BY dR. DAVE HEPBURN | DECEMBER 19, 2012
Marijuana back in the news
I have a patient/friend/victim who, to say he is a conspiracy theorist is like saying my dog needs a breath mint. Turns out that JFK was shot by a deranged gay whale named Hank. Pizza Hut is controlled by Mother Theresa and Pfizer. Freddie Mercury was the legitimate heir to the throne of Zanzibar...and so on.
But he is also a bit of a maven. He knows a lot of intricate details about a lot of stuff, usually useless stuff. So when he told me that the US made marijuana illegal as a substitute for making liquor legal back in the 1930’s, I wondered what he’d been smoking.
Marijuana is back in the news again with Washington and Colorado recently making making marijuana illegal, illegal. Talk about a change of hemp heart. One minute, Bloggins is being chrome-domed for the electric chair for having the scent of sativa in his saliva, the next, the governor is rolling his peace pipe.
Washington has approved of hemp. In fact, George Washington approved of hemp. Grew it as one of his three primary crops. “Umm, ya, for rope Martha. Helps me floss these wooden teeth.”
In 1619, Jamestown colony law declared that all settlers were required to grow hemp. “Excuse me sir but it appears that you are not growing pot. You will be drawn and quarte...what?... we gave that up over here?”
Medicinal preparations of cannabis became available in America in the 1850s. Could buy it any Rexalls. “Jonathan, run down to the five and dime and grab some lye, a revolver and a dozen fatties.”
But newspaper mogul, William Randolph Hearst, mistakenly believing that hemp hurds were a better source of pulp and paper, felt that his huge timber empire was threatened.
He began publishing stories about the “killer weed of Mexico,” demonizing the cannabis plant that caused folks to commit violent crimes, act irrationally and overtly sexual.
He then downed a bottle of rye.
Andrew Mellon, the wealthiest man in America and conveniently enough Secretary of the Treasury (motto: “one for you, one for me”) had invested heavily in the Dupont family’s nylon (motto: our leggs fit your wallet) business. So, and I know this will come as a shock to many of you, in 1937 they used their influence to get the first federal law passed against cannabis.
The American Medical Association (AMA) screamed bloody (pick any body part)! "The AMA knows of no evidence that marijuana is a dangerous drug" and warned that a prohibition "loses sight of the fact that investigation may show that there are substantial medical uses for Cannabis.”
But the law passed, one that states, and I paraphrase a little here "We, the government have decided to lift prohibition on booze given how many tommy guns are being stolen from our personal stashes. Plus, we like martinis. But we need to prohibit something to keep our G-men in fedoras. Given that we liked Citizen Kane and the phrase “killer week of Mexico” gives us goosebumps, we’re gonna prohibit cannabis.”
New York Mayor Fiorello Laguardia who was a strong opponent of this 1937 Marijuana Act, formed the Laguardia Commission. They determined that the reports of addiction, madness, and overt sexuality were “as silly as my own first name, which I wish was Hank or Freddie.” They noted the therapeutic potentials of marijuana, such as the “euphoria-producing action which might be applicable in the treatment of mental depression and the rather unique property which results in the stimulation of appetite.”
In 1988, the DEA's Chief Administrative Law Judge, Francis L. Young, ruled that, "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known... It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for the DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance."
Personally I have NEVER used it. Honest. And I live in BC where it is against the law not to have tried it at least once. But I’m not sure why some doctors refuse to help patients with legitimate problems with this possible option, all the while cranking them full of narcotics. Some patients benefit tremendously from it, patients not necessarily named Hank..or Freddie...or Cheech.
Now you know the ... rest ... of the story
Dr. Dave's book The Doctor is In(sane) is now available for those with a sense of humor and half a sense of health.