The last day to register to vote in the upcoming California election came and went October 18, setting the stage for a climactic conclusion to the year's most popular ballot measure — Proposition 19.
Last week, the federal government, along with law enforcement from Los Angeles, orchestrated a press briefing denouncing the measure and saying it would not change federal law. Opponents noted that states have long led the way in overturning unjust federal laws like alcohol prohibition, and such a process is actually part of the fabric of American politics.
The press briefing came after a landmark RAND Corporation study appeared to denounce the government's ability to measure the effectiveness of its drug war, and showed how legalizing the plant would defund local drug dealers and Mexican drug cartels.
The RAND Corporation stated that federal drug statistics are pretty much total garbage: "Existing [government] estimates about drug production and consumption are cryptic, inconsistent, and often impossible to verify."
"It's a topic I've been writing about for 25 years," said a RAND drug policy researcher on a conference call about the paper. "These are numbers that come out of nowhere and there's often no explanation of how they derive them or why they're inconsistent over time. They're just utterly inconsistent with data that is available and documented."
RAND researchers also said that violent Mexican drug cartels might as well go into selling store produce if Prop 19 passes. "We think [drug gangs] would make about as much money as they make from growing carrots and lettuce," said the authors of "Reducing Drug Trafficking Revenues and Violence in Mexico: Would Legalizing Marijuana in California Help?"
Critics of Prop 19 say violent Mexican drug gangs would move into domestic pot production if Prop 19 passes, but the idea is bogus, the researchers found. Cartels wouldn't be able to compete with legitimate producers on quality, cost, distribution, or sales.
"After legalization, will marijuana production be the sort of thing that criminals are unusually good at? It's maybe hard to think about, but the whole logistics and technology and approach to producing a legal plant are not one that criminals have any special skill at," researchers said.
Californians' great, low-cost cannabis is already pressuring low-quality Mexican dope in the state's market, the study found. If Prop 19 passed and California's domestic exports went up — as they likely would — the same effect would happen across the country. Mexican drug cartels could lose 20 percent of their revenue, amounting to $2 billion dollars a year, RAND found.
Seeds and Stems
The federal government's designated pot doctor has crafted pot suppositories for stoners to insert rectally, Legalization Nation has learned. The startling fact appears in Dr. Julie Holland's new non-fiction paperback The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis, coming out this month on Park Street Press. Dr. Holland is a psychiatrist specializing in drugs and the brain, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine, and author of Ecstasy: The Complete Guide. She spent three years researching The Pot Book, a hefty 551-page primer on the risks and rewards of the plant, written in conjunction with 52 doctors, academics, writers, and thinkers including Michael Pollan, Neal Pollack, and Douglas Rushkoff.
Inside The Pot Book, Holland describes how the federal government has four, little-known medical cannabis patients and a pot doctor who grows weed in the country's one legal farm. The government's pot doctor, Dr. Mahmoud A. ElSohly, has patents out on drug testing methods, as well some interesting ideas about how to administer the drug: anally.
"Somehow he thought it would be a little easier," Holland says. "I'm like, 'Really?' It's kind of funny. You can't make this stuff up. He thinks it's the delivery way of the future. I don't know what his thinking is."
Dr. ElSohly states in the book that rectal pot poppers mitigate dosage variability problems associated with eating pot. "It's an excellent preparation, a good product, but because it is a suppository, some people have a really hard time accepting it as a delivery system, although it is pharmaceutically acceptable and it's been around for years," ElSohly tells Holland in the book. "But it's still not out there yet. The pharmaceutical company has it, and hopefully they'll approve it before too long."
ElSohly added: "It would be for the exact same indications that THC is good for. Right now it's only approved for the nausea and vomiting of cancer patients and appetite stimulation in AIDS patients. But there are other indications that THC might be really useful for, things like glaucoma, pain — both neuropathy and arthritic pain — and in terms of a preoperative analgesic or antidepressant. There are just so many indications."
Holland says ElSohly's THC suppositories are just another mixed message coming from the federal government. The government treats the medicinal herb as a schedule 1 drug, reserved for substances with no known medical value and a high potential for abuse, yet it also gives away pot for medical use, owns a pot farm, and has a patent on the use of pot as something called a "neuroprotectant."
"The most significant harm associated with smoking cannabis is being arrested," Holland says. "Things that can happen include losing your job, losing your kid, your student scholarships, your student loan money. There's a lot of bad things that can happen to you because of our drug policy, not because of the drug. There's this great Jimmy Carter quote that basically says, 'If the consequences of enforcing a drug law are creating more harms than the drug itself, it needs to be changed.'"