Cannabis / Marijuana, STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Quiet Law Enforcement Rebellion Rising Against DEA Stance
By Daily Bell Staff - November 09, 2015

DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg said the idea that marijuana can be used as medicine is a "joke."…"What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal – because it's not … If you talk about smoking the leaf of marijuana – which is what people are talking about when they talk about medicinal marijuana – it has never been shown to be safe or effective as a medicine." 80 percent of states have passed legislation approving forms of medical marijuana. The drug is illegal under federal law. – Time

Dominant Social Theme: Cannabis is bad. You can legalize it, but remember you are legalizing a bad thing.

Free-Market Analysis: As the legalization of cannabis gains traction around the world, the US DEA and other federal drug warriors continue to fight a rearguard action and show little enthusiasm for full-blown marijuana legalization – and certainly not for other drugs. This may well have larger ramifications in the near term, as we'll explain below.

Rosenberg's perspective as presented in the above excerpt attempts to pit science against adult usage of cannabis, but it is the tone of his remarks that is most dismaying. The implication is that cannabis should be legalized only insofar as it does "good" things. But one can turn the argument around by asking if the drug war itself is a "good" thing. Incarcerating millions, destroying families, careers and lives, the drug war has been a kind of ravenous beast let loose on the body politic with tremendously negative effects over more than 75 years.

Just as importantly, the drug war has been corrosive from a law enforcement standpoint, though probably Rosenberg doesn't see it that way. But certainly when it comes to cannabis, anyway, the drug war is hard to justify, especially considering that alcohol is legal.

Earlier this year, NBC posted the results of a study in Scientific Reports comparing various kinds of drugs based on lethality. The study, "compared the potential of death from the typical, recreational use of 10 drugs: marijuana, alcohol, tobacco, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, diazepam, amphetamine and methadone. Marijuana was, by far, found to be the safest, even when compared to alcohol and cigarettes."

Why are cigarettes and alcohol legal when cannabis is not? The study's findings "showed the dangers of marijuana 'may have been overestimated in the past,' while the risk of alcohol has been "commonly underestimated." Here's more:

Lead author Dirk Lachenmeier told NBC News the findings, "confirm earlier results of other study groups [but] with completely different methodology." And while his results may not be surprising, "the absolute differences in riskiness between substances" was even higher than expected.

According to the CDC, one in 10 deaths among working-age adults can be attributed to excessive alcohol use and alcohol poisonings account for more than 2,000 American deaths every year. Meanwhile, most experts say there has never been a documented overdose death from marijuana use in someone without an underlying condition.

Then there is this, from AntiMedia – an article that has seen much reposting in the alternative media entitled, "Cops Around the Country Quietly Begin Rebelling Against the Drug War. The article makes the point that "treatment" is increasingly seen as an alternative to criminalization.

It is a rare occurrence when police officers in America organize to undermine the very Drug War they vociferously fight for politicians. Police Chief Leonard Campanello of the Gloucester, Massachusetts Police Department, however, did just that earlier this year when he decided to treat – not arrest – heroin addicts who came to his department seeking help.

His revolutionary "ANGEL" program has proven successful for addicts and their families in Gloucester, but it has also inspired other departments across the country to adopt similar programs amid growing officer fatigue over the ineffectual arrest and incarceration of addicts.

… Five months since the program launched, Campanello reports positive results: over 260 addicts have been placed in treatment. This summer, shoplifting, breaking and entering, and larceny dropped 23% from the same period last year. "We are seeing real people get their lives back," he said. "And if we see a reduction in crime and cost savings that is a great bonus."

The article goes on to tell us that some "40 departments in nine states (Connecticut, Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont)" are using some aspects of the ANGEL program with another 90 departments indicating interest.

The article also points out a shocking fact: "48.4% of the prison population is incarcerated for narcotics offenses — proving the Drug War is still very much in effect."

Ramifications? We can see that the cognitive dissonance is building between what is happening at a state level in the US and the position of US fedgov. And the gap is widening between civil policing and federal policies as well.

No bureaucracy can long survive these kinds of internal contradictions. There are, of course, those who believe that the legalization of cannabis – and perhaps drugs in general – is many years away. But the "reality on the ground" is telling us something different.

In fact, federal policy in Canada is expected to take an abrupt turn in the not too distant future, following the October election of the pro-legalization Liberal Party. The Daily Bell hosted an interview this week with Craig Jones, executive director of NORML Canada, who talked extensively about the costs of the War on Drugs from various perspectives. Read that here.

After Thoughts

Could it be that the "war on drugs" ends sooner rather than later? In fact, given current trends, the UN's UNGASS conference in April of next year may find a good deal of sympathy for the idea that treatment rather than incarceration ought to be the main approach to addiction. This will have a significant impact on cannabis from an investment and business standpoint as well.

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Posted in Cannabis / Marijuana, STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
  • FauxScienceSlayer

    Dismissed as ‘holistic’ snake oil, willow tree bark tea had been recommended as a relief for headache by Hippocrates since 400 BC. The active ingredient of willow tea, Acetylsalicylic Acid (ACA), was isolated by Charles Gerhardt in 1853. In 1899, the monopolist Bayer Pharmaceutical produced purified, white tablets of this ACA as a WONDER DRUG. Little study was done other than to note that this “drug” also reduced fever. According to “The Great Influenza” by John M Barry on the 1917 US created Spanish Flu Pandemic, most of the deaths from this virus showed signs consistent with aspirin overdose, as the public self medicated for fever. Fever is part of the natural immune response, and reducing fever below the critical 104F does not necessarily have health benefit. Virtually ALL pharmaceutical drugs have plant based origins, a source of wellness the monopolists wish to control.

  • Regardless of any of the details, it is good for you, it is bad for you, I do not care. That is not what is important. What I care about is no one has the right to tell me, or anyone else, what one may or may not do with your body; just so long as doing so does not cause harm to others.

    If I want to sniff a rose, that is my business, but if the fellow sitting next to me on the bus tells me he suffers from hay-fever then I should moderate my pleasures and act more considerately of others.

    If we enjoy self ownership we should be free to decide such matters for ourselves. If we do not own ourselves, there is a word for people who are caused to live like that. So think about yourselves as you wish but I am not a slave, I am a free man.

  • Ricky

    Five months since the program launched, Campanello reports positive
    results: over 260 addicts have been placed in treatment. This summer,
    shoplifting, breaking and entering, and larceny dropped 23% from the
    same period last year. “We are seeing real people get their lives back,”
    he said. “And if we see a reduction in crime and cost savings that is a
    great bonus.”

  • bouf

    “If you talk about smoking the leaf of marijuana – which is what
    people are talking about when they talk about medicinal marijuana…”

    This statement alone proves the idiocy of the man. Nobody smokes the ‘leaves’ unless they like a horrible taste in their mouth or like to cough up a lung and not get where they were hoping to go. You trim the leaves off of the BUDS, which is what people actually smoke. That’s why it’s called ‘bud’ – or in the vernacular of the midwest, ‘tasty nugs.’ (aka nuggets). Leaves and stems are great for oil extraction (whether for cooking or otherwise) and little else.

    • Praetor

      People down south have little pouches full of leaves, they chew the leaves for pain relief. When your caring everything on your back and the top of your head, I would imagine a lot of pain in need of relief. Not many doctors prescribing pain killers, down there!!!

  • Jim Johnson

    I simply do not want to burden our neighborhood patrollers unleashing the force of law over what someone has growing in their yard. If your pot-use causes epidemic-level trouble, then fine, figger it out then, and sunset the solution. Furthermore, this business of imposing our local Fix onto the entire nation is another legal fallacy. We can fully anticipate any solutions created elsewhere will get full attention in any consideration phases of local law-making. One size fits all has now been proven a liability to Liberty.

  • Praetor

    DEA, start looking for another job. 1619 Virginia assembly requires every farmer to grow hemp. Early 18th century a farmer could be jailed if they weren’t growing hemp. Hemp was legal tender, for 200 yrs. in America hemp was currency and could be used to pay your taxes. In 19th century, the U.S. pharmacopeia list ‘cannabis as a pharmaceutical from 1850 till 1942, Brothers Smith, Eli Lilly, Parke-Davis, and Tidens produced a cannabis extract. Queen Victoria’s doctor announces cannabis has amazing powers to treat painful maladies. So, when the slugs in DC are deciding what should be legal or illegal, ‘I’ve always wondered’ which of the famous watering hole in DC their hanging their overcoats at. You just have to take a good look at John Boehner and most of congress, by the way, to see the negative affects alcohol has had on the U.S. Congress is reduced to spineless, sniveling, mental wrecks, maybe they should be growing hemp like the founder of the U.S., could help clear out all the clutter in their minds, they are totally confused and baffled. If they ever learn to read maybe they should go to the library of congress and read some history books on what made the U.S. ‘Hemp’ plant. Alcohol has destroyed the U.S. congress and its ability to function!!!

  • No one special

    Sociology 101: once an institution is created, it works to survive. That goes double for bureaucratic institutions w/ big budgets like the DEA. Also, they need to add prostitution to the list. How many lives have been destroyed by arresting for this? Ask any vice cop.