Rescheduling of marijuana
Issues related to pending DEA ruling
By Rick Doblin
Master of Public Policy Candidate at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, Massachusetts
In September 1388, after two years of hearings, DEA Chief Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young, Jr. recommended to DEA Administrator John Lawn that marijuana be reclassified into Schedule 2 of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), to permit its use by physicians in the treatment of life- and sense-threatening diseases (1). Currently, patients who need marijuana must choose between inadequate treatment and buying black market drugs. Synthetic THC - Marinol. the major active molecule in marijuana, is in Schedule 2, as are cocaine, morphine and methadone. Marijuana in its natural form remains, with heroin, in Schedule 1.
The primary legal issue is whether the medical use of marijuana is "currently accepted" under the provisions of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The primary social issue is the concern that sanctioning the medical use of marijuana will have a deleterious effect on drug abuse prevention. The primary political issue concerns the possibility that rescheduling will be perceived as a retreat in the 'war on drugs'. Policy questions concern the proper relationship between governmental controls and the practice of medicine. The decision reached in this case will reflect on how the US government balances the legitimate medical needs of patients suffering from grave physical disorders against policies designed to control drug abuse.
Mr. Lawn's ruling on the rescheduling of marijuana is pending. After analyzing the issues, this review recommends that the DEA accepts Judge Young's recommendation.
Legal proceedings concerning the rescheduling of marijuana to permit its medical use began in 1972 (2). Over the years, first the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) and then the DEA have repeatedly denied rescheduling on substantive or procedural grounds. On three successive occasions, U.S. Courts of Appeals decisions have rejected BNDD and DEA arguments. remanded the matter for further administrative hearings attempting to spur the agencies to action by requiring them to report to the courts in writing on a quarterly basis (3). After two years of hearings in the latest round, Administrative Law Judge Young concluded marijuana has an "accepted medical use" under the language of the CSA of 1970, repeatedly stating that a contrary finding would be "unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious." Though Judge Young recommended that marijuana be rescheduled, DEA attorneys continue to argue that even if marijuana has a history of medical use, it has "no currently accepted medical use" according to standards they have articulated (4). Two U.S. Courts of Appeals decisions have emphatically rejected the DEA attorneys' definition of "accepted medical use" as "disingenuous." (5) .
In several criminal cases, U.S. courts have ruled marijuana is a drug of medical necessity In the treatment of glaucoma (6) and of spasticity (relative to neurologlcal disorders) (7) and have ordered the release of marijuana to a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy (8). The Washington, D.C., law firm of Steptoe and Johnson has committed itself to pursue the rescheduling case pro bono, on behalf of a patients' group (the Alliance for Cannabis therapeutics), to whatever level of appeal necessary to secure legal access to needed medicines. The Drug Policy Foundation has agreed to do the same on behalf of the original petitioner, the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
Over the last decade, thirty-four states beginning with New Mexico in 1978 have legislatively determined that marijuana has legitimate medical uses for the treatment of sense- and life-threatening illness. In 1983, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) passed a resolution (9) that called on Congress, the Department Of Justice and other administrative agencies to reschedule marijuana to Schedule 2 (10). Pennsylvania Attorney General Leroy Zimmerman, Chairman of NMG's Criminal Law and Law Enforcement Committee, explained that the resolution "would allow the controlled use of marijuana for treatment of glaucoma and relief of the debilitating side effects of anti-cancer treatments."(11). He further commented that making marijuana available for medical purposes "will in no way affect or impede existing efforts by law enforcement authorities to crack down on illegal drug trafficking in this country."(12). In resolution calling for an end to federal prohibitions which deny patient access to marijuana, as did the National Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers in 1988.(13).
The UN Single Convention on Narcotic Substances (1961) recognizes that marijuana may have important medical applications. The Convention permits any signatory country to recognize these applications and establish government-controlled systems of production and distribution to meet legitimate human needs. (14)
Testimony before Judge Young established that marijuana could help alleviate the suffering of hundreds of thousands of cancer, glaucoma and spasticity patients. Each year about 1.3 million Americans are diagnosed as having cancer. At least 250,000 of those people would benefit from the introduction of marijuana as an anti-nausea medicine (Unimed Pharmaceuticals, 1988a). THC, the major active ingredient in marijuana, was prescribed for about 80,000 cancer patients last year (Unimed Pharmaceuticals, 1988b). Unfortunately, several studies indicate that THC is both more psychoactive than smoked marijuana and less effective in treating nausea.(15) (Chang et al, 1979)
Glaucoma, the leading cause of blindness in the United States, afflicts two million Americans. Conventional medical and surgical therapies succeed in controlling symptoms in only 80 to 90 per cent of glaucoma patients, as many as 200,000 to 400,000 patients cannot be adequately treated with conventional therapies. Glaucoma patients are likely to gain additional relief from elevated intraoccular blood pressure through the use of marijuana. (16)
Today, about one million Americans are afflicted with neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis which result in spasticity. Marijuana is a highly effective anti-spasmodic agent (17). The few medicines currently available to treat spasticity have serious adverse effects. In the absence of a safe, effective mode of treatment, physicians prescribe tranquillizers, sedatives, narcotics and other addictive drugs to MS patients and to para- and quadriplegics. Marijuana as an anti-spasmodic drug may be the most widely used, but least well known, of its three major medical uses.
No scientific studies have ever suggested a causal relationship between regulatory acceptance of the medical use of a drug and increased adolescent or adult abuse of that drug. Nevertheless, various parent and anti-drug groups and the International Association of Chiefs of Police have expressed concern about the "signal value" of sanctioning marijuana's medical use. They fear medical use of marijuana might lead to increased experimentation by adolescents resulting in deleterious consequences. The demonstrated medical benefits of marijuana must be weighed against the hypothetical link between regulatory acceptance of marijuana's medical use and adolescent and adult abuse.
One of the most recent and authoritative studies of adolescent drug use, conducted by RAND in 1984, is completely silent about the impact of the medical status of drugs on abuse. The study found that "there is a wealth of evidence that mere knowledge of the facts does not affect behavior directly, particularly if social influences contradict the facts. In addition, many previous education efforts were marred by exaggerations or 'scare tactics' which today's sophisticated youth easily detect and discount." The study goes on to say that because adolescents are present oriented, there is likely to be little or no deterrent effect from warnings that drug use will result in future health problems. (Polich et al, 1984).
Placing marijuana in Schedule 2, which already contains synthetic THC, cocaine, morphine and methadone, does not communicate approval of illicit marijuana use. The fact that cocaine and morphine are used medically in no way justifies their recreational use. It can easily be pointed out that medical use of marijuana in no way speaks to the question of recreational use, as marijuana's medical value is not related to its psychological effects, but rather is due to its physiological properties.
For good or ill, signals that marijuana has a medical use have already been sent through the media. Information about the medical use of marijuana would not come as a shock to American adolescents, nor will denying rescheduling remove the issue from public deliberation and attention. Publicity surrounding the medical use of marijuana and DEA attempts to deny such use will increase if the case goes to the U.S. Court of Appeals . Medical necessity cases will also increase if marijuana is not made available for medical use, and will receive widespread publicity likely to be detrimental to the government.
Last year, at least two patients (one glaucoma and one cancer) raised medical necessity defenses after being arrested for marijuana possession and cultivation. In State vs Mussika, (6) the Florida court sustained the defense of the glaucoma patient, who is now receiving legal marijuana from NIDA. The DEA chief spokesman for South Florida appeared on a radio talk show with the defendant, Mussika, and after hearing her case admitted on the air that if confronted with the same circumstances, he would not hesitate to break the law to obtain the marijuana he medically needed. In State v Morris (18) (Paintsville, Kentucky), a cancer patient was charged with possession. The jury convicted him of possession but refused to impose a penalty. The judge later expunged the record. The Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics and The Drug Policy Foundation provided assistance to the defendants in both these cases.
One could reasonably wonder whether denying the medical use of marijuana in eminently reasonable medical cases will have a deleterious effect on the credibility of the government's drug abuse education campaigns. The government's voice may be more persuasive if it has not squandered its credibility by defending an increasingly
untenable position that marijuana has no medical uses.
Patients who would benefit from marijuana are currently forced to engage in needlessly dangerous criminal activities in order to divert sense- and life-saving drugs from illicit to medical use, an enterprise some patients are currently unwilling or unable to undertake. Sanctioning the medical use of marijuana would remove this function of the illicit market, effectively eliminating that claim to legitimacy
DEA rescheduling of marijuana would not directly lead to its medical use, since FDA and NIDA implementation issues would remain to be resolved. Current federal production of marijuana is licensed by NIDA to the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Science at the University of Mississippi. NIDA can be relied upon to produce a standardized product that would satisfy the medical market for the foreseeable future.
One possible regulatory context for medical marijuana could involve the FDA's compassionate Investigational New Drug (IND) Program, which has been recently expanded in response to the AIDS crisis. The FDA has agreed to permit the preliminary distribution of certain medicines before the sponsoring pharmaceutical company has completed all the FDA requirements for a New Drug Application (NDA), which had been required before widespread legal marketing. The compassionate IND program is designed to facilitate the availability of drugs which have passed minimum standards for safety to patients with life-threatening illness. Marijuana could easily be placed into this program, although patients with less than life-threatening illnesses such as glaucoma and spasticity might not qualify. On the whole, rescheduling into Schedule 2 is the most appropriate governmental action.
In order to prevent what it sees as inappropriate medical prescription, for example the creation of "stress clinics" prescribing marijuana, FDA could choose to restrict uses of marijuana to treatment of previously identified physical, rather than psychological, illnesses. The medical use of THC is currently controlled in this manner.
In view of the volume of the illicit supply, diversion hardly seems a problem. In any case, illicit diversion seems to have been minimal in regards to THC, and will be controlled by DEA reporting requirements.
In September 1988, Acting Associate Attorney General Francis Keating responded to Judge Young's ruling by remarking, in USA Today, "Marijuana is classified as a mind-altering drug and should remain classified that way." (p.3a). Mr. Keating's remark highlights the main political liability of rescheduling. If rescheduling is seen as in any way weakening the government's position vis-a-vis the illicit use of marijuana, very significant and sustained criticism can be expected. Potential criticism can best be addressed by clear and emphatic statements that Schedule 2 drugs,
such as cocaine, retain their classification as mind-altering drugs, with criminal sanctions for illicit use remaining in full force.
No substantial public opposition to rescheduling has developed so far. Opposition comes primarily from the DEA, who are mainly concerned that a change in the status quo will support efforts to decriminalize marijuana. Public opposition to rescheduling may be significantly less than the DEA estimates. Mr. Keating's indirect response to the substance of Judge Young's recommendation suggests the medical use of marijuana is difficult to oppose directly, either by government officials or their critics. Proponents of decriminalizing marijuana may cite rescheduling as justification for further change, pointing out that the DEA recognizes marijuana is not "bad" under certain circumstances. Such arguments carry little weight and can be easily countered by differentiating medical from recreational use, as is already done with cocaine, morphine, and methadone. Though marijuana is helpful to some seriously ill patients, this implies nothing about its use as a recreational drug. Rescheduling is primarily a health policy decision, with little inherent direct or symbolic relevance to the decriminalization debate.
One fundamental question is raised by the rescheduling of marijuana, will the government find a way to help treat hundreds of thousands of seriously ill patients who are currently suffering both from their illnesses and from a federal drug policy that denies them effective treatment? Or, as Judge Mark Polen said in finding a criminal defendant not guilty of felony cultivation of marijuana based on the defence of medical necessity, "Finally, the Court is deeply disturbed by the broader implications of the testimony presented in this case. Medical necessity is a stringent, demanding legal defense. The practice of medicine, however, cannot be predicated upon the legal requirements of the medical necessity defense if it is to preserve health in a rational, compassionate manner. As this decision, and the earlier decisions cited herein illustrate, marijuana has 'an accepted medical use in treatment'. Indeed, the evidence indicates marijuana is now being employed, albeit illegally, by patients throughout the United States. In the vast majority of such cases, those desperately ill people are being forced underground and away from urgently needed medical supervision to acquire marijuana.
"This is an intolerable, untenable legal situation. Unless legislators and regulators heed these urgent human needs and rapidly move to correct the anomaly arising from the absolute prohibition of marijuana which forces law-abiding citizens into the streets - and criminality - to meet their legitimate medical needs, cases of this type will become increasingly common in coming years. There is a pressing need for a more compassionate, humane law which clearly discriminates between the criminal conduct of those who socially abuse chemicals and the legitimate medical needs of seriously ill patients whose prudent therapeutic use of those very same chemical substances".(19)
Rescheduling would leave criminal sanctions against illicit use unchanged. Accepting Judge Young's recommendation is a medically compassionate action entirely consistent with the requirements of the Controlled Substances Act and a tough drug policy. Some political costs will be incurred, but this is equally true if Judge Young's recommendation is rejected. The result of rejection would be a Court of Appeals case most likely to be both embarrassing and widely publicized. There is no evidence, nor is it likely, that illicit marijuana abuse would increase because of rescheduling. Rescheduling would enhance the government's credibility and effectiveness in the area of drug abuse prevention and would not compromise the government's basic message that recreational use of marijuana is unacceptable.
Shortly after his election, President Bush stated in the New York Elmes that The elimination of drugs is going to stem from vigorous change in the society's approach to narcotics. It is going to be successful only ii our education is successful." (1989). Rescheduling can be thought of as an integral part of a tough strategy designed both to respond compassionately to patient needs, and to increase the emphasis of the government on straightforward and honest and therefore, in the long run, more effective drug education.
1. Recommendations and opinion of DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young Jr., re Marijuana Rescheduling Petition (Dept. of Justice, DEA September 6,1988). 2. See 37 Fed . Reg . 18093, September 1,1972.
3. NORML v Ingersoll, 497 F.2i 654 (D.C. Cit. 1974), NORML v. DEA, 559 F.2d at 747-48, NORML v. DEA No. 79-1660.
4. See 53 Fed. Reg. 5156 (1988).
5. Grinspoon v. DEA, 828 F.2d 881 (1st. Cir.1987) and NORML vs. DEA, 59 F.2d 735 (D.C. Cir.1977).
6. U.S.v. Randall, Washington Daily Law Reporter, 2249-2254 (Dec. 20,1976); State v. Mussika, 88-4395 CFA 10 (Circuit Court for Broward County, Dec 29,1988):
7. Washington v. Diana, 24WAP 908,604 P2d 1312 (1981).
8. Orders of Judge Don Work, Superior Court of Imperial County California, January 23,1978.
9. Resolution of the National Association of Attorneys General, Committee on Criminal Law and Enforcement, Therapeutic Use of Marijuana, June 25, 1983.
10. Exhibit A, Affidavit of Robert Stephan, DEA Administrative Hearings, Judge Young Presiding.
11. Exhibit B, Aflidavit of Robert Stephan, DEA Administrative Hearings, Judge Young Presiding.
13. Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics, Miscellaneous Volume 1Tab 1, DEA, Administrative Hearings, Judge Young Presiding
14. 40 fed. Reg. 44167-68, September 25,1975.
15. Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics, Official State Reports, Volume 2, New Mexico Tab 15, New York Tab 16, Tennessee Tab 17, DEA Administrative Hearings, Judge Young Presiding
16. Aflidavits of Dr. Merritt and Dr. North, DEA Administrative Hearings, Judge Young Presiding.
17. Aflidavit of Valerie Leigh Cover, DEA Administrative Hearings, Judge Young Presiding.
18. State v Morris,1988, Paintsville, Kentucky.
19. Judge Mark Polen's comments in State v Mussika (as above #6)
Chang, et. al.,1979, Annals of Internal Medicine, 91, 819-824.
Polich, Ellickson, Reuter & Kahan,1984, Strategies for Controlling Adolescent Drug Use, RAND.
Unimed Pharmaceuticals.1988a. Annual Report December,1988.
Unimed Pharmaceuticals,1988b, Ouarterly Report, December,1988.
USA Today, September 7,1988, Page 3A.
New York Times, January 25,1989.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Drug Enforcement AdministrationU.S. Resists Easing Prohibition of Marijuana- NY Times December 31, 1989
This exchange between John McCain and a Medical Marijuana supporter, and the following statement show McCain's utter dishonesty regarding the pharmacratic inquisition.
Q: How do you reconcile the tolerance for alcohol with the intolerance for marijuana?Note that McCain is married to a woman who became wealthy from beer.
A: I can’t support the legalization of marijuana. Scientific evidence indicates that the moment that it enters your body, one, it does damage, and second, it can become addictive. It is a gateway drug. There is a problem in American with alcohol abuse, and there’s no doubt about that. We have to do whatever we can to - prevention, education, and that applies to drugs too.
Source: Republican Debate at Dartmouth College Oct 29, 1999
McCain is just another tool of the elites for sustaining their criminal mercantilism.
John McCain is Sick of Being Asked About Medical Marijuana
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
A few hours after posting my observations that ObUma will disappoint on the issue of Medical Marijuana, the Drug War Rant blog makes a post with excerpts from a recent speech of his pledging his support for the criminal pharmacratic inquisition.
There appears to be little difference between his position and that of that sociopathic liar John McCain.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
A proper statement would be that we *already* know that marijuana has medicinal value for a great many people, and that he would hence allow it.
By so parsing his statements with the words *IF*, and that he would hence *CONSIDER* allowing it, then are we not again allowing ourselves to be set up for yet another disappointment.
Expect an Obama administration to either later claim that marijuana is not medically useful, or perhaps not sufficiently medically useful (aka that their are "better" pharmaceutical/patent medicine alternatives), and in any event consider but not ultimately permit medical marijuanna, at least for most people.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Satanic US Republican Party: Disregard the Constitution for Criminal Mercantilism Against Medical Marijuanna
Statement of GOP RNC spokeman Danny Diaz:
“Barack Obama’s pledge to stop Executive agencies from implementing laws passed by Congress raises serious doubts about his understanding of what the job of the President of the United States actually is. His refusal to enforce the law reveals that Barack Obama doesn’t have the experience necessary to do the job of President, or that he fundamentally lacks the judgment to carry out the most basic functions of the Executive Branch. What other laws would Barack Obama direct federal agents not to enforce?”
OBAMA ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAWS
Obama Pledged To Stop DEA Raids On Oregon Medical Marijuana:
Obama Pledged To Stop The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Raids On Oregon Medical Marijuana Growers. Willamette Week: “Would you stop the Drug Enforcement Administration’s raids on Oregon medical marijuana grows?” Obama: “I would because I think our federal agents have better things to do, like catching criminals and preventing terrorism. The way I want to approach the issue of medical marijuana is to base it on science. And if there is sound science that supports the use of medical marijuana and if it is controlled and prescribed in a way that other medicine is prescribed, then it’s something we should consider.” (James Pitkin, “Six Minutes With Barack,” Willamette Week, 5/14/08)
But The Presidential Oath Of Office Requires The President To “Preserve, Protect And Defend The Constitution Of The United States”:
The Presidential Oath Of Office, As Specified In Article II, Section I Of The U.S. Constitution: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” (U.S. Department Of State Website, usinfo.state.gov, Accessed 5/14/08)
And The Supreme Court Has Upheld Regulations On Medical Marijuana:
The Supreme Court Ruled In 2001 And 2005, Affirming The Authority Of Congress To Regulate The Use Of Marijuana. “In 2001, the Supreme Court affirmed Congress’s 1970 judgment about marijuana in United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative et al., 532 U.S. 438 (2001), which held that, given the absence of medical usefulness, medical necessity is not a defense to marijuana prosecution. Furthermore, in Gonzales v. Raich, 125 S.Ct. 2195 (2005), the Supreme Court reaffirmed that the authority of Congress to regulate the use of potentially harmful substances through the federal Controlled Substances Act includes the authority to regulate marijuana of a purely intrastate character, regardless of a state law purporting to authorize ‘medical’ use of marijuana.” (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Website, www.usdoj.gov, Accessed 5/14/08)
Amazing. The GOP supports a supreme court ruling utterly at odds with its earlier rhetoric regarding the constitutional doctrine of federalism, and reliant upon the infamous 1942 FDR court supreme court case Wickard v Filburn, which extended the concept of regulating interstate commerce -- that is, commerce between states -- to actions not only within a particular state, but within a piece of private property.
Here the GOP supports subverting the constitution's 9th and 10th amendments, for the sake of supporting the criminal mercantilism of the pharmacratic inquisition (drug war).
How about some creative uses of the Hobbs Act -- banning violent and coercive acts against business people -- and the RICO Act, against these acts of criminal mercantilism for big pharm and big tobacco?
The Harvard Crimson makes an excellent point:
Imagine that scientists at a major drug company announced the discovery of a new drug, clinically proven to be effective in the treatment of symptoms of glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and migraines, all with moderate short term side-effects and no long term ones. The drug has no potential for overdose and no risk of physical dependence. Now imagine that the United States government deemed this substance to be medically worthless, classified it with the most dangerous and addictive narcotics and, along with state and local governments, proceeded to spend over $30 billion a year attempting to eradicate it. more...Ladies and Gentleman, what the government is doing with its "drug war" is criminal mercantilism. We need not only free and pay restitution to all of the people kidnapped (arrested) and extorted (prosecuted or prosecuted and incarcerated), we need to arrest, prosecute and even incarcerate the perpetrators.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Follows Lead of Prime Minister Gordon Brown to
Disregard official recommendations of Drug Advisory Panel on the Misuse of Drugs-
instead Misuse Political Power
Here is a woman that appears to have sold her soul for a job.
Watch this woman lie through her teeth, making false statements about Marijuana to 'justify' kidnappings (arrests) and extortions (prosecutions-imprisonments), via rescheduling Marijuana from class C to class B.
Was she blackmailed into so lying?
The amount of BS coming out in the UK and elsewhere, including in the various jesuitical yellow journalisms newspapers, suggests an international criminal conspiracy to violate human rights for the sake of big tobacco, alcohol and pharma mercantilism.
I do not know the identity of the female criminal sycophant to the left.
That is NWO prostitute UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown to the right.
Below is a video of this UK Home Secretary promoting this criminal anti"drug" (other then patentable pharmaceuticals) crusade.
Underscoring that she is knowingly lying, rather then acting out of a honest ignorance, is her admission below that she had smoked Marijuana during the 1980s.
Though admitting experience with smoking Marijuana, she offers not a syllable about any such experience showing her that Marijuana causes mental illness, stating only that she "knows" that Marijuana use is bad now- suggesting that her beliefs are not based upon her experience but rather what she was recently told to say.
See Dr. Lester Grinspoon's legal affidavit refuting Jacqui Smith's Lies
Sunday, May 4, 2008
The allegiance to the drug control status quo was prevalent from the onset throughout the Clinton Administration’s bureaucracies, as has been the case with either the Democrat or Republican Parties throughout the 1900s. I found it typified by two Washington, D.C. meetings held on successive days in July 1993, some 6 months into the then new Clinton Administration, with the official presentations and responses at the Q&A sessions indicating how truth was beholden to this false ideology.
The first of these events was a plenary panel organized by the U.S. State Department and the like-wise Jesuit Order run Georgetown University Center for Strategic and International Studies. The second one was a workshop panel held during the multi-day conference by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (N.I.D.A.).
The State Department-Georgetown University event was titled "Multilateralism and Drugs", and was held July 15, 1993 at the Rayburn U.S. House of Representatives Office Building. Its speakers included Yale University’s David Musto, and Timothy E. Wirth, U.S. President Clinton’s appointee as Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs.
At this event, Musto admitted a fact that he would leave out of his Readers' Digest style articles: that dilute cocaine alkaloid containing Coca beverages such as Vin Mariani, were not problematic.
Wirth, previously a U.S. Representative and later a Senator from Colorado, was described as the Clinton Administration’s point man on everything from refugees to global warming, and described in glowing terms by newspapers such as The Washington Post, as a “reformer”, was there to give a speech titled “New Approaches to Global Drug Problems”. So I figured that he would be a good person to ask about the Coca issue, which I did at that panel’s Q and A period:Douglas Willinger- Question: Sir, you mentioned crop eradication -- Coca eradication -- as the solution but have you consider the alternative. Instead of crop substitution, why not cocaine conversion- that is, remove the things creating this bad situation, having coca tea in supermarkets rather than crack in the streets. Indeed, sir, what about Bolivia's recent proposal to review the effects of Coca, and adjusting the laws accordingly if need be?The NIDA event, a workshop panel Update on Drugs- Cocaine and Stimulants, was held at the second day of the U.S. N.I.D.A. National Conference on Drug Abuse Research and Practice; An Alliance for the 21st Century. It featured a number of speakers, including a Dr. Millwood, all testifying to the dangers of cocaine. One of the presenters spoke about brain damage with combined cocaine and alcohol use, including its metabolization of cocaethyline. All in all, while their prognosis upon cocaine was negative, I heard little to no mention of actual doses. From memory, as NIDA is uncooperative with public requests for such transcripts:
Timothy Wirth- Answer: Did I talk about crop eradication? Do I have to answer that? You sound like one of those Hemp people! Next question.Douglas Willinger- Question: Question of dosage and paradigm. You speak of the dangers of cocaine and alcohol, but could you please elaborate as to the dosages? What stimulant would not be harmful in such does? Is cocaine itself anymore toxic as asides from the concentrated forms as developed under prohibition.In other words, cocaine was a highly toxic-addictive drug in doses dangerous with any stimulant. They had no showing that it was anymore toxic then other naturally occurring stimulants caffeine and nicotine, in like contexts. Cocaine, Caffeine and Nicotine are all alkaloids that serve as CNS stimulants found in minute amounts in such plants as Coca, Coffee and Tobacco.
Dr. Millwood- Answer: About 1 ¼ gallon of vodka and an eight ball of pharmaceutical grade cocaine hci snorted in one night. Well, uh yes, we just don't think it's that important, let's change the subject, okay?!
As licit drugs, they are taken through the use of the parent substance, or in isolated form in a mode of delivery of a pharmaceutical preparation, e.g. caffeine as No Doz or Vivarin tablets largely consisting of mannitol, and more recently various nicotine chewing gums and patches.
As an illicit drug under a prohibition of Coca leaves and cocaine, with penalties based upon the contraband’s gross weight, the amount of cocaine use is significantly reduced, but the amount of cocaine taken per dose may be higher, with the concentration definitely far higher in doses of the type more akin to produce the big bang favored by these drug law’s economics, with prohibition driving up concentration and prices hence promoting the justification for the price- e.g. spending $50 or $100 for a chewing gum package sized foil of white powder is more justified by the pronounced effects of doses that are more dangerous in every way: larger more concentrated and more direct.
And this is popularly supported as somehow fighting drug abuse!
Such a drug policy regimen that suppresses a safer substance for the sake of a one intrinsically dangerous, that is the adulterated, misbranded cigarettes undeniably benefited by this criminal mercantilism, underwent no visible criticism within the room where Mr. Wirth brushed aside my question. This was also so in the room where Dr. Millwood would answer my question about the amount of cocaine needed to produce the toxicities he discussed, but not answer my second question about the silence in the drug abuse research industry over maintains the drug control policy that stops Coca while promoting concentrated cocaine. One could only imagine if either Wirth and Millwood, nor the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services N.I.D.A. had even given any thought about whether such anti-Coca leaf policies were reconcilable with any stance respecting either the public's health, let alone the human rights of the millions of Andeans who consider Coca eradication an infringement upon their individual and their cultural rights, in this day and age of moral certainty. I suppose they simply care less for that then appeasing their masters that gave them their jobs.Georgetown University's Jesuit Order's Underappreciated 20th Century Role
Public Health & Liberty Subversion in the United States of America
Seeking the Coca issue's redress, I approached the government, hoping that the right thing would happen: that government officials would ask questions about the prohibition laws that ban Coca along with isolate cocaine, and initiate scientific studies to ascertain the truth of its potential. How could one object to studying Coca and its effects upon humans, subjecting it to the same criteria as other medicines and stimulants?
As I was to soon find out, Coca was an issue to be simply brushed aside, starting with the replies to my initial letters about the Coca issue to "my" U.S. Senators, from my home State, New York, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, of the U.S. Democratic Party, and Alphonse D'Amato, of the U.S. Republican Party, in latter 1987.
Neither Moynihan nor D’Amato’s replies actually addressed my charge that their drug probation policies perverted Coca’s role internationally, with significant human costs D’Amato’s letter merely reiterated his general support for the drug war, with no mention of the safety, or the medicinal benefits, nor the health effects of Coca. Moynihan's letter likewise contained no such thoughts about Coca, and additionally was not even about the coca issue, coca prohibition or more generally the drug war, but rather a crime bill. Logistical realities were a likely explanation for this shoddiness since neither Senator had likely read my letter (not a likely occurrence given the volumes of such Constituent mail involved); in fact they might not have even been informed of it, with the choice of word processor mail merge reply being left entirely to their Congressional staffs. But they could hardly be used to explain away the following signals that there was no desire -- let alone intellectual integrity -- amongst the Washington D.C. power elite to touch the Coca issue -- in any way other than as something to be shunned -- with the proverbial ten foot pole: just imagine such an alternative reality for Tobacco cigarettes were treated like this. Both of the two dominant political parties in the United States, the Democrat and Republican parties would be unquestionably loyal to the whole drug control regimen, and the idea of maintaining it forever, or, if change is inevitable, at least delay or minimize it.
This was sadly evident with the preceding Republican Party U.S. Presidential Administrations of George Walker Bush (1989-1993) and Ronald Wilson Reagan (1981-1989), with the former serving as the latter’s Vice President. Both espoused their commitment to this drug market control regimen through their election campaigns and shortly upon taking office. In his acceptance speech to the Republican National Convention in 1988, Bush stated:"I want a drug[sic]-free America. Tonight, I challenge the young people of our country to shut down the drug dealers around the world....My Administration will be telling the dealers, "Whatever we have to do, we'll do, but your day is over. You're history.'"George Bush’s most famous drug war espousal was his nationally televised September 5, 1989 speech’s visual of him holding up a bag of crack, obtained immediately across the street from his residence – the White House – at Lafayette Park (from a teenage crack dealer who government agents had to give directions to find the area):"This is crack cocaine," Bush solemnly announced, holding up a plastic bag filled with a white chunky substance in his Sept. 5 speech on drug policy. It was "seized a few days ago in a park across the street from the White House . . . . It could easily have been heroin or PCP…. It's as innocent looking as candy, but it is turning our cities into battle zones, and it is murdering our children``… ``Let there be no mistake, this stuff is poison.`And this from a man who had a likely role in making revealing the additives in cigarettes a 'felony'!
Under the Bush years, spending in the U.S. for maintaining the drug control regimen increased significantly, with the annual budget for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency raising from $597 million in 1989 to $910 million in 1992. This followed the increase under his predecessor Ronald Reagan from an annual DEA budget for $219 million in 1981 to $522 million in 1988).
By what sort of intellectual ethical standard did George Bush base his call for a “drug free” America. Do note the irony that the Bush family are long involved with pharmaceuticals, such as EL Lilly. By “drug”, Bush means those that have been made illegal, starting with natural plants, regardless of the lack of science and the abundance of political corruption. It has nothing to do with relative safety as attested by the college student ritual of alcohol poisoning.
The November 1980 election victory of Ronald Wilson Reagan over his incumbent predecessor, Democrat Party U.S. President Jimmy Carter, elected in November 1976, based upon two main popular ideas: that the government was too larges; and that the U.S. was getting too weak (this latter perception being greatly assisted by the final 444 days of his 4 year term with the Iranian capture of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and holding of its personnel as hostages). Reagan would appease the former with such libertarian quotes as:“I don’t believe in a government that protects us from ourselves” Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves."In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? Reagan served what was perceived as U.S. “strength” with his firm obedience with the established drug control regimen via his actions; shortly after taking office in 1981 he declared:“We are not going to raise the battle flag of surrender as in so many previous drug wars”Under the Reagan years, spending in the U.S. for maintaining the drug control regimen increased significantly. On January 28, 1982, Reagan created the South Florida Task. On March 23, 1983, Vice President Bush was placed in charge of the National Narcotics Border Interdiction System. In August, 1986 US officials presented to their Mexican counterparts a scheme called Operation Alliance, a new border enforcement initiative that was allegedly to do for the U.S.-Mexican border area what the South Florida Task Force had allegedly already done for the southeastern states. Vice President George Bush was appointed chief of Operation Alliance, which involved 20 federal agencies, 500 additional federal officers, and a budget of $266 million.
The June 18, 1986 death of Len Bias, a University of Maryland student athlete from a massive cocaine overdose during a night of celebrating his acceptance by the professional basketball team, the Boston Celtics, quickly prompted massive waves of newspaper and television news coverage for political reasons to induce the people to support or acquiesce to increasing the penalties for violating the drug control regimen. Appearing with his wide, First Lady Nancy Reagan in their famous “Just Say No” speech nationally televised September 14, 1986:Despite our best efforts, illegal cocaine is coming into our country at alarming levels and 4 to 5 million people regularly use it. Five hundred thousand Americans are hooked on heroin. One in twelve persons smokes marijuana regularly. Regular drug use is even higher among the age group 18 to 25 - most likely just entering the work force. Today there's a new epidemic: smokable cocaine, otherwise known as crack. It is an explosively destructive and often lethal substance which is crushing its users. It is an uncontrolled fire. And drug abuse is not a so-called victimless crime. Everyone's safety is at stake when drugs and excessive alcohol are used by people on the highways or by those transporting our citizens or operating industrial equipment. Drug abuse costs you and your fellow Americans at least $60 billion a year.The Reagan and Bush Administrations faithfully follow the basic drug control regimen in place and supported by the preceding Administrations of U.S. President Jimmy Carter (1977-81) of the Democratic Party, Gerald Ford (1974-77) and Richard Nixon (1969-73 of the Republican Party, the first U.S. President to speak about this on television, along with every proceeding U.S. Presidential Administrations since the early 1900s.
Nixon and the preceding four U.S. Presidents -- Lyndon Johnson (1963-1969), John F. Kennedy (1961-1963) of the Democratic Party, and Dwight Eisenhower (1953-1961) of the Republican Party, and Harry S. Truman (1945-1953) – had given nationally televised speeches. The drug inquisition was in place throughout their terms, with President Kennedy being the most independent minded by getting Harry Anslinger’s resignation. But Nixon was the first to give a speech about the drug war: aka the growth of contraband drug use, and the drug laws’ re-codification resulting from the Leary case, which went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1969, and which overturned the 1914 Harrison Narcotic Act’s tax authority as self-incriminatory (by forcing people to incriminate themselves by purchasing tax stamps for an illegal commodity).
This re-codification was the 1970 Controlled Substances Act (still in effect as of 2006). Under Nixon, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs created by Nixon’s predecessor Lyndon Johnson in 1968 by merging the U.S. Treasury Department’s Bureau of Narcotics, and the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare’s Bureau of Drug Abuse Control, was replaced with the newly created U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Agency.
And it was Nixon that would display his obedience to the established drug control regimen, by disregarding the recommendations of the commission that he selected its members under the authority of the 1970 CSA to study and report on Cannabis (Marijuana) and on the broader issue of the drug war. “The Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse”’ report on Cannabis "Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding" better known as the Shafer Commission Report was so-named after its chair, Raymond P. Shafer, former governor of Pennsylvania); it would recommend to liberalize prohibition to exclude private possession, use and distribution for "insignificant remuneration" and penalties beyond confiscation of up to one ounce, and to retain prohibition on greater amounts in public by a fine of up to $100, with public distribution of small amounts for no profit would also be punishable by a fine of up to $100, and with the cultivation of sale for profit remaining criminal, felonies. The report on the general drug war “Drug Use in America: Problem in Perspective”, was issued in March 1973. It would include cocaine but not Coca.
In the November 1976 elections, Carter defeated Republican Party incumbent U.S. President Gerald Ford, largely due to Ford’s association with the preceding, Watergate scandal (involving Republican Party operatives burglary of Democratic Party offices in Washington, D.C.’s Watergate complex in 1972,) plagued administration of Richard Nixon, who was fist elected in November 1968. Ford had not been popularly elected, but was rather serving out the remaining portion of Nixon’s 2nd term after Nixon resigned his office August 9, 1974, with Ford then becoming President, because Nixon had made Ford his Vice President in 1973, following the resignation of the preceding Vice President Agnew.
Against this backdrop Carter was easily presentable as a reformer, in the wake of the Watergate scandal, throughout his candidacy for President, such as calling for “sunshine” laws mandating that inter-agency meetings be open to the public. With a candidacy that include numerous public appearance with popular music bands, in particular the Allman Brothers, and amidst rumors of cannabis and cocaine use among Carter staffers, Carter furthered his appeal to the many people favoring drug law liberalization by mentioning his support for reducing penalties for Cannabis possession, stating that jailing marijuana smokers was "counterproductive,” and stating during a nationally televised debate with the incumbent Gerald Ford that he “favor[ed] the decriminalization of marijuana.”
And he was the only one the U.S. Presidents who appointed as his Director of the Office of National Drug Policy (the position later dubbed as “drug czar”), a man who had publicly spoken in favor of legalizing Cannabis (marijuana) and cocaine; and who unfortunately failed to make this point about Coca, let alone writing in any detail of the entire cocaine continuum from Coca leaf chewing and tea to intravenous cocaine), and even writing in 1974 that:Cocaine…is probably the most benign of illicit drugs currently in widespread use. … Short acting -- about 15 minutes -- not physically addicting, and acutely pleasurable, cocaine has found increasing favor at all socioeconomic levels in the last year." Peter G. Bourne, "The Great Cocaine Myth," Drugs and Drug Abuse Education Newsletter 5: 5 (1974). See also, F.H. Gawin and H.D. Kleber, "Evolving Conceptualizations of Cocaine Dependence," Yale Journal of Biological Medicine 61: 123-136 (1988).While this raised further expectations of Carter as a “legalizer” of a currently illegal drug, this was like placing a new – and not very thick or deep -- façade over an existing building: while attention focused on this one appointee, Dr. Peter S. Bourne, who worked for Carter since the latter was elected Governor of Georgia in 1971, and who went on to run that State’s first drug abuse treatment program, that would distract people from noticing that Bourne was the exception and not the rule within the new Carter Administration, with actions otherwise consistent with the established drug policy control regimen, with liberalization limited to decriminalization – meaning no jail time – for only cannabis and only small amounts up to 1 ounce (28.35 grams). Carter’s other appointees, such as associate Mathea Falco to the U.S. State Department, as Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics, along with his predecessor Gerald Ford’s Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Peter B. Benslinger, all supported the status quo.
Speaking for the Carter Administration at the March 14, 1977 House Select Committee on Narcotics hearings on marijuana decriminalization, Peter Bourne, the first witness, declared that the Carter administration wanted to discourage all drug use, including alcohol and tobacco, but it didn't believe that putting people in jail was the answer to the marijuana problem. He said the administration favored the decriminalization approach, and he cited the success of the Oregon law, as proved by the Drug Abuse Council surveys. He noted that moderate marijuana smoking caused no known health problems. Finally he stressed that the Carter administration opposed the legalization of marijuana, and would vigorously enforce the laws against smugglers. In his August 2, 1977 speech to the U.S. Congress, Jimmy Carter declared:"Laws against the use of a drug," he said, "should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself; and where they are, they should be changed. No where is this more clear than in the laws against possession of marijuana in private for personal use." The National Commission on Marijuana and Abuse concluded years ago that marijuana use should be decriminalized, and I believe it is time to implement those basic recommendations. Therefore, I support legislation amending Federal law to eliminate all Federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana."This idea of a quite limited liberalization of Cannabis (for only up to one ounce!) met with resistance in the U.S. Congress, and the Carter Administration back off on the issue through later 1977 and afterwards. This included double-talk about a U.S. program in Mexico to spray Cannabis (Marijuana) fields with parquet which the National Organization for Marijuana Reform (NORML) was then campaigning to de-fund. While Bourne assured NORML director Peter S. Stroup that the Carter Administration would unofficially not oppose a ban on such funding – this ban being proposed in the U.S. Senate as the Percy Amendment -- Bourne, along with Mathea Falco of the U.S. State Department were doing just the opposite: actively lobbying against the Percy Amendment. This pissed off Stroup, who eventually spoke out against the Carter Administration. That would set up a chain of events leading to Bourne’s July 1978 resignation.
On July 7, 1978, Dr. Bourne wrote a prescription for the pharmaceutical drug Quaalude for a staffer, identifying her with a false name to save her the embarrassment of taken that pharmaceutical for a psychiatric matter. This staffer had the bad luck of taking this prescription scrip to a pharmacy in Virginia, with the presence of a D.E.A. (U.S Drug Gestapo). This story was “exploded” in the mass new media on July 18, 1978.
The Clinton Administration response was to publicly review and quickly “sentence” Bourne (that very same day), with a publicly announced suspension. Thereby, by announcing his punishment the very same day, Carter effectively set up Bourne for additional punishment, his resignation, for the double bomb shell of a previously unreported story that would likewise “explode” in the mass media the very next day. That story, planted in the media through the syndicated columnist Jack Anderson was that Dr. Bourne attended a NORML Christmas Party upstairs gathering where cocaine powder was passed around and sniffed. Although the event was described as social, Anderson, a Mormon who reportedly did not even drink caffeine, played it up as some sort of horrible thing, being thoughtless to the horrible things of people being arrested, imprisoned and prosecuted under this 20th century drug inquisition.
Following this resignation of Bourne, Carter’s lone “heretic”, Carter retained as his drug policy adviser, Lee Dogoloff, who insisted that illegal drugs were simply bad, with no difference between "soft" drugs like marijuana and "hard" drugs like heroin or cocaine, thereby justifying the same penalties. During the remaining portion of his 4 year term Carter said relatively little about any Cannabis decriminalization; with public attention focused upon Bourne’s scandals, the Carter Administration’s various branches would just continue the established drug control inquisitorial.
12 years elapsed between the January 20, 1981 last day of the Democrat Party Administration of Jimmy Carter, and January 20, 1992 first day of the next Democratic Party Administration of William Jefferson Clinton. Like the Carter Administration, the preceding Nixon Administration, and the succeeding Reagan and Bush Administrations, the Clinton Administration paid full obedience to this drug control status quo in every meaningful way in ways varying only in intensity not substance, as any other Democratic Party or Republican Party U.S, Administration anytime during the 1900s. Like all of these men as candidates except Carter, Clinton consistently promised more of the same, presenting the example of intellectual sophistry of his brother as an example of a person “saved” by prohibition.
Like the Carter Administration, the likewise Democratic Party Clinton Administration offered a solitary position to be filled by an individual “heretic” who gets sacrificed, and any such “heresy” silenced, amidst the orthodoxy that predominates, with the scores of other Clinton Administration positions all filled by “defenders of the faith.” Clinton’s “heretics” were his Attorney General Janet Reno and his Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders, with both being marginalized, (with the latter eventually being asked to resigned days before her 21 year old son was arrested for a drug charge involving his alleged sale of less then 2 grams of cocaine powder resulting from his 3 month police surveillance the previous year during the time of her Senate Confirmation hearings). Reno’s early “heresy” was ordering a formal review of the effects of mandatory minimum drug sentences, which Clinton would disregard. Elder’s early “heresy” was ordering a review of the proceeding Bush Administration’s suspension of its “Compassionate” Medical Marijuana Access program, an effort which would be opposed by the Clinton Administration’s “Justice” Department. Her second “heresy” was her suggestion during a Q&A period to study different forms of drug legalization, with the Clinton White House promptly issuing its statement against any suggestion of alternatives to the existing drug control regimen, with Clinton himself thereafter forbidding her to even suggest such study publicly. Her third “heresy”, acknowledging masturbation as one of many different ways to combat the spread of AIDS, leading to Clinton asking for her resignation within hours of the erupting “outcry” by opposition Republican Party Senators and Representatives.
Beyond David Musto
Cocaine basically is an alkaloid -- a nitrogen bearing molecule -- found in a plant in small quantities that serves as a CNS stimulant: a member of the same pharmacological family as caffeine and nicotine.
However, having been used in so many different forms -- a white powder taken up the nose or injected; a rock smoked, or a component of the original 1886-1903 vintage Coca-Cola, or something otherwise contained within the leaves of the plant where it naturally occurred: Coca -- cocaine has been seen in no less broad a variety of ways.
Damnation came with isolated cocaine via injection. Made available, sometimes as part of a kit to take hypodermically. Some began prescribing these injections, most prominently Sigmund Freud (May 6,1856-September 23,1939) This lead to disaster, as was the case with his first such patient, his friend, the physiologist Ernest Fleischl von Marxow (August 5, 1846- October 22,1891) Prescribed cocaine injections as an antidote to his morphine addiction, a habit picked up from an earlier prescription for morphine injections as a painkiller for an amputated thumb resulting from an accident in a dissection room, Fleischl may have felt good briefly before quickly escalating his usage, reportedly 1 gram of the hydrochloride daily, and experiencing a mind and body racking poisoning.
Additional criticism came with cocaine powders, available in varying concentrations, sold as hay fever and catarrh remedies to be taken up the nose. These sniffing powders, first appeared during the 1890s. Sold as hay fever and catarrh remedies, sniffing powders had a far lower abuse liability than cocaine injections, though nonetheless, could lead to similar – if less intense – such problems - and unknown with what had induced the praise: Coca.
The plant containing cocaine, generally from 0.5% to 1 of the dried leaf's weight, Coca is routinely used -- primarily chewed, though also drank as a 'tea" -- by millions of South Americans as a traditional remedy, its importance undeniable. Though not a widely well-known topic outside of South America -- where it’s primarily seen as the first half of the name of the world's currently best known soft-drink, or as the source of cocaine or even the cocaine problem -- Coca is of primary importance in the Andes, both culturally and out of sheer practicality.
Coca, a plant that grows in soils too poor to support many other crops, provides a valuable medicine, stimulant, indeed tonic that’s greatly appreciated; it’s featured upon Peruvian and Bolivian money and flags. Its leaves are consumed -- primarily chewed --by millions in the Andes where it is said to be the thing making life at such altitudes bearable, a fact attested by visitors to the region.
Tourists’ guidebooks invariably recommend Coca adjusting to the altitudes, customarily being served Coca tea upon dismemberment. Coca is traditionally taken as a specific remedy for soka (weakness, fatigue and malaise), fiero (a chronic wasting disease)," lucura (severe mental disturbances), sorache (G-I tract disorders, toothache, mouth sores), etc. Coca leaves are also taken regularly to safe guard health, its nutritional qualities and that of conserving body heat being specifically appropriate for life at high altitudes. Perhaps most commonly, Coca is a favored stimulant, the choice of Andean cultures much as others favor Coffee, Tea, or Tobacco. Routinely chewed, Coca is said to provide a more useful stimulant effect, making possible tasks that would ordinarily be far more tiring.
As noted, Coca is also drank: its most popular use outside South America prior to its prohibition, circular 1914. For half a century, Coca products were commercially available throughout much of the industrialized world, usually in beverage form. Such Coca products grew rapidly in popularity through the latter 1800s- this being the time of the original Coca-Cola. Made with the extract of Coca leaves and Kola nuts, amongst other things, this drink was advertised as a "brain tonic and nerve stimulant," and acknowledged -- in this pre-air-conditioning era -- as useful and refreshing in humid, South-Eastern U.S.; Coca beverages though reflected the full range of the things Coca leaf have been used- and more. Coca wines, initially offered as a restorative for overstressed stage performers in Paris, spurred a reputation for Coca, viewing its as preferable to infinitely more established stimulants, such as Tea, Coffee and even Tobacco.
Pharmacologically this made perfect sense. Coca's cocaine is dilute, and mixed with other leaf components said to modify its effect in good ways- quite the opposite of "cocaine" as twentieth century people conceived it as a concentrated drug of abuse. In light of the colloquial use of the term "caffeine" in meaning a beverage made with Coffee or Tea, the origins of the positive perception of "cocaine" were perfectly understandable- after all, to how many people does "caffeine" evoke images of snorting white lines of ground up No Doz?
Hmmm. Not simply "cocaine," Coca-Cola, or something like crushed up caffeine pills (which, in the case of No Doz, contains mannitol, a common adulterant for illicit cocaine powder), but rather Coca Leaf. Given the extent and importance of its recently acknowledged possibilities, Coca's place in medicine, and as a general stimulant would seemingly be assured, it being appreciated for any one of a variety of applications. First and foremost for a society up in arms over the spectra of cocaine abuse, or "addiction" -- or specifically habitual use with undesirable -- e.g. toxic -- consequences of the refined drug, should be a call to least a look at allowing Coca to serve as a substitute for refined cocaine (intranasal, freebase, injection and "crack"). This alone could be invaluable for weaning cocaine users away from concentrated forms of the drug, let alone an interesting alternative to other commonly taken stimulants, including caffeine containing beverages.
Yale University's Over-Simplistic Accounts of History
The standard explanation of cocaine's volatile reputation at the time, portrayed it as a simple repeat of the events a century earlier, when Americans had seen cocaine favorably before experiencing its dark side and learned its lesson. Such was how it was defined by "the country's leading researcher on the cyclical history of American drug epidemics," Yale University professor of psychiatry and the history of medicine -- as described by the November 24, 1986 People magazine -- David Musto. As that article showcasing this mass-media popular conception of the history of the nation's relationship with cocaine elaborated:"While the recent infatuation with drugs, especially cocaine may seem unique in the nation's history, Musto points out that what we are seeing is actually a repeat performance."He goes on to say that "the recent discovery of cocaine's dangers were but a rediscovery, with recent history largely a mirror of the discoveries of cocaine's dangers a century previously, when the perception of cocaine was often favorable. For it was during the 1880s that numerous companies began supplying cocaine in various ways, enthusiastically promoting it almost as a panacea, and brewing up a storm of controversy. Advocated for a variety of ailments, "cocaine" was reportedly safe, effective, or a downright dangerous (and perniciously seductive) poison, depending upon who you read.
For me, this explanation had too many loose ends to suffice. Surely anti-cocaine sentiment came from viewing its abuse- such as the epidemic of crack.
But Musto's hypothesis was too simplistic; it did not explain a volatile reputation's evolution that was hardly linear: though it could be said that cocaine was first seen as good before being seen as bad, it was equally true that cocaine was seen favorably, and continued to be seen favorably by many others afterward: a reality not only in the 1970s when seemingly "recalled" in favorable terms, but during the preceding century.
Though condemned during the later 1880s, particularly in the disasters of Sigmund Freud's friend who became severely addicted, suffering horrible effects of cocaine poisoning, praise concerning the drug was not necessarily so short-lived; in fact, this praise extended twenty years earlier and later with the cocaine-containing products so available since the 1860s, specifically the wine of coca seen favorable including amongst the most prestigious, for the half century leading to 1914.
Said praise emanated throughout the medical profession, and amongst government officials. Not one, but two Popes -- Leo XIII in 1898, and Pius X in 1904 -- awarded a gold papal medal to the entrepreneur most responsible for popularizing a wine containing it as a "benefactor of humanity"- Angelo Francois Mariani. Was Musto's explanation more a reflection of history, or rather, the popular conceptions of the "historian's" day?
Reading between the lines of these accounts -- pun intended -- revealed why cocaine's reputation was so volatile: the wide variety of forms and modes of its use; each of these being most dissimilar in the consequences and likelihood of their misuse, with opinions of "cocaine" so correlating with its form and mode of use.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
British Prime Minister Claims Marijuana Can Kill YouThe Prime Minister of Great Britain lies through his teeth about Marijuana.
As British PM Gordon Browne prepares to ignore the recommendation of his own Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and increase penalties for marijuana, he reveals once again how little he actually knows about the subject:
"I don't think that the previous studies took into account that so much of the cannabis on the streets is now of a lethal quality and we really have got to send out a message to young people -- this is not acceptable," Brown said. [Reuters]
Any way you look at it, this is just a total lie. The word "lethal" as defined by dictionary.com means the following:
1. of, pertaining to, or causing death; deadly; fatal: a lethal weapon; a lethal dose.
2. made to cause death: a lethal chamber; a lethal attack.
3. causing great harm or destruction: The disclosures were lethal to his candidacy.
Even the 3rd definition, which may be the one Browne intends, is essentially figurative and is only used to describe non-living things, in this case a political campaign. The word is derived from the latin letalis, meaning death. It's just an incredibly poor adjective to describe a substance that has never killed anyone in human history. He says he wants to "send out a message to young people," but his message is just a big lie.
Thus, Browne is now expected to move forward with a plan to upgrade the criminal status of marijuana based on his own ignorant and wrong understanding of what the drug does, while disregarding the contrary advice of a whole council of experts who might actually know something about this.
This, my friends, is precisely how bad public policy gets made.
If pot is to remain illegal -- and become more illegal via being so rescheduled for being "lethal" - then what about the pharmaceutical 'anti-depressants' let alone the adulterated, misbranded cigarettes with all of their chemical accelerants which cause 400,000+ deaths annually in the US?
An honest government would investigate and prosecute cretins as Gordon Brown for racketeering for pharmaceutical and cigarette interests.
Some speculate that this man has severe brain damage:
Comment posted by Giordano on Fri, 05/02/2008 - 3:47am
More from Reuters: “Brown said he was particularly worried about the growing use of skunk cannabis, which he described as "more lethal".
It would be fascinating to know how PM Gordon Brown acquires his ideas about marijuana. How does someone remain that insulated from reality? It can’t be from smoking anything—which would no doubt improve his reality radar.
Searching the web about the PM reveals that Mr. Brown, a minister’s son (Church of Scotland), was kicked in the head in a school rugby match with a force that resulted in detached retinas, later corrected in one eye by surgery. Child abuse and brain damage may explain Mr. Brown’s later misgivings about marijuana.
Brown, a Scotsman, obtained a PhD in History (not chemistry nor biology nor neurology) from the University of Edinburgh. His thesis subject was The Labour Party and Political Change in Scotland, 1918-1929.
With no other apparent job experience, Brown went directly from his alma mater into the British Labour Party, where he became the number-two-guy behind Britain’s former PM, Tony Blair. Mr. Blair, as you’ll recall, was popular when he brown-nosed for Bill Clinton, and unpopular when he brown-nosed for George W. Bush. Strange how situations change. Stranger still that Brown didn’t notice any change in American politics in the last few years. Again, an indication of brain damage.
Brown’s brown-nosing for the Neocon ONDCP/DEA agenda has potential consequences in 2009 when, if things go well, subpoenas, indictments and warrants rain from the sky onto Bush and his co-conspirators. Gordon Brown will end his career as a political fart.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Sadly, no patentable synthetic for big pharm.
Who appointed Rosenthal as perpetual spokesman?
It's like with drug history where a virtual monopoly is given to the likes of Yale's David Musto, known for his Readers' Digest type articles that deliberately confused the whole Coca-cocaine-concentrated cocaine issue.
Kenneth Rau, the first person to be kidnapped (arrested) and extorted (prosecuted) for possessing the herb Salvia needs lawyers to challenge these laws of criminal mercantilism.
An honest/ethical U.S. Federal Attorney General would launch a criminal investigation of these "legislative" bodies that are subverting freedom of medicine and diet.
He also tried salvia as a cure for depression. "I have some childhood issues to deal with. They had me on Paxil," he said. "They want you to take their pharmaceuticals, but if you want to take an herbal remedy, they want to throw you in prison. Are they going to save me from myself by throwing me in prison for years?"
Lust for $$$ blinded pharm giants from foreseeing that a pharmaceuticals that blocks pleasure would cause depression.
Regarding RimonabantRisk of depression dims hope for anti-addiction pillsCHICAGO — Two years ago, scientists had high hopes for new pills that would help people quit smoking, lose weight and maybe kick other tough addictions such as liquor and cocaine.
By MARILYNN MARCHIONE The Associated Press
The pills worked in a novel way, by blocking pleasure centers in the brain that provide the feel-good response from smoking or eating. It seems the drugs may block pleasure too well, possibly raising the risk of depression and suicide.
Margaret Bastian, of suburban Rochester, N.Y., was among patients who reported problems with Chantix, a highly touted quit-smoking pill from Pfizer that has been linked to dozens of reports of suicides and hundreds of suicidal behaviors.
"I started to get severely depressed and just going down into that hole ... the one you can't crawl out of," said Bastian, whose doctor took her off Chantix after she swallowed too many sleeping pills and other medicines one night.
Side effects also affect two other drugs:
• Rimonabant, an anti-obesity pill sold as Acomplia in Europe, was tied to higher rates of depression and a suicide in a study last month. The maker, Sanofi-Aventis, still hopes to win its approval in the United States.
• Taranabant, a similar pill in late-stage testing, led to higher rates of depression and other side effects in a study last month. Its maker, Merck, stopped testing it at middle and high doses.
The makers of the new drugs insisted they are safe, although perhaps not for everyone, such as people with a history of depression. Having to restrict the drugs' use would be a setback because it would deprive the people who need help the most, since addictions and depression often go hand-in-hand, doctors said.
A bigger fear is that the approach may be in trouble. Researchers said that blocking pleasure, especially the way the anti-obesity drugs do, might take the fun out of many things, not just the harmful substances and behaviors these drugs target.
It may be possible to improve the drugs so they act more precisely. Chantix targets a different pathway — nicotine pleasure switches — in a different way than the anti-obesity drugs, which aim at the same pathway that gives pot smokers the munchies. That is one reason many doctors are optimistic that any risks from Chantix will prove manageable.
But doctors are no longer talking about "superpills" for a variety of addictions.
"It certainly diminishes my enthusiasm" to see these side effects, said Mark Egli, co-leader of medicine development at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
Just another quack pharm "remedy" that is being protected from God's gift of Marijuanna!
Shortly after market introduction, press reports and independent studies suggest that side effects occur stronger and more commonly than shown by the manufacturer in their clinical studies. Reports of severe depression are frequent. This is deemed to result from the drug being active in the central nervous system, an area of human physiology so complex that drug effects are highly difficult to determine reliably.
Because the drug has the opposite effects of cannabinoid receptor agonists such as tetrahydrocannabinol, which is neuroprotective against excitotoxicity, it can be theorized that Rimonabant promotes the development of neurodegenerative diseases of the central nervous system such as Multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson's disease, and Huntington's disease in persons who are susceptible. The reported development of previously clinically silent multiple sclerosis in one patient taking Rimonabant suggests that any patients with an underlying neurological condition should not take Rimonabant, given the neuroprotective role of the endocannabinoid system in many experimental paradigms of neurological disease.