What Is It With the Young People and Their Compassion for Cancer and AIDS Patients?

While George W. Bush waited until he was elected president to renege on his promise to let states go their own way on medical marijuana, John McCain already has retreated from a similar federalist position. Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana, which tracks the statements of presidential contenders in this area, reports that McCain had this to say when he was asked at a July 14 town hall meeting in Claremont, New Hampshire, whether he would stop federal raids on people who grow or possess marijuana for medical use in states where such use is legal:

Not yet. I don't think marijuana is healthy, I don't think that it is good for people, and there is a large body of medical opinion that says there is plenty of other medications that are more effective and better and less damaging to one's health to use to relieve pain. So I will continue to look at it on your behalf and many other young people who feel very strongly about it, but right now my answer to you is no.

The day before, by contrast, Hillary Clinton had this exchange with medical marijuana activist Len Epstein in Manchester:

Epstein: Twelve states allow medical marijuana, but the Bush administration continues to raid patient.

Clinton: Yes, I know. It's terrible.

Epstein: Would you stop the federal raids?

Clinton: Yes, I will.

An appropriate follow-up question would have asked how Clinton felt when her husband pursued a policy similar to Bush's, refusing to accept state policy judgments regarding the medical use of cannabis. Still, good for Hillary Clinton, which is not something I get to say very often.

Meanwhile, Dale Gieringer of California NORML reports that the DEA office in Los Angeles has been sending letters to local landlords, warning them that they may lose their property to civil forfeiture and face criminal prosecution if they let their tenants provide marijuana to patients:

DEA sources say they sent 120 letters, of which only 20 or so have so far been reported to NORML. Included are numerous well regarded, established facilities with no known complaints. The action is aimed at coercing landlords to evict medical cannabis coops despite state law allowing them.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote soon on the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment, which tells the DEA to lay off state-authorized medical marijuana users and providers. Last year the amendment got 163 votes, 55 short of a majority. Assuming Democrats are more apt than Republicans to agree with Hillary Clinton on this subject (an assumption reinforced by McCain's flip-flop), Democratic control of the House bodes well for the measure.

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  • Anonymo the Anonymous||

    Is it safe to say you're through when your campaign strategy appears to consist of making Hilary Clinton look like a friend of liberty by comparison?

    Jebus willing, it is.

  • ||

    While I support the legalization of pot (and all drugs in principle), I have always found the medical marijuana issue a joke.

    Smoking ANY weed is unhealthy, for the same reason as smoking tobacco is. You are creating a bunch of chemical-laden char and sucking it into your lungs. Bad. Bad. Bad. You do not deliver legitimate pharmaceuticals this way. If there is truly a legitmate compound in marijuana smoke, it can be isolated and purified or synthesized directly.

    Medical marijuana has never been anything more than an excuse to get high. Let's quit being silly.

  • ||

    Let's quit being silly

    Oh, c'mon. Let's not!

  • ||

    A: What are you all doing awake at 4 a.m.?

    B: While smoked marijuana is toxic, one needs to smoke a much smaller amount to produce an effect as compared to cigarettes.

    My (friend's) daily intake is about 20 cigarettes, but only 2-3 marijuana cigarettes. This may only pertain to me (friend), but it illustrates my example.

  • ||

    Epstein: Would you stop the federal raids?

    Clinton: Yes, I will.


    Show of hands from those who believe this?

  • ||

    *abruptly jams hands in pockets, frowns*

  • Anonymo the Anonymous||

    Medical marijuana has never been anything more than an excuse to get high. Let's quit being silly.

    Yes, you've uncovered the big scam. All those patients with cancer, AIDS, MS, etc., advocating for the right to make their own decisions about medical treatments that don't have a goddamn thing to do with you or anyone else are really just crypto-stoners. In fact, they purposely gave themselves horrible diseases and exhausted traditional treatment options, bringing immeasurable suffering upon themselves, so after years of pain they could trick wise people like you, who are eminently qualified and entitled to make profound medical decisions for everyone else on the fucking planet, into giving them an "excuse to get high."

    Sure, smoking anything isn't particularly good for you. Neither is pumping your bloodstream full of cytotoxins, but some might consider those risks acceptable when the other option is, you know, a prolonged painful death.

    If there is truly a legitmate compound in marijuana smoke, it can be isolated and purified or synthesized directly.

    Except that apparently, it can't, or there wouldn't be an issue for us to debate.

    Let's quit being silly? How about we quit being authoritarian douchebags denying sick people a chance, however unlikely to succeed or risky you might find it, to alleviate their suffering. Fuck you.

  • ||

    Marijuana is unhealthy. I don't question that.

    But if you're DYING of fracking CANCER that will kill you before anything else short of being hit by a car, maybe the long-term health detriments of smoking aren't the most important consideration here.

  • ||

    An appropriate follow-up question would have asked how Clinton felt when her husband pursued a policy similar to Bush's, refusing to accept state policy judgments regarding the medical use of cannabis.

    I'm not exactly sure how that question would be appropriate. Who cares how she felt about it at the time, and why should she have to apologize or explain previous Presidents' policy decisions?

  • ||

    My (friend's) daily intake is about 20 cigarettes, but only 2-3 marijuana cigarettes. This may only pertain to me (friend), but it illustrates my example.

    To try to debunk the argument that smoking marijuana was better than smoking cigarettes, my HS health class taught us that a joint had 3-4 times the carcinogens as a cigarette... to which I asked "does anyone know anybody who smokes 20 joints a day?"

  • ||

    Except that apparently, it can't, or there wouldn't be an issue for us to debate.



    Ahem.

    Admitedly, it makes the whole idea of "no medical use" even dumber.

  • Jennifer||

    If there is truly a legitmate compound in marijuana smoke, it can be isolated and purified or synthesized directly.

    A couple of months ago I interviewed a paraplegic who smokes to make his painful leg-muscle spasms go away. He prefers smoking to pills or other delivery methods in part because with smoking, he has exact control over what dosage he gets and he can feel the effects almost immediately, as opposed to taking a pill, waiting for it to kick in and then discovering he took either too much or not enough.

    And shame on the reporter for not asking McCain the truly relevant question: not "is marijuana as effective as legal drugs" but "even assuming marijuana is medically worthless, why is it so bad that sick people should go to prison for it?"

  • ||

    Med MJ is a political litmus test. It's safety and efficacy are now well established. Anyone opposed to giving sick people access to pot either doesn't know what he's talking about, or is just an asshole.

  • ||

    "the DEA office in Los Angeles has been sending letters to local landlords, warning them that they may lose their property to civil forfeiture and face criminal prosecution if they let their tenants provide marijuana to patients..."

    Isn't it the DEA's job to gather evidence and arrest people? This seems like an unseemly attempt to deputize landlords. I guess if the feds are going to pseudo-deputize banks in the hunt for illegals, why not bring landlords [unwilllingly] into the fold?

  • ||

    I'm not surprised that Clinton would promise to stop federal raids on legal medical marijuana users.

    There are more important reasons to break down doors in the dark of night-inefficient light bulbs, failure to enroll in preschool, the scourge of Grand Theft Auto. And you only have so many squads.

  • Janice||

    But if you're DYING of fracking CANCER that will kill you before anything else short of being hit by a car, maybe the long-term health detriments of smoking aren't the most important consideration here.

    No, not for the dying patient, but what about the message that it sends to young people that using drugs to feel good is OK? Sometimes we have to weigh an individuals suffering against societies benefit, which in this case society clearly benefits from eliminating the negative downstream effects form everybody being high all the time.

    You may think that the cancer patient has a right not to suffer but what about my right to live in a drug free society. If we let even a few peoples use the weeds we will send a message that it is OK, then everyone, including sturgeons, aeroplane pilots and others will be high. It is one thing to have an occasiona drink, but the drugs cannot be used safely, congress declared this in 1871 when they passed the CSA.

    the pots arent good for you so they must be illegal so know one does them.

  • ||

    I wanna see a stoned sturgeon.

  • Sean||

    I encourage people to smoke as much as marijuana as possible.

    It's therapeutic on all levels. Keeps you relaxed, happy, and productive.

    Did anyone see that extremely touching documentary on Showtime: "In Pot We Trust"?

    It's amazing how this one poor woman suffering from cerebral palsy could barely form sentences, but after smoking she was finally able to talk. Here was a decent law abiding citizen who just wanted to be the best mother that she could to her children, and is risking everything so that she can do just that.

    I really encourage everyone to check it out. Plus there are a few segments with Hitchens and Ron Paul in it... so that's always awesome, too.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Show of hands from those who believe this?

    Might believe it if she said it in front of some organization like (making this up...) the Christian Parents of America.

  • poco||

    Sean, yeah, that part was good (as was seeing the middle-aged woman shop for pipes with her mom), but I was so depressed by the bust -- in my county -- by that DEA guy who looks like Dog the Bounty Hunter and thinks he's doing the Lord's work.

  • Tom G||

    Janice, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are not a troll.
    "what about the message that it sends to young people that using drugs to feel good is OK? "
    - It's sending the message that society should TRUST doctors to prescribe appropriate medication for their patients, without being overruled by the feds.

    "society clearly benefits from eliminating the negative downstream effects form everybody being high all the time"
    Get serious. Nobody believes that everybody would get high all the time even if pot were TOTALLY legal ! If you believe that, you must favor the probibition of alcohol, since obviously EVERYBODY in America gets drunk all the time.

    "what about my right to live in a drug free society."
    Sorry to break your fantasy world, but a completely drug free society will NEVER exist. And the only way to get close to one, would end ALL liberty in the country. You really want a totalitarian society ? (and still drugs would be used, regardless)

    Those of you who oppose medical marijuana need to realize that in America, the people (or the states) are the ones with the primary right to make decisions - or they OUGHT TO BE. the corollary to this, which is hard for some to understand, is the following: Just because the Federal government allows someone to do something, it does NOT mean that society (or the government) is condoning or approving it.

  • Sean||

    Round of applause for Tom G.

  • poco||

    (Tom, it is indeed a troll.)

    The House of Representatives is expected to vote soon on the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment, which tells the DEA to lay off state-authorized medical marijuana users and providers. Last year the amendment got 163 votes, 55 short of a majority.

    I forgot to add that this defeat was also featured in "In Pot We Trust".

  • ||

    Who cares how she felt about it at the time, and why should she have to apologize or explain previous Presidents' policy decisions?

    Uh, because she's claiming she has presidential experience from sharing a bed with the previous president in question. If she wants to distance herself from Bill Clinton's stint in the White House, she can run as a six year Senator.

  • Robert||

    The antis have a concern which to them is legitimate: How does one distinguish between the med mj consumer and the regular mj consumer, or between the med mj dealer and the regular mj dealer? Pills can be marked by a particular, licensed mfr., but vegetable matter to be smoked cannot.

  • ||

    First: has fracking really entered the lexicon to replace grok as the term used to show the user is a pathological geek?

    Next, let's be honest and admit that, for many mj activists, medical mj is indeed a side issue and a stepping stone towards a larger goal. It is akin to partial birth abortions: a minor issue which serves as an effective way to paint the opposition as inhuman and pertinacious.

  • Sean||

    Plus... it's free.

    Essentially any with access to moderate sunlight, water, and soil can create their own free lifetime supply.

    I don't want to come off as a conspiracy nut, but I can't help but think that because of our friendly politicians playing lovely games with Pharma, it's probably the biggest hurdle towards any kind of legalization.

    On a side note, the MPP Lobbyist sucks. He's horrible. He needs to hang out with the Oil and Tobbacco guys to see how the big boys do it.

    "Is there anything I can do to change your mind...?"

    "Would you care to consider voting for this legislation?"

    Open ended questions, and he was setting himself up for rejection. A lobbyist should be a friendly smooth dude who knows how to work people from a personality perspective - buy em some wine, take em out on a nice dinner, etc.

    I forget the guys name, but if the MPP is serious, they need a new lobbyist. FO SHO.

  • ||

    Sorry for addressing all of these various quotes in one response, but I don't have a bunch of time.

    Chad | July 19, 2007, 6:25am | #

    Smoking ANY weed is unhealthy, for the same reason as smoking tobacco is. You are creating a bunch of chemical-laden char and sucking it into your lungs. ... You do not deliver legitimate pharmaceuticals this way. If there is truly a legitmate compound in marijuana smoke, it can be isolated and purified or synthesized directly.


    You are partially correct. Burning marijuana creates potentially carcinogenic compounds that can be inhaled along with the active compounds. It is for this very reason that other methods of deliver including vaporizers and sublingual alcohol extracts (eg. Sativex) have been created.

    As for purifying and isolating active compounds, it would require the DEA allow such experiments to occur, and once Marinol was developed all such requests have effectively been denied. Sativex was developed in Great Britain precisely for this reason.

    Marijuana is unhealthy. I don't question that.


    Umm, unhealthy how exactly? It is physically impossible to consume the LD50 dose of the raw material and there has never been a single confirmed case of overdose. If you are referring to smoked cannabis, see my statement above.

    Tacos mmm... | July 19, 2007, 9:07am | #

    Except that apparently, it can't, or there wouldn't be an issue for us to debate.


    Ahem.



    Marinol is 100% synthetic D9-THC in a pill form. There are two real drawbacks to this.

    First, several studies have shown that D9-THC isn't the only pharmacologically active compound in cannabis (others include D8-THC and D9-CBD, the latter of which offsets the anxiety induced by T9-THC). These other compounds serve to either enhance the effects of T9-THC or offset some of it's negative side effects, none of which are contained in Marinol.

    Secondly, as previously mentioned, Marinol is in pill form. If you are suffering "wasting disease" brought on by AIDS or chemotherapy and can't keep anything down once swallowed, a pill that takes 45 minutes to dissolve isn't going to do you a damn bit of good. In this instance, inhaled (preferably by vaporizer) or topically (sublingual/oralmucosal) applied cannabis would be indicated.

    I am not saying that Marinol doesn't have it's place and you are correct that it (and moreso Sativex) shoot holes in the DEA's "No Medical Use" line, but that there are times when either whole plant, or whole plant extract cannabis is called for.

  • Alice Bowie||

    We should set an EXAMPLE for our CHILDREN and die as the Pope Died...In lots of angonizing pain, holding own to gods gift of life, and praying all the way until god takes your life. We should Not be allowing pain relievers...it doesn't fit the Christian (Mia Culpa Mia Culpa) thang !!!

    Of course I'm being silly...just legalize it for medical purpose already

  • ||

    Oh Hillary... you leave me so torn. You are evil, but you say the right thing on my One Issue (in the 'one issue voter' sense). I don't want to have to vote for you. Quick, someone scare up a quote from a viable candidate to make me think they're also going to change the direction of the WoD!

  • ||

    Dan T. wrote:

    I'm not exactly sure how that question would be appropriate. Who cares how she felt about it at the time, and why should she have to apologize or explain previous Presidents' policy decisions?


    It's a fair topic -- her whole political career is based on her "8 years of experience in the White House."

    Thus, anything that happened during that 8 years is fair game for questions.

    Of course, when you can't believe a word that she says, why bother asking questions?

  • ||

    Excuse the language but this is why I got angry.

    "Still, good for Hillary Clinton,"
    Jacob you have to be a real shit for brians to believe a lying, sleazy cunt like Hillary. If you know one thing about that shit stain that is she will say anything to get elected. She is a complete whore for power.

    It is times like this that Reason should provide a method for those like me, who have signed up for three years, $100.00, to get their money back.

  • p||

    It is times like this that Reason should provide a method for those like me, who have signed up for three years, $100.00, to get their money back.

    Drink!

  • Mike Laursen||

    It is times like this that Reason should provide a method for those like me, who have signed up for three years, $100.00, to get their money back.

    Maybe if Sullum wrote that in Reason magazine. But this here is just the Reason blog, and you're reading it free of charge.

  • SIV||

    Jacob you have to be a real shit for brains to believe a lying, sleazy cunt like Hillary. If you know one thing about that shit stain that is she will say anything to get elected. She is a complete whore for power.

    Couldn't have said it any better myself- so I spelled it better.

  • ||

    maybe she's lying, but the fact that she believes it will help get her elected and she has it out in public as a statement by her is certainly good for the legalization movement.

  • terri||

    My reply is directed to the first comment....

    Check it out, Chad.

    http://www.maps.org/mmj/vaporizer.html

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