World’s Oldest Cannabis Supply Found

Posted: December 18th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Drugs | No Comments »

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/slideshows/marijuana-stash.html

tiiiiiight haha


Salvia to be Criminalized?

Posted: September 10th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Drugs | No Comments »

thanks a lot, stupid people uploading salvia videos to youtube. you just haaaad to show everyone, didn’t you.

here’s my favorite quote from this article:
“The risk of any drug that is intoxicating is high,” Dr. Madras said. “You’re one car ride away from an event that could be life-altering. But in terms of really good studies, there is just very little. So what do you do? How do you make policy in the absence of good hard cold information?”

UM. I’m pretty fucking sure you do that all the time. In fact, even when you commission your own people to do studies and they say marijuana should be legalized, you ignore them. Fuckery.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/09/us/09salvia.html?pagewanted=1&em


Fascism, for Fuck’s Sake. Also, Blackwater.

Posted: August 19th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Drugs | 1 Comment »

Feds raid California Medical marijuana distributor, make no arrests, fuck up the place, local police cooperate, on same day that court says that federal laws do not take precedence over state laws…and BLACKWATER is involved????

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/rights/93752/ hipster_DEA.jpg


Election and Drug War Questions

Posted: August 19th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Drugs | 1 Comment »

What Will the Candidates Do to End the War on Drugs?

Posted by Johann Hari, Huffington Post at 10:38 AM on August 11, 2008.

People thought it would require "a political revolution" to legalize alcohol in the US in 1924. Within a decade, it was done.

On January 20th 2009, either the president of the United States will be a man who used cocaine, or the First Lady will be a former drug addict who stole from charity to get her next fix. In this presidential campaign, there are dozens of issues that have failed to flicker into the debate, but the most striking is the failing, flailing ‘War on Drugs.’ Isn’t it a sign of how unwinnable this ‘war’ is that, if it was actually enforced evenly, either Barack Obama or Cindy McCain would have to skip the inauguration — because they’d be in jail?

At least their time in the slammer would feature some familiar faces: they could share a cell with Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and some 46 percent of the US population.

The prohibition of drugs is perhaps the most disastrous policy currently pursued by the US government. It hands a vast industry to armed criminal gangs, who proceed to kill at least excess 10,000 citizens a year to protect their patches. It exports this program of mass slaughter to Mexico, Colombia and beyond. It has been a key factor in reviving the Taliban in Afghanistan. It squanders tens of billions of dollars on prisons at home, ensuring that one in 31 adults in the US now in prison or on supervised release at any one time. And it has destroyed an entire generation of black men, who are now more likely to go to prison for drug offenses than to go to university.

And for what? Prohibition doesn’t stop people using drugs. Between 1972 and 1978, eleven US states decriminalized marijuana possession. So did hundreds of thousands of people rush out to smoke the now-legal weed? The National Research Council found that it had no effect on the number of dope-smokers. None. The people who had always liked it carried on; the people who didn’t felt no sudden urge to start.

So where’s the debate? The candidates have spent more time discussing froth and fancies — how much air is in your tires? — than this $40bn-a-year ‘war."

They should be forced to listen to Michael Levine, who had a thirty year career as one of America’s most distinguished federal narcotics agents. In his time, he infiltrated some of the biggest drugs cartels in the world — and he now explains, in sad tones, that he wasted his time. In the early 1990s, he was assigned to eradicate drug-dealing from one New York street corner — an easy enough task, surely? But he quickly learned that even this was physically impossible, given the huge demand for drugs. He calculated that he would need one thousand officers to be working on that corner for six months to make an impact — and there were only 250 drugs agents in the whole city. One of the residents asked him, "If all these cops and agents couldn’t get this one corner clean, what’s the point of this whole damned drug war?"

When Levine penetrated to the very top of la Mafia Cruenza, one of the biggest drug-dealing gangs in the world, he learned, as he puts it, "that not only did they not fear our war on drugs, they actually counted on it… On one undercover tape-recorded conversation, a top cartel chief, Jorge Roman, expressed his gratitude for the drug war, calling it ‘a sham put on the American tax-payer’ that was ‘actually good for business’." He was right — prohibition is the dealer’s friend. They depend on it. They thrive on it, just as Al Capone thrived on alcohol prohibition. When Levine recounted these comments to his boss — the officer in command of the paramilitary operation attacking South America — he replied, "Yeah, we know [the police and military battles against drug gangs] don’t work, but we sold the plan up and down the Potomac."

Yet virtually no politicians are exposing this scandal. A rare and heroic exception is Jim Webb, Senator for Virginia. In his brilliant new book Born Fighting, he says "the hugely expensive antidrug campaigns we are waging around the world are basically futile." He even goes further, and exposes how this intersects with racism to create a monstrous injustice. The ACLU found in 2006 that although the races use drugs at the same rate, black Americans — who comprise 12 percent of the population — make up 74 percent of all drug offenders sentenced to prison.

Webb shows the human cost: "Even as I write these words, it is virtually certain that somewhere on the streets of Washington D.C. an eighteen year-old white kid from the Maryland or North Virginia suburbs is buying a stash of drugs from an eighteen year-old black kid. The white kid is going to take that stash back to the suburbs and make some quick money by selling it to other kids." He will grow up and grow out of it, and one day — as a wealthy professional — he will "look back on his drug use just as recreational and joke about it… just one more little rebellion on the way to adulthood."

But the black kid "will enter a hell from which he may never recover." He is likely to be arrested, and to go to prison. "Prison life will change the black kid, harden him, mess up his mind, and redefine his self-image. And after he is released from prison, the black kid will be dragging an invisible ball and chain behind him for the rest of his life… By the time the white kid reaches fifty years of age, he may well be a judge. By the time the black kid reaches fifty, he will likely be permanently unemployable, will be ineligible for many government assistance programs, and will not even be able to vote." Barack Obama only narrowly missed this fate. He would not be the Great Black Hope he deserves to be; he wouldn’t even be allowed to cast a ballot in 2008.

Of course, ending drug prohibition may seem impossible now. But in 1924, even as vociferous a wet as Clarence Darrow was in despair, writing that it would require "a political revolution" to legalize alcohol in the US. Within a decade, it was done.

Before this campaign is out, Obama needs to be asked: do you really think you should be in jail? McCain needs to be asked: do you really think your wife should be in jail? Both need to be asked: do you really think 46 percent of Americans should be criminalized? And if not, what are you going to do to begin ending this mad, unwinnable ‘war on drugs’?


Stoners in the Mist

Posted: August 5th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Drugs | 1 Comment »

If you haven’t seen this thing…it basically portrays stoners as animals, as subhuman. And we all know what happens when people are perceived as subhuman- it is easier to rape, torture, murder, abuse, and harrass them, or just arrest them and ruin their lives and wipe out all potential they had for doing good for society. Here’s a funny little article picking it apart and pointing out misinformation:

http://stash.norml.org/2008/04/04/stoners-in-the-mist-more-prejudiced-propaganda-from-ondcp/

here it is, in all it’s glory:

http://www.abovetheinfluence.com/stoners/Default.aspx

and High Times’ Paul Armiento on it, for a more serious perspective, with great links:

http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/93253/?page=entire

I’m so glad they finally wrote about this, even if only stoners have been going to look at it (hahahahah). It’s such garbage.


Rachel Hoffman by Paul Armentano, NORML

Posted: July 29th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Drugs | 2 Comments »

I’m glad they have an article about her on alternet. I hope that people across the country will be as outraged as we here in the area were.

http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/93082/the_killing_of_rachel_hoffman_and_the_tragedy_that_is_pot_prohibition/

The Killing of Rachel Hoffman and the Tragedy That Is Pot Prohibition

By Paul Armentano, AlterNet. Posted July 29, 2008.

Police caught Hoffman with pot but promised to drop charges if she agreed to go undercover in a drug bust. She was killed soon afterward.

Rachel Hoffman is dead. Rachel Hoffman, like many young adults, occasionally smoked marijuana.

But Rachel Hoffman is not dead as a result of smoking marijuana; she is dead as a result of marijuana prohibition.

Under prohibition, Rachel faced up to five years in a Florida prison for possessing a small amount of marijuana. (Under state law, violators face up to a $5,000 fine and five years in prison for possession of more than 20 grams of pot.)

Under prohibition, the police in Rachel’s community viewed the 23-year-old recent college graduate as nothing more than a criminal and threatened her with jail time unless she cooperated with them as an untrained, unsupervised confidential informant. Her assignment: Meet with two men she’d never met and purchase a large quantity of cocaine, ecstasy and a handgun. Rachel rendezvoused with the two men; they shot and killed her.

Under prohibition, the law enforcement officers responsible for brazenly and arrogantly placing Rachel in harm’s way have failed to publicly express any remorse — because, after all, under prohibition Rachel Hoffman was no longer a human being deserving of such sympathies.

Speaking on camera to ABC News’ "20/20" last week, Tallahassee Police Chief Dennis Jones attempted to justify his department’s callous and irresponsible behavior, stating, "My job as a police chief is to find these criminals in our community and to take them off the streets (and) to make the proper arrest."

But in Rachel Hoffman’s case, she was not taken "off the streets," and police made no such arrest — probably because, deep down, even they know that people like Rachel pose no imminent threat to the public. Instead, the officers on the scene secretly cut a deal with Rachel: They told her that they would not file charges if she agreed to go undercover.

Rachel became the bait; the Tallahassee police force went trolling for sharks.

In the weeks preceding Rachel’s murder, police told her to remain tight-lipped about their backroom agreement — and with good reason. The cops’ on-the-spot deal with Rachel flagrantly violated Tallahassee Police Department protocol, which mandated that such an arrangement must first gain formal approval from the state prosecutor’s office. Knowing that the office would likely not sign off on their deal — Rachel was already enrolled in a drug court program from a prior pot possession charge, and cooperating with the TPD as a drug informant would be in violation of her probation — the police simply decided to move forward with their informal arrangement and not tell anybody.

"(In) hindsight, would it have been a good idea to let the state attorney know? Yes," Jones feebly told "20/20." Damn right it would have been; Rachel Hoffman would still be alive.

But don’t expect Jones or any of the other officers who violated the department’s code of conduct — violations that resulted in the death of another human being — to face repercussions for their actions. Obeying the rules is merely "a good idea" for those assigned with enforcing them. On the other hand, for people like Rachel, violating those rules can be a death sentence.

Of course, to those of us who work in marijuana law reform, we witness firsthand every day the adverse consequences wrought by marijuana prohibition — a policy that has led to the arrest of nearly 10 million young people since 1990. To us, the sad tale of Rachel Hoffman marks neither the beginning nor the end of our ongoing efforts to bring needed "reefer sanity" to America’s criminal justice system. It is simply another chapter in the ongoing and tragic saga that is marijuana prohibition.

Paul Armentano is the deputy director for the NORML Foundation in Washington, D.C.

she looks like she would have been our best friend. bildeglasses.jpeg


Psychedelic Problem Child Comes Full Circle

Posted: July 17th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Drugs | 1 Comment »

the psychedelic therapy article in this and the psychology sections is a more in depth treatment of the subject, highly recommended. i had to quote this quote. it’s so sad when you think about all the medical marijuana patients struggling to get their treatment.

“I think people in this country, when they see a patient in pain, will not deny that person a medication just because the drug has abuse potential,” said Dr. John Halpern, a Harvard psychiatrist who is testing the effect of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in late-stage cancer patients.

A Psychedelic ‘Problem Child’ Comes Full Circle

By BENEDICT CAREY
Published: May 4, 2008

ON the afternoon of Jan. 11, Albert Hofmann, the chemist who discovered LSD, had about a dozen friends and family up to his glass-walled home in the mountains near Basel, Switzerland, for a party. It was his 102nd birthday and, in an important sense, also a homecoming.

MOVING SLOW A Boston-area housewife considers a Buddha statue in 1963 after taking LSD as part of an experiment by Timothy Leary.
Related
Albert Hofmann, the Father of LSD, Dies at 102 (April 30, 2008)

Dr. Hofmann, who died last week, spent the latter part of his life consulting with scientists around the world who wanted to bring his “problem child,” as he called the drug, back into the lab to study as a therapeutic agent. Not long before his last birthday, he learned that health officials in his native Switzerland had approved what will be the first known medical trial of LSD anywhere in more than 35 years — to test whether the drug can help relieve distress at end of life.

“It was something to be there, in that house,” said Rick Doblin, president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a nonprofit group that supports research into LSD and related compounds. “He was walking around the place, telling jokes, being a host. He seemed … I don’t know, peaceful somehow, comfortable to let the next generation carry on his spirit. And he was expressing how completely grateful he was that that we’d been able to restart LSD research — that his problem child had come home, had become a wonder child.”

Most drugs that capture the imagination of the wider culture seem at first to soothe the unease or gloom of their times, like Valium in the 1970s or Prozac in the late 1980s and early 1990s. But lysergic acid diethylamide, the substance Dr. Hofmann accidentally ingested in 1943 while working at the Swiss drug firm Sandoz, did exactly the opposite. It inflamed people’s hopes and fears, powerfully so.

LSD, it turns out, is one of the most potent consciousness-altering substances known; an amount the size of a grain of salt can induce swirls of emotion, and shimmering clear senses in which the ordinary becomes extraordinary, luminous, meaningful. It can infuse a person with creative energy or overwhelm the brain with a swarming feeling of loss and fear. Sometimes both: Even Dr. Hofmann had at least one bad trip, recalling in his autobiography, “Everything in the room spun around, and the familiar objects and pieces of furniture assumed grotesque, threatening forms.”

Looking back, scholars say, it’s hard to imagine that such a drug, once in circulation, could not have taken Western culture for a wild ride, especially given the forces at play in the postwar United States.

“It was probably inevitable, and I think the reason is that the common denominator, the common ground shared by all the various groups who made use of LSD, was that they got instantly excited about it as potentiator of their own agenda, whatever that was,” said Martin A. Lee, co-author of “Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The C.I.A., the ’60s and Beyond.” “It’s a terrible phrase, but I think of LSD as a potentiator of possibilities. It just evoked these grandiose possibilities with people.”

Scientists in the 1940s and 1950s, for instance, thought it might be the key to providing healing insight, a window on the soul, a way to transcend psychosis, mania, depression. Dr. Hofmann thought it could awaken a deeper awareness of mankind’s place in nature. About 1,000 studies crowd the medical literature of that era, many of them sloppy, a few tantalizing and some disastrous for the people being “treated” with an acid trip. The C.I.A. tested the drug as an aid to interrogation, a kind of truth serum. The Army modeled the possibility of using it as a madness gas, of dosing the enemy to gain quick advantage.

And this was all before acid met the counterculture on Haight Street in the 1960s.

But meet they did, and it was love at first sight. Dr. Hofmann’s child was no hustler from a shotgun lab in Tijuana, after all, but a bourgeois revolutionary, born into establishment medicine and able to travel the world and enter societies from the top down, through their most hallowed institutions.

The English novelist Aldous Huxley, who struck up a friendship with Dr. Hofmann, was one of the first prominent proponents of LSD use for personal transformation. Timothy Leary, LSD’s pied piper, was a Harvard professor whose public raptures over the drug were a strong cocktail of mystical and scientific jargon. Ken Kesey, founder of the protoraves known as acid tests, was at age 30 already an acclaimed novelist, author of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” He likened taking acid to “putting a tuning fork on your whole body.”

Not that acid was a hard sell to young people in the early 1960s, at least to those who longed not only to shake free of mainstream suburban-corporate culture but also to transform it, and themselves. They weren’t looking for an angry fix but something far grander. “To put matters bluntly: the hippies were an attempt to push evolution, to jump the species toward a higher integration,” wrote Jay Stevens in his 1987 book, “Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream.”

A joint is not going to get you there.

Nor, in the end, did LSD. By 1966 a raft of toxic knockoffs were on the street, and the authorities recognized that, whatever its upside, acid had become part of a self-devouring drug culture that exposed many users to a poisonous menu of illicit drugs. The government outlawed distribution of LSD, and research into its effects soon ground to a near halt. Where some saw a long-overdue crackdown on abuse, others saw an overreaction.

“Once the drug illegalization crowd gets hold of it, that’s that,” said Alexander Shulgin, a former Dow chemist who discovered the effects of MDMA, or ecstasy, which has also been made a controlled substance. “People start talking about protecting little children, and worrying about whether someone’s going to jump out the window, and meanwhile we have these substances — MDMA and LSD — that may be of tremendous value in psychotherapy and couldn’t be explored.”

They can now; several trials testing psychedelics are in the works, thanks in part to the steady example set by Dr. Hofmann. “I think people in this country, when they see a patient in pain, will not deny that person a medication just because the drug has abuse potential,” said Dr. John Halpern, a Harvard psychiatrist who is testing the effect of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in late-stage cancer patients. “LSD is always going to be a touchy subject but I think it’s kind of fallen back to earth.”

The trip is over, the hangover gone, and the prodigal child arrived home, just in time to say goodbye. all_foto_126.jpg


Ecuadorean Assembly Pardons Drug Mules!

Posted: July 11th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Drugs | No Comments »

hooray!

Ecuador’s constitutional assembly last Friday pardoned hundreds of small-time drug couriers currently sitting in Ecuadorian prisons. Last year, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa proposed the pardons and other drug sentencing reforms, saying it was absurd to sentence low-level couriers to more than a decade in prison for as little as 3.5 ounces of cocaine.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/correa.jpg
Rafael Correa
The constitutional assembly took over legislative power in the country after suspending the nation’s Congress last year. Under the assembly’s action, prisoners who had been convicted of carrying 4.4 pounds (2 kilograms) of drugs or less, had served at least 10% of their sentences or one year in prison, and were not repeat offenders were pardoned.

Ernesto Pazmino, director of Ecuador’s public defender’s office, told the Associated Press the application process was to begin this week, and the government has 30 days to release eligible prisoners.

"The president has come through with his promise, and we appreciate him and the assembly members," Carlo Aragundi, head of a prisoners’ organization at a jail in Quito, told the AP. Aragundi estimated that as many as 1,200 prisoners may be eligible.

Although Ecuador produces almost no coca, it is sandwiched between Colombia and Peru, the world’s number one and two coca and cocaine producers, and is frequently used as a transit country for cocaine headed to North America. President Correa acknowledged last year that his own father had spent three years in a US prison on drug charges.


WHO calls US the Champion of Stupid Drug Policy

Posted: July 8th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Drugs | No Comments »

okay okay, the world health organization didn’t call our drug policies stupid…they just implied it :)

The World Health Organization Documents Failure of U.S. Drug Policies

By Bruce Mirken, AlterNet. Posted July 2, 2008.

WHO survey of 17 countries finds that we have the highest rates of marijuana and cocaine use.

The United States has some of the world’s most punitive drug policies and has led the cheering section for tough "war on drugs" policies worldwide, but a new international study suggests that those policies have been a crashing failure. A World Health Organization survey of 17 countries, conducted by some of the world’s leading substance abuse researchers, found that we have the highest rates of marijuana and cocaine use.

The numbers are startling. In the United States, 42.4 percent admitted having used marijuana. The only other nation that came close was New Zealand, another bastion of get-tough policies, at 41.9 percent. No one else was even close. The results for cocaine use were similar, with the United States leading the world by a large margin.

This study is important because it’s the first time a respected international group has surveyed drug use around the world, using the same questions and procedure everywhere. While many countries have their own drug use surveys, the questions and methodology vary, and comparisons between countries are difficult. This new study eliminates that problem.

Some of the most striking numbers are from the Netherlands, where adults are permitted to possess a small of marijuana and purchase it from regulated businesses. Some U.S. officials have claimed that these Dutch policies have created some sort of decadent cesspool of drug abuse, but the new study demolishes such assertions: In the Netherlands, only 19.8 percent have used marijuana, less than half the U.S. figure.

Even more striking is what the researchers found when they asked young adults when they had started using marijuana. Again, the United States led the world, with 20.2 percent trying marijuana by age 15. No other country was even close, and in the Netherlands, just 7 percent used marijuana by 15 — roughly one-third of the U.S. figure.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy tried to dismiss the study, Bloomberg News reported:

Trying to find a link between drug use and drug enforcement doesn’t make sense, said Tom Riley, spokesman for the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy in Washington. "The U.S. has high crime rates but we spend a lot on law enforcement and prison,” Riley said yesterday in a telephone interview. "Should we spend less? We’re just a different kind of country. We have higher drug use rates, a higher crime rate, many things that go with a highly free and mobile society."

Funny, ONDCP takes precisely the opposite line whenever a state considers liberalizing its marijuana laws. In a March press release, deputy Drug Czar Scott Burns railed against a New Hampshire proposal to decriminalize marijuana, saying such a move "sends the wrong message to New Hampshire’s youth, students, parents, public health officials and the law enforcement community," and would lead to "more drugs, drug users and drug dealers on their streets and communities."

Back in 2002, denouncing a proposed marijuana law reform in Nevada, ONDCP distributed a list of talking points to prosecutors specifically slamming the "extremely dubious" Dutch system of regulated sales, saying, "Increased availability of marijuana leads to increased use of marijuana and other drugs."

In fact, ONCDP’s latest excuse for the failure of U.S. drug policies — that enforcement and penalties don’t really have much effect on rates of use — is probably just about right. But it also dynamites any justification for our current marijuana laws. The WHO researchers put it this way:

"The U.S., which has been driving much of the world’s drug research and drug policy agenda, stands out with higher levels of use of alcohol, cocaine, and cannabis, despite punitive illegal drug policies. … The Netherlands, with a less criminally punitive approach to cannabis use than the US, has experienced lower levels of use, particularly among younger adults. Clearly, by itself, a punitive policy towards possession and use accounts for limited variation in nation level rates of illegal drug use."

For this we arrest 830,000 Americans a year on marijuana charges? legalize.jpg


Big Pharma and Pot

Posted: July 8th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Drugs | No Comments »

While the the American Medical Association claims pot has no medical value, Big Pharma is busy getting patents for marijuana products.

The US government’s longstanding denial of medical marijuana research and use is an irrational and morally bankrupt public policy. On this point, few Americans disagree. As for the question of "why" federal officials maintain this inflexible and inhumane policy, well that’s another story

One of the more popular theories seeking to explain the Feds’ seemingly inexplicable ban on medical pot goes like this: Neither the US government nor the pharmaceutical industry will allow for the use of medical marijuana because they can’t patent it or profit from it.

It’s an appealing theory, yet I’ve found it to be neither accurate nor persuasive. Here’s why.

First, let me state the obvious. Big Pharma is busily applying for — and has already received — multiple patents for the medical properties of pot. These include patents for synthetic pot derivatives (such as the oral THC pill Marinol), cannabinoid agonists (synthetic agents that bind to the brain’s endocannabinoid receptors) like HU-210 and cannabis antagonists such as Rimonabant. This trend was most recently summarized in the NIH paper (pdf), "The endocannabinoid system as an emerging target of pharmacotherapy," which concluded, "The growing interest in the underlying science has been matched by a growth in the number of cannabinoid drugs in pharmaceutical development from two in 1995 to 27 in 2004." In other words, at the same time the American Medical Association is proclaiming that pot has no medical value, Big Pharma is in a frenzy to bring dozens of new, cannabis-based medicines to market.

Not all of these medicines will be synthetic pills either. Most notably, GW Pharmaceutical’s oral marijuana spray, Sativex, is a patented standardized dose of natural cannabis extracts. (The extracts, primarily THC and the non-psychoactive, anxiolytic compound CBD, are taken directly from marijuana plants grown at an undisclosed, company warehouse.)

Does Big Pharma’s sudden and growing interest in the research and development of pot-based medicines mean that the industry is proactively supporting marijuana prohibition? Not if they know what’s good for them. Let me explain.

First, any and all cannabis-based medicines must be granted approval from federal regulatory bodies such as the US Food and Drug Administration — a process that remains as much based on politics as it is on scientific merit. Chances are that a government that is unreasonably hostile toward the marijuana plant will also be unreasonably hostile toward sanctioning cannabis-based pharmaceuticals.

A recent example of this may be found in the Medicine and Health Products Regulatory Agency’s recent denial of Sativex as a prescription drug in the United Kingdom. (Sativex’s parent company, GW Pharmaceuticals, is based in London.) In recent years, British politicians have taken an atypically hard-line against the recreational use of marijuana — culminating in Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s declaration that today’s pot is now of "lethal quality." (Shortly thereafter, Parliament elected to stiffen criminal penalties on the possession of the drug from a verbal warning to up to five years in jail.) In such an environment is it any wonder that British regulators have steadfastly refused to legalize a pot-based medicine, even one with an impeccable safety record like Sativex? Conversely, Canadian health regulators — who take a much more liberal view toward the use of natural cannabis and oversee its distribution to authorized patients — recently approved Sativex as a prescription drug.

Of course, gaining regulatory approval is only half the battle. The real hurdle for Big Pharma is finding customers for its product. Here again, a culture that is familiar with and educated to the use therapeutic cannabis is likely going to be far more open to the use of pot-based medicines than a population still stuck in the grip of "Reefer Madness."

Will those patients who already have first-hand experience with the use of medical pot switch to a cannabis-based pharmaceutical if one becomes legally available? Maybe not, but these individuals comprise only a fraction of the US population. Certainly many others will — including many older patients who would never the desire to try or the access to obtain natural cannabis. Bottom line: regardless of whether pot is legal or not, cannabis-based pharmaceuticals will no doubt have a broad appeal.

But wouldn’t the legal availability of pot encourage patients to use fewer pharmaceuticals overall? Perhaps, though likely not to any degree that adversely impacts Big Pharma’s bottom line. Certainly most individuals in the Netherlands, Canada, and in California — three regions where medical pot is both legal and easily accessible on the open market — use prescription drugs, not cannabis for their ailments. Further, despite the availability of numerous legal healing herbs and traditional medicines such as Echinacea, Witch Hazel, and Eastern hemlock most Americans continue to turn to pharmaceutical preparations as their remedies of choice.

Should the advent of legal, alternative pot-based medicines ever warrant or justify the criminalization of patients who find superior relief from natural cannabis? Certainly not. But, as the private sector continues to move forward with research into the safety and efficacy of marijuana-based pharmaceuticals, it will become harder and harder for the government and law enforcement to maintain their absurd and illogical policy of total pot prohibition.

Of course, were it not for advocates having worked for four decades to legalize medical cannabis, it’s unlikely that anyone — most especially the pharmaceutical industry — would be turning their attention toward the development and marketing of cannabis-based therapeutics. That said, I won’t be holding my breath waiting for any royalty checks.

Oh yeah, and as for those who claim that the US government can’t patent medical pot, check out the assignee for US Patent #6630507.

http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/90469/?page=entire

for links potpeeps.jpg