People Will Be So Stoned That They Won't Care About the Death Boards

"Since when is the U.S. government in the business of distributing marijuana cigarettes?" Rachel Ehrenfeld asks in a Forbes.com commentary. "Is this part of the health care programs the Obama administration is so keen to enforce?" The short answers: 1) since 1978 and 2) no. Based on nothing more than a solicitation for proposals from the National Institute on Drug Abuse seeking contractors to produce and distribute "marijuana cigarettes," Ehrenfeld concludes, in a piece headlined "ObamaCare's Medical Marijuana," that the president's vision of health care, thanks to the influence of George Soros (I swear, that's what she says), includes free joints for everybody. Or something like that:

The evidence about the harm caused by marijuana to the individual user and society is overwhelming. Yet the government is now moving for large production and distribution of marijuana. If this is part of the ObamaCare project, it would surely cause the opposite of what it is purporting to do. 

This may be the only good thing I've heard about Obama's health care reforms so far. Alas, it is all a figment of Ehrenfeld's drug-fueled imagination. Since 1978 NIDA has been providing government-approved joints, made from marijuana grown at the University of Mississippi, to a few select patients under the Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program. The first patient to receive Uncle Sam's pot was Robert Randall, who won a federal lawsuit demanding access to marijuana for treating his glaucoma. (A separate lawsuit by Randall, seeking the reclassification of marijuana so it can be prescribed by doctors, led to a 1987 ruling in which the DEA's chief administrative law judge called marijuana "one the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.") At its peak, the compassionate IND program (which in theory was a set of one-subject studies) served about a dozen patients. In 1992, spooked by a flood of requests from AIDS patients, the Bush administration closed the program to new applicants but continued to serve those already enrolled. Today just a few patients—four as of May 2008, according to the Marijuana Policy Project—continue to receive NIDA joints.

Given the tiny size of the remaining program, most of the marijuana cigarettes that triggered Ehrenfeld's pot allergy are probably destined for research. Since the research is sponsored by NIDA, Ehrenfeld will be relieved to hear, it will no doubt focus on marijuana's dangers, as opposed to its medical utility.

[via the MPP's Bruce Mirken]

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • William||

    Rush Limbaugh's call to the barricades:

    "[Obama] is sending out his brownshirts to head up opposition to genuine American citizens who want no part of what Barack Obama stands for and is trying to stuff down our throats. Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate."

  • ||

    I had a friend in Mississippi in '81 that was getting government joints. I don't remember why. I do recall that they were Huge and the dope was very very good. He was sent a helluva lot more than he, a heavy smoker, could possibly smoke alone and was kind enough to share. Them folks at Ole Miss could sure grow some righteous shit back then.

  • ||

    The evidence about the harm caused by marijuana to the individual user and society is overwhelming.

    If by "harm" you mean benefit, then yeah.

  • ||

    Penn & Teller covered this program on Bullshit's! episode on the drug war, and interviewed one of the guys still on it, who showed them the canister of joints he receives every month (?). They also showed him smoking a joint, legally, in front of the White House.

    Weren't you interviewed in that episode, Jacob?

  • ||

    The evidence about the harm caused by marijuana to the individual user and society is overwhelming.

    Rachel Ehrenfeld: courageous (if unsolicited) defender of both individuals other than herself and society! How does she do it while keeping that stylish 'do intact?

  • Barry-O the ASL Ape (transcrib||

    BARRY-O SMOKE FUNNY FUNNY

    SICK MAN SMOKE SAD SAD GO CAGE NO BANANA

  • ||

    the canister of joints he receives every month

    In one of my classes, they brought in one of those canisters. They have very official-looking labels and everything. Can't remember if the guest speaker was one of the patients, or just a lawyer who had represented them.

    Whoever it was did say that the gubmint can't grow weed for shit.

  • TallDave||

    This may be the only good thing I've heard about Obama's health care reforms so far.

    /agree

    Alas, it is all a figment of Ehrenfeld's drug-fueled imagination

    It's an odd debate where the truly drug-addled are the ones against drugs. But here we are.

  • ||

    The evidence about the harm caused by marijuana to the individual ... is overwhelming



    If said marijuana is in 500-lbs. bales and dropped from a height of 20 feet.

  • Rhywun||

    If by "harm" you mean benefit, then yeah.



    Heh. And notice how said "evidence" is never, y'know, evidenced--or when it is, it consists merely of bald-faced lies that any reasonably diligent sixth-grader could refute.

    I see this chick also wrote something called "Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It". I think the "American Center for Democracy" (what a wonderfully nebulous name that is!) could do its part to stop "funding evil" by not giving her any more paychecks.

  • ||

    most of the marijuana cigarettes that triggered Ehrenfeld's pot allergy are probably destined for research.

    Now you've got my attention.

  • SAFERchoice||

    RE: "The evidence about the harm caused by marijuana to the individual user and society is overwhelming."

    Actually, the harms are quite limited. But by keeping marijuana illegal, we are steering adults toward a far more harmful substance -- alcohol. He should read the new book, "Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?" Here is a link to the book:

    http://tinyurl.com/lub5yl

  • BruceM||

    Since Obama insulted the millions of americans who submitted a question to him about legalizing marijuana by saying they were all drug-addled brain-damaged morons not to be taken seriously, anyone who thinks Obama will take even the slightest step towards decriminalization is a fucking moron.

  • AB390||

    Californians: Tell your legislators in Sacramento to legalize marijuana for adults. Visit yes390.org

  • Illinois Guy||

    Jacob:

    There is a big difference between making a liberty argument for the legalization of marijuana ... and promoting government distribution of said marijuana.

    The first is certainly libertarian. The second is ... well, it's not libertarian.

  • Naga Sadow||

    The evidence about the harm caused by marijuana to the individual user and society is overwhelming

    Rachel Ehrenfeld has apparently smoked herself retarded.

  • ||

    Them folks at Ole Miss could sure grow some righteous shit back then.
    Back in the 80's they did. But then when Bush Sr. put the kibosh on the program they started delivering ditch weed. The guys still on the program now have to smoke a pack a day just to get a single fatty's worth of medicine. I'd love to see a law suit over how the government is forcing them to smoke to much by giving them shitty weed.

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    Another excellent job by Reason! Libertarians have their heads screwed on tight, but it might be helpful if they'd learn what effective looks like.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Chris Kelly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    *shakes fist at LoneWacko*

  • Cha Cha Simmons||

    It's funny ... so many of my younger friends and co-workers (ages 18-28) seem to think that weed will be legalized while Obama is in office. I am 35, and now thoroughly skeptical of it ever happening.
    I have to remind them that I had the same burgeoning hope when I was their age in Clinton's first term, and was gently told by my older and wiser friends that I may have to wait until about 2050 for that to happen.

  • ||

    Yep, put down that joint and pick up a fifth of Jack Daniels. Alcohol is a much safer alternative to cannabis. Ask any law enforcement officer. Don't forget to pick up some cigarettes on the way out. See, there are always alternatives to illegal drugs.

  • ||

    "Barry-O the ASL Ape (transcribed) | August 14, 2009, 1:19pm | #

    BARRY-O SMOKE FUNNY FUNNY

    SICK MAN SMOKE SAD SAD GO CAGE NO BANANA"

    These are great!

  • TallDave||

    Also, Jacob Sullum is a tool of Big Bong.

  • Black Market Paranoia||

    At least Obama has the NIDA receiving proposals for cannabis made with a so-called good manufacturing process or GMP.

    People might misunderstand what GMP is for cannabis, but it has been clearly established by Canadian and Dutch medical cannabis trials that medicinal-grade cannabis must be exposed to gamma radiation prior to running trials. This is to negate the effect of (often unseen) microbial infestations within an otherwise perfectly usable sample.

    I realize that this is nowhere close to a total win, but the gamma radiation practice will likely render other dubious study conclusions invalid. In particular, dubious conclusions that attempt to associate cannabis itself with respiratory problems such as COPD. If anything, major respiratory problems are due to the mold, mildew, and other biological contaminants present in the illegal cannabis long used by study participants. It doesn't take much scientific study to conclude that smoking powdery mildew is going to cause problems.

    Food companies not irradiating food of questionable source is a completely different topic. I know that any sort of government regulation forcing irradiation would be a bad idea, but the practice is still largely misunderstood by the public and nobody talking about it is not helping things.

  • James C. Bennett||

    "Californians: Tell your legislators in Sacramento to legalize marijuana for adults. Visit yes390.org"

    An Assembly Bill? Please. This is California, the direct democracy state. If it's not an Initiative Constitutional Amendment, it's barely a law. Come back when you're serious.

  • DdC||

    "But at this point, I'd be in favor of legalization. I wouldn't encourage anybody to smoke any substances. But I don't think it should be stigmatized as an illegal substance. Tobacco smoking causes far more harm. And in terms of an intoxicant, alcohol causes far more harm."
    ~ Donald Tashkin,
    (NIDA) National Institute on Drug Abuse


    Do these some drug worriers ever consider the Americans they torture each day. The most vulnerable, the elderly and those suffering with debilitating diseases. Running through their bank accounts paying for every pill thrown at them and finding relief with a simple plant they can grow with their herbs and flowers. Each day wondering if some zealot will write an article demonizing them as terrorists or hurting kids or will they fall victim to some super cop saving the world in renegade fashion. Or a judge roy bean or a DA climbing the political ladder needing that tough on crime for the resume. Terrorists.

    10 years ago I would have forgiven these yellow journalists out of censorship and justified ignorance. Maybe they could have claimed they didn't know. Only a few books were out and magazines catering to the stoner crowds. Most seemed to have settled on Reagan's lies stacked upon Nixon's lies and omissions, falsely classifying cannabis including medicinal and Hemp never included in the 1937 Tax Act. Overturned in 1969 as being unConstitutional. Ford covering up tumor research was never "programmed" into the 6 o'clock news. So now Teddy Kennedy has one less potential weapon against his own dilemma. But since then we have an internet with information, news articles that can not be buried in-between fluff. No excuses and no ConPromises. Stop the gossip. 5000 years of medicinal use and even longer doing the initial "testing" throwing buds onto hot rocks inside of domed tapestries. Then hookahs and chiloms and incense in all of the ancient temples, did the prophets inhale?

    Comparing chemical cigarettes to organic tobacco is comparing two entirely different substances. Thousands of years of tobacco use by Natives, Turkish, Egyptians, English and Early Americans finds no extraordinary death-rates. Not until the very same fossil fuel chemical corporations started adulterating the tobacco with very harmful substances, never mentioned by the drug worriers. For your smoking pleasure as Ronnie would get paid to say. No comparison. And therefore no comparison to organic cannabis. Maybe that's why we have thousands of "cigarette" deaths and still can't find that Ganja victim. Stronger pot today? Ask a Vietnam vet. Acapulco Gold, Panama Red and extractions much higher than the lies about BC bud causing problems. Hard drugs were invented by Bayer around the mid 1800's. Cannabis used 5000 years. Can't "Gateway" to what hasn't been invented. No one is stupid enough to grow Ganja in a hemp field and risk pollinating kynd bud into burlap. Cops using this fib, work for the synthetic competition.

    Hemp is a major reason for "marihuana" prohibition. More cellulose, greater tensile strength, Omega 3,6 and 9 EFA's. Homegrown Carbohydrates or OPEC Hydrocarbons. A natural pest and weed deterrent that's deep roots aerate the soil and prevents mudslides Vs Cotton's 90 million pounds of abortion causing poisons running off into the water supply, air and dirt kids play in. Too versatile for an oil driven monopoly.

    Then the subsidiaries you always hear about swift boating cannabis initiatives, like Ehrenfelds fiction. Lies and gossip is not the American way I was raised in. Laws preventing Constitutional rights to a jury of ones peers, no 404 gag orders against defending yourself. No mandatory minimum jury trial deterrents. Forcing 95% to cop a plea, including very profitable urine testing and probation costs. Double and triple jeopardy and losing the State Sovereignty to govern anything not deemed Federal by the 10th Amendment. The Commerce Act has no place in private gardens. Nothing the Czars hurl stands up to logic. Especially having a tax paid NIDA that is forbidden from conducting medicinal tests, only negative propaganda science. Honest.

    The drug czar is not permitted to aid and abed "legalizers" in any way including telling the truth. At all cost, ends justifying means call it what you will but it is not American, not Justice and certainly not Fair to the users or Balanced reporting. Nixon lied and a two bit burglary covered it up. One trillion dollars has been spent arresting cannabis users since 1937. That is one trillion dollars has been profits to the few remaining hold outs wanting to punish Americans for a non victim vice. The true drug war zealots. The prohibition profiteers.

    Corporate competition kept off the market and profits treating the problem. Those groups are the only ones left on ABC and cable news. The rehabs, cops and prisons. Our taxes paying for our own persecution is also not an America I want. It's not an America I'm willing to sit by and let go on sale to the highest International Bankster's bid. Time for ignorance to stop and let the laws of physics determine cannabis' destiny. Because no matter what future hobgoblins ms Ehrenfeld spouts, cannabis either is or it isn't. It does or it doesn't. No talk just let it be. Let it provide for the people.

    Ganja/Hemp

    The Corporate Muzzle

    Ganja's Impact On Brain Function "Minimal"

  • BruceM||

    Well Said DdC

  • debt reduction||

    this is so true man

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement