Category Archives: Drug Policy

So much homelessness is turning the tide of public opinion on drug policy

California Peace Coalition Forms

Concerned citizen groups rallied in Sacramento on August 16, 2021, They issued a press release as the California Peace Coalition, signaling a new alliance. A large and varied group of non-profits and individuals affected by the explosion of drugs united for this important cause.  They stand against drug dealers, bad policies and open drug markets, problems that fuel addiction, overdoses and California’s large homeless population.

Their objectives include ending the open drug markets. They wish to find workable solutions for the homelessness crisis and rehabilitation for addiction.  Many groups in the alliance were started by parents who lost children to addiction or drug poisoning deaths. Many of these families would prefer forced treatment for addiction over the policies that enable addiction.

Cities like San Francisco and Seattle make life easier for drug use, thus keeping people enslaved to their addictions.  Tom Wolf and many adults who survived and recovered from drug habits want to see a change.  That’s why they joined the coalition

Among the parents in the group are those whose children died of fentanyl, usually not knowing they were getting it.  Most of them object to letting drug dealers, who sell drugs and poison young people, off the hook.

A progressive changes his mind

On Substack a few weeks ago, Michael Shellenberger wrote his apology for progressive policies, “In the late 1990s and early 2000s, I worked with a group of friends and colleagues to advocate drug decriminalization, harm reduction, and criminal justice reform…. I fought for the treatment of drug addiction as a public health problem not a criminal justice one. And we demanded that housing be given to the homeless without regard for their own struggles with drugs.”

“Our intentions were good.” he said, but concluded, “Everything we thought about the drugs was wrong.”   https://michaelshellenberger.substack.com/p/why-everything-we-thought-about-drugs

At the end of the article, he explained:

“Progressive advocates and policymakers alike blame the drug war, mass incarceration, and drug prohibition for the addiction and overdose crisis, even though the crisis resulted from liberalized attitudes and drug laws, first toward pharmaceutical opioids, and then toward all drugs”

In an article of August 26, Shellenberger proclaimed, “Finally the Media Are Starting to Tell the Truth About California, Drugs, & Homelessness[J1] ”  https://michaelshellenberger.substack.com/p/finally-the-media-are-starting-to

He concludes that bad policy drives homelessness more than anything else. We may read more about this topic in his book coming out on October 12.

Homelessness is largely a matter of drug addiction and mental illness.  Since drug abuse often precedes mental illness, many people would not need mental health care if they hadn’t used drugs. Although poverty and the high price of housing contribute to California’s problems, the excessive homelessness did not appear until after marijuana became legal.  Many people don’t see homelessness as we do, but an upcoming recall election in California signals widespread dissatisfaction in the state.

Shellenberger wrote a book about San Francisco.  Harper Collins will release it next month.  Will the rest of the country wake up?

Writers respond with letters about nationwide marijuana legalization

Kevin Sabet, PhD, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, wrote about The High Price of Federal Marijuana Legalization for the Wall Street Journal on August 25, 2021. In the letter, he signaled strong objections to Senator Schumer’s Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA).

This week two important letters to the editor of the Wall Street Journal followed. Dr. Eric Voth wrote a letter published in the paper on Aug 31, followed by William Bingham’s letter on Sep. 1.

Dr. Voth’s letter:

What Proponents of Legal Marijuana Forget to Mention

There exists clear medical evidence of the harms of increasing access to weed.

     The letter supporting marijuana legalization from Paul Armentano of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (“Decriminalizing Marijuana Doesn’t Address the Problem.” Aug 27)  completely ignores the medical consequences, suffered throughout the nation, of enhancing access to marijuana.

      There exists clear medical evidence of increased psychiatric difficulties with marijuana use, including violence, psychosis, schizophrenia, manic episodes, worsening depression and suicide.  Traffic fatalities increase with marijuana law liberalization, and now there is clear evidence for increased opiate overdoses linked to enhanced marijuana availability.

     Other medical consequences such as uncontrolled vomiting episodes (Cannabis hyperemesis syndrome) and cardiac complications are becoming recognized, as marijuana becomes far more potent than the ditch-weed of 40-to-50 years ago.  This carnage underpins a huge, well-organized marijuana industry that seeks to profit on the suffering of the public, exactly as we saw with the tobacco industry.

     I hope the federal efforts to legalize marijuana will wake people up to serious consequences of marijuana will wake people up to the serious consequences of marijuana use, and states will start rolling back or, at minimum, tightening marijuana statutes.  

                                                          Eric A. Voth,

The International Academy on the

                                                                          Science and Impact of Cannabis

                                                                                                                                Fairfax, Va.

(Read our description of Dr. Voth’s organization, IASIC)

William Bingham’s letter:

No Hiding from Marijuana After Federal Legalization

       I strongly oppose legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level.  (The “High Price of Federal Marijuana Legalization” by Kevin Sabet, op-ed, Aug. 25)   It should be treated as an opiate, such as codeine, and be made available only by prescription.  Both are mind-altering addictive drugs.

        In California, where cigarette advertising is tightly restricted, I have seen attractive billboards advertising marijuana dispensaries in plain view of underage kids riding in cars.  This creates ab awkward situation, but it is perfectly legal.  And because it is legal, companies face legal difficulties in firing employees who use marijuana on the job or at lunch breaks.  Marijuana use affects job performance because it is mind- altering. 

         If difficulties arise at the state level, a family or business can always move to another state.  If marijuana is legalized at the federal level, there will be no escape. 

                                                                    William B. Bingham, Fountain Valley, Calif.

Let us think before we leap. 

Libertarians were wrong about marijuana legalization

By Aron Ravin  This article appeared in the National Review on August 14, 2021.

At the outset, I’d like to lay my cards out on the table: I despise weed.  I think that I reeks, that it’s a waste of money and time.  I dislike cheap euphoria, and I think getting high promotes escapism.  Forever a nudnik, I do not, and do not plan to, partake in the devil’s lettuce.

Nevertheless, many people whom I respect and consider my friends are more open to Miss Mary Jane than I. So I take their arguments seriously when we discuss the issue of legalization. Some of the most common ones, which I’ll discuss at more length below, appear tenable on the surface, if not particularly convincing. Others that have tended to exist on the periphery of the debate — e.g., concerns about a nanny state and the problems of disproportionate sentencing — are much more compelling. Continue reading Libertarians were wrong about marijuana legalization

Drug Policy Alliance should have no influence over policy

The normalization and continued promotion of drug use kills people, harms individuals and harms society. The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) turned people against the “War on Drugs,” a term the government stop using in 2009. The DPA aims for legalizing all drugs, but now uses the term “decriminalization,” disguising their true goals.

DPA wishes to protect drug dealers so that they may never be charged with homicide if a person dies. A press release of November 2017, staked out DPA’s position against drug-induced homicide laws, claiming that “An Overdose Death is not Murder.”

For parents, whose children died after buying pills through dealers, friends or acquaintances, it’s a bitter pill to swallow: the DPA claims their children were already drug users, and no one should be held responsible for death.

Continue reading Drug Policy Alliance should have no influence over policy