Did you realize that the "War on Drugs" in this country has cost the American taxpayers a TRILLION dollars...that is trillion with a "t?" AND we won't even mention how many shattered lives it has left in its wake; the millions of mostly black and hispanic men who were incarcerated for possession of small amounts of cannabis...some for decades. This wasn't a drug war, it was a race war. Can you think of all the social programs this money could have been used for? What a waste!!!! Shame on you, Presidents starting with Nixon and still ongoing with Obama!
I was excited to see that we have a new "drug czar" in this country, although he doesn't like that title...especially after he declared that the 40+ years long "War on Drugs" is a failed policy. His name is Michael Botticelli and he is not only in favor of ending the "War on Drugs" but he is a recovered alcoholic, sober for the past 27 years and an openly gay man. This sounded really promising. I really expected him to do the right thing about telling the truth about drugs of all sorts.
He was just recently interviewed by Scott Pelley on the CBS magazine TV show, 60 Minutes. It started out really well. 21 million Americans are addicted to drugs. Half the federal inmates are incarcerated for drug offenses. Addicts should be viewed as patients, not criminals, and should be in treatment centers over jail. OK...depends on which drug we are talking about. Then, he talked about how opiates and prescription pain medications are the "gateway drugs" to heroin use. Check. That's a first, since everyone always blames cannabis as the "gateway drug" to heavier drug use.
According to Botticelli, $76 million in opiod prescription drugs were sold in the US in 1991 and by 2015, sales had increased to $207 million. 120 Americans die every day due to overdoses of prescription drugs and heroin. Guess how many deaths have ever been attributed to cannabis use in the history of the world? 0, zip, zilch, not a 1. Guess which drugs are legal and which are not? Does anybody else see something wrong with this picture?
And then we have the deaths associated with the legal drugs that many people don't even consider to be drugs; alcohol and tobacco. Over 500,000 Americans die a year from alcohol and tobacco related illnesses and accidents caused by drunk drivers, I would assume.
Cannabis 0, Alcohol, Tobacco, Prescription Drugs, over 543,800
I know which "drug" I would prefer to use. So, I'm feeling really positive about this guy and maybe the federal law regarding cannabis use will finally be changed in my lifetime. Wouldn't that be amazing? But, then, Michael Botticelli started talking about
marijuana cannabis and my heart sank...when he shook his head and said he wasn't a fan. Not only that, but the next sentence he uttered just made me SMDH. "So we know that about 1 in 9 people who use marijuana become addicted to marijuana." Who is the "we" and where did "we" get that statistic? And then the lies feeding the myths began...
"Dramatic decrease in the perception of risk among youth around occasional marijuana use." Not true. In fact, in Colorado, where recreational marijuana is legal, there is a decrease in teen usage. Have you never heard that if you make something forbidden, it will only make kids want to try it even more? First law of parenting.
"It's associated with poor academic performance, in exacerbating mental health conditions linked to lower IQ." Hey, Michael Botticelli, were you aware that many kids in high schools and colleges are popping illegally acquired Adderall so that they can do well on tests? That's really healthy, don'tchathink? Furthermore, Mr. Botticelli fears that states are going to become dependent on the revenue...which is a problem how? Oh, right..."it is tax revenue that's often based on bad public health policy." Apparently, the fact that millions of dollars generated by marijuana sales are going towards the schools and supporting social programs in Colorado is a bad thing.
So, there you have it, folks. You be the judge. I would love to hear your thoughts, as always.
I've written a series of posts about medical marijuana. If you want to read more you can click on the "Medical Marijuana" tag at the top of my page.
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