Marijuana ‘Infinitely Worse’ Than Tobacco, Says Canadian PM Harper

CANADA: The debate over legal marijuana usage in Canada has become one of key issues in the federal election, pitting Liberal leader Justin Trudeau against the Conservative Stephen Harper, who has challenged his opponent’s pro-legalization stance claiming marijuana is “infinitely worse” than tobacco.

“Tobacco is a product that does a lot of damage. Marijuana is infinitely worse and it’s something that we do not want to encourage,” Harper said, pointing to the dark sides of smoking weed after his opponent Trudeau vowed to legalize marijuana if elected.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mN-zOnEUh28]

Trying to explain why he was so bothered by marijuana, given that tobacco and alcohol are regulated and pot is used for medicinal purposes, Harper said, that the plant is bad for human health.

“There’s just overwhelming and growing scientific and medical evidence about the bad long-term effects of marijuana,”he said, without backing his claims with any examples.

Colorado Just Became The First State In History To Collect More Taxes From Marijuana Than Alcohol

COLORADO: No state has ever generated more tax revenue from marijuana than alcohol—until now.

The Colorado Department of Revenue, according to recently released figures, just brought in $70 million in taxes relating to marijuana, compared to less than $42 million for alcohol taxes, over the course of a year.

This Wednesday, Colorado is declaring a marijuana tax holiday, meaning that for a single day, taxes on marijuana items will be suspended.

New DEA Chief: ‘Heroin Is Clearly More Dangerous Than Marijuana’

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The new Drug Enforcement Administration chief has finally made it clear: Marijuana is safer than heroin.

DEA head Chuck Rosenberg told reporters Wednesday morning at the administration’s headquarters that “heroin is clearly more dangerous than marijuana,” clarifying a less definitive statement he made last week, when he said marijuana is “probably not” as dangerous as heroin. Rosenberg said cannabis is still “harmful and dangerous,” but that his original remarks should have been clearer.

Cameras were not allowed at the press briefing, but DEA spokesman Joseph Moses confirmed Rosenberg’s remarks to The Huffington Post.

The statement lines up with the science that has long been clear on the plant being one of the least dangerous recreationally used drugs. And while Rosenberg’s comments may initially seem benign, they represent a significant shift in the point of view of an agency that continues to classify marijuana as one of the “most dangerous” drugs, alongside heroin and LSD.

 

Alcohol or Marijuana? A Pediatrician Faces the Question

Aaron E. Carroll is a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine. He blogs on health research and policy at The Incidental Economist, and you can follow him on Twitter at @aaronecarroll.

NEW YORK:  As my children, and my friends’ children, are getting older, a question that comes up again and again from friends is this: Which would I rather my children use — alcohol or marijuana?

The immediate answer, of course, is “neither.” But no parent accepts that. It’s assumed, and not incorrectly, that the vast majority of adolescents will try one or the other, especially when they go to college. So they press me further.

The easy answer is to demonize marijuana. It’s illegal, after all. Moreover, its potential downsides are well known. Scans show that marijuana use is associated with potential changes in the brain. It’s associated with increases in the risk of psychosis. It may be associated with changes in lung function or long-term cancer risk, even though a growing body of evidence says that seems unlikely. It can harm memory, it’s associated with lower academic achievement, and its use is linked to less success later in life.

But these are all associations, not known causal pathways. It may be, for instance, that people predisposed to psychosis are more likely to use pot. We don’t know. Moreover, all of these potential dangers seem scary only when viewed in isolation. Put them next to alcohol, and everything looks different

Legalization Battles: Alcohol Defines The Politics Of Marijuana

MAINE:  When Colorado voters in 2012 approved a ballot measure legalizing marijuana, the state did not merely break new ground in the ongoing battle over narcotics policy. It also bolstered an innovative new political message that compares cannabis to alcohol.

Two years later, that comparison is being deployed in key marijuana-related elections throughout the country, and drug reform advocates are so sure marijuana is safer than alcohol, they are now challenging police to a “drug duel” to prove their point.

The proposal for the duel from David Boyer, an official with the Maine chapter of the Marijuana Policy Project, came after South Portland Police Chief Edward Googins announced his opposition to a municipal referendum to legalize marijuana possession.

“Claims that marijuana is safer than alcohol are so bogus it’s not even funny,” Googins told a local newspaper.

In response, Boyer has challenged the police chief to a “hit for shot” duel—for every shot of alcohol Googins takes, Boyer would take a toke of marijuana, and the public would be able to see who is in worse physical condition in the end.

 

Comparing Adverse Effects of Marijuana, Alcohol

NEW YORK: The emerging debate about whether marijuana is “safer” than other substances has led to a new study documenting how alcohol and marijuana use impacts the psychosocial well-being of high school seniors.

Researchers affiliated with New York University published the study online ahead of print in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Investigators analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of high school seniors in the Monitoring the Future (MTF) study.   MTF is a nation-wide ongoing annual study of the behaviors, attitudes, and values of American secondary school students.

Students were asked to indicate whether they experienced various adverse psychosocial outcomes resulting from use of each substance. The authors analyzed data from 7,437 students (modal age: 18) from cohorts assessed from 2007 through 2011 who reported using alcohol or marijuana in their lifetime.

“The paucity of research is of particular public health concern as alcohol and marijuana are the two most commonly used psychoactive substances among adolescents,” said Joseph J. Palamar, Ph.D., M.P.H.

These 5 Pro-Marijuana Billboards Are Set To Surround The Super Bowl

NEW JERSEY:  The freeways surrounding MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. are about to be plastered with five billboards advocating the use of marijuana, and, in some cases, attacking football just miles from the game’s biggest stage.

Washington and Colorado are the only two states to have legalized marijuana, so the Marijuana Policy Project, an organization based in Washington D.C., decided this year’s Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos would be an opportune time to get their message out. [Read more…]

Bill Maher: Pot ‘Way Less Dangerous’

CALIFORNIA:  Liberal comic Bill Maher praised the president for his comments that marijuana isn’t more dangerous than alcohol that were published this week in an interview with the New Yorker, but thinks he doesn’t go far enough in supporting legalization.

“I just think it shows how out of whack we are with this issue because we all applaud it when [President Barack Obama] said, ‘I don’t think pot is more dangerous than alcohol,’” Maher said Friday, quoting Obama’s interview with the New Yorker, during his HBO program “Real Time with Bill Maher.” [Read more…]

Barack Obama Says Marijuana Is ‘No More Dangerous Than Alcohol’

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  As the marijuana legalization debate rages in the US, President Barack Obama has said he thinks cannabis use is “not very different from cigarettes” and no more dangerous than alcohol.

Speaking in an interview with the New Yorker editor David Remnick, Mr Obama said that while “it’s not something I encourage”, those who are caught using marijuana should not be given prison sentences.

While the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the US still classes marijuana as a “Schedule One” substance on a par with heroin or ecstasy, it has now been legalised for recreational use in two states, Colorado and Washington.

[Read more…]

Barack Obama Says Marijuana Is ‘No More Dangerous Than Alcohol’

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  As the marijuana legalization debate rages in the US, President Barack Obama has said he thinks cannabis use is “not very different from cigarettes” and no more dangerous than alcohol.

Speaking in an interview with the New Yorker editor David Remnick, Mr Obama said that while “it’s not something I encourage”, those who are caught using marijuana should not be given prison sentences.

While the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the US still classes marijuana as a “Schedule One” substance on a par with heroin or ecstasy, it has now been legalised for recreational use in two states, Colorado and Washington.

[Read more…]