Wednesday, February 17, 2010


You'd think that they would have done studies to determine if pot is harmful or helpful before declaring a war on it, wasting untold billions of dollars fighting it, and imprisoning millions of people for using it:
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The first U.S. clinical trials in more than two decades on the medical benefits of marijuana confirm pot is effective in reducing muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis and pain caused by certain neurological injuries or illnesses, according to a report issued Wednesday. 
Igor Grant, a psychiatrist who directs the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California, San Diego, said five studies funded by the state involved volunteers who were randomly given real marijuana or placebos to determine if the herb provided relief not seen from traditional medicines.
Then there's this, from the Chicago Tribune last year:

U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk will call for legislation Monday that would toughen drug-trafficking laws regarding a highly potent form of marijuana, with penalties of up to 25 years in prison for a first-time offense.
And this:

Twenty-five-year-old Weldon Angelos celebrated Christmas in federal prison this year ... just like he'll do every year until he's 80. Last month, Angelos was sentenced to 55 years in prison for selling marijuana to undercover police officers. As U.S. District Judge Paul Cassell pointed out at sentencing, that's more time than he would have received if he had hijacked an airplane (25 years), beaten someone to death in a fight (13 years), or raped a 10-year-old child (11 years). In fact, the maximum sentence for all those crimes combined is less than the federal mandatory minimum sentence for a drug felony involving a gun. (Angelos was carrying a gun at the time of his arrest, although he never brandished it or threatened anyone.) 
The assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case justified putting Angelos -- a first-time offender and father of two -- behind bars for 55 years by saying that he was a "purveyor of poison" who got what he deserved. (The "poison" was marijuana, which has never killed anyone.)
And this:

Over $19 billion was spent on the war on drugs by the federal government in 2003, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. This equates to $600 per second. Of this money, 61% went to criminal justice, and 30% went for treatment and prevention programs ("What Does The Drug War Cost?" New Times, June 24, 1999). Another $30 billion was spent by state and local governments.
According to the Schaffer Library of Drug Policy, it costs approximately $450,000 to put a single drug dealer in jail. This cost includes the costs of arrest, conviction, room, and board.
And this:

Annual Causes of Death in the United States

And then of course, this:
Nearly 45,000 annual deaths are associated with lack of health insurance, according to a new study published online today by the American Journal of Public Health. That figure is about two and a half times higher than an estimate from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2002.
Now, try to make sense of any of that.

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