Daily Roundup: Legal Dope Would Cost Half as Much; Bill O'Reilly Debates Reformer



The UK's Daily Finance examined the effects of the country approving prescription THC spray Sativex this week. They found the actual market value of marijuana could be anywhere from $1.50 to $10 per gram, as opposed to $20 in the US under prohibition. They based their numbers on various quasi-legal markets like Amsterdam ($1.50-$10 a gram) and Canada ($4.91). "In Canada, the standard daily dose of medical marijuana ranges between 0.5 and 1.5 grams, which would cost roughly $2.50 to $7.50 for most patients. By comparison, a basic daily dose of Sativex costs roughly $16 per day. And a daily dose of Marinol, a drug containing synthetic THC that's prescribed for AIDS and cancer patients in the US, runs between $9 and $13.50 per day. This translates into a monthly price of $150 for marijuana, $337 for Marinol, and $480 for Sativex. Do the math. More news after the jump.

— Drug-law reformer Ethan Nadelmann squared off against the perennially apoplectic Bill O'Reilly on the issue of drug laws. O'Reilly took the last refuge of the scoundrel and invoked "the children," noting that 70 percent of child neglect and abuse cases involve alcohol or drug-involved parents. "I can't believe you want to widen the intoxication net," he said. Nadelmann noted that most of those cases are for alcohol, and what's even more detrimental to families is arresting two million family members per year for what's essentially a health issue. O'Reilly should debate the spouse of the unarmed father who was executed with a shotgun by Vegas cops serving a pot warrant last week.

— The Sacramento Bee reports on a legalization debate between retired Orange County Judge Jim Gray and the local Sac sheriff.

The sheriff argued that the measure could cause law enforcement and other public agencies to lose federal grants because legal pot could violate federal "drug-free workplace" rules. He said private employers could also face challenges from legal pot because "people can possess and use immediately before and after work. "It's very difficult to make a determination as to whether or not they're under the influence at any given time," he said.

As reported on Legalization Nation, the lawyer who authored Tax Cannabis 2010 states that legalization does not allow you to come to work high any more than existing law allows you to come to work drunk. It does not jeopardize "drug-free workplace" rules. Legal precedent has already been set in the matter. It's high time reporters fact-check such obvious cant before going to print.

— Today is a National Call-In Day for Criminal Justice Reform. The US is considering a bill to merely look at reforming the criminal justice system. The Students Sensible Drug Policy asks people nationwide to urge passage of this legislation. "Call Senate Leadership to ask them to prioritize and support Senate passage of the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, S. 714. Please call the following Senators to ask them to prioritize and support Senate passage of this legislation: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), 202-224-5556. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), 202-224-3135. Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL), 202-224-9447."

— As California considers reforming cannabis law, alcohol costs California $38 billion a year in car accidents, wife beatings, and more. Now, San Francisco might become the first place in the nation to impose a tax to recover some of those booze externalities, the AP reports. "It would bring in $15 million a year to recover the costs of the ambulance and hospital costs involved in transporting and treating inebriates as well has health department programs aimed at alcohol abuse. ... Public health director Dr. Mitch Katz says he supports the legislation, saying alcohol abuse has a tremendous cost on the health care system."

— Unlike cannabis, tobacco is physically addictive and causes lung cancer. In response, New York City cigarettes just jumped to $11.20 a pack after health taxes.

— The US and UK might have invented modern drug trafficking, but it was Colombia and Pablo Escobar who get all the ink. The A.V. Club reviews "The Two Escobars" which airs tonight on ESPN at 9 p.m. Eastern.

"If you're unfamiliar with the stories of either Pablo Escobar or soccer player Andrés Escobar ... The short version: It's great. Both of the Escobars at the story's center die. Pablo dies after being hunted for years and years by rivals and former friends who turned against him and the Colombian government (funded and aided by friends in the United States). Andrés dies after he scores a decisive own goal against the United States in a World Cup match, an own goal that effectively eliminates Colombia from the competition in the first round, something no one expected. But the events that lead to his death are more complicated, stemming, seemingly, from his inability to let go and his foolhardy decision to leave his house and try to go out and have fun in the wake of his mistake. Now, obviously, he should have been able to without fearing for his life, but death threats rained down around the team after they lost their first World Cup game to Romania. Those threats, mostly broadcast by drug kingpins who bet heavily on the game and lost millions, became even more present once the team was back in Colombia."

— Trouble with San Francisco's drug lab has metastasized into a full-blown Acquired Enforcement Deficiency Syndrome — or what we'll call AEDS — as local cops with newly disclosed histories of lying become incapable of fighting crime. The Chronicle reports, "Police Chief George Gascón conceded that in practical terms, an officer who has been hit with credible charges of lying "may not be able to work as a police officer ever again."

— And lastly, earlier this week we reported on the strong link between opinions on casual sex and the likelihood to support a drug war. Turns out, prudes prefer prison for the promiscuous. So is it just coincidence then that The Pill and the Drug War arose at the same time and rate? The New York Times publishes an op-ed arguing for more lax pill regulation amid a similar societal push for more realistic drug laws.

"Women don’t need a doctor to tell them whether they need the pill — they know when they are sexually active and want to avoid pregnancy. Pill instructions are easy to follow: Take one each day. There’s no chance of becoming addicted. Taking too many will make you nauseated, but won’t endanger your life, in contrast to some over-the-counter drugs, like analgesics. (There are even side benefits to taking the pill, like reduced risks of ovarian and uterine cancer.) ... Women don’t need a doctor to tell them if they need cold medicine or condoms, and they shouldn’t need a doctor’s permission to take the pill. Over-the-counter sales would expand access to safe, effective contraception, and help women take control over their sexual and reproductive lives."

Just replace "the pill" with "cannabis" and read that passage again.