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D.A.R.E. To Learn The Truth About Marijuana

March 2nd, 2007 | by Ken Grandlund |

“Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere!” -George Washington
[Note to the gardener at Mount Vernon, 1794
"The Writings of George Washington"
Volume 33, page 270 (Library of Congress) ]

“Federal and state laws (should) be changed to no longer make it a crime to possess marijuana for private use.” -Richard M. Nixon
[National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse
"Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding"
March 1972]

“Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself; and where they are, they should be changed. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against possession of marihuana in private for personal use… ” -Jimmy Carter
[Message to congress 1977]

I’m a little too old to have been subjected to the heavily-propagandized D.A.R.E. program, but not so old to have missed it in action, albeit as a sideline observer and not a primary target. Evidence that shows that D.A.R.E. has little effect on whether or not kids decide to try drugs, and in fact, may even make it more likely that a kid will try a drug due to the large amounts of false or misleading information the D.A.R.E. program feeds kids.

Fortunately, several groups work hard to get factual information into the hands of parents, teachers, public leaders, and even (gasp) the kids themselves. One such group is the Family Council on Drug Awareness.

Here’s a handy little guide that they include on their website, chock full of information about that most evil of all plants, cannabis.

10 Things Every Parent, Teenager & Teacher Should Know About Marijuana

Q. What is Marijuana?
A. “Marijuana” refers to dried female flowers of varieties of cannabis, the hemp plant, that contain 3% or more tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Smoked or eaten, it causes dry mouth, reddened eyes, a faster heartbeat, and a feeling of being “high” for a few hours. Different strains have different sensual effects, ranging from sedative to stimulant to none at all. Cultivated cannabis is listed as an illegal drug in the US &emdash; even industrial varieties that do not have enough THC to produce “marijuana.”

Q. Who Uses Cannabis?
A. There is no simple profile of a typical cannabis user. It’s been used by millions of people from all walks of life for thousands of years for hundreds of medical, social and religious reasons, as well as for personal relaxation. Several of our greatest Presidents farmed hemp. About one in three American voters now say they have tried it.

Q. How Long Have People Used It?
A. Since Biblical times. It has been common throughout history, even in America, with about 12 million regular users in the US today.

Q. How Does It Affect Your Health?
A. No drug is always safe for everybody, but after 150 years of scientific study, the only proven health problem from cannabis is that its smoke can be linked to bronchitis. The smoke contains potential carcinogens, but there are no proven cancers. The risk can be reduced by taking smaller inhalations and exhaling in a few seconds, by using a “vaporizer” to release THC without burning, or by eating it. May cause drowsiness, distraction or anxiety. Moreover, it is a safe and effective medicinal herb with proven therapeutic value in treating hundreds of symptoms and ailments, including glaucoma, MS, asthma, arthritis, cancer, AIDS, epilepsy, nausea, anorexia, depression, stress, etc. The US Institute of Medicine (IOM) determined in 1999 that “Except for the harms associated with smoking, the adverse effects of marijuana use are within the range of effects tolerated for other medications.”

Q. Has Anyone Ever Died From a Cannabis Overdose?
A. No; not even once. It is difficult to gauge the eaten dose, which can lead to unpleasant, but non-lethal effects. Judge Francis Young studied the evidence, and ruled in 1988 that “marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume.” This comparison chart shows the number of deaths from selected substances in a typical year.*

Tobacco 340,000 to 425,000
Alcohol (excluding crime/accidents) 150,000 +
Legal Drug Overdose (prescription) 14,000 to 27,000
Illegal Drug Overdose 3,800-5,200
Aspirin 180 to 1000+
Marijuana 0

* Based on US Surgeon General and other statistical sources.

Q. Does Cannabis Lead to Hard Drugs?
A. No, it does not. According to the 1999 IOM report, “There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the use of other illicit drugs.” In fact, there is some evidence that suppressing cannabis may lead people to use hard drugs, as happened in Hawaii. NIDA study links marijuana crackdown to increase in methamphetamine “ice” in Hawai’i.

Q. Does It Cause Violence?
A. No; if anything, it reduces it. The only crime most cannabis users commit is obtaining and using marijuana. The US Shafer Commission report, one of the most comprehensive studies ever done on drugs, reported that cannabis smokers “tend to be under-represented” in violent crime, “especially when compared to users of alcohol, amphetamines and barbiturates.” The California Attorney General’s panel wrote in 1989 that “objective consideration shows that cannabis is responsible for less damage to the individual and society than alcohol and cigarettes.” The federal government reports that 71 million Americans have smoked it … possibly including some of the nicest people you know.

Q. Is It Physically Addictive?
A. No, it is not, although some minor dependency can develop. According to the IOM: “Although few users of marijuana develop dependence, some do. But they appear to be less likely to do so than users of other drugs (including alcohol and nicotine), and marijuana dependence appears to be less severe than dependence on other drugs.” The typical pattern of social cannabis usage begins with experimental use in the late teens and peaks in the early adult years, followed by a period of leveling off, and a gradual reduction in use.

Q. What About All Those Scary Advertisements and Stories?
A. Most sensational claims of health risks cite no studies or sources at all. Others rely on a handful of inconclusive or flawed reports. The government uses exaggeration and scare tactics to discourage marijuana use, like the “Reefer Madness” campaign of the 1930s and the PDFA today. Unfortunately, that just glamorizes drug use and leads to distrust.

Q. What Can We Do About It?
A. Based on scientific research, prison is not the answer. Every independent government study on cannabis has opposed jailing smokers. Voters in several States have legalized medical marijuana cultivation and use. Many countries around the world allow farmers to grow hemp for industrial uses. The simple fact is that cannabis use does not change a person’s basic personality or sense of morality. The Family Council on Drug Awareness supports setting an age of consent for cannabis to regulate adult use.

Please write or call your elected officials. Tell them you want them to show tolerance. Regulate medical marijuana and responsible adult use of cannabis, free up our police resources to solve violent crime, and restore honesty in America’s commitment to “liberty and justice for all.”

Land of the Free my ass. Whether for industry, medicine, or recreation, marijuana prohibition is a huge waste of money and people. And no matter how many times I present this topic, it remains as relevant as ever until the laws are changed.

The web page also lists footnotes for accompanying research to support all the statements listed above. So before you start bitching about “the source”, check out where the stats come from.

[tag]marijuana, Family+Council+on+Drug+Awareness, war+on+drugs, marijuana+facts, cannabis[/tag]

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  1. 4 Responses to “D.A.R.E. To Learn The Truth About Marijuana”

  2. By Jimmy, the killer of threads on Mar 2, 2007 | Reply

    Legalize it, and tax the hell out of it. I am all for it.

  3. By Enrique on Mar 2, 2007 | Reply

    You forgot to mention about the hundreds of uses hemp has other than getting you high.


    Nice article btw

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  2. Mar 2, 2007: Rasta Boys » Blog Archive » DARE To Learn The Truth About Marijuana
  3. Mar 14, 2007: Bring it On! » Blog Archive » Government Would Just As Soon You Die Than Let You Use Marijuana As Medicine

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