by David Downs
The US Drug Enforcement Administration's "Position on Marijuana 2010" is a hot document. Dated to July, it didn't really start circulating until this January when activist Ed Rosenthal found his name in it. Since then, the DEA link to the paper is gone, but a Google site search yields the file. Yesterday, the Marijuana Policy Project told supporters that the DEA's position paper labels the drug law reform group Enemy #1. But that's just a little bit of the 54-page collection of anecdotal Reefer Madness. Thin on actual research, the little science the DEA cites is biased. The paper almost never discloses the number of patients in a study group, and can't cite much US research — ironically, because the DEA plays a role in ensuring such studies never get approved. But the paper does relate some sad drug war stories, like the following:
Tale of Irma
The legalization movement is not simply a harmless academic exercise. The mortal danger of thinking that marijuana is “medicine” was graphically illustrated by a story from California. In the spring of 2004, Irma Perez was “in the throes of her first experience with the drug Ecstasy… when, after taking one Ecstasy tablet, she became ill and told friends that she felt like she was…„going to die?… Two teenage acquaintances did not seek medical care and instead tried to get Perez to smoke marijuana. When that failed due to her seizures, the friends tried to force-feed marijuana leaves to her, “apparently because [they] knew that drug is sometimes used to treat cancer patients.” Irma Perez lost consciousness and died a few days later when she was taken off life support. She was 14 years old.
Also among the highlights:
- “While some people [think] the federal government has relaxed its policy on 'medical' marijuana, this in fact is not the case. Investigations and prosecutions of violations of state and federal law will continue.”
- Pot smoking doesn't cause lung cancer, but can lead to bronchitis.
- Vaporizers can cut down on bronchitis — but pot can still make kids psycho.
- In California, one hundred and thirty-two cities and nine counties have banned cannabis clubs outright; 14 counties and 101 cities have moratoria against them; 36 cities and nine counties have ordinances regulating them. (out 463 total cities, according to the League of California Cities, and 58 counties — Wikipedia).
- As of May 2010: There are 119 researchers registered with DEA to perform studies with marijuana, marijuana extracts, and non-tetrahydrocannabinol marijuana derivatives that exist in the plant, such as cannabidiol and cannabinol. Eighteen of the researchers are approved to conduct research with smoked marijuana on human subjects.
- Oh, and some of the residents of Willits, Calif. really hate seasonal trimmers: “They sleep behind the Safeway and Rays and go to the bathroom there. They go to Our Daily Bread and eat the food poor people need.”