Tag: cannabis

Abolishing the DEA Would be Good for Your Health

By Francis Folz | United States

Like most presidents of the 20th century, Richard Nixon was a statist. His policies reflected this throughout his troubled presidency. This, of course, includes the elimination of the gold standard, the institution of wage and price controls, and the creation of unconstitutional federal programs. Most, notably, Nixon created the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

A History of Harm

Since he created the agency, it has been the most prominent overlord of personal responsibility. America has a  long-held claim that it is the land of the free. However, the DEA has usurped every American’s sovereignty, spending millions of dollars on arresting and detaining Americans. What for? Nixon and the DEA claimed that “subversive substances” were a public enemy.

Another adverse quality of the Drug Enforcement Agency is their stifling of medical research on prohibited drugs. From cannabis to LSD, they restrict the ability to research clear health benefits. Here are a few examples of how the DEA restrains medical progress, despite the potential to assuage many Americans’ suffering.

Cannabis and the DEA

The United States has recognized cannabis as a medicine since 1996. Despite this, the DEA’s resistance to reefer and science has been robust. While numerous studies over the past few decades have proven the benefits of marijuana, there is still much more ground to cover. 

For example, it took until 1990 for scientists to discover cannabinoid receptors within the human brain. Cannabis’s designation as a schedule one substance since 1971 has been the most formidable obstacle to delving into marijuana’s myriad of health benefits. Interestingly, the state prohibited the drug far before they even knew of these receptors.

All schedule one illicit drugs, according to the DEA, are dangerous for consumption, highly addictive, and possess no medical value. First of all, it is unconstitutional for the federal government to even create a ranking such as this. But going beyond that, it is absurd for them to consider marijuana a schedule one narcotic.

More than half of all states have some form of medical marijuana, and even the federal government holds a patent for medical marijuana. Furthermore, 85% of Americans believe cannabis should be medically legal. Thus, many wonder why the state still refuses to recognize the drug’s health benefits.

Psilocybin Treatments

Though hard to believe, magic mushrooms, like cannabis, have possessed medicinal and cultural merit for quite a while. However, in the 1970’s, Timothy Leary, a prominent member of the 60’s counter-culture movement, conducted a study called the Concord Prison Experiment. In his study, he distributed psychedelic mushrooms coupled with assisted group therapy to prisoners. He then measured recidivism rates to test the effects of psilocybin-induced treatment. Initially, the results were fruitful, reducing the recidivism rate by 50 percent. 

Another trailblazing psilocybin study conducted in the 1960’s is the “Good Friday Experiment”. Led by doctorate student Walter Pahnke, two groups of theology students attended Good Friday service. Pahnke gave one group the mushrooms and left the other as a control. The objective was to assess whether or not psilocybin could deepen the religious experience. 

As theorized, all members of the psilocybin group reported a substantially more profound experience than the members of the control. These results, as well as others, further discredit the DEA’s claim that psilocybin is a dangerous, addictive substance with no health or therapeutic benefit.

LSD: Lost Past and Lost Potential

In 1938, Swiss scientist Albert Holfmann successfully separated the molecule lysergic acid diethylamide while studying ergot in his laboratory. Ever since his bicycle ride home transformed into a trip of a lifetime, scientists have experimented with LSD, eager to learn of its usefulness. Scientists aren’t the only ones intrigued by the compound. Some historians believe LSD may have been at the crux of the Salem Witch Trials. One plausible explanation is that the women may have ingested ergot, a fungus found on wheat, which contains the LSD.

Although the DEA continues to categorize acid as a perilous substance with no benefit, health or otherwise, to our well-being, the scientific community continues to prove otherwise. Acid is infamous for its ability to stimulate the imagination and to make users more creative and insightful. Other studies conclude that LSD alleviates anxiety, especially amongst the terminally ill. 

But perhaps the most appalling aspect of the DEA’s tyrannical stronghold over the substance is that bromine, a compound identical to acid without the psychedelic-induced trip, has repeatedly reduced cluster headaches, which are intensified migraines notorious for their painful nature. However, since bromine closely resembles LSD, researchers are often unable to further tests bromine’s inexplicable ability to relieve the agony of the horrendous headaches, leaving sufferers helpless and in excruciating misery. 

The DEA, through regulation, is a great threat to the well-being and freedom of Americans. Ending this agency, and Nixon’s failed drug war along with it, would bring a new age of research and medicinal gains. Only through abolishing the DEA can we reap these clear health benefits.


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New Jersey Set to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

By Dane Larsen | @therealdanelars

According to New Jersey State Senate President Steven Sweeney, the State Congress will vote to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes in the very near future. As he has all of the votes to pass the bill that would further expand the state’s medical marijuana program as well, Sweeney and the other Senate Democrats will draft a proposal to make the necessary changes in New Jersey that have been a long time coming.

62% of residents in New Jersey are polling in favor of legalizing the drug for recreational use, including 90% of reporting ages 18 through 34 in favor, and 5% undecided as of August 22nd, 2018. This polling number had jumped from 59% just since mid-April of this year, and from 48% in favor in mid-September of 2017.

The medicinal marijuana program of the State of New Jersey has expanded exponentially under their current Governor, Phil Murphy. After signing an executive order to fully develop the project, the number of registered patients rose from 10,000 to 25,000. He states that the “program in Michigan, a state with a similar population to New Jersey, currently serves 218,000 patients, and the program in Arizona, a state with a smaller population than New Jersey, serves over 136,000 patients”. If or when this legislation gets passed, New Jersey will be the 10th state of the US to do so (not counting the District of Colombia), following in the footsteps of Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts, New Jersey’s neighbors to the northeast.

The specifics of a bill regarding this topic aren’t exact yet, with no real bill written yet by Sweeney. One idea Gov. Murphy has drawn out would be a 25% tax on products containing weed. Sweeney has shot down this idea, saying that it would only “incentivize people to keep using the black market”. It is clear that the final form of the bill is still being drafted, but action will be taken in the near future.

Backed by a force of Progressive Democrats, a driven Senate President, and a Governor who is finally willing to make the change regarding weed in the state, a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in New Jersey isn’t too far out of the realm of possibilities. Currently, in the state Senate, there are 25 Democrats, and 15 Republicans, and in the lower portion of state Congress, the General Assembly holds 55 Democrats and 26 Republicans. Not to say that all Democrats will vote for such a bill, but the traction is gaining both in the state Capital, and all around the state to push for the passage of this proposition.


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CBD is Helping Texans, But the State Wants to Take it Away

By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

In 2015, Texas passed the Compassionate Use Act, which allowed for the limited sale of CBD products for medical uses. CBD is a product of marijuana, and while it does not have the same psychoactive properties of THC, is has been used effectively in treating pain and epilepsy.

Continue reading “CBD is Helping Texans, But the State Wants to Take it Away”

The Legalization Movement Only Hurts Libertarians

By Ryan Lau | United States

As the beloved 4/20 approaches, legal marijuana advocates will take to the streets and smoke across the country. Many locations, including Burlington, Vermont, even have established “smoke-outs” for protesters to participate in. Yet, their actions, however well-intentioned, only hurt the liberty movement, for a number of key reasons. First of all, the use of marijuana in this recreational setting serves as an inhibitor to change. Also, the specific goals of these movements only harm the future of liberty by restricting further progress.

As it currently stands, government forces us Americans to play into a system of representative government. Those representatives, whether they have a right to do so or not, make decisions about the lives of other people, decisions which come down in the form of laws. I am in no way disputing the notion that the law is unjust, but rather conceding its unfortunate existence. Due to the majority’s belief in it, the law stands. The state is thus able to use this belief to tighten its grip over the citizens. So, what can we do to get our freedoms back efficiently? Certainly not a smoke-out.

Ultimately, libertarianism centers around the principle of self-ownership. In order for a society to function on the principle of self-ownership, individuals must also exhibit personal responsibility. As a free and equal individual, each of us is able to do as we please, provided that we do not restrict any other equal individuals from doing the same. Yet, usage of recreational marijuana does exactly this, not to others, but to ourselves.

Some short term side effects of consuming marijuana include dizziness, shallow breathing, and slowed reaction time. Thinking about this, one realizes that a dizzy and slow activist is probably less likely to bring about real change. Perhaps, rather than getting caught in the crippling hazes of majority and smoke, these activists should save the blaze for others, or at least for their own homes, instead focusing on professionalism in order to make real change.

Allegedly, these activists have a goal of marijuana legalization. Yet, it is the government officials that they need to convince with these movements. By placing a bloc of disoriented fools under public scrutiny, they only push moderate politicians further away from their cause by embodying some of the negative side effects. Of course, the disoriented fools are not representative of the majority of marijuana users. However, when media gives them the most attention, they become the stereotype of the marijuana user. A mob of stoners will garner considerably more views, and become a much more entertaining stereotype, than a businessman eating a brownie after a long week’s work will. Yet, the politician will more likely see the story of the businessman as legitimate. Hence, exemplifying current stereotypes through foolish movements will only continue to hurt the movement.

Despite the clear pitfalls of the marijuana protesters’ images, this is only the beginning. Much more important to discuss is the fact that these people are simply not advocating for liberty. Essentially, they are only calling for more government regulation, and normalizing asking government officials for permission to act. In fact, the biggest qualm for this movement comes in its very name. By using the word “legalize”, marijuana advocates cede all permission to run their own lives.

The word “legalize” has a very dark, underlying connotation that most will not pick up on. Essentially, it implies that the entity doing the legalizing has full control over the people’s lives. By setting legalization as the far boundary for discussion in the direction of liberty, government only gains power.

Furthermore, the term legalization implies a certain degree of state control regarding it. More specifically, it allows for various forms of taxation and regulation on the plant. Though it becomes a legal substance, it is still very much a controlled substance. Thus, this change is not a step towards freedom, it is merely a slight change in the circumstances in which government will take away individual freedoms.

In fact, this change actually makes the situation worse for true liberty advocates by pacifying moderate supporters. This worsened situation comes as soon as legalization advocates begin praising regulations and taxes as valid reasons for the legalization of the substance. By doing so, government has now successfully framed the debate in a way that entirely excludes liberty as an option. Just as the Republican and Democratic parties are framed to represent two opposing sides within a relatively narrow ideological chamber, the same is now done to the marijuana debate. When we use the word legalize, we allow government to control both sides of the debate. We allow authoritarianism to seep into the libertarian viewpoint. When this happens, true freedom is lost.

Without a doubt, asking the government permission to use a substance under certain circumstances is not freedom. If an individual is not directly preventing anyone from acting freely, they may rightfully act freely without permission. Unfortunately, most legalization movements have lost sight of the ideals of liberty that they claim to stand for. As increasing numbers of reports praise marijuana tax revenues and regulations, freedom advocates lose, and governments win. By bringing the substance into the legal scope, they control it far more than they ever did through criminalizing it.

Hence, if legalization is not the answer, then true deregulation is. We must, as a society, resist the bait of legalization, as it only sets back the movement. We must avoid using the substance in scenarios where we need to be at the pinnacle of mental focus and quick reaction. Most importantly, we must not lose sight of liberty, rather than any one particular policy victory, as our end goal. True liberty does not come through taxation or regulation. One cannot become free by asking permission.

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The Fight To Legalize Cannabis Nationwide Continues

Nick Hamilton | United States

As many Americans know, today is April 20th, otherwise known as “420.” Today, marijuana advocates around the country come together to celebrate this plant, whether it’s legal in their state or not.

People have demanded the legalization of weed for a long time now, however, our federal & state governments simply won’t budge. That hasn’t stopped Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Colorado, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and– get this– WASHINGTON DC from legalizing the plant. New York is considering legalization, and an overwhelming majority of states have legalized it for at least medical use. As of now, the only states who still prohibit marijuana on all levels are Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Idaho. However, there’s a huge push to get the plant legal for all uses nationwide.

In Bexar County, which covers the San Antonio area in Texas, there has been a cite and release program to help prevent people with a small amount of weed from getting jail time. However, on February 10th, 2018, a group known as “Open Carry Walks” organized an open carry walk in San Antonio to fight for the right to carry marijuana openly in public. Not only that, but in 2017, a campaign known as the Global Marijuana March set up marches in eight different Texas cities: Dallas, Fort Worth, El Paso, Amarillo, San Antonio, Houston, Lubbock, and the capital city, Austin. Texas is a medical marijuana state, but only 15 doctors in the state are allowed to prescribe it, so it’s very difficult to obtain.
Legalization has proved to be very effective for the good in states like Colorado.

Colorado raked in $76M in revenue in their first year of legalization and used $35M to fund their education system. In 2015, that revenue increased to $135M. In Washington, $83M was made in revenue off of weed in the first year, and in 2017, $230M was made off the plant by the government. But “weed is bad,” am I right?

Putting money aside, an unexpected result of legalization was that in 2014, according to the American Journal of Public Health, Colorado saw a 6.5 percent DECREASE in opioid deaths, a trend that had been increasing for fourteen years straight. In the US today, we’re trying to fight opioid addiction. I smell some hypocrisy there.
So on 4/20, remember, our work is not done. Our duty to make the United States a marijuana welcoming nation is not done yet. Work doesn’t stop until it’s not illegal to possess this plant that can make this country money, especially after that atrocity of a budget passed just four weeks ago to this day. Enjoy 4/20, everyone!

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