Marijuana far less harmful than prescription drugs, tobacco

Posted: Friday, April 08, 2005

Senate Bill 74 versus a public opinion of 138,000 yes votes for marijuana.

All those votes, despite the incredibly cold wind and snow that was blowing Election Day, kept a lot of medicinal users at home because at least they have half a brain to not get stoned for their pain and then go driving to the polls. Unlike all of the pill-popping patients of the pill-happy doctors that thrive across Southcentral Alaska who drive to work stoned, drive to pick up their kids from school stoned, drive to court stoned, and so on.

All of it makes me want to play Tom Petty's, "Don't come around here no more," into Gov. Murkowski's voicemail.

To claim marijuana has addictive qualities similar to heroin is a pretty disreputable statement, considering the massive studies complied over the years concerning the addictive qualities of just the legal drug nicotine. The U.S. Surgeon General, the Royal Society of Canada, and, most recently, the Royal College of Physicians in the U.K. have concluded nicotine is more addictive that heroin.

Just like heroin and morphine, nicotine stimulates the human brain's prodution of chemicals called opiods. It also increases the dopamine levels in the brain, similar to that of pure methamphetamine. In fact, researchers in neuroscience at the University of Michigan have found a 20 to 30 percent alteration in these chemical flows when compared to that of nonsmokers.

In contradiction, marijuana has been found for years to be so safe that no confirmed deaths have ever been caused by marijuana alone. That's what worries these politicians I think. The theraputic implications of marijuana are so endless that accepting it socially amongst the general public through legalization would wreak havoc on the pharmaceutical industry.

First there came the agricultural revolution, then came the industrial revolution, and next the worst one of all which is consuming Americans daily, the pharmaceutical revolution. Maybe Murkowski is a big player in this and the cash is keeping his shoes shined and his teeth white. Who knows?

When only 5 to 10 percent of people who try smoking marijuana will become daily users when compared to 80 to 90 percent of cigarette smokers, I stop and wonder if Murkowski knows what a statistical graph even is.

Dustin Billings

Kenai



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