangerous — and legal.
rgb

policycritic

Presideent Ford did it before Reagan.
Pot Shrinks Tumors; Government Knew in ‘74
http://www.alternet.org/story/9257/?page=entire
Study: Smoking Pot Doesn’t Cause Cancer–It May Prevent It!
The Greatest Story Never Told
By FRED GARDNER
http://www.counterpunch.org/gardner05032008.html
CANNABINOIDS: POTENTIAL ANTICANCER AGENTS
by Manuel Guzmán
NATURE REVIEWS | CANCER VOLUME 3 | OCTOBER 2003 | p. 745
THC (marijuana) helps cure cancer says Harvard study
http://www.nowpublic.com/thc_marijuana_helps_cure_cancer_says_harvard_study