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My views on medical marijuana just might surprise you

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Posted: Sunday, May 3, 2009 10:00 pm

President Barack Obama and I have very little in common. I guess among the few things that we do have in common is that we both experimented with illicit substances in our youth.

Obama has, in fact, told of his drug use in fairly graphic detail in his book, "Dreams of My Father."

The increasingly vocal voice of those wishing to seize upon Obama's intention to rescind Bush era policy of fully enforcing federal anti-marijuana laws has pushed this issue to the forefront. Numerous inquiries to not only the city of Lodi, but also the city of Galt, about establishing medical marijuana dispensaries have been made in the last several weeks.

United States Attorney General Eric Holder has stated that ending federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries "is now American policy," clearly indicating a shift in policy from the Bush administrations' far more strict stance against marijuana use of any kind, anywhere, at any time.

It should be noted that in 1996, 56 percent of Californians voted in favor of Prop. 215, which legalized the use of medical marijuana. Since then Alaska, Arizona - "by a 65 percent majority" - Washington, Oregon and Nevada have also passed similar medicinal marijuana initiatives.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, there is no California state regulation or standard of the cultivation and and/or distribution of medical marijuana. California pretty much leaves the exact guidelines to the discretion of local governments. Marin County, for example, allows up to six mature plants and a full half-pound of dried marijuana. Sonoma County allows three pounds of marijuana and allows cultivation of up to 99 plants, more if a doctor deems it necessary.

Obviously a very large portion of the "medicinal" marijuana is eventually illegally consumed by the general public for recreational use. Some estimate the amount of money spent on marijuana overall in the United States alone to be near $36 billion a year, making it a very lucrative commodity.

According to Wikipedia, marijuana has been established to alleviate certain medical conditions such as glaucoma, nausea, anorexia and cancer. It is also believed to alleviate certain painful, neurogenic conditions also known as "soft tissue diseases." The dosages, however, are subject to scrutiny, since its potency varies greatly and the effects of marijuana are generally short-lived.

According to the British medical journal The Lancet, the addictiveness and health hazards of using marijuana are less than those of either tobacco or alcohol. I mean, you can drink yourself to death in less than an hour or two if you're really stupid. The same just can't be said of either marijuana or tobacco. Decades of daily use are needed to accomplish that mission.

I mean, what is marijuana? It is a naturally occurring herb that needs virtually no refining or processing to be used as most users would choose to partake in it. I am not going to sit here and tell everybody it is completely harmless by any means, but all it ever did for me was make me somewhat paranoid and act silly. I sincerely regret the time I wasted with it, but witnessed many, many others who had no problem whatsoever dealing with the altered state that it induces. But I did sleep really well those nights!

California's jails are busting at the seams. The budget crisis here in the Golden State is at near unimaginable levels. I fully realize that the hypothetical legalization and taxation of any controlled substance would hardly make a dent in the problems that California now faces, "and some would argue only exacerbate them." It is my personal belief, however, that the increasingly limited resources of the most populous state in America would be much better spent in areas other than prosecuting the usage and possession of limited amounts of marijuana, medicinal or otherwise.

J. Kurt Roberts can be reached at jkurtroberts@sbcglobal.net.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • posted at 4:17 am on Sun, May 10, 2009.


    "It is a starter drug. You legalize it and even more kids will start in on it. Just like they already do with legalized alcohol. Hint: binge drinking. "Absolutely UNTRUE, most binge drinking occurs with the under 21 crowd, studies PROVE that most people drink less after the novelty of law breaking is gone..

  • posted at 5:22 am on Sat, May 9, 2009.


    To WTF: regarding "There are more politics involved in this than actual medical facts. " AMEN. I thought this article was about medical marijuana and the availability for legit patients. Those predisposed to substance abuse will sell gadgets and rifle through the rent's stuff NO MATTER WHAT THE DRUG. Did you know that the most common drugs used among teens include prescription painkillers such as oxicontin? Does it bother anybody else that there are people driving around today on potent painkillers and antidepressants putting you and me in danger? Hmmm, Maybe that hits too close to home so we better deflect back to those nasty pot heads, lol!

  • posted at 2:10 am on Sat, May 9, 2009.


    Actually, Lodi Boy, if marijuana is legalized and subject to the proposed $50 per ounce tax, not only will kids find the money, but I suspect the first things they'll sell will be their iPods, iPhones and other gadgets so generously provided by their parents. When they run out of items to pawn, they'll begin rifling through their parents' purses and wallets for any extra cash they can lay their hands on. From there, much like what happens now, they'll resort to crime to support their habits.But hey, at least the government's coffers will be full to the brim from the pathetic weakness of that segment of society that will become so dependent upon pot to escape reality and their responsibilities; much like too many now find themselves through the use of another legal and highly taxed substance, alcohol.I wonder how Norman Rockwell would paint America today; not a pretty picture.

  • posted at 3:53 am on Fri, May 8, 2009.


    Wondered where you were, Janice. LOL! Though hemp and marijuana are two different things, the fact that they're "close enough" is why BOTH marijuana and hemp were outlawed.Back when the current paper manufacturers, clothing manufacturers, etc. were getting started, they couldn't compete with hemp products...hemp just lasted too long - look at the Declaration of Independence and Constitution - both written on hemp paper and both still in great condition.Used to be that even heroin could be bought at the local pharmacy. There are more politics involved in this than actual medical facts.

  • posted at 11:19 am on Thu, May 7, 2009.


    Hemp for Victory ! Even though hemp and pot are 2 different things.

  • posted at 7:43 pm on Wed, May 6, 2009.


    It will be controlled, like most potent substances. AND - the state tax will be around $50... I highly doubt teens will be willing to pay that.They'll be too busy paying off their parents for the iPhone texting bills they've accumulated.

  • posted at 2:50 pm on Wed, May 6, 2009.


    It is a starter drug. You legalize it and even more kids will start in on it. Just like they already do with legalized alcohol. Hint: binge drinking.

  • posted at 11:47 am on Wed, May 6, 2009.


    So what about drug testing at the work place. Lets say a person smokes pot on Saturday and goes back to work on Monday to a random test? should he fail the test even if it was on his time.

  • posted at 8:48 am on Wed, May 6, 2009.


    Surely the bible says SOMETHING about marijuana. I'll go and check Leviticus.

  • posted at 6:54 am on Wed, May 6, 2009.


    In some countries medicinal marijuana is given in drop form. The dosage is more accurate. The smokable form is not even used by medical doctors.

  • posted at 11:43 am on Tue, May 5, 2009.


    Stella, I agree. I was against medical marijuana until I saw how it helped a family member.... and it was recommended by a local reputable orthopedic surgeon.I am not talking about getting stoned and loving the munchies, ordering 98 (?) tacos from Jack In The Box. I am talking about people trying to survive or deal with their major illnesses.AND FYI, I refuse to eat at Jack In The Box because I feel their irresponsible "Stoner" commercials condone marijuana use and makes it look "cute."

  • posted at 3:35 am on Tue, May 5, 2009.


    There is no penalty of prison, or even jail, for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in California. The penalty is $100.00 plus court fees. For what pot costs now days, if your packing more than an ounce, you're dealing the stuff.

  • posted at 2:33 am on Tue, May 5, 2009.


    Dogs4you, I'll tell you what kind of doctor would prescribe medical marijuana to his patient - my father's oncologist, one of the best in the county where dad lives. See, pot alleviates the nausea that comes from chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and it helps dad keep his appetite up and be able to keep food down. After his initial 3-week 15-pound weight loss, he's keeping weight on, so his body isn't fighting malnutrition as well as cancer. Oh, and he doesn't smoke it. I bake it for him in little cookies.

  • posted at 3:04 pm on Mon, May 4, 2009.


    After all is said and done, I have wondered what kind of a doctor would sigh a R/x for pot? I rather doubt a doctor in good standing with the AMA would risk his reputation by signing a prescription for pot. The doctor`s are supposed to "do no harm", smoking does do harm in the long run, of course if you don`t inhale, no harm, no foul.

  • posted at 1:58 pm on Mon, May 4, 2009.


    Well, well, well Jerome, looks like you`re about the only blogger who has a real problem with medicinal marijuana. You know you`re next nickname should be "Cartman".

  • posted at 10:22 am on Mon, May 4, 2009.


    J. Kurt, ignore Jerome "Buzzkill" Kinderman. If anyone could use a hit, it's him.

  • posted at 4:57 am on Mon, May 4, 2009.


    Both the Institute of Medicine and the AMA have found that it has potential for people with diseases such as cerebral palsy, MS, Crohns' and neuropathy. Unfortunately too many people have a knee-jerk response against "pot", thus hampering any serious discussion or progress. Meanwhile, America has an increasing problem with prescription drug abuse.

  • posted at 4:20 am on Mon, May 4, 2009.


    Does the use of the word "experiment" when used with illicit drugs somehow lessen the meaning? I suppose many of us simply don't want to use the word "use" or "user" when it comes to how we behaved in our "youth," another word bantered about so as to reduce our responsibility when we were younger. Clearly, when I used marijuana I fully understood that it was illegal, that I could go to jail, that it was wrong, and that I was not experimenting with it. I fully expected to get high and that it would be an enjoyable experience.The notion that the use of any illegal drug is experimental by the scientist checking it out can only apply to the first instance; after that there was little reason to test its effectiveness as the result was already known.Mr. Roberts, as an aside I would suggest that you not rely upon Wikipedia as a legitimate source for your research into anything. Since the website accepts user input in its definitions, I would suspect that its conclusions might not be the most reliable. Still, if pot is so safe, just make it legal.


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