Written by Christopher Meyer | 11:00 am on January 21, 2012
Our culture condones and encourages alcohol consumption socially often to the point of inebriation as a recent Centers for Disease Control study shows. Binge alcohol consumption (more than 5 drinks per occasion) is on the rise with consequences for safety and health.
Compared to alcohol those using marijuana are safer drivers, aren’t prone to violence or risky behavior, and suffer very few negative consequences, yet the double standard of criminalization of cannabis remains.
The CDC has reason to believe that binge drinking has negative health consequences, and can lead to risky sexual behavior, automobile accidents, and physical violence.
In response to these risks the page offers actions governments, communities, and healthcare professionals can take to help reduce binge drinking.
Rather astutely the site recommends recognizing the number of deaths and disease caused by binge drinking, and supporting community strategies to help discourage binge drinking including education campaigns.
Given that many are concerned with potential negative effects of cannabis, any of the above recommendations would be effective in treating the perceived threat of cannabis dependence instead of involving normal citizens in an overburdened penal system.
Why should cannabis be treated differently?
Despite binge drinking among adults being on the rise, teen alcohol and tobacco use is down which pose far greater health and social risks than cannabis.
Parents should be able to educate their children about marijuana in open dialogue without a cloud of taboo hanging over the conversation.
Although millions of Americans go drinking every day to relax, socialize, and even do business, those who use marijuana towards the same ends are treated with suspicion and labeled as criminals.
The study makes clear to state that ‘most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent or alcoholics’.
Contrast the way cannabis users are perceived and the hypocrisy of our cultural values become clear. Someone who consumes cannabis, even infrequently is labeled as a stoner though they are no different than one of the many American’s who binge drink, but are not considered ‘alcoholics’.
The double standard allowing the real risk of alcohol to be treated with community efforts of education while cannabis users go to jail and violent drug trafficking operations make billions is unconscionable.
This divide is systemic prejudice against a plant known to be a safe medicine, food, and valuable industrial fiber.
Educating people about the safety of cannabis is vital and must begin to outweigh the din of prohibitionist propaganda.
Responsible use is what we should advocate for any drug including alcohol and cannabis. We should work to empower parents to educate their children about appropriate uses of all types of drugs and empower young adults to make good choices when they encounter them.
Written by Christopher Meyer | 5:54 pm on January 10, 2012
Maryland legislators propose moving forward with the state’s medical marijuana program, but would require doctors wishing to recommend marijuana undergo special training and approval.
This is an attempt to prevent a certain type of medical cannabis user from gaining access; by creating a short list of approved doctors with narrow views of who qualifies for medical marijuana treatment.
There is a persistent sentiment that medical marijuana is only appropriate for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, or for geriatric care, but evidence suggests medicinal possibilities for marijuana extend far beyond this narrow-minded approach.
Politicians who believe young people gaining access to marijuana is an indication of abuse ignore common sense and fail to see that just as with other medicines, simply because some people abuse drugs does not mean they aren’t effective in appropriate situations.
Yet, the potential for abuse of marijuana is low, as studies have suggested, and there is no reason for politicians to presume they know more about medical problems than doctors writing recommendations.
Controversy surrounding cannabis and the retinue of its opponents ensure any person, business, or professional associated with marijuana are quickly cast in a light of suspicion and ill-intent.
Perhaps the fear about marijuana is that it alters consciousness, but the argument should therefore also necessarily include alcohol, cough syrup, coffee, and tobacco. It generally doesn’t, and the argument loses credibility unless it includes all mind-altering substances.
The safety of the drug is what we should be concerned with, and as cannabis has no lethal dose — unlike commonly abused opioid pain killers – and has a very low risk factor for negative interaction with other drugs, doctors who wish to prescribe it do not need extra training or education.
Doctors are already trained to recognize those pursuing drugs to fuel addiction, and perhaps that training should be amplified, as death rates from overdosing on prescription drugs are climbing.
Factually, there is no reason to demand that doctor’s willing to recommend marijuana need extra training. Granted, doctors should be aware of the potential for addiction, but the minimal risk marijuana poses for addiction does not warrant the special scrutiny Maryland legislators are proposing
The fear prohibition brings casts a shadow on any person who associates with cannabis, be it recreationally or medically, which as I noted in a previous post, is not the crucial distinction the public forum has made it.
When politicians pretend to know more about the medical benefits of cannabis than doctors, it is our duty to call them out and remind them medicine should be available to all who seek it, not just for those with severe illness, or in the twilight of life who are deemed worthy.
Written by Christopher Meyer | 6:28 pm on December 23, 2011
A recent Gallup poll showed 50% of Americans support legalization while 70% support making cannabis medically available.
What is the important difference for the 20% of those who favor making cannabis available medically, but do not wish to give access to adults? What about cannabis recreation is undesirable? Is there ever a time when cannabis use can be both recreational and medical? (more…)
Written by Christopher Meyer | 10:05 am on December 17, 2011
A little harmless make believe is well and good, but when delusion engenders violence, and when such imaginings destroy lives and economies those lies must be stopped.
Not by accident do these ideas remain popular opinion. Mechanisms of our government, industry, and news media work to perpetuate these myths throughout the world.
Supporters claim they operate for the good of the public, but in fact spread propaganda aimed at appealing to emotion and fear, rather than logic and rationality, and the result is a public that has formed their opinions while seeing a fearsome falsehood sold as reality. (more…)
Written by Christopher Meyer | 10:17 am on November 26, 2011
No matter what level of public service, every elected official must attempt to assess the wants, needs, and opinions of their constituency in order to appeal to the greater share.
Since morality often creates the strongest opinions, subjects that are seen as criminal, unwanted, or improper such as socialism, Islam, and ‘illicit’ drug use will generate bad press for a candidate if they advocate for them outspokenly. Such press will harm their chances of being elected. (more…)
Written by Christopher Meyer | 1:35 pm on November 16, 2011
If you will allow me, I would like coin a term for systemic prejudice that is both governmental and popular among many citizens. This particular phenomenon, while it is often painted as justice, is in fact a form of discrimination unbefitting a country that presumes to call itself free.
Cannabisism – A belief or doctrine that cannabis and its users are inherently inferior to those who do not choose to use cannabis and that cannabis and its users should not have the same rights other drugs (alcohol, tobacco, Vicodin) and their users have.
Discrimination can take many forms. The common element is an antagonistic feeling towards a particular group or category of people. Such antagonism has been fostered in America for decades towards those who use cannabis, be it for medical reasons or as part of their lifestyle. The result is a systemic prejudice against cannabis and its users that now encroaches on the most basic civil rights.
This sort of prejudice isn’t new in the USA. A group of citizens are systematically stripped of their rights and powers because a trait is perceived as undesirable. It would certainly be a grievous mis-judgement of scale to compare the criminal prosecution and cultural persecution of cannabis users to genocide or slavery, yet some startling comparisons may be made. (more…)
Written by Christopher Meyer | 10:43 am on November 10, 2011
This blog was nominated for the 2011 Westword Web Awards for categories ‘Best Activist Blogger’ and ‘Best Use of Social Media by a Medical Marijuana Center’. Truly the nomination is an honor in itself. Thank you Denver for the recognition.
I would like to take this occasion to explore the future of such activism and what we can expect from the marijuana movement in the year to come. (more…)
Written by Christopher Meyer | 5:14 pm on November 3, 2011
Last week people showed support for a drug-free world by pinning red ribbons to their clothing. Throughout this country there are fellow citizens who believe, each in their own way, that drugs (you know, like heroin) have no place in our society. An admirable, albeit misguided, cause.
The term ‘drugs’ includes too much to bear the dream of indeed having a drug-free world, the battle cry of those with the red-ribbon. ‘Drugs’ can include anything from alcohol (not leaving anytime soon) to meth (probably should be done away with).
It’s not that I doubt their intentions. Addiction has many forms, and many are destructive, but other sorts of addiction, like eating, are quite beneficial. The grey area between track marks and drinking coffee is something that should be left up to individual choice.
Written by Christopher Meyer | 4:09 pm on October 19, 2011
Naturally occurring cannabinoids found in medical marijuana that interact with the immune and nervous systems have been shown to have anti-tumor properties.
Even with an abundance of supporting evidence, the US still limits research on cannabis in US labs with a heavy hand. Despite the concerted effort of a wide range of cannabis activists, the US will not reschedule marijuana to Schedule II where medicinally valuable controlled substances are grouped including cocaine, used as an anesthetic, and opioid pain killers. (more…)
Written by Christopher Meyer | 7:42 pm on July 7, 2011
Two years ago, the company I work for began with three partners and a modest investment in some of Colorado’s finest medicine.
They had no storefront so Denver Relief’s owners Adam, Ean and Kayvan, began a delivery business by placing an ad in the Westword and getting a unique phone number.
For many months, Denver Relief operated this way and built a loyal patient base through word of mouth about outstanding medicine and service.
This is where I came in. I was driving a taxi at the time and the transition into delivering medical marijuana was a welcome change from long hours in a cab. I know the city well and enjoyed meeting new people.
It’s strange to recall how insubstantial the business felt then, how little we knew about what we were getting into, but with the vital support of our patients we have made it this far.
Without patients who are willing to take the steps to visit their doctor and pay the fees to get legal not only would Denver Relief not exist, but medical marijuana in Colorado would not have the prominence it does today.
With several ballot initiatives for legalization coming in 2012 it is imperative that as a community we do not let down the people who have supported us up to this point. (more…)