The Plant of Renown, Part 2
The Truth vs. the Latest Fear Tactics of the Prohibitionists
Two stories were covered in the mainstream media in April 2014, and of course the stories were not merely sensational. They were misleading.
An article in the Journal of the American Heart Association in April 2014 was picked up by the mainstream media who sensationalized the story and claimed that a new study found that Marijuana "causes" heart disease. However, the study actually said nothing of the kind. It did say that Cannabis can raise heart rate briefly, but most users develop tolerance to the effect and previous studies have shown that it doesn’t increase mortality rates, even among survivors of heart attacks. Essentially, the study was about what kinds of cardiac complications appeared in people who were reported to the French government for cannabis-related problems, but it told us little about the link between Cannabis use and cardiovascular disease.(See more here.)
Another story the mainstream media latched on to was published in the Journal of Neuroscience about a study at Harvard University in Boston and Northwestern University. It was about a neuroimaging study assessing the brains of a small cohort of regular Marijuana smokers and non-users. The brain scans identified various differences between the two groups in three aspects of brain morphometry, which is brain density, volume, and shape. That study also caught the mainstream media’s attention and there were exaggerated alarmist stories about Marijuana damaging your brain, altering your mind, being harmful, etc.
However, despite the sensationalist headlines, the study was not newsworthy. The findings only reflected differences between the Marijuana users and controls at a single point in time, and the researchers did not, and could not, demonstrate that the differences resulted from Marijuana smoking or even that the "abnormalities" relative to controls reflected actual changes from the subject's usual state. Moreover, in the study both control groups (20 marijuana users and 20 nonusers) were recruited from local universities and the findings actually showed that the Marijuana users were no more academically challenged than their non-using peers.
Furthermore, the study ignored decades of research studies about the potential residual adverse effects of Cannabis on brain cognition that showed that Marijuana does not poses any sort of permanent brain deficits. And, as summarized by HealthDay: “Psychiatric interviews revealed that the pot smokers did not meet criteria for drug dependence. For example, Marijuana use did not interfere with their studies, work or other activities, and they had not needed to increase the amount they used to get the same high.” (See more here and here.)
The fact is that fear tactics never work in the long run. They may scare people temporarily, as they did between 1937 and the 1960s, but the truth always comes out, as it did in the 1960s. And even when Congress reacted with an even more absurd law against Marijuana in 1971, most people simply ignored it because it was blatantly and obviously a false law.
All people, especially children and youth, are much better off and make better decisions when they have truthful, accurate information. In fact, we can and will do a much better job of keeping children and youth free of all drugs and alcohol if we would only be genuinely honest and frank with them, and not give them so much reason to disbelieve, distrust, and ignore adult authorities.
After all, as it is, every year there are millions of young people who use drugs for the first time, and even more millions of young people and adults who use Marijuana regularly, in spite of all the scare tactics against drug use, and more drugs are available on the street than ever before. This is obvious evidence of the dismal failure of the counterproductive and unreasonable war on drugs. It is time that we adopt rational and reasonable policies and laws regarding drugs, especially Marijuana.
We need to be sane and realistic about this, and we need to reject the foolish, senseless, misguided claims of Prohibitionists who claim that Marijuana is harmful. It is not, when used properly, sparingly, and for the proper reasons. In fact, it is actually a highly beneficial herb, a good medicine, and even a holy sacrament!
By the way, there are plenty of sources of true information about Marijuana. For example, there was a series of three articles by a mother of an autistic son, who she gave medical Marijuana. Anyone interested in medical Marijuana should read it, because there are many different strains and hybrids, which produce different effects. Some relieve pain better, some help one be more social, etc. There's a film documentary titled The Union: The Business Behind Getting High, which does a pretty good job of exposing the absurdity of Marijuana Prohibition. There's a great movie called Humboldt County, which is pretty informative too. The thing is, if you really seek the truth, you will find it.
On June 21, 2011, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officially denied a petition to initiate rulemaking proceedings to reschedule Marijuana. Even though rescheduling it would correct the gross mistake made in 1970 which declared it to be a Schedule I drug along with Heroin, the DEA still claims otherwise, declaring that Marijuana has no beneficial properties or use, simply denying and ignoring all the scientific evidence of the truth.
Since the Feds are still being so foolish, and since so many people suffer harm, loss and imprisonment because of the insane Marijuana laws, you should know that there is a simple way that we can fight it.
Any jury in America may exercise their right of jury nullification, and even though judges don’t mention it, when you serve on a jury, it's not just the defendant on trial. It's the law as well. If jurors think a law is unfair or think that applying it in their particular case would be unjust, then they do not have to find the defendant guilty, even if the evidence clearly indicates guilt according to existing law.
Until Congressional politicians reform marijuana laws, jury nullification is one of the only ways to avoid imposing cruel "mandatory minimum" penalties on marijuana users, growers and sellers who don't deserve to go to prison.
So, if you ever serve on a jury where the defendant is accused of a Marijuana crime, don't forget about jury nullification. Tell the other jurors you don't have to convict, even if all the evidence points to guilt, if you don't agree with the application of the law in this instance. And if you can't swing your peers to your way of thinking, at least you can cause the jury to return a hung verdict.
"Jurors should acquit, even against the judge's instruction... if exercising their judgement with discretion and honesty they have a clear conviction the charge of the court is wrong." ~ Alexander Hamilton, 1804
"It is not only the juror's right, but his duty to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgement and conscience, though in direct opposition to the instruction of the court." ~ John Adams, 1771
By the way, on 02/5/2013 a bill, the U.S. House Bill 499: Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013 was introduced, but as of 2-14-2013 it has been virtually ignored. We should do something about that.
For more information, here are some informative sites: