Senate Hearing on ‘Marijuana and Health’ is a Clown Show

Senate Hearing on ‘Marijuana and Health’ is a Clown Show
Senate Hearing on ‘Marijuana and Health’ is a Clown Show

Let’s set the context here.

Two-thirds of the U.S. population want to see cannabis fully legalized in the United States, which now includes a majority of Republican voters (56%). Congress has been holding hearings not on if cannabis should be legalized, only on how to do it.

So what is the Republican-controlled Senate currently doing?
 
A Senate committee will convene on Wednesday to discuss marijuana and public health, featuring panels that include witnesses from federal agencies and academia.

Yes, the Senate has collected every prominent anti-cannabis dinosaur they can find in the United States. And they have put them under one roof to recirculate anti-cannabis propaganda that has already been rebutted by real science.

A clown show.

Naturally, these supposed experts still can’t even get their terminology right. “Marijuana” is a slang term for cannabis seized upon by the U.S. government nearly a century ago to demonize cannabis. It did this to associate cannabis with Mexicans and capitalize on the widespread prejudice of the U.S. population.

It was reprehensible when the U.S. government started doing this. It’s simply pathetic today. But back to the clown show.

Featured anti-cannabis Clowns include:

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) (co-chair of the hearing)
 
“It’s a new ballgame, with higher concentrations of the drugs, the challenges that brings to public safety, to individual mental health and also the consequences of being a gateway to some of these other drugs, certainly interacting with criminal organizations that peddle illegal drugs.” [emphasis mine]

Wrong.

There are no “mental health” issues associated with cannabis. That has all been debunked by real science. Cannabis use does not impair people’s cognitive processes (does not make consumers stupid).

Other so-called “mental health issues” associated with cannabis all involve grossly flawed methodology. Pseudo-science.

The only reason why cannabis was ever “a gateway drug” is because it is safe. People trying cannabis would think to themselves, “well, if the government is lying to us about ‘the dangers of pot’, maybe they are also lying about heroin?”

Today, cannabis is a “gateway drug” of a different sort. It is being used to break people’s addiction to opioid’s and save lives. It is also a gateway drug to reduce alcohol use – which kills over 88,000 Americans every year.



As for “interacting with criminal organizations”, that is a direct consequence of cannabis Prohibition. It is not a property of the plant itself (or its consumers). Yes, if you make cannabis illegal, then (by definition) only “criminals” can be associated with it.

Pathetic.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams
 
The official is an outspoken critic of cannabis reform, decrying increased THC potency and decreased perception of marijuana risks among youth. He issued an advisory in August warning the public about marijuana use by adolescents and pregnant women. [emphasis mine]

Wrong.

Those “decrying increased THC potency” are narrow-minded clods. Cannabis is non-toxic. Increased potency simply means consuming a smaller volume of cannabis to achieve the same medicinal or recreational effect.

No one has ever died from a cannabis overdose.

Reducing the volume of cannabis consumption is particularly important with respect to smoking cannabis since this causes respiratory irritation. Obviously, smoking less cannabis is better than smoking more.

Cannabis does not “harm adolescents”. That is more anti-cannabis mythology that has now been debunked.

One of the scientists who was part of the original ‘research’ there has acknowledged the flawed methodology. Dr. Madeline Meier re-studied this issue (using proper scientific methodology) and reached an opposite conclusion.

Short-term cannabis use in adolescence does not appear to cause IQ decline or impair executive functions, even when cannabis use reaches the level of dependence.

Heavy cannabis use by teens does not cause “IQ decline”. The study only made conclusions on short-term use because it only tracked consumption over a (relatively) short time frame.

People are not “adolescents” forever. However, a study on long-term cannabis consumption shows that cannabis use may actually help to reverse some forms of cognitive decline.

Ironically, Dr. Meier will be present at this hearing. The question is will any of the closed minds in charge of these proceedings actually listen to her?

There has never been any science showing that cannabis use harms pregnant women or their fetuses. Cannabinoids, the active ingredients in the cannabis plant, occur naturally in the human body. They are essential for human health.

Mother’s milk naturally contains cannabinoids that are passed to infants during breast-feeding. Medical science now believes that cannabinoids promote infant health. Here is what one scientist found when studying cannabis use by pregnant women.
 
Dr. Melanie Dreher studied women using cannabis during their entire pregnancy and then studied the babies one year after birth. She found that babies of the women who had smoked cannabis daily during their pregnancy socialised more quickly, made eye contact more quickly and were easier to engage.


Adams is just another completely ignorant anti-cannabis zealot.

Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
 
While often skeptical about claims about the therapeutic benefits of cannabis such as its ability to help people overcome addiction to opioids, Volkow has repeatedly stated that the Schedule I status of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act is inhibiting research into the plant. [emphasis mine]

Wrong.

There are mountains of empirical evidence on the valid therapeutic uses for cannabis. It is being used medicinally with respect to hundreds of medical conditions.

This is why it is legalized for medicinal use in 33 states, as well as nationally in Canada (and other more-enlightened nations). It is being prescribed for medicinal use by thousands of physicians.

Then there is cannabis and opioids. There are now numerous valid medical studies showing that cannabis use (a) reduces opioid use, (b) reduces opioid deaths, and (c) can even be used to completely break opioid addiction.

As for Volkow (belatedly) warning about how the Schedule 1 classification of cannabis has prevented research, this is hilarious.

During all the years of War on Drugs cannabis Prohibition, the NIDA was the number one propaganda mill cranking out anti-cannabis mythology. And notice how Volkow herself still calls cannabis “marijuana”.

The NIDA is little more than a tool of Big Pharma. In recent decades, Big Pharma has been the #1 driver of cannabis Prohibition since the drug industry has (potentially) $100’s of billions of dollars in revenues at risk when cannabis is legalized and fully incorporated into the healthcare system.

The NIDA has less-than-zero credibility with respect to cannabis.

Yes, other unbiased speakers will be at the hearing, but the voices who will be given (by far) the most weight are all anti-cannabis clowns. The deck is stacked.
 
Cornyn, one of the caucus co-chairs, is an adamant opponent of legalization. He said in August that he wanted to hold a hearing on the “public health consequences” of ending prohibition before the Senate voted on a bill that would allow banks to service state-legal cannabis businesses.

Here it is important to note that "public health" has absolutely no relevance to the SAFE banking bill on cannabis.

Cornyn's own party (including President Trump) has clearly indicated that cannabis is "a state's rights issue". SAFE is a bill about providing bank financing for legal companies. Period. It is not (in any way) about whether cannabis is good or bad.

Not only is Cornyn another Republican pylon blocking cannabis legalization. He is even attempting to undermine passage of SAFE, and he is using this so-called hearing to do that.

Passage of SAFE has been universally heralded as an important step forward toward full cannabis legalization in the United States. So John Cornyn does not want to see SAFE passed.

Cannabis will be legalized nationally in the United States, by whichever party wins the next election. In the meantime, this Senate “hearing” is a clown show. It will do nothing but undermine any national progress in the U.S. on cannabis reform for the remainder of the current administration.
 
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Cannabis Focus, Cannabis Industry
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