The Scam

“Medical marijuana was supposed to be for the truly ill cancer victims and AIDS patients who could use the drug to relieve pain or restore their appetites. Yet the number of dispensaries has skyrocketed from five in 2005 to 143 by the end of 2006. In North Hollywood alone, there are more pot clinics than Starbucks.” Source: Pasadena Star-News, Jan-21, 2007

Doesn’t everybody experiment with drugs?

  • No, in fact, marijuana use is decreasing. Historically, fewer of our youth use than those who chose to abstain.
    Source: Monitoring the Future, 2006 and Johnston, L. D., O'Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2004, December 21). National press release, "Overall teen drug use continues gradual decline; but use of inhalants rises." University of Michigan News and Information Services
  • It has been documented that when the perception of harm decreases, then drug use increases – if drugs are legalized, it is certain that perceived harms will decrease and so the incidence of use will go up.
    Source: DEA, Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization, October 2002 and Johnston, L. D., O'Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2004, December 21). National press release, "Overall teen drug use continues gradual decline; but use of inhalants rises." University of Michigan News and Information Services
  • It is a potency issue - marijuana is much stronger than in years past because of advances in horticulture and hydroponics. It is therefore more dangerous and more likely to lead to the use of multiple drugs (poly-drug use), especially after “experimentation.”
    Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse. Research Report Series: Marijuana Abuse and Marijuana Potency Monitoring Project, University of Mississippi, 2002

Are we losing the so-called “Drug War?”

  • Contrary to what some say, drug use is down overall by 30%, and 95% of Americans do not use drugs.
    Source: Centers for Disease Control National Center for Health Statistics and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Office of Applied Studies (OAS)
  • Compared to the 70s, 80s and today, since the beginning of the so-called Drug War, drug use has declined.
    Source: DEA, Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization, October 2002
  • It is true that drug use has not been 100% eliminated. Our society has not successfully eliminated rape, murder and robbery either but we do not cease efforts to stop these societal ills.

But aren’t the prisons filled with first time marijuana possession offenders?

No – there have been a large number of arrests in our country related to marijuana possession, but in order to accurately evaluate the status of our prison systems, one must look at the convictions, not the arrests. Many drug–related charges are pled down from charges that carry much larger sentencing guidelines and so although they appear as first time drug offences, many of these charges are for “more serious” crimes.
Source: 2000 U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, http://www.dfaf.org/content/aren%E2%80%99t-prisons-overcrowded-first-time-marijuana-possession-offenders

Is allowing marijuana for the treatment of health problems compassionate?

  • No – it’s a tactic by special interest groups to exploit the sick and dying.
    Source: Keith Stroup, Emory Wheel, 1978. Stroup is founder and Executive Director of NORML: “Next NORML (The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) is going to focus on legalizing marijuana for cancer chemotherapy patients. We’ll be using the issue as a red herring to give marijuana a good name.”
  • In most states that have allowed marijuana for medical use, the majority of terminally ill persons do not use marijuana to treat their ailments. Source: Bay Area soars above rest of nation in recreational drug use, Eleni Economides, The Examiner Jan-9, 2007. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Since raw marijuana is not a medicine, why do some people want to “medicalize” it?

  • The claim that smoking marijuana is medicinal is a tactic to further the agenda to legalize all drugs.
    Source: Drug Enforcement Administration, “It's also important to realize that the campaign to allow marijuana to be used as medicine is a tactical maneuver in an overall strategy to completely legalize all drugs. Pro-legalization groups have transformed the debate from decriminalizing drug use to one of compassion and care for people with serious diseases. The New York Times interviewed Ethan Nadelman, Director of the Lindesmith Center (now called the Drug Policy Alliance), in January 2000. Responding to criticism from former Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey that the medical marijuana issue is a Trojan-horse for drug legalization, Mr. Nadelman did not contradict General McCaffrey. "Will it help lead toward marijuana legalization?" Mr. Nadelman said: "I hope so." Dave Fratello, Reason, March 1998. Fratello was communications director of Americans for Medical Rights, a group that sponsored medical marijuana initiatives. “Changing state laws on medical marijuana tends to put the right issues into play and the right people on the defensive…. It raises questions about the nature of drug prohibition and the rationality of its enforcers and attracts allies who may ultimately be persuaded to support more radical change.
  • Many individuals who claim to “need” marijuana to treat pain and other non-descript ailments simply wish to use marijuana recreationally.
    Source: Richard Cowan, Remarks, Conference Celebrating 50th Anniversary of the Discover of LSD, 1993. Cowan was then National Director of The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Cowan until recently was on the Board of Directors of the NORML Foundation, “Medical marijuana is our strongest suit. It is our point of leverage which will move us toward the legalization of marijuana for personal use.”
  • The “medicalization” of this harmful substance has caused truly ill people to refuse proper medical care, thinking that because marijuana makes them “feel better” that they are becoming well. Crack and heroin make people feel better, but they would never be suggested as medical treatment.
  • Sheer financial gain - there is a great potential to make a lot of money through the sale of marijuana medically or otherwise. Tobacco was once thought to have medical value also and it made a select group of men very wealthy at a great cost to society. “We created Prop. 215 so that patients would not have to deal with black market profiteers. But today it is all about the money. Most of the dispensaries operating in California are little more than dope dealers with store fronts.” Source: Rev. Scott Imler, Co-Founder of Prop. 215, California’s Medical Marijuana Law Alternatives Magazine Fall, 2006 Issue 39

But isn’t marijuana a naturally grown herb that is thought to have some benefits?

  • Arsenic and Bella Donna are naturally occurring also – many medicines are derived from natural herbs but are not safe when dispensed in their raw form because of complications with dosage measurements and negative side effects.
    Source: Vol. 1, Issue 1, Marijuana: The present challenge and the future of cannabinoid research, The Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice www.globaldrugpolicy.org
  • Tobacco is a plant that grows naturally and was once thought to be safe, even to have medical value, but tobacco has caused a great deal of damage to our society.

So why do people want to legalize “small” amounts? What can an ounce hurt?

  • An ounce of marijuana produces 60-120 marijuana cigarettes or “joints” – that is more than a little bit of “pot.
    Source: Economics of Cannabis Legalization, written by Dale Gieringer, Ph.D., Coordinator, California NORML (National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws) “We will define a standard dose of THC to be that contained in the government's own marijuana joints, which NIDA supplies to researchers and selected human subjects…. A typical joint has been estimated to weigh about 0.4 grams. Taking this as a standard, we will define a ‘standard joint’ to be 0.4 grams of average-quality 6% buds. Thus an ounce of ‘standard pot’ equals 60 joints, an ounce of 12% sinsemilla 120, and an ounce of government pot only 30 joints.
  • Alcohol and tobacco are both proven to be damaging substances and adding another one, especially when scientific facts prove marijuana’s harms, is a slippery slope with far-reaching implications. What will we legalize next?
  • legalization of “small” amounts of marijuana makes law enforcement difficult as drug traffickers have been documented simply subverting trafficking laws by only carrying the minimum amount on them at any given time, despite large distribution channels.
  • legalization of “small” amounts of marijuana also creates conflicts for law enforcement on a state versus federal level, because federal law explicitly prohibits the usage, sale, growth and distribution of marijuana.

If marijuana was legalized, taxed and regulated like alcohol and tobacco, couldn’t we gain revenue from it?

  • Potentially, but at what cost? As a society, if we legalized marijuana, we would have to agree that it is acceptable to profit from people’s addiction.
  • As a society, we have gradually banned the smoking of cigarettes in many places because of the health risks second-hand smoke creates. Does it really make sense to legalize marijuana and put our communities in similar jeopardy?
    Source: “Comparative Analysis Chart Marijuana & Tobacco Cigarette Smoke,” Marijuana and Health, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine Report, 1982
  • The loopholes in creating such legislation would create an entirely new regulatory process for states charged with supervising growing a crop that is illegal on the federal level – this would have major agricultural implications. Also, if marijuana is a medicine – drug paraphernalia would have to be classified as a medical device and be regulated by the FDA.
  • The legalization of marijuana creates a rift between state and federal legislation which leads to enforcement issues.
  • The cost of treatment and rehabilitation from addiction and usage associated illnesses far outweighs the cost of any revenue generated.
    Source: Centers for Disease Control's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2001/2- Smoking costs drain state, officials say By Ed Vogel, Las Vegas Review-Journal [10/09/02]

If it’s regulated, won’t it keep marijuana out of the hands of our youth?

  • Currently, the majority of teens in treatment for substance abuse are there because of marijuana addiction. These numbers will inevitably rise if marijuana is legalized and access is easier.
    Source: The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University “Non-medical Marijuana II: Rite of Passage or Russian Roulette?” April 2004
  • Alcohol and tobacco are legal for individuals over set ages, but there is unlimited data that proves that youth abuse these substances regularly, despite age restrictions. .
    Source: American Legacy Foundation. 2000 National Youth Tobacco Survey. 2001 and Summary of Findings from the 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, August 2000 and Wagenaar, Alexander C., "Alcohol Compliance Checks: A Procedures Manual for Enforcing Age-of-Sale Laws," University of Minnesota Alcohol Epidemiology Program, May, 2000.
  • Prescription drugs are legal, but their abuse by teens has reached epidemic levels
    Source: Office of National Drug Control Policy, “Teens and Prescription Drugs: An Analysis of Recent Trends on the Emerging Drug Threat” and National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • It is frequently stated that the black market for marijuana would disappear if it were “regulated” or legalized, but this has not been the case historically because there is always a black market amongst youth who are underage to purchase- this is still the case with tobacco and alcohol. Source: Monitoring the Future, National Results on Adolescent Drug Use, Overview of Key Findings, 2003, Johnston, L. D., O'Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. and American Legacy Foundation. 2000 National Youth Tobacco Survey. 2001 and Summary of Findings from the 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, August 2000.
  • Because this black market will not go away, organized crime will always stand to benefit from the sale and distribution of such a substance