Anti-Pot Psychiatrist: Democrats, As Paternalistic Control Freaks, Must Oppose Medical Marijuana

Writing in today's New York Times, anti-pot psychiatrist Ed Gogek, who identifies himself as "a lifelong partisan Democrat," argues that members of his party, if they are true to their principles, should oppose medical marijuana laws as well as broader forms of legalization:

The marijuana lobby wants us to distrust two centerpieces of the regulatory state, the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The whole purpose of medical marijuana laws is to evade the regulatory power of these agencies. We’re the political party that got the F.D.A. to regulate tobacco. How can we now say it shouldn’t regulate pot?...

Legalization would also undermine a successful Democratic program: drug courts, which were written into the 1994 crime bill by Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. They use coercion, the threat of jail, to keep addicts in treatment.

But the marijuana lobby opposes coercion. That’s not surprising. Drug users just want to be left alone to get high. If we side with them, we’re undercutting the Democratic answer to substance abuse....

[Legalization advocates] make selfish demands that would undermine the public good. 

Democrats: the Party of Control, Coercion, and Collectivism! No wonder they won.

Gogek claims, hilariously, that he and President Obama are "standing up" for "science" when they insist that marijuana belongs on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, a legal status supposedly reserved for drugs with a high abuse potential and no accepted medical value that cannot be used safely even under a doctor’s supervision. Science, according to Gogek, tells us that marijuana is more dangerous than morphine, cocaine, or methamphetamine.

Gogek also thinks science tells us that medical marijuana laws lead to more pot smoking among teenagers, a claim that has been repeatedly refuted by analyses of survey data. To give you a sense of Gogek's scientific reasoning, he cites an increase in pot use by teenagers since 2008 to illustrate the impact of medical marijuana laws that have been around since 1996. If I claimed it was the election of a president who admitted smoking pot in high school that led to more pot smoking in high school, that would be reckless speculation, but it would still be more plausible than Gogek's theory. At least the timing is right.

As anti-drug polemicists typically do, Gogek equates use with abuse. Hence the drug users who "just want to be left alone to get high" are all guilty of "substance abuse," meaning they would benefit from getting arrested and forced into "treatment." Likewise "most medical marijuana recipients," who are "drug abusers who are either faking or exaggerating their problems." One paragraph later, "most" becomes "almost all." Now who's exaggerating?

It surely is true that many dispensary customers are recreational pot smokers taking advantage of a legal loophole. But instead of calling them fakers, Gogek agrees they are sick. It's just that they are suffering from "substance abuse" rather than insomnia or back pain, and the cure for that is coercion, not cannabis. What an inspiring vision these Democrats have.

Although Gogek mentions general legalization in passing, he does not recognize that as a possible solution to the dishonesty fostered by prohibition. If people can legally obtain pot without pretending to be sick, as will soon be the case in Colorado and Washington, the malingering that so offends Gogek will disappear. But he still would have to deal with the haunting feeling that someone, somewhere may be left alone to get high.

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  • sarcasmic||

    Drug users just want to be left alone to get high.

    OK... Now what exactly is wrong with that?

  • tarran||

    They don't labor for the good of the collective if they are high.

  • sarcasmic||

    I dunno. When I worked as a prep cook / dishwasher I was high so much that when I wasn't the waitresses would ask me what was wrong.

  • nicole just can't even!||

    More bizarro connections between sarc and nicole's brother...

    (and a not-insignificant share of the total population...)

  • sarcasmic||

    Now I'm in software and there's no fucking way I can do this job high.

    I wait until I get home ;-)

  • nicole just can't even!||

    We all have to grow up someday.

  • sarcasmic||

    We all have to grow old. Growing up is optional.

    Neener neener neeeeener!

  • strat||

    Now I'm in software and there's no fucking way I can do this job high.

    I knew there had to be at least one AI that posted on H&R.

  • Matrix||

    This is why I despise progs and socons. They want to make everyone into their moral little robots. These slavers need to fuck off and die!

  • Sudden||

    I gotta admit, the knee-jerk libertarian embrace of the weed sometimes seems just as childish. While I certainly don't think it should be a crime, there is nothing inherently wrong with being critical of its abuse.

    Yes, weed like anything else can be used in a recreational and responsible way. But there are people who abuse it. The effects of abuse are without exception nowhere near as dire as that effects of abuse of many other substances, legal and illegal both, but I've known enough otherwise smart people who became largely useless layabouts because they got stoned daily (I was one myself).

    There's nothing wrong with saying "Well, if you smoke a joint every so often on the golf course with your buddies, that's not a problem. But if you're getting baked every morning while you're unemployed and playing video games while you wait for the govt cheese instead of looking for an actual productive use of your abilities, the weed might be hindering your ability to be a function adult."

    But there is something wrong with putting either person in jail.

  • Matrix||

    The government has no grey areas. It's all or nothing. This is why they should not be involved in this. They should bust people for driving on public roads while impaired, but they should not be busting down doors because some hippy is toking.

    The whole "on the government cheese" is a completely different issue. Many sober people do the same things sans weed.

  • Sam Grove||

    "But if you're getting baked every morning while you're unemployed and playing video games while you wait for the govt cheese instead of looking for an actual productive use of your abilities"

    Something about welfare incentivizing sloth instead of productive activity.

    Even in my high youth, I always worked a good job. Now I just don't have time to enjoy it, though I will consume some alcohol now and then.

    IAC, the article isn't about use vs abuse, or even criticizing abuse, rather its about the law and the nanny state.

  • RandomJackass||

    It's not "knee jerk embrace of the weed".

    It's the last sentence in your post. There IS something wrong with putting them in jail. It's putting people in prison which libertarians are reacting to. Or even sentencing people to reeducation programs. These are affronts to personal freedom. That has nothing to do with one's personal opinion about weed itself.

  • Ray Ray||

    Uhhh, what? How are you going to call the libertarian position a "knee jerk embrace of weed" and "childish" and then lay out the libertarian position on weed point by point?

    Jesus. DUH you can abuse pot. You can become dependent on pot. You can be completely useless and unproductive on pot. What the fuck does that have to do with the fact that allllllllll these "problems" are completely benign when you compare them to, you know, PRISON? When you compare them to NOT BEING ABLE TO GET A JOB AT WALMART because of a pot conviction on your record from when you were a stupid teenager? You devoted three essay length paragraphs to the MINOR problems that may be relevant to a MINORITY of cannabis users, and mention as a "by the way" that it's wrong to throw people in jail for it? Way to miss the point, there...

  • DaveAnthony||

    Let's not forget the large percentages of people who are raped in prison.

    Smoke pot from the comfort of your own home and harm no one but (maybe) yourself?

    Here's your prison with a side of rape!

  • Aresen||

    Which is further proof that there is no real difference between the Stupid Party and the Dumbass Party.

  • ||

    OK... Now what exactly is wrong with that?

    Less business for "Doctor" Gogek's addiction psychiatry practice, and we can't have that now can we?

  • Caleb Turberville||

    That's got to be a parody.

  • JD the elder||

    Not if you're familiar with the NY Times' opinion pages. Most of what gets published there sounds like a bad joke.

    But I give the guy credit for one thing - at least he's honest about the Democrats being interested in control, not freedom.

  • freeAgent||

    It does seem too ridiculous to possibly be true.

  • Aresen||

    In a sick, depraved way, I found this kinda funny:

    Legalization would also undermine a successful Democratic program: drug courts

    I want to see Ed Gogek's long form birth certificate. I want proof he was born on this planet.

  • ant1sthenes||

    No, it's just a reminder that the NYT leans fascist, and has for as long as I can remember.

  • SIV||

    American fascists prefer to be called "progressives".

  • Caleb Turberville||

    One problem I've seen as I've pursued my career in medicine is how obtuse medical professionals are to the problems of the War on Drugs.

  • SugarFree||

    Sounds like a candidate for Nanny of the Month.

  • Julio Cesar Samper Uribe||

    I'd settle for "Nanny of the Century".

    This dude is a damn idiot.

  • ||

    But the marijuana lobby opposes coercion.

    Those BASTARDS.

  • SugarFree||

    Seriously. Whatta bunch of assholes. Who doesn't love coercion, amiright?

  • sarcasmic||

    I mean, what other way is there of accomplishing goals other than force?

    Persuasion is, like, hard and stuff.

    Trying to change a person's mind without threat of violence? Not easy.

    No, coercion is definitely the way to go.

    Don't like it? *bam* Have I changed your mind yet? No? *whap* How's about now? *smack* Convinced? *slam* I can do this all day. *crack*

  • Another David||

    Given the target audience, couldn't we just get them good and baked?

  • fried wylie||

    "This hurts me a lot more than it does you..." *turns to co-interrogator, whispers* "... no it doesn't I just really like that line, and it tends to break them sooner due to the induced cognitive dissonance. You want a turn with the cane?"

  • nicole just can't even!||

    We’re the political party that got the F.D.A. to regulate tobacco. How can we now say it shouldn’t regulate pot?

    That's like saying, "We're the biggest dicks in the universe, how can we now be smaller dicks?"

  • ||

    Hey! Dicks aren't the ones forcing everyone to pay for birth control. You don't see me complaining to Congress that research funding should go to inventing a condom so thin yet effective that it's like I'm wearing nothing at all, nothing at all, nothing at all (stupid sexy Flanders!)

  • ||

    Excellent reference.

  • ||

    They're also the party of "how dare you tell a woman what she can or can't do with her body", yet I never see that logic extended to the evil DRUGZ

  • fried wylie||

    or to the choice to buy health insurance.

  • nicole just can't even!||

    Or sell sex, or organs, or...

  • Doctor Whom||

    Or ova. If you want to outrage a prog, ask how that doesn't come under reproductive freedom.

  • Matrix||

    Gogek seems like the type of person who should be drinking molten lead.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    I was going to call that a waste of perfectly good lead, but then I realized it could be recovered fairly easily later.

  • Chris Mallory||

    I would not be saddened to hear he had accidentally nailed his genitals to the floor then in a freak accident set the house on fire.

  • fried wylie||

    Gogek seems like the type of person who should be drinking molten lead.

    Is lead homeopathically certified? I'm pretty sure the FDA would have some complaints with that treatment.

  • Balloon maker||

    Yup. Plumbum metallicum.

    One can also purchase cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and opium homeopathics if one knows how (an is a doctor). The FDA maintains simultaneously that homeopathy is placebo and that it's dangerous, so the companies that make them get creative in order to sell them.

  • SugarFree||

    At 30C dilution (a common one) you would have to consume 10^34 gallons of Plumbum metallicum (10 billion times the volume of the Earth) to reliably consume a single molecule of lead.

  • fried wylie||

    So it's a placebo because you wouldn't actually ingest any lead, and it's dangerous because of the galactus-level planetoid consumption involved in trying.

  • SugarFree||

    The homeopaths and the FDA are locked in a death struggle to prove who is the biggest idiot.

  • ||

    Which means it has less lead than most drinking water.

  • Another David||

    God knows if there's anybody who should be steadfastly opposed to accepting a new idea, it's liberals.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Yes, I certainly encourage the Democrats to take this guy's advice. Remind voters that Dems have traditionally been the party of Prohibition - insist that, unlike those awful anti-science Republicans, they want to keep pot illegal forever and ever, and threaten users with prison is they don't go to court-mandated treatment, and laugh at anyone who claims they need pot to control their pain from horrible diseases.

    Please take this advice.

  • Rob Ives||

    If Republicans had any sense (which we don't) there is no need to go libertarian to support this. Just believe in Federalism. Let the States do as they like and let folks vote with their feet.

  • Specail Sauce||

    Thank God we have Democrats around to be the lone voice of tolerance and choice in America. Just imagine how bad it would be if Republicans were running the show.

  • Chris Mallory||

    Ok, after doing a little research, this has to be a joke. This guy promotes homeopathy as scientific. Quote: "Almost all medical problems can be helped and sometimes cured by homeopathy." He then lists a range of diseases from arthritis to infertility that homeopathy cures.

  • Chris Mallory||

  • Matrix||

    No wonder he's a fucking idiot.

    Homeopathy is BULLSHIT!

  • SugarFree||

    Homeopathy? Really? AWESOME!

    Witch doctor's laugh at homeopaths until their nosebones fall out.

  • Zeb||

    That pretty much kills any air of credibility that he had.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    So he gets to prescribe homeopathic remedies (NTTAWWT), but he wants laws which would put him and other Drs in prison for prescribing pot (and FSM forbid that it be available over the counter like Budweiser).

  • Sudden||

    (and FSM forbid that it be available over the counter like Budweiser).

    You think for a second this guy wouldn't like to see the 18th Amendment back so he could force all of us alcohol fans into treatment?

    This guy is the classic example of "anything not subsidized should be banned"

  • Chris Mallory||

    On the plus side, he does ban anyone wearing AXE body sprays from entering his office.

  • fried wylie||

    That's a pretty awesome move for a doctor's office. It's a communal space that nobody wants to be in, and as long as it's his policy and not a requirement of the state, it's all cools.

    Amazingly, the same logic is somehow inapplicable to bars/restaurants and smoking.

  • Sudden||

    This is the sweetest irony considering that a significant portion of full-time potheads convince themselves that is the homeopathic remedy for every fucking problem they've ever had. "Dude, if it were for pot, my narcolepsy/irritable bowels/migraines/tourettes would be uncontrollable."

  • fried wylie||

    Pot doesn't work on tourettes? Seems to keep the potheads I know from spouting obscenities.

  • SugarFree||

    "Cure all" is not the same as "homeopathy." Homeopathy is about believing that active and not-so-active ingredients become stronger through dilution.

    Pot might cure or control the symptoms of many illness, but 200C dilution of duck liver cures nothing.

    A popular homeopathic treatment for the flu is a 200C dilution of duck liver, marketed under the name oscillococcinum. As there are only about 1080 atoms in the entire observable universe, a dilution of one molecule in the observable universe would be about 40C. Oscillococcinum would thus require 10^320 more universes to simply have one molecule in the final substance.[62] The high dilutions characteristically used are often considered to be the most controversial and implausible aspect of homeopathy.[63]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathy

  • John Thacker||

    The only thing where a dilution of what ails you actually helps you is allergy shots. Not for the reason homeopathy people think it means, and not for their absurd dilution ratios.

  • Robert||

    Ariz. is one of the few states of the USA that specifically license physicians in homeopathy.

  • fish||

    Well I see we have failed the "alt-text" test again!

    Mr. Gogek has a punchable face indeed.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The marijuana lobby wants us to distrust two centerpieces of the regulatory state, the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    Oh, HORROR.

    Eat shit and die, you fucking psycho.

  • fish||

    From Mr. Gogek NY times opinion piece. I've tightened up the language a bit for clarity.

    But Democrats should think twice about becoming the party of pot. I’m a lifelong partisan Democrat, but I’ve also spent 25 years as a doctor treating drug abusers, and I know their games. They’re excellent con artists.

    FTFY Ed.

  • nicole just can't even!||

    I'm shocked, shocked to find out he has a financial state in the drug war.

  • fried wylie||

    "We gotta continue busting drug users, otherwise I'd have to treat patients with communicable illness and various injuries. That shit is GROSS, yo!"

    Won't somebody think of the Doctors?

  • wef||

    But the marijuana lobby opposes coercion.

    Isn't that this buttinski's problem in a nutshell? He is against those who oppose coercion.

    (Would it be inappropriate to call this sociopath a fascist?)

  • fried wylie||

    Would it be inappropriate to call this sociopath a fascist?

    "a lifelong partisan Democrat,"

    Well, he has blatantly admitted to elevating his party's positions above his personal principles. That's at least one step towards fascism, right?

  • The Hammer||

    [Legalization advocates] make selfish demands that would undermine the public good.

    The disabled make selfish demands that would undermine the public good.

    The obese make selfish demands that would undermine the public good.

    The elderly make selfish demands that would undermine the public good.

    The wealthy make selfish demands that would undermine the public good.

    /The mask is starting to slip.

  • fried wylie||

    selfish demands that would undermine the public good.

    I must have missed the memo. When did people's desires (aka the pursuit of happiness) stop being a public good? OOOhhhhh, when it became selfish to live your life for yourself, that's right....wait, I missed that memo too.

    Also, fuck you, pass the fried chicken.

  • IceTrey||

    People in Colorado and Washington still can't obtain pot legally because, has you point out, it's a Schedule 1 drug.

  • The Hammer||

    Actually, people in Colorado still can't because the Legislature has not yet acted on the orders given it by the populace.

  • fried wylie||

    I thought the governor just had to sign it...what involvement does the legislature have?

  • Nicholas Sarwark||

    Legalization of possession will go into effect when either (a) the Governor issues a proclamation acknowledging the vote or (b) 30 days go by.

    Having a place to buy it will only happen when the legislature passes a law creating a regulatory framework. I think that deadline is July 1, 2013 for the legislature to pass such a law.

  • Loki||

    I'm pretty sure it's this. Since it's a constitutional ammendment though, I think the legislature may be involved in writing laws/ regulations to implement the new ammendment. Like how commercial pot stores will be licensed, etc. But I'm not sure, so don't quote me on that.

  • Swamp Think||

    And he shall, from this day forward, be known as Gogek the Fuckstick.

  • fried wylie||

    more terrifying than Gozer the Gozarian.

  • Loki||

    Drug users Most people just want to be left alone to get high live their lives the way they see fit. If we side with them, we're undercutting the Democratic answer to substance abuse fucking with people for their own good....

    [Legalization advocates Most people] make selfish demands that would undermine the public good.

    THIS IS WHAT PROGRESSIVE ASSHOLES LIKE ED GOGEK ACTUALLY BELIEVE.

  • Pi Guy||

    "Ray, for a moment, pretend that I don't know anything about metallurgy, engineering, or physics, and just tell me what the hell is going on?"

  • Contemplationist||

    "..want to be left alone to get high,"
    "..don't like coercion,"
    "..regulatory state.."

    Dude! This guy is using plain (or even libertarian) language to support his self-serving statist opinions. This is AWESOME! I wish all prohibitionists were this plain speaking.

  • Fluhdoten1||

    I thought it was a breath of fresh air at first.

    More than likely its a case of taking quotes out of context.

    Why would someone frame their ideology on rocky soil? He loses the argument before it starts by not using demogogue terminology to mask his agenda.

  • Michael||

    What a rent-seeking piece of soft, steaming shit this guy is.

    "I’m a lifelong partisan Democrat, but I’ve also spent 25 years as a doctor treating drug abusers, and I know their games."

    I have to wonder just how much of this treatment was mandated by drug courts. Even though I'm not going bother wasting my time trying to research this guy's work history, I'll pretty confidently guess that it was almost all of it.

  • RandomJackass||

    So just another rent-seeking business looking for big government to coerce more people into being their customer. They should mandate drug treatment for everyone, even if you never used drugs. And mandatory jail time for all non-criminals - you know, to keep the prison-industrial complex packed with fresh customers too. Prison guards are good paying jobs, people. Jobs.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    The typical Cali pothead: "Please tax my pot!"

    Fuck off! I refuse to tax your marihuana. Just go smoke it already.

    "No. It must be taxed because taxes are, you know, good, and would be used for rehab programs and stuff like that."

    Fuck off! You are hopeless and clueless.

  • Fluhdoten1||

    lol

    tbh i dont think peasants are saying that, its the plutocrats who run liberal dystopias that say that.

    if a peasant says that he thinks he is "taking one for the team" just to get it on legal ground.

  • Mike Parent||

    “What's the affinity for laws conceived, born and nurtured from lies greed and racism?
    Marijuana is the 21st Century "Bogey Man". It suffers from purely unfounded accusations and fears with a corrupt political system having an interest in keeping it illegal along with the Prohibitionists who profit from it.

    Lie #1 Gateway Drug.
    Marijuana is NOT a Gateway Drug. Here's a 12 Yr Univ Study that says so;.
    Andrew Hryckowian - University of Pittsburgh.
    www.pitt.edu/~ugr/Hrych2.pdf
    Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Raven-... Marijuana is not a.
    “gateway” drug.

    Lie #2 Marijuana is addictive.
    Marijuana is no more addictive or and less harmful than Caffeine;.
    Dr Henningfield is a former NIDA Staffer;.
    Addictiveness of Marijuana - ProCon.org.
    www.procon.org/view.background...
    urce.php? resourceID=1492 Cont.

  • Fluhdoten1||

    Ive never used marijuana or tobacco or any drugs.

    But it appeals to reason that SOME drug will be a gateway drug.

    A drug that once used, pushes you towards addict lifestyle and outlaw behavior.

    The most minimally bad drug that is outlawed will always be the gateway IMO, because using it makes you identify yourself as a lawbreaker.

    Once your self-image internalizes that belief, your resistance to other hardcore drugs *would seem* to plummet. from my perspective.

    i never thought of myself that way (someone willing to break law for purpose of recreation). but if i had made that jump, i dont see any valid reason to not use LSD, cocaine, or meth. They are all illegal, just farther down the spectrum. if some is good, a lot is great, right?

    if marijuana is good, so is ratpoison. you are using a chemical to alter your state of consciousness, by harming it.

    personally i think marijuana shouldnt be the gateway drug. they have the wrong drug holding that title. MJ should be decriminalized and a drug roughly as bad as alcohol should become new gateway. decriminalize everything weaker than alcohol.

    its schizophrenic to have alcohol legal and marijuana illegal. its not just confusingly wrong, when its applied in a courtroom it causes injustice.

  • Mike Parent||

    Lie #'s 3 & 4, Marijuana has not Medicinal Use and is Dangerous.

    AND, In 1988, a DEA Administrative judge wrote, in a report.
    Commissioned by the DEA; "16. Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care."
    http://www.ccguide.org/young88...

    For good measure, Med Marijuana doesn't increase teen use. (CDC report)
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-50.....marijua...
    wont-boost-teen-pot-use-study-finds/”

  • ||

    dr. ed gogek,
    my name is dr. lou cypher phd. i am a psychopharmacologist with the molecular and behavioral neuroscience institue at the unversity of michigan. i have a phd in psychopharmacology from the sorbonne in paris and a phd in biochemistry from mit. i would like to invite you to debate me live on a public skype room for distribution via youtube regarding the science vs. “reefer madness” of cannabis. i will be representing science and you will be representing “reefer madness”.

    this is a serious invitation as part of a study on public hysteria.
    please contact me at: oneloucypher@hotmail.com.

    thank you and i look forward to your participation.

    dr. lou cypher phd

  • ||

    dr. ed gogek,
    my name is dr. lou cypher phd. i am a psychopharmacologist with the molecular and behavioral neuroscience institue at the unversity of michigan. i have a phd in psychopharmacology from the sorbonne in paris and a phd in biochemistry from mit. i would like to invite you to debate me live on a public skype room for distribution via youtube regarding the science vs. “reefer madness” of cannabis. i will be representing science and you will be representing “reefer madness”.

    this is a serious invitation as part of a study on public hysteria.
    please contact me at: oneloucypher@hotmail.com.

    thank you and i look forward to your participation.

    dr. lou cypher phd

  • sohbet||

    very super blogos thanks admin sohbet & sohbet odaları

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