Smoke Signals: Martin Lee On Growing U.S. Movement to Legalize Marijuana

Democracy Now: a look at the outcome of this month’s historic votes in Colorado and Washington state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Even before this, 18 states and the District of Columbia allowed the medical use of marijuana. Now, many are asking whether the passage of these latest measures could be the beginning of the end for marijuana prohibition.

All of this comes as the federal government continues to consider marijuana an illegal drug, and the Obama administration has supported police crackdowns even on medical marijuana.

Meanwhile, it has ignored studies that show the plant can be effective in treating everything from depression to cancerous tumors.

Democracy Now is joined by Martin Lee, a longtime investigative reporter and author of several books. His most recent is “Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana — Medical, Recreational and Scientific.”

Marijuana could be an “exit drug”

Via New Mexico Independent An often heard assertion about marijuana is that it’s a “gateway drug,” one that leads young people into using more dangerous drugs over time. But new research and programs are now examining its potential as an exit drug.

A recent study of a medical marijuana patients group found that a significant number of them were using the drug as a substitute for alcohol and other drugs

Forty percent have used cannabis as a substitute for alcohol, 26% as a substitute for illicit drugs and 66% as a substitute for prescription drugs. The most common reasons given for substituting were: less adverse side effects (65%), better symptom management (57%), and less withdrawal potential (34%) with cannabis.

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