Nov 102012
 

By Juan Cole (Informed Comment) Progressives will have to push Obama to the left if we are to get what we want. As for positive accomplishments, here are a few we should pressure him and Congress on:

5. He needs to have the Department of Justice look into the Koch Brother-backed legislation in two dozen states restricting the franchise by requiring a paid-for state i.d., which is a kind of poll tax. In many states, this legislation violates the 1965 Voting Rights act. We can’t let a couple of sour billionaires undo the achievements of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., achievements for which he gave his life.

6. That use of the Department of Justice would perhaps make its workers and its head, Eric Holder, too busy to go around kicking down the doors of medical marijuana clinics and confiscating their computers, records and cash, in states where the state has legalized marijuana. Obama was elected the first time by the youth, and had promised to cease Federal harassment of pot clinics, but reneged and proved much worse than Bush on this issue.

Holder should stop denying the clear medical uses and benefits of pot. In Colorado and Washington states, the same people who voted for him have legalized recreational marijuana. Moreover, the RAND Corp. concludes that legalization would defund the Mexican cartels. If the the Democratic Party continues on this Draconian path, it should not be surprised when it begins losing elections because a substantial younger constituency deserts it for the Green Party.

via Informed Comment: Thoughts on the Middle East, History and Religion.

 November 10, 2012  Posted by at 6:34 am Comments Off
Feb 262012
 

(Norml) The enactment of statewide laws allowing for the limited use of cannabis therapeutically is associated with reduced instances of suicide, according to a discussion paper published in January by the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany.

Researchers at Montana State University, the University of Colorado, and San Diego State University assessed rates of suicide in the years before and after the passage of statewide medical marijuana laws.

Authors found, “The total suicide rate falls smoothly during the pre-legalization period in both MML (medical marijuana law) and non-MML states. However, beginning in year zero, the trends diverge: the suicide rate in MML states continues to fall, while the suicide rate in states that never legalized medical marijuana begins to climb gradually.”

They reported that this downward trend in suicides in states post-legalization was especially pronounced in males. “Our results suggest that the passage of a medical marijuana law is associated with an almost 5 percent reduction in the total suicide rate, an 11 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 20- through 29-year-old males, and a 9 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 30- through 39-year-old males,” they determined.

Authors theorized that the limited legalization of cannabis may “lead to an improvement in the psychological well-being of young adult males, an improvement that is reflected in fewer suicides.” They further speculated, “The strong association between alcohol consumption and suicide-related outcomes found by previous researchers raises the possibility that medical marijuana laws reduce the risk of suicide by decreasing alcohol consumption.”

They concluded: “Policymakers weighing the pros and cons of legalization should consider the possibility that medical marijuana laws may lead to fewer suicides among young adult males.”

Full text of the discussion paper, “High on Life: Medical Marijuana Laws and Suicide,” is available online at: http://ftp.iza.org/dp6280.pdf.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 583-5500 or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org.

via Study: Passage Of Medical Marijuana Laws Correlated With Fewer Suicides.

 February 26, 2012  Posted by at 1:30 pm 1 Response »
Nov 302011
 

By John Ingold (Denver Post) The passage of state medical-marijuana laws is associated with a subsequent drop in the rate of traffic fatalities, according to a newly released study by two university professors.

The study — by University of Colorado Denver professor Daniel Rees and Montana State University professor D. Mark Anderson — found that the traffic-death rate drops by nearly 9 percent in states after they legalize marijuana for medical use. The researchers arrived at that figure, Rees said, after controlling for other variables such as changes in traffic laws, seat-belt usage and miles driven. The study stops short of saying the medical-marijuana laws cause the drop in traffic deaths.

Rees and Anderson say their study does not mean it is safer to drive stoned than drunk. Instead, they write, increased medical-marijuana usage at home might change patterns of substance use and driving.

Mason Tvert, the head of the pro- marijuana-legalization group SAFER, said the study suggests legalizing marijuana would be beneficial in unexpected ways.

“People who are drinking drive faster, take more risks, underestimate how impaired they are,” he said.

via Report shows fewer traffic fatalities after states pass medical-pot laws – The Denver Post.

 November 30, 2011  Posted by at 1:04 pm Comments Off
Nov 212011
 

(AllGov) Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles is refusing to grant a liver transplant to a cancer patient because he used medical marijuana, which not only is legal under California law but also was prescribed by a Cedars doctor.

Diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer in 2009, Norman B. Smith, 63, has been treated at Cedars-Sinai by oncologist Steven Miles, who approved medicinal marijuana in part to help his patient cope with the effects of chemotherapy. Smith became eligible for a liver transplant last year, but was removed from the list in February after testing positive for marijuana.

via AllGov – News – L.A. Hospital Denies Liver Transplant to Medical Marijuana User Despite Prescription from Its own Doctor.

 November 21, 2011  Posted by at 11:31 am Comments Off
Sep 222011
 

By Associated Press (Washington Post) A new study released Tuesday showed that when hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries were closed last year in Los Angeles crime rates rose in surrounding neighborhoods, challenging claims made by law enforcement agencies that the storefronts are magnets for crime.

The report by the nonprofit RAND Corp. reviewed crime reports for the 10 days prior to and the 10 days after city officials shuttered the clinics last summer after a new ordinance went into effect. The analysis revealed that crime increased about 60 percent within three blocks of a closed dispensary compared to the same parameters for those that remained open.

“If medical marijuana dispensaries are causing crime, then there should be a drop in crime when they close,” said Mireille Jacobson, a RAND senior economist and the study’s lead author. “Individual dispensaries may attract crime or create a neighborhood nuisance, but we found no evidence that medical marijuana dispensaries in general cause crime to rise.”

via Study: Crime in surrounding area increased after closure of LA medical marijuana dispensaries – The Washington Post.

 September 22, 2011  Posted by at 6:05 pm Comments Off