Recently in Drugs Category
The head of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration is now openly criticizing Barack Obama for his recent comments over the question of marijuana legalization, according to multiple reports.
The Boston Herald reports it has sources who heard DEA chief Michele Leonhart "slam" Obama at last week's National Sheriffs' Association winter meeting in Washington. The Herald reports the sheriffs in Bristol County, Massachusetts, and Kern County, California, both reported that Leonhart was critical of the president's claim that marijuana's affects are no different than alcohol's.
I have known Michele for years. I met her during the Bush Administration, when I was Counselor to the DEA Administrator and she was Deputy Administrator.
I came to have great admiration for her incredible work ethic, knowledge and integrity. I am prouder than ever to be her friend.
"Middle-class kids don't get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do," Mr. Obama added. Actually, almost nobody gets locked up for pot. Americans collectively smoke for three billion days a year and use has increased 38% since 2007, according to a Rand Corp. analysis of federal health survey data, yet there were merely about 750,000 marijuana-related "arrests" in the U.S. in 2012. In the official FBI statistics that can mean anything from a ticket or summons to a full booking.
Very few people are incarcerated for simple possession, which makes up about 88% of arrests. There are currently about 40,000 state and federal prisoners serving time for marijuana-related convictions, and most have violent criminal histories. Most judges must be persuaded that someone is a true danger to society to sentence prison for mere drug use.
I thought the best observation was this:
If the President believes that marijuana prohibition is an injustice, he has an obligation to propose his own legislative reforms, instead of unilaterally suspending the enforcement of federal drug laws that don't fit his political agenda. Why not start with the State of the Union address? Whatever Mr. Obama's personal views on marijuana, his picking and choosing from the U.S. code is far more corrosive to the rule of law and trust in government.
On balance, society will not be better off with another legal mind-altering substance. In particular, our kids will not be better off with another legal mind-altering substance.
As the American Medical Association concluded in recommending against legalization in November, "Cannabis is a dangerous drug and as such is a public health concern." It added: "It is the most common illicit drug involved in drugged driving, particularly in drivers under the age of 21. Early cannabis use is related to later substance use disorders."
And this point, for me, is the most convincing: "Heavy cannabis use in adolescence causes persistent impairments in neurocognitive performance and IQ, and use is associated with increased rates of anxiety, mood, and psychotic thought disorders."
Next time you hear that pot should be treated as a medical issue, not a legal one, remember what the AMA has to say about its wonderful medical effects.
A new survey from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows that marijuana use among young people is on the rise.
The NIH 2013 Monitoring the Future Survey measures drug use and opinions among eighth, 10th and 12th graders in the U.S. This year, the major finding shows that the number of high schoolers who think marijuana is dangerous has continued to drop over the past decade. The data shows that teens are using it more often than they have in the past. And according to the researchers, such lax attitudes about pot will likely continue to lead to increased use.
This year's survey polled 41,675 students from 389 public and private schools, and found only 39.5% of 12th graders thought marijuana was harmful, which is down from 44.1% last year. Usage among high school seniors has increased as well. This year, 6.5% of seniors reported smoking pot daily, a slight increase from the 6% who reported the habit in 2003 and the 2.4% in 1993. While the increases were relatively small, greater usage is concerning since levels of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, have gone up from 3.75% in 1995 to an average of 15% in current marijuana cigarettes. For a developing brain, exposure to such doses has been linked to changes in the brain and memory loss.
Don't expect to be hearing a lot about this this story from the people who tell us so relentlessly that our views about pot should be grounded in science rather than moralizing.
"We have seen a sharp rise in drug-related disciplinary actions which, anecdotally, from credible sources, is being attributed to the changing social norms surrounding marijuana," said Janelle Krueger. Krueger is the program manager for Expelled and At-Risk Student Services for the Colorado Department of Education and also a longtime adviser to the Colorado Association of School Resource Officers.
Krueger said school officials believe the jump is linked to the message that legalization (even though it is still prohibited for anyone under 21) is sending to kids: that marijuana is a medicine and a safe and accepted recreational activity. It is also believed to be more available.
What a surprise!
The ACLU cast legalizing pot as a solution to overcrowding in the state's prisons, where the incarcerated population has exploded in recent decades. The per capita prison population in 2010 was nearly four times larger than that of 1980, according to official data compiled by the California Sentencing Institute.Now that is an utterly irrelevant datum offered to support the argument. The size of the prison population tells us nothing relevant unless we know what portion of that population is in for marijuana.
The most recent California prison census, June 30 of this year, is here. The total prison population is 134,160. How many for marijuana?