Things I Wish I Had Written, Mark Kleiman Edition

reasonmag

So true:

The discussion of “rescheduling” marijuana is confused because most of the people engaged in it don’t know how the law works.

Jacob Sullum, always willing to let his ignorance be the measure of other people’s knowledge, utterly unwilling to let mere facts get in the way of libertarian ideology, and eager to please his paymasters by slagging a Democratic President, illustrates my point in his response to the latest CNN Obama interview.

That second paragraph pretty much sums up the entire raison d’être For Reason Magazine.

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66 replies
  1. 1
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Reason is the most incorrectly named magazine out there.

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    That link was actually interesting, in that it provided information and I learned something.

    Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

  3. 3
    WaterGirl says:

    @Baud: You must be a lot smarter than me; I learn something pretty much every day at balloon juice! I did like your comment though, as I usually do. Love your sense of humor.

  4. 4
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Baud:

    OK, the link apparently has been slashdotted, BJ style. I keep getting a database connection error.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    Alexandra says:

    Google cached page here.

  7. 7
    kindness says:

    Thanks for the cache version. Well, since any schedule level will apparently be an impediment to treating cannabis like alcohol they should exempt cannabis from the law. Try herding those cats to clear those votes…..We’re fucked.

  8. 8
    Howard Beale IV says:

    Actually, there may be a backdoor way to make marijuana legal…..

  9. 9
    burnspbesq says:

    What Kleiman notes in passing, but in my view doesn’t make enough of, is that even if Congress were willing to reschedule weed, there is the small matter of the United States’ obligations under an treaty that was duly ratified by the Senate when JFK was President, to which roughly 180 countries are parties.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.....otic_Drugs

  10. 10
    burnspbesq says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    Points for cleverness, but nuh-uh.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Well, thank you. Balloon Juice is my primary source of information. But I find most stuff on the Internet to be commentary rather than information (and crappy commentary at that). It’s why I so rarely leave the boat.

  12. 12
    MikeJ says:

    As the article points out “marijuana” can’t be prescribed, so can’t really move to another schedule. Marinol is already a schedule III drug.

  13. 13
    FlyingToaster says:

    @burnspbesq: The Netherlands is supposedly a signatory. And they sell pot and hash in coffee shops.

    I think we can submit “further medical information” and do whatever we need to.

    I know glaucoma patients and knew chemo patients who would (have) benefit(ed) from legal dispensaries (yay, Massachusetts, nice joining the 20th century in the 21st).

    AFAIC, we should legalize every damn thing, but make you get a scrip and go pick it up at the pharmacy. And if you’re a registered addict of {fill-in-the-blank} opiod, you give up your commercial vehicle license. And commerical pilots license. But otherwise, I don’t see how your addiction is any of my bidness.

  14. 14
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @burnspbesq: Hey, it isn’t just going to be a one-and-done, ya still got some other things to shiv, but given that we managed to both pass and repeal Prohibition….

  15. 15
    burnspbesq says:

    I’d like to know how Ole Miss got the monopoly on legal cultivation.

    My guess is that it had something to do with getting Stennis and Eastland to vote to ratify the Single Convention, but that’s just a WAG.

    Neither of those guys ever seemed like a closet doper.

  16. 16
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @burnspbesq: No shit. And Uruguay made it legal last year.

    How ironic that that the two Super Bowl teams hail from states where weed has some legality to it, eh?

    Maybe that explains why Minnesota and Michigan are lookin’ into it.

  17. 17
    Ben Franklin says:

    DEA is already bitching and moaning about lost revenue from asset forfeiture.

    Their bloated budgets will have to tank. Obama caves to that logic.

  18. 18
    Ben Franklin says:

    When the tax bennies are tallied, there is gonna be a rush of a different kind.

    The Tobacco Settlement, settled that question.

  19. 19
    burnspbesq says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    Maybe that explains why Minnesota and Michigan are lookin’ into it.

    I dunno, call me crazy if you want, but I’m inclined to think that having good players and good coaches might figure into it somehow.

    I have no dog in this fight, in the sense that I haven’t smoked any since I started law school 35 years ago, and I’m not likely to start up again no matter what the state of the law is or becomes, but process matters (yeah, there’s some hardcore lawyerspeak for ya).

  20. 20
    burnspbesq says:

    Dopers as states’ rights advocates. Who says irony is dead?

  21. 21
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @MikeJ: But if you ask a lot of folks who have used Marinol and smoked marijuana the efficacy between the two is statistically significant. I’m actually surprised that no one has tried to create an inhalable version of Marinol, but now it’s probably way too late and after what happened with Exubera no one would probably be willing to take the risk.

  22. 22
    Chris C. says:

    I’d like a couple bales of your best delivered to the Governor’s mansion in New Jersey.

    Also, every bag of Cheetos you can find.

  23. 23
    Jay C says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Maybe it’s just an urban legend, but I recall reading somewhere that the “Official Standard” marijuana which has been grown on that government farm in Mississippi since the early ’60s is, by today’s standards, a “dinosaur” of dope: as the “Official” strain (which has been carefully cultivated with no modifications for 50 years), is seriously less potent than the vast majority of “street” weed anyone can buy in the 21st Century – still less even “prescription” varieties.

    Progress, one presumes…

  24. 24
    Zam says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Reason is a word the right uses because they think it makes their argument sound.

  25. 25
  26. 26
    Roger That says:

    @burnspbesq: I remember an interview some time last century with one of the 15 (? I think) people at the time who were legally able to get legal marijuana from the government due to medical issues. He had a metal container like the ones that Danish butter cookies come in, except it was filled with rolled marijuana cigarettes provided by the Federal government via Ole Miss; he said they were absolutely terrible , I believe “ditchweed” was the term he used.

    Reason was decent back in the day. They focused a lot more on civil liberties and less on “economic freedom” (ugh). They were pushing back on the surveillance state early and Radley Balko was a consistently good resource for very real police abuses. They slowly morphed into a GOP proxy which culminated in 2008, when they fired their best reporter, Dave Weigel, for doing actual research and telling the ugly truth about Ron Paul.

  27. 27
    Roger Moore says:

    @kindness:

    Well, since any schedule level will apparently be an impediment to treating cannabis like alcohol they should exempt cannabis from the law.

    I disagree. The real problem is that our drug policy is based around the idea that the only valid and acceptable use of drugs is for medicine. We really need to accept that recreation is a valid reason for wanting to take drugs and add a separate schedule for recreational drugs. The FDA would still have a right to regulate recreational drugs, but it would avoid the need to exempt stuff from scheduling by legislative fiat.

  28. 28
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Roger That: That dude was on a Penn and Teller “Bullshit” Episode (S2E4) – but I don’t recall him complaining about how bad it was, just that he got it courtesy the Feds….

  29. 29
    Rob in CT says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Actually, IIRC, Kleinman has posted on that very thing at RBC. It’s an issue.

    Kleinman is to Pot as, say, Jeffrey Goldberg is to Israel/Palestine. He’s not a zealot, and his overall take is reasonable. But he’s also really, really, really anti-dirty hippie.

  30. 30
    MikeJ says:

    @Howard Beale IV: Even if it were demonstrated that there was a difference between generic marijuana and Marinol, if it were to be re-scheduled, marijuana would move from schedule I to schedule III, where Marinol is now.

    One thing the article gets wrong: it says that MJ can’t be rescheduled because it is mentioned by name in the controlling law putting it in Sched I. The portion of the law that does that reads, “Unless specifically excepted or unless listed in another schedule,” So it is possible to reschedule it (which wouldn’t have any actual effect on laws against selling/possessing it) or even except it the way alcohol is. I don’t know that the FDA can unilaterally exempt it.

    I wouldn’t want to go in front of this Supreme Court with a regulation overturning black letter law.

  31. 31
    Dedc79 says:

    Let’s keep an eye out for potential defamation suits against Reason. Who knows, maybe the there will be an opportunity to bury them in legal defense fees National Review style.

  32. 32
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @MikeJ: The FDA will never approve any form of natural un-processed marijuana plant as there is no way any manufacturer can come up with a process that can satisfy Good Manufacturing Processes and result in a standardized dosage, and marijuana can’t be grandfathered as Generally Recognized As Safe to satisfy the Pure Food and Drug Act.

  33. 33
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Roger Moore: Are you ready to add benzodiazepines to that list and alloed to be sold on the open market without a prescription?

  34. 34
    Breth says:

    Oh, eff me. I actually read the comments on Reason. Let’s just say that the title of the publication and the comments are polar opposites.

  35. 35
    Roamer says:

    The sad thing about Sullum is that he will never get it, even after being so deservedly burned to the ground.

  36. 36
    RSA says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Reason is the most incorrectly named magazine out there.

    Reason[ing in a vacuum]. Moral, psychological, social, political… If you ignore human nature, it’s not too hard come up with a nice, simple philosophy.

  37. 37
    Cliff in NH says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    GW Pharmaceuticals https://www.google.com/finance?q=LON%3AGWP

    You are Wrong.

  38. 38
    Roamer says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Spoken like a man who doesn’t know Mark, who is a hippie by any yardstick.

  39. 39
    Roger Moore says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    Are you ready to add benzodiazepines to that list and alloed to be sold on the open market without a prescription?

    I don’t know what should be on the schedule for recreational drugs and what kinds of restrictions might be put on their sale. What I do know is that our current approach to recreational drug use isn’t working, and that we need to try some something different. I think adding a schedule for recreational use- or maybe even a set of parallel schedules with different levels of restrictions (e.g. age limits, sales quantity limits)- is a plausible approach. I could even see having the apparently paradoxical prescription recreational drug, where users had to be regularly checked to make sure they weren’t showing signs of dependency or other bad psychological effects and could be put into rehab if they were.

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Yeah, I’m not sure I’m willing to let people use heroin recreationally. Anything that causes physical dependence needs to stay off the market, IMO. (Yes, I realize that people can become physically dependent on alcohol, but nobody’s taking Tylenol off the market despite its liver toxicity, are they?)

  41. 41
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Cliff in NH: Uh, where’s GW’s FDA approval for Nabiximols (which is a synthetic?)

  42. 42
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    nobody’s taking Tylenol off the market despite its liver toxicity, are they?

    Honestly, I think they should be looking at doing just that. Acetaminophen is not very safe; if there were a safer analgesic for people who have problems with NSAIDs, I’d suggest yanking it immediately.

  43. 43
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Mnemosyne: Tons of non-scheduled drugs cause physical depoendency-anti-depressants, anti-seizure, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetic…..

  44. 44
    Roger Moore says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    which is a synthetic?

    No, it’s not a synthetic. It’s derived from plants and has been run through quality control to make sure that it has predictable amounts of THC and CBD. It’s still a far cry from crude cannabis.

  45. 45
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Mnemosyne: Actually, the FDA’s almost one step away from doing that-they told the manufacturers of opiate-compounded acetominophen to cut the acetaminophen component to no more then 375mg.

    I’d rather that they get rid of it altogether-many people easily commit suicide by slamming booze with Tylenol and causing fulminat liver failure.

  46. 46
    Hob says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Anything that causes physical dependence needs to stay off the market, IMO. (Yes, I realize that people can become physically dependent on alcohol, but nobody’s taking Tylenol off the market despite its liver toxicity, are they?)

    I don’t understand what point you’re making there. Liver toxicity and the potential for physical dependence have nothing to do with each other, except that alcohol has both. And there are lots of legal drugs that cause physical dependence, including the entire class of benzodiazepines (Valium, Ativan, etc.) which, like alcohol and unlike opiates, can actually kill you if you go through withdrawal too abruptly.

    ETA: Oh I see, maybe— you were responding to Howard Beale who was proposing to make everything available without a prescription, so by “off the market” you just meant “don’t do that”? That makes more sense, but still it’s not a reason to distinguish between heroin and addictive prescription drugs.

  47. 47
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    Tons of non-scheduled drugs cause physical depoendency-anti-depressants, anti-seizure, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetic…..

    Which is why they all require a doctor’s prescription and are not sold recreationally over the counter to anyone who wants them, which is what Roger is proposing.

    As I said, I’m willing to let marijuana be sold for recreational use since there seems to be very little evidence that it can cause physical dependency, but I don’t think that, say, Clozapine should be sold OTC for recreational use.

  48. 48
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Hob:

    So should we be selling those drugs over the counter to anyone who wants to use them recreationally?

    My point is that alcohol and tobacco will probably have to be grandfathered in (as Tylenol essentially has been) despite the fact that they cause physical dependency, but selling heroin for “recreational use” will cause more trouble than it’s worth.

  49. 49
    Hob says:

    @Mnemosyne: See edit above. I was confused because I didn’t read far back enough to the original comment, so the meaning of “off the market” was ambiguous. I still don’t understand what Tylenol has to do with anything, or why alcohol and tobacco “will probably have to be grandfathered in”. They have to be, because… people really like them?

  50. 50
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    but I don’t think that, say, Clozapine should be sold OTC for recreational use.

    I’d question anyone who thinks clozaril should be used recreationally unless they have a addiction to agranulocytosis.

    Then again, anyone on clozaril isn’t probably in an ideal place now psychologically, are they?

  51. 51
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Which is why they all require a doctor’s prescription and are not sold recreationally over the counter to anyone who wants them, which is what Roger is proposing.

    Erm, I believe that Roger is advocating that some DEA Controlled substances becomes OTC.

  52. 52
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Hob:

    you were responding to Howard Beale who was proposing to make everything available without a prescription, so by “off the market” you just meant “don’t do that”? That makes more sense, but still it’s not a reason to distinguish between heroin and addictive prescription drugs.

    Methinks you might be referring to Roger Moore.

  53. 53
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Which is why they all require a doctor’s prescription and are not sold recreationally over the counter to anyone who wants them, which is what Roger is proposing.

    I am not suggesting that everything that’s currently in Schedule I be moved into a new class for recreational drugs. What I’m suggesting is that we accept that people want to use drugs recreationally and treat recreational use as valid. Right not, marijuana is illegal not because it’s unsafe but because it has no acceptable (to FDA) medical uses. If we accepted recreational as well as medical use, pot would probably be recognized as safe enough for OTC sale; it’s certainly safer than acetaminophen.

  54. 54
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Roger Moore:

    If we accepted recreational as well as medical use, pot would probably be recognized as safe enough for OTC sale; it’s certainly safer than acetaminophen.

    Agreed-as a matter of act, I’d probably add a bunch of DEA Controlled IV substances as well, given the impact of alcohol.

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Hob:

    I still don’t understand what Tylenol has to do with anything, or why alcohol and tobacco “will probably have to be grandfathered in”. They have to be, because… people really like them?

    Basically, I’m saying that drugs that create physical dependence should not be made available for recreational use, which is what I thought Roger said (I’ll respond to his response next).

    I was trying to fend off the next response, which is always, But alcohol and tobacco create physical dependence and no one is trying to take them off the market! by saying those would probably have to be grandfathered in, but I don’t think we should be releasing more drugs like that for recreational use because the public health consequences would be disastrous. Tobacco and alcohol are already major public health problems — now imagine if you could buy heroin over the counter, too.

    IOW, when we look at legalization, we shouldn’t be adding to our existing public health problems by making drugs available that we know cause physical dependence. Marijuana doesn’t cause physical dependence, so I don’t think it’s going to cause a huge public health problem (though it probably will cause an uptick in people needing counseling services).

    I brought in Tylenol because we now know that it’s toxic to the liver and no one really knows what a safe dose is, but it will probably never be prescription-only because, like tobacco and alcohol, it’s just too familiar to people. Clear as mud? ;-)

  56. 56
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    What I’m suggesting is that we accept that people want to use drugs recreationally and treat recreational use as valid.

    As long as you agree that substances that we know cause physical dependency should remain illegal, I don’t think we disagree that much. I’ve seen a lot of pro-legalization people say, Hell, yes, heroin should be legal! which is fucking insane to me. Do they really not understand that heroin causes physical dependency and marijuana does not, or do they just not give a shit? The public health consequences of legalizing physically addictive drugs for recreational use would be disastrous.

  57. 57
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Marijuana doesn’t cause physical dependence

    Source?

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Argh. FYWP is not letting me edit my own comments:

    ETA: As far as I know, neither alcohol nor tobacco have accepted medical uses (at least for internal use), so it would be natural for marijuana to be in the same category.

  59. 59
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    Here’s an abstract, though I don’t have the access to the full study. As I understand it (and IANAScientist), if you give lab rats unlimited access to THC, they won’t abuse it until they starve to death like they will heroin or cocaine, so it’s not considered physically addictive. (Psychological addiction is a different syndrome.)

  60. 60
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Mnemosyne: Addiction encompasses a physical and/or a psychological domain.

    Addiction is a psycho/sochial/spiritual/physical/psycho disorder.

  61. 61
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    Well, this is where we get into tricky territory. If someone is addicted to gambling, is that a “real” addiction or not? They have all of the psychological hallmarks of addiction, but does that mean that gambling causes physical dependence like, say, heroin does? Not everyone who puts a few coins into a slot machine will become addicted to gambling, but (AFAIK), everyone who is given opiates becomes physically dependent on them to some extent and will experience physical withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking them.

    From what I’ve read, psychological addiction is a mental disorder that has some features in common with OCD, but it’s a tricky thing to study because many of the substances that people become psychologically addicted to also cause physical dependence, and it’s tough to separate the physical effects from the psychological issues.

    I won’t go back to my “we need to develop a screening test for addictive personality types” pitch because it got me in big trouble last time, but … we kinda do.

  62. 62
    Ken says:

    Clearly the solution is to classify marijuana as an herbal supplement. Then anyone can sell it in any form they want, as long as they don’t claim it has any medical benefits.

  63. 63
    slippy says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    DEA is already bitching and moaning about lost revenue from asset forfeiture.

    Well, they can suck it. it is not our responsibility to provide victims for their looting. They won’t need all that money as they’ll have fewer made-up criminals to chase.

  64. 64
    Howard Beale IV says:

    Not everyone who is exposed to an addictive formulations gets hooked.

  65. 65
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    Everyone who is exposed to addictive formulations gets physically hooked to some degree. Even if, psychologically, you could take or leave oxycontin, you’re going to experience physical symptoms when you stop taking it, which is why they tell patients to taper off the medication rather than abruptly not taking it anymore.

    The severity of the symptoms you experience depends on things like how long you were taking it, how high your dosage was, etc., but it would be pretty unusual to find someone who was taking an opiate for 6 months or a year and was able to abruptly stop using it with absolutely no adverse physical symptoms.

  66. 66
    B. Snow says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Really? I never understand, how Prohibs can make this “But – but, We can’t add another ‘legal drug’ to be sold openly (in a free/over-the-counter) market…”
    We wouldn’t be adding anything to the market, Its already out there on the market – basically everywhere, it’s just not over- the-counter – Not yet, but it will be. All this will do is stop us wasting money jailing folks for violating the cliche = “do as we say not as we do”. We don’t have to like it., but we should at least accept it.

    Except for the possibility of a few ‘teetotaler’ havens, where even today – they still have “Dry” Counties. Which are mostly in little-bitty, middle-of-nowhere-ville’s there’s still a few scattered across Texas, last time I checked. And even those are slowly disappearing one by one.

    Lubbock expanded sales into the city in 2009 – some folks are happy about it, others aren’t so happy about it. Since – 1935 people had to drive down to “The Strip” on the south side/edge of the City – I had friends that went to TexasTech and stayed there, you could still drink at clubs & people made liquor runs = like they do everywhere else, when there is a ‘Prohibition’ of something in one state/county/whatever, & it’s legal on the other side of the jurisdiction/line.

    The Sky didn’t fall in Lubbock, Nor has it fallen in medical marijuana States – like California, Washington, among many others 20+ D.C. (IIRC, the number of places – first states, then cities, some specific counties in a couple states = the number goes up every time I turn around) or recreational marijuana states – which is Colorado, and Washington (*kinda – until the stores actually open there).

    And what looks to be a long line of States/places that aren’t going to pass up on the possible tax revenues, and money channeled into the general economy (via – hotels, restaurants, gas stations, etc.)

    Spare me the moral panic speech, and the standard. “But, the Social Costs will outweigh any money that comes in from the sales and taxes – yada-yada-yada… We’re already dealing with the “social costs’.

    A near total loss of respect for law enforcement Law Enforcement Officers, family & judgmental authority figures. Along with a default of distrusting strangers, ruining any sense of true community our great-grandparents would have valued dearly.

    The market exists and is growing (aging baby-boomers, adult gen-x’ers, & now young adult millennials) – supply will meet demand, the demand for and/or the sale of alcohol has declined in many places and 95% of the time – I’d rather be around stoned folks I hate, rather than drunks I love.
    Also, when we tell young people that marijuana is so horribly dangerous – we seriously undermine any trust in us as honest ‘authority figures’ – as parents, teachers, older siblings, pastors, politicians, etc.

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