By Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ in Culture
Sunday, September 12, 2010 at 1:06 pm
I've been smoking marijuana for 33 years -- since I was 17.
Coming of age in Alabama in the 1970s as a cannabis user, I learned one thing very clearly by getting busted for pot five times by the time I was 25 years old:
I don't like the laws against marijuana.
They're dumb, they don't work, they don't keep anyone who wants cannabis from getting it, and they destroy people's lives for no good reason.
I decided to fight back with the facts.
That's what I've been doing ever since, and that's what put me on this path.
When I started in this fight, the prohibitionists were still trying to claim that marijuana grows tits on men. As interesting as that might be, it's not true. That's the kind of nonsense they peddle.
Yes, it seems the prohibitionists have a little problem with the truth. They are so eager to stop what they see as the menace of marijuana, they are willing to play fast and loose with the facts, and it's not too hard to catch them in some whoppers.
I believe in the direct approach. The best way to fight lies is with the truth: fight back with the facts.
The prohibitionists tell us that marijuana causes brain damage. The scientific research tells us that cannabinoids exert a neuro-protective effect -- which, put in everyday language, means that cannabis not only does NOT kill brain cells -- it protects them.
Cannabis is such a powerful neuro-protectant that scientific research shows pot exerts a protective effect against the damage of alcohol use. Now, I don't recommend that anyone drink alcohol, but I know a lot of you do. And if you do drink, let me implore you to please smoke pot with it -- it keeps the alcohol from killing as many brain cells.
Marijuana is good for your brain. Fight back with the facts.
The prohibitionists tell us that marijuana causes lung cancer. Scientific research -- in fact, the biggest study ever done on marijuana and lung cancer, by Dr. Donald Tashkin at UCLA -- shows that there is no association at all between smoking marijuana -- even heavily and daily -- and lung cancer. In fact, people who smoke only marijuana have a lower rate of lung cancer than people who don't smoke at all. What this tells us is that cannabis, even smoked cannabis, exerts a protective effect against cancer.
Marijuana is good for your lungs. Fight back with the facts.
|Graphic: Chris Burnside|
The prohibitionists try to tell us that marijuana is not medicine. The scientific research tells us that cannabis can be a useful medical treatment for a wide range of diseases, and there are literally hundreds of scientific studies to back this up. For a 420-page listing of studies showing the effectiveness of medical marijuana, check out Granny Storm Crow's list.
Marijuana is medically good for you. Fight back with the facts.
The prohibitionists tell us that smoking marijuana makes us stupid and lazy and unmotivated. But the scientific research tells us that cannabis smokers work harder and smarter than their non-toking brethren. The Rubin Study in Jamaica, published in the 1970s by Dr. Vera Rubin (look it up if you don't believe me), shows that the hardest workers are the highest workers.
Marijuana is good for your motivation. Fight back with the facts.
The prohibitionists tell us that marijuana is a gateway drug. The scientific research tells us that not only is cannabis not a gateway drug, but is in fact an exit drug from hard drug use, which has shown to be invaluable in helping addicts of meth, cocaine and heroin, along with alcoholics, maintain abstinence from harmful substances.
Marijuana is good for stopping drug abuse. Fight back with the facts.
|Photo: American Pregnancy|
The prohibitionists tell us that the smoking of marijuana by pregnant women results in lower birth weights and less intelligent babies. The scientific research tells us that toking mothers have babies that are just as healthy, with birth weights just as normal, as babies born of non-toking mothers. And you know what else the research showed? That the babies of pot smoking mothers scored better on laboratory tests of cognition than babies of non-smoking mothers. Another independent scientific study showed that babies of marijuana-using mothers have a lower mortality rate than babies of mothers who didn't use any drugs at all! The baby mortality rate among non-using mothers was 13.7 per 1,000 live births, while babies of toking mothers had a rate of only 8.9 deaths per 1000 births.
Marijuana is good for pregnant mothers and their babies. Fight back with the facts.
The prohibitionists tell us that marijuana causes car wrecks and that legalization will only increase the toll on our highways. The scientific research tells us that experienced pot smokers show no impairment on driving tests. I believe most of us can back this one up with personal experience, because cannabis makes many of us safer drivers.
Marijuana is good for your driving. Fight back with the facts.
The prohibitionists tell us that relaxing the marijuana laws will result in higher rates of usage in teens. The scientific research tells us that teen pot use rates are lower in the Netherlands -- after they decriminalized cannabis -- than in the United States with its harsher pot laws.
Marijuana legalization is good for teenagers. Fight back with the facts.
Now, I want to say a word about the founder and organizer of Hempstalk, Mr. Paul Stanford. I've seen Paul in action, defending one of THCF's patients in court in Kitsap County, Washington, and the man is awesome.
When the prosecutor tried to tell lies about marijuana, Paul Stanford fought back with the facts.
I would encourage each of you to learn all you can about this wonderful plant. Knowledge is power, brothers and sisters.
The more knowledge and experience you have around cannabis, the better able you will be to fight back with the facts when you hear someone tell lies about our sacred herb.
Fight Back With The Facts!
Editor's note: This is the speech I had planned to give at Portland Hempstalk this weekend. Unfortunately, my car was stolen Saturday night, which made that impossible. I'm presenting the transcript here because I believe in the message.