Cops Are Not Doctors, Pot Should Not Be a “Last Resort”

(Source: Drug Justice)  As Los Angeles grapples with the uncontrolled proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries, drug warriors continue to rely on the laughably weak argument that “just anyone” can get a doctor’s recommendation for marijuana, and that the majority of medical users “just want to get high.”

Here are some good talking points to use when you hear this garbage:

1. Cops are not doctors. Practically every news report I can find about marijuana dispensaries quotes some dim-bulb prosecutor or cop (yes, there is another kind) making a comment like, “Everyone I see coming out of the dispensary looks young and healthy.” For examples, look here, here, and here. Yes, the journalist will often qualify the statement with an “according to” or an “Officer Smith claims,” but why are these quotes even being included in the first place? What makes journalists think their readers  need to hear the medical opinion of a drug cop with no education? I mean, the last “drug interdiction specialist” that pulled me over became a cop after his career as a long-haul trucker didn’t work out. He actually told me that.

It’s already bad enough that we take some of society’s least developed minds, screen out the ones with high IQs, teach them to take pleasure in the suffering of others, and give them guns and the authority to ruin good people’s lives. Now we have reporters turning to them for medical opinions?

2. Insomnia is a serious illness. Anyone who scoffs at medical marijuana patients who cite chronic insomnia as their malady has obviously never gone for months (or even days) at a time without rejuvenating sleep. As someone who suffered from insomnia for 25 years, I speak from personal experience. Night after night I laid awake, angry that tomorrow would be another miserable, heavy-eyed, day. The only nights of sleep I got were the result of total exhaustion from several preceding nights of agony. I would watch the clock obsessively, knowing that if I wasn’t asleep by a certain time, there would be no hope.  I tried to cure it with variations in my schedule and habits. I tried prescription sleep aids, which, as anyone who uses them knows, provide low-quality sleep and leave the user feeling lethargic during the day. I also tried melatonin and tryptophan supplements to no avail.

Lack of sleep very directly causes low productivity, depression, mental fatigue, and lots of other excruciating conditions that drug warriors would probably consider “minor” (see #1). Insomnia must be dealt with, but since prohibitionists fancy themselves medical experts, they will quickly retort that there is no need to treat it with cannabis because there are many legal medications available.

Let me share a list of some side effects of mirtazapine, one of the “approved” drugs I tried (source: suicidal thoughts, hypertension, hypotension, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, hostility or aggressiveness, engaging in unusual or dangerous activities, restlessness, inability to sit still, extreme elation that may switch back and forth with a depressed or sad mood, other unusual changes in behavior, hallucinations, fast heart rate, chest palpitations, difficulty sleeping, sore throat, fever, infection, unexplained rash, hives, itching, unexplained swelling, wheezing, difficulty breathing or swallowing, dry mouth, increased appetite, high cholesterol, constipation, weight gain, weakness, dizziness, high triglycerides, fever, chills, abnormal dreams, abnormal thinking, tremors, muscle pain, frequent urination, confusion, back pain, fluid retention, sensitivity to the sun, migraine headaches, canker sores, hypothyroidism, weight loss, urinary tract infections, seizures, hiccups, asthma, hair loss, loss of sex drive, impotence, ejaculation problems.

This list is incomplete. It doesn’t mention the brutal electric shock sensations I would get randomly throughout the day and the fact that every fifth night or so, I could not sleep because I had an agonizing sensation that my knee and elbow joints were locked up and an urge to dislocate my limbs. Oh, and if I wanted to get out of bed before 2:00pm, herculean effort was required.

During that 25 years, I suffered from an even worse illness: ignorance. A total buy-in to D.A.R.E. generation government anti-drug propaganda. I naively believed that government had my best interest at heart and that cops were there to protect me. Worse, I believed that only “bad” people became associated with marijuana.

3. Cannabis doesn’t need FDA approval because it’s not a drug. Invariably, drug warriors will scream that cannabis cannot be a safe and effective medication because it has not undergone the “rigorous” FDA screening process. Let’s put aside the fact that it’s actually the ONDCP and the DEA, not cannabis’ lack of merit, that prevent this from happening, and consider the implication: the government doesn’t care whether something actually makes you healthier – only whether it has determined that something makes you healthier.

Of course, the real culprit is the fact that anyone can grow pot and the FDA exists to serve the pharmaceutical industry. An FDA endorsement of cannabis will only happen if big drug companies find a way to monopolize the market. We don’t need Pfizer to make cannabis for us, and that’s downright scary if you’re Pfizer and word gets out that cannabis can replace a bunch of your products.

We already know that the commission President Nixon hired to discredit marijuana returned the opposite result, recommending that prohibition end. I mean, Nixon hired this commission specifically to legitimize his propaganda and it still couldn’t find a reason to ban the herb. Despite access to sound science on the subject, Nixon could not bear to see those dope-smoking hippies protesting his war on Vietnam. With this knowledge publicly available, why does anyone trust the government’s position on anything? Think about it. Government is the original source of everything anti-marijuana in today’s culture, and we know that the government spat in the face of scientific evidence to bolster today’s federal drug policy. We don’t need to look to that same government for “approval” of the things we put in our bodies. You know, the one that approved a hair loss drug that shrinks users’ genitalia.

4. When neighbors complain that dispensaries attract “unsavory characters” to their neighborhoods, they’re actually talking about young males. Let’s face it. There is no way to convince your average “community member” that gets quoted in the local media that being a 20-something male – maybe with long hair, tattoos, or even, God forbid, corn rows – does not make a person a criminal. I won’t go into too much detail about the underlying racial implications of these oblivious statements.

I wonder if anyone who complains about dispensaries ever bothers to count the number of liquor stores in the area or within [arbitrary number] feet of a school, church, McDonald’s playground, or residence. I wonder if they would change their minds and support full legalization if they were informed that the crime associated with cannabis is caused by its high price, which is caused by prohibition.  I wouldn’t hold my breath on that. D.A.R.E.-induced ignorance is a very serious illness that is difficult to overcome. Ironically, medical marijuana really helps with that.