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Basis For Banning Mind-Altering Drugs -- Mistrust?  
User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 1298 times:

Today's America is fairly intolerant of mind-altering substances other than alcohol and caffeine.

There was a time, however, when casual drug use wasn't as disfavored as it is today.

Is the reason that drugs such as "weed" (marijuana) are forbidden ultimately traceable to a distrust on the part of government (or those who populate it) of its own people?

The use of medical marijuana was banned some years ago by the U.S. Attorney-General on the basis that the FDA's authority was usurped; recently, the Supreme Court ruled against the ban. Today, the road is open once again, it seems, for States to permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Why should government have any power to regulate substances merely on the basis that they may alter the mind? Shouldn't the decision to use them be up to the consumer?

Thanks in advance for your insightful comments.

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCwapilot From United States of America, joined May 2000, 1166 posts, RR: 17
Reply 1, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 1292 times:

I agree...as long as those who suffer damage due to their use of these substances have no claim on public benefits. If they are unreliable and unproductive due to their drug use and, hence, unemployed...maybe their friendly neighborhood dealer should be forced to support them the rest of their lives. If they are lucky enough to carry health insurance, their premiums should be much higher, so that the rest of us aren't subsidizing their drug-induced health problems. They should not be allowed to have children, unless, again they are not able to claim public benefits in order to support these children, and the public schools are not held accountable for their poor progress in school due to various birth defects and unstable homes.

So, yes, smoke away...but sign the waiver first.



Southside Irish...our two teams are the White Sox and whoever plays the Cubs!
User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 1291 times:

Quoting Cwapilot (Reply 1):
I agree...as long as those who suffer damage due to their use of these substances have no claim on public benefits

Wouldn't this also apply to alcoholics, cigarette-smokers, and coffee-drinkers?


User currently offlineJean Leloup From Canada, joined Apr 2001, 2116 posts, RR: 19
Reply 3, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 1287 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
Why should government have any power to regulate substances merely on the basis that they may alter the mind?

Actually, the principal reason for the banning of mind-altering drugs is that they seem to lead to excessive posting on airliners.net.


:P

JL



Next flight.... who knows.
User currently offlineCwapilot From United States of America, joined May 2000, 1166 posts, RR: 17
Reply 4, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 1284 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 2):
Wouldn't this also apply to alcoholics, cigarette-smokers, and coffee-drinkers?

Should people be responsible for their own bad decisions? Absolutely! If you choose to smoke or drink yourself to death, good luck to you.

Explain how coffee drinking rises to the same level of damage as alcoholism, cigarette smoking and drug use...



Southside Irish...our two teams are the White Sox and whoever plays the Cubs!
User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 1280 times:

Quoting Cwapilot (Reply 4):
Explain how coffee drinking rises to the same level of damage as alcoholism, cigarette smoking and drug use...

Doesn't caffeine use cause rapid heartbeat? And the damage to the liver and other vital organs caused by alcoholism is too well-known to list.


User currently offlineCwapilot From United States of America, joined May 2000, 1166 posts, RR: 17
Reply 6, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 1276 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 5):
Doesn't caffeine use cause rapid heartbeat? And the damage to the liver and other vital organs caused by alcoholism is too well-known to list.

I am not questioning the well-known effects of alcohol on vital organs...I was looking for similar information regarding coffee drinking.



Southside Irish...our two teams are the White Sox and whoever plays the Cubs!
User currently offlineZone1 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1035 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 1266 times:

Just what we need, another product that causes cancer so everyone's health insurance premiums can go up.


/// U N I T E D
User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 1251 times:

Quoting Cwapilot (Reply 6):
I am not questioning the well-known effects of alcohol on vital organs...I was looking for similar information regarding coffee drinking.

Excessive caffeine intake can cause health issues, although caffeine poisoning is reportedly rare. See, e.g.,

(Excerpt)

Quote:
The effects of caffeine on health have been widely studied. A 1984 statement from the American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs said, "Moderate tea or coffee drinkers probably have no concern for their health relative to their caffeine consumption provided other lifestyle habits (diet, alcohol consumption) are moderate as well." Studies have examined the effects of caffeine on fibrocystic breast disease, cardiovascular disease, birth defects, reproductive function and behavior in children. Caffeine has been linked to some of these.

Abrupt withdrawal of caffeine may cause headaches, drowsiness, irritability, nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms. Reduce caffeine intake gradually to prevent any symptoms of withdrawal.

In adults, symptoms of caffeine overdose include:


Difficulty sleeping
Muscle twitching
Confusion
In and out of consciousness
Increased urination
Increased thirst
Death
Fever
Difficulty breathing
Vomiting
Diarrhea
Irregular heartbeat
Rapid heart beat
Convulsions

Source:

http://health.yahoo.com/centers/addiction/96407678


User currently offlineHalls120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 1249 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
The use of medical marijuana was banned some years ago by the U.S. Attorney-General on the basis that the FDA's authority was usurped; recently, the Supreme Court ruled against the ban

You have the legal actions on medical marijuana completely wrong.

After California and Oregon passed their medical marijuana laws, the then-Director of ONDCP issued a policy directive that among other things, advised doctors that they could lose their license to write prescriptions of controlled substances by advising patients about using marijuana as a medicine.

In Conant v. Walters, 9th Circuit held that a (1) doctor's mere anticipation of the conduct of a patient to whom the doctor recommended medical use of marijuana would not translate into aiding and abetting, or conspiracy, and thus, portion of injunction, entered to protect First Amendment rights, prohibiting enforcement of government policy of threatening revocation of a physician's license to prescribe controlled substances based solely on the physician's professional recommendation of the medical use of marijuana, was proper; (2) portion of injunction that prohibited government from conducting an investigation of a physician that might lead to revocation of the physician's license to prescribe controlled substances, where the basis for the government's action was solely the physician's professional recommendation of the use of medical marijuana, was also appropriate; and (3) government could not justify policy that threatened to punish a physician for recommending to a patient the medical use of marijuana on ground that such a recommendation might encourage illegal conduct by the patient.

Because the federal prohibition against the use of marijuana was not affect by state laws legalizing the use of marijuana for alleged medical use, the federal government moved to close down several distribution clubs in Calirfornia. In Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club v. US, the Supreme Court held that: (1) no implied medical necessity exception exists to prohibitions on manufacture and distribution of marijuana established by Controlled Substances Act, and (2) district court thus could not consider medical necessity when exercising its discretion to fashion injunctive relief.

After the 9th Circuit exempted marijuana from federal control if it was for personal use and not part of interstate commerce, the federal government appealed to the Supreme Court. In Gonzales v. Raich, the Supreme Court held that application of CSA provisions criminalizing manufacture, distribution, or possession of marijuana to intrastate growers and users of marijuana for medical purposes did not violate Commerce Clause.


User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 1244 times:

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 9):
You have the legal actions on medical marijuana completely wrong.

Thank you for your comments. I'm not an expert in this area. The information I read was something along the following lines:

(Source)

Quote:
WASHINGTON -- In a major defeat for the Bush administration, the U.S. Supreme Court told physicians in Oregon yesterday that they could continue to prescribe drugs to help terminally ill patients end their lives without fear of retribution from the federal government.

Source: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06018/639617.stm


User currently offlineHalls120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1241 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 10):
Thank you for your comments. I'm not an expert in this area. The information I read was something along the following lines:

(Source)

Quote:
WASHINGTON -- In a major defeat for the Bush administration, the U.S. Supreme Court told physicians in Oregon yesterday that they could continue to prescribe drugs to help terminally ill patients end their lives without fear of retribution from the federal government.

That Supreme Court decision was a rejection of Attorney General Ashcroft's attempt to challenge the Oregon Death with Dignity Act.


User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1239 times:

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 11):
That Supreme Court decision was a rejection of Attorney General Ashcroft's attempt to challenge the Oregon Death with Dignity Act.

You're right, and I'm wrong. Thanks for pointing out the actual facts.

The following further bears out your point and, in addition, relates it to the issue of medical marijuana:

(Excerpt)

Quote:
In a stinging rebuke to the Bush administration, the US Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that the US attorney-general cannot use federal drug laws to try to stop the right-to-die movement. The majority in the 6-3 ruling said the federal government cannot use the federal Controlled Substances Act to stop doctors from prescribing drugs to help terminally ill patients die. The ruling is a victory for advocates of physician-assisted suicide, since it will allow individual states to legalise the practice without running into problems under federal drug laws.

Could it be? Has the Supreme Court reopened the question of a state's right to prescribe drugs? To prescribe medical marijuana? Strangely enough I find agreement with the possibility from none other than Supreme Court Justice Thomas, who says pretty much exactly that in his dissenting opinion.

Source:

http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2006/1/17/19313/6736

I've obviously seriously confused the two rulings. It was Thomas's dissent that referred to the marijuana case. The holding in the case I was confused about was not on the Constitutionality of medical marijuana at all.

Please accept my apologies. As I said, I'm not an expert in this area and you've obviously devoted much interest and thought to it.

However, I remain interested in your opinion on the premise -- isn't the reason that these drugs are banned traceable to a mistrust of the people?

[Edited 2006-02-11 04:48:15]

User currently offlineHalls120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1231 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 12):
However, I remain interested in your opinion on the premise -- isn't the reason that these drugs are banned traceable to a mistrust of the people?

Since I didn't write the Controlled Substances Act, I won't purport to know what motivated Congress back in 1970.

Aren't all laws based on a mistrust of people? After all, if we trusted one another, banks wouldn't have vaults, stores would be open with self checkout machines, and we'd need no speed limits on the highways, because everyone would drive responsibly.

Drugs are either illegal or controlled because they can kill the user, and impose a tremendous cost and burden on society.

Reasonable people can disagree about whether a given drug ought to be on Schedule I, II, III, IV, or V. What can't be denied is that most of the drugs that are either banned outright or tightly controlled are extremely debilitating at best, and lethal at worst.

The three UN drug conventions are widely adhered to because responsible health professionals and government officials share the belief that narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances are dangerous, and impede the development of civil society.


User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1230 times:

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 13):
Aren't all laws based on a mistrust of people? After all, if we trusted one another, banks wouldn't have vaults, stores would be open with self checkout machines, and we'd need no speed limits on the highways, because everyone would drive responsibly.

You're right -- it's could be argued that it's all a matter of degree. But even so, in a free society, why should a relatively arbitrary distinction in perpetuating this mistrust be made between legal drugs, such as alcohol, and illegal ones, such as marijuana?

There are various justifications that are offered: Weed is a "gateway" drug; weed clouds judgment; weed has potentially serious long-term consequences; weed is associated with the seedier elements in society; etc. But most, if not all, of these arguments can be made against alcohol, as well.

For example, how many drunk-driving fatalities occur in the United States? By contrast, how many occur as a result of driving under the influence of marijuana? For that matter, how many fatalities are caused, in total, in any given recent year, by the use of marijuana? Shouldn't the government, by rights, ban all alcohol consumption to avoid encouraging the abuse of alcohol? Who decides that an "existing evil", such as alcohol, can remain legal, while "illegal evils", such as weed, should remain illegal? Whose right is it to impose that decision on a free people?

I'm for the rational and balanced application of law, consistent with the ideals of personal freedom. I don't believe that government should impose its drug morality on individuals who are capable of deciding for themselves what to consume, and when to consume it. Were government to become our nanny, what's to stop it, after all, from banning the consumption of hamburgers or other foods that it deems nutritionally deficient?

By the way, I am not a consumer of any drugs, except alcohol and caffeine. I don't even smoke.

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 13):
Drugs are either illegal or controlled because they can kill the user, and impose a tremendous cost and burden on society.

Alcohol can -- and does -- kill, in several ways. So can caffeine. Yet these are merely regulated, not banned.

[Edited 2006-02-11 05:08:40]

User currently offlineHalls120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1224 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 14):
I'm for the rational and balanced application of law, consistent with the ideals of personal freedom. I don't believe that government should impose its drug morality on individuals who are capable of deciding for themselves what to consume, and when to consume it. Were government to become our nanny, what's to stop it, after all, from banning the consumption of hamburgers or other foods that it deems nutritionally deficient?

Marijuana is on Schedule I of the CSA because it is a drug that has no proven medical value, as determined by DEA and HHS pursuant to the process set out by Congress in the CSA. If you want marijuana to be rescheduled, Congress could easily change the law and make it easier to use marijuana - as a medicine, for example. However, since we are a party to an international agreement that requires the control of marijuana as a dangerous drug, we control it.

The alcohol analogy is pointless. There are no international conventions banning the possession and use of alcohol as the equivalent of a narcotic drug.


User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1219 times:

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 15):
Marijuana is on Schedule I of the CSA because it is a drug that has no proven medical value, as determined by DEA and HHS pursuant to the process set out by Congress in the CSA. If you want marijuana to be rescheduled, Congress could easily change the law and make it easier to use marijuana - as a medicine, for example. However, since we are a party to an international agreement that requires the control of marijuana as a dangerous drug, we control it

Even on your premise: The word "control" does not necessarily mean "ban". Currently, according to the case referenced in the dissent in the case you yourself have cited, marijuana is apparently entirely banned in the United States even for medical purposes. This suggests that marijuana is more dangerous than other drugs that, nevertheless, are not banned, but in fact common sense indicates are equally dangerous. Should Congress not act rationally, therefore, in consideration of the facts, rather than on some arbitrary basis?

Secondly, alcohol's effects are comparable to the effects of many prescription drugs, which may cause drowsiness and impair motor skills. On the basis of health and medical concerns alone, and not arbitrary legal conventions, what medical, scientific, and logical reasons, rather than ones masquerading as "policy", justify treating alcohol differently from, say, Ambien?

Thirdly, perhaps the Netherlands is not a signatory to the international treaty you have cited, since it seems not to find itself beholden to its values relative to marijuana.

[Edited 2006-02-11 05:18:21]

User currently offlineBobster2 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 1201 times:

"Medical marijuana already exists. It's called Marinol."

http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/ongoing/marinol.html


User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 1199 times:

Quoting Bobster2 (Reply 17):
"Medical marijuana already exists. It's called Marinol."

Indeed, and the medication appears to be an essence of marijuana. But perhaps the larger issue is why marijuana itself is banned, regardless of the harm it could cause, if alcohol, for example, is not.

Morally speaking, I find the regulation or even the banning of marijuana justifiable, but in a country of such diverse views of morality, I'd like to know what makes the criminal courts the appropriate venue within which to enforce one particular view of the requirements of moral laws.


User currently offlineHalls120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1188 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 16):
Should Congress not act rationally, therefore, in consideration of the facts, rather than on some arbitrary basis?

One might question whether Congress ever acts rationally.

Read the CSA. You might disagree with it, but it isn't irrational.

Pro-marijuana legalizers have attempted to persuade DEA to reschedule marijuana for decades. Every attempt up to this point has failed, in part due to the structure of the CSA, and the lack of reliable medical evidence that smoked marijuana can be safely used as medicine.

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 16):
Secondly, alcohol's effects are comparable to the effects of many prescription drugs, which may cause drowsiness and impair motor skills.

Legally, we treat drugs differently than alcohol because drugs are regulated by international conventions. Alcohol isn't.

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 16):
Thirdly, perhaps the Netherlands is not a signatory to the international treaty you have cited, since it seems not to find itself beholden to its values relative to marijuana.

They are indeed a signatory. They haven't legalized marijuana - which they can't - they just don't enforce the laws on the books against it. IOW, they are just ignoring their responsibilities as a party. As we are with the federal failure to overturn the state medical marijuana laws.


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26593 posts, RR: 75
Reply 20, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 1180 times:

Quoting Bobster2 (Reply 17):
"Medical marijuana already exists. It's called Marinol."

Marinol has not shown the same eficacy in patients as smoking marijuana



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineAa757first From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3350 posts, RR: 8
Reply 21, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 1166 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 8):
Excessive caffeine intake can cause health issues, although caffeine poisoning is reportedly rare.

The toxic dose (LD50) of caffeine is 10 g. A cup of regular coffee has 135 mg, meaning the average person would have to drink 592 ounces (74 cups) of coffee before they reached the toxic dose. If it takes you ten minutes to drink a cup of coffee, it will take you about twelve hours to drink 74 cups. The half life of caffeine is 3.5 to 10 hours, meaning it is almost impossible to kill yourself using caffeine. It would have to be intentional and it would be nearly impossible to do by using coffee, tea or anything else, except for something like NoDoze.

Adults who were first exposed to marijuana before the age of 15 were six times more likely to be a recreational drug user by the time they are 21 or older. In a study conducted over a group of 26 year olds who used marijuana before the age of 15, 62% reported lifetime cocaine use. Anyone who uses marijuana even just once is much more likely to use cocaine at one point in their lives. Marijuana can cause cancer and prolonged cognative effects can last at least 28 days after use and marijuana abuse has been linked to suicide and depression.

I would support a medical use of marijuana because I think practioners would prescribe marijuana carefully (they prescribe dangerous medications already). However, marijuana as a pain medication just doesn't make sense to me when it would be put on ring two of WHO's Analgesic Ladder, which means it would only be as effective as codeine. That means it's only as effective as Tylenol 3 and less effective than M/S.

 twocents 
AAndrew


User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 1160 times:

Thanks, everyone, for your comments.

When I was a bit  crazy er than I am now, and a lot younger, I would occasionally quadruple or quintuple the concentration of coffee in my coffee cup and drink tons of it, to boot. I once ended up making myself quite sick, although initially I had felt it was worth the risk because I needed to be totally alert. After the worst of it, I decided it wasn't worth the health risk and cut way back.

[Edited 2006-02-12 04:30:49]

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