There is such a thing as disagreement, where two sides have different opinions about facts. And then there are times when one side has complete and utter disregard for not only the facts, but the nature of reality itself.
Ironically, though drug warriors have been attempting to paint marijuana users as unstable mentally for decades, it’s the anti-marijuana zealots in this country who have resorted to lies and tactics that should make the average American wonder just what these people are smoking.
Abraham Lincoln Called It First
There’s a famous story of Abraham Lincoln posing the question, “How many legs does a dog have, if you call a tail a leg?” And the correct answer is 4, because simply calling a tail a leg doesn’t actually make it a leg.
Recent tail-into-leg incidents have made it clear that such insane thinking — with no actual facts behind it — is at the very heart of the anti-marijuana argument.
The most well-known of these is the extreme la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you attitude of the Federal government towards cannabis. They claim cannabis has “no currently accepted medical use”, which means they classify it as Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act (pushed through by Richard Nixon to start the War On Drugs). And that means it’s all but impossible to do cannabis-related medical research on humans in this country legally…which means that they can claim it has “no currently accepted medical use”!
This concept is called “it’s illegal because it’s illegal“.
The fact that a million or more patients are currently using marijuana legally to cure or relieve their illnesses means nothing to them, nor the fact that the U.S. Government itself has been supplying marijuana for medical use for over 30 years, nor the fact that the U.S. Government itself holds a patent on using marijuana for medical purposes, nor the fact that the U.S. Government itself acknowledges that marijuana has medical uses!
Ultimately they fall back on the concept that “This is established policy.” Or to put it another way, “We made a totally arbitrary decision 75 years ago based on racism and lies that has screwed up the lives of uncountable numbers of people, and we’re sticking with it for no defensible reason whatsoever.”
Not Addictive You Say? Let’s Just Redefine “Addictive”
Those who remember Bill Clinton’s “clever” line about the definition of the word “is” will enjoy this section.
Addiction, as commonly understood, involves certain substances (generally opium-based, or similar synthetic substances that mimic opium) that cause severe withdrawal symptoms when the user stops taking them. As almost everyone who’s ever used marijuana knows, it’s essentially impossible to actually be physically addicted to marijuana in this way.
But human subjects have demonstrated “withdrawal symptoms” from cannabis, such as “irritability, sleeplessness, anger, restlessness, and ‘not feeling right.’ They also include appetite loss and, less frequently, depression and nausea,” according to Dr. Alan Budney (who, predictably, does addiction research).
All these “symptoms” exactly match some of the main reasons that people use cannabis medically. So what the good doctor has discovered is that when patients stop taking their medicine, their symptoms come back. I wish I had gotten a medical degree myself, since they were obviously giving them out as prizes in Cracker Jack boxes at some point!
Over the last 25 years or so, the doctrine of “psychological addiction” has slowly been introduced, so that people who greatly desire something can now be called “addicted”. I suspect this happened more because of people using cocaine in the 1980s than anything else. Psychiatrists needed a way to describe the frenetic desire of cokeheads to keep getting high, and “psychologically addicted” has a nice ring to it. The “psychological addiction” potential of marijuana is far lower because marijuana doesn’t operate via dopamine the way cocaine (and tobacco) does.
Fast forward to now, and addiction therapy is a big business. Psychiatrists can thump their “bible” — in this case, it’s called the DSM — and say, “Look, you’re addicted, it’s official”, because their colleagues have gotten together and basically redefined addiction to include things that aren’t actually addictive. Stuff like cannabis, gambling, and sex.
Now, I’m not going to say that there aren’t plenty of people who have problems with impulse control, such that they can’t seem to stop themselves from self-destructive behavior. But such people often have repetitive trouble with anything that gives them an adrenaline “rush”…especially things like gambling, sex, violence, and crime. It’s not an addiction to anything. People with a “ban-brain” mentality focus on the targets of these behaviors instead of the behaviors or the people themselves.
A Plant Is Not A Plant
Tulare County is in the heart of California’s fertile Central Valley, and agriculture is its specialty. So you’d think that they would know a plant down there when they see one. Nevertheless, Superior Court Judge Paul Vortmann managed recently to rule that marijuana — even California-legal medical marijuana — can’t be grown in an agricultural zone because it’s not a crop.
Well, that’s crap.
Wikipedia defines agriculture as “the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life.” The cannabis plant, via hemp seed, provides essential amino acids and proteins for food; hemp fiber is some of the strongest yet softest that can be grown; and of course the many uses of cannabis medicine are still being discovered.
The value of the U.S. illegal marijuana crop is estimated at some $36 billion (more than corn and wheat combined), which is about ten times the size of Tulare County’s entire agricultural output.
So whether this judge is concerned about the size of the possible competition, or personally dislikes marijuana doesn’t really matter. The fact is that medical marijuana is legal is California, a crop is a crop, a plant is a plant, and attempting to ignore the elephant in the room doesn’t really work in the long run. As Abraham Lincoln might have said, “Calling a plant a non-plant doesn’t make it not a plant”.