Reefer Madness

We live in a time that merits its own version of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Charles McKay’s classic 1841 study of human follies and frenzies, such as witch hunts, alchemy and bursting financial bubbles. Our current repertoire of fallacies is rich in conspiracy theories, apocalyptic prophecies and alien abductions.

One such delusion is now in full bloom. The movement to legalize medical marijuana is proceeding apace without significant care or consideration on the part of the government, the medical and scientific community, or the public.

With California leading, fourteen states have now legalized medical marijuana, with legalization under consideration in 11 other states. This rampaging weed of a public policy seems eerily immune to the kind of scientific testing and review routinely accorded to the regulation of food, medicine and over-the-counter drugs. You would think that marijuana — classified as a schedule I drug, one with a high potential for abuse and “no currently accepted medical use” by federal law — would get special scrutiny before it’s approved as medicine: you would be wrong.

With medical marijuana, the public and policy-makers alike have thrown caution to the smoke-filled winds. California’s medical marijuana laws are a hodge-podge, changing from county to county, like something dreamed up by Cheech and Chong. Today there are 1000 marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles alone — a greater number than all the city’s Starbucks, 7-11s and MacDonald’s combined. Far from being clinical, some shops feature carnivalesque hucksters out front to lure new clients. Pretty much anyone claiming a headache can get a prescription. State lawmakers seem to have learned nothing from California’s experiment.

I do not propose denying medical marijuana to those in chronic pain from cancer, AIDS or other ailments. But as a horticulturist, I worry that these patients are using a garden-grown substance that offers dangers more significant than the relief it affords. They are subjects in a loopy social policy experiment.

Marijuana’s value as pain relief, as well as its overall safety, deserve investigation. Right now the scientific findings are far from conclusive. The AMA has sensibly urged the federal government to loosen restrictions that impede serious research.

Yet, the very public that wants its food grown organically and sustainably and flees from corn syrup, sugar, butter and salt as from a plague, blithely overlooks pot’s uncertain provenance. They seem indifferent to where their pot comes from, who sows the seed and grows the plants and where, and what manner of fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and growth stimulants are used to enhance it.

Today’s pot is far stronger than the weed that gave boomers a halcyon buzz in their youth. Seeking relief for pain from a few puffs of medical marijuana can result in a doubling of your heart rate, anxiety, panic, hallucinations and psychotic episodes. Some help!

While there is scant evidence to support marijuana’s medical benefits, there is plenty confirming its dangers, findings substantiated by significant increases in marijuana-induced emergency room visits in the last 15 years. And pot messes with your head: significantly impairing short-term memory, verbal skill, judgment and perception. Anyone who’s talked to a pothead will testify to these effects.

Statistics on pot are bummers. Pot-using teenagers have poorer grades and poorer attendance. Of those arrested, 41% of adult men test positive for pot, 27% of adult women. Six to 11% of fatal accident victims test positive for THC. A painkiller, indeed.

Since pot’s potency can vary dramatically, patients have no guidelines for dosage, so it’s hit or miss, you might say. This problem, and many of medical marijuana’s other perils, can be effectively addressed by marinol, an approved prescription medicine that offers calibrated doses of pot’s key THC isomer.

The medical marijuana debacle deserves serious attention from the Administration, the Courts, Congress and the FDA and AMA. What are they waiting for? Unchecked, this latest extraordinary popular delusion will have serious social and medical consequences.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 at 9:30 am and is filed under Original Posts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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126 Responses to “Reefer Madness”

  1. Coach Sok said:


    Excellent piece. We live in a new age of better living through chemistry and you squarely nailed the THC issue. I’m a career cop who has witnessed the impact across all age ranges since my jurisdiction decriminalized it in 1972. This is not an extension of the New Prohibition argument. I fear the band wagon effect is at full speed.

    • George said:

      Thank you very much for the compliment. It appeared-a bit shortened and revised-in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer. Maybe a few more will see the light, especially the politicians.

  2. Occasional Smoker said:

    George growing up in the Horticultural business and by your care free attitude I’m sure you have had a toke or two of this amazing plant (Perhaps you did not inhale) in your younger years. That said – What are your thoughts on legalizing Marijuana to reduce the crime rate and over-crowed jails? We then could tax it to create jobs for agencies to oversee the distribution.. I can see the merits of doing so, but as you say smoking does make people lethargic and will probably cause society other problems.

    • George said:

      Not a personal issue with me, but a policy issue. Who cares what I do or don’t do? However, I’m probably on the wrong side of history. Marijuana is so pervasive that some parents use their kids to sell to their fellow high-schoolers. We’ll reap what we sow. Legal or not, “wacky tobacky” will be around for youth of all ages to use for the rest of time. It makes you stupid—no question about it. Some folks do not wish to be smart. The light bulb has to want to be changed. Thanks.

  3. Nina said:

    To raise fear is not productive use of time. I do not use or want to use any drug but the very fact it is illegal is what makes it appealing especially to those dispensing it.
    I fail to understand also how this pertains to gardening, which is why I subscribe to your newsletter. There is much mis-information on both sides of the marijuana issue. Having it illegal has not stopped people from using but has made it a very lucrative business for drug cartells. I doubt repealing the marijuana laws will help anyone or anything.

    • George said:

      Thanks, Nina. I’m complaining about a primarily backyard garden phenomenon that started and has caught on mainly in the west. Now, with the dispensaries, anyone who can open a diner can sell pot in a store. Not to knock diner operators, but it’s a simple matter of a couple of easy permits, as I understand. Not sure I get your other points. But thanks very much for posting.

  4. veet said:

    Greetings It’s apparent you know nothing about this weed.People like to get high period.So hitch up your overalls and write what you know about.You sound like a rehab.parrot.Same old reefer madness mis information.

    • George said:

      Irony in the title. You don’t really think I meant it literally. Also, what’s “rehab”? Thanks for posting.

  5. Thomas said:

    You have failed to any real research into this issue. There numerous studies confirming the medical benefits of cannabis. You do a disservice to you’re readers by disseminating unsubstantiated “facts”. No one ever in all of recorded has died from an overdose if cannabis.

    • George said:

      Thanks for your post. I like your frankness. Duly noted that no one has died from pot overdose. That is because they cannot find the bong, or whatever it is, on the floor, where they left it seconds earlier. Hey, by the way, I did a hash pipe-ful of research on the subject. Numerous studies. Thanks again.

  6. Mickie said:

    I am a gardener and that is why I open mail from Heronswood. I do not need your political opinions on Marijuana usage for medical or recreational purposes. Is liquor better? At least if it were legalized we would have one less illegal drug for the dealers to be killing people over and our taxes should be less because we wouldn’t have to pay for all the people in jail for smoking a joint! We have enough worries right now with the oil spill killing all the fish & wildlife, people losing their jobs and homes. Keep talking about flowers and leave the rest alone!

    • George said:

      OK, Mickie. Deal. I’ll stop. I just think it’s an issue to wonder where all these seeds and clones are coming from. Legitimate concern. Yes or no? Thanks.

  7. Marie said:

    My dear husband died one month ago today. He suffered terribly with cancer. I only wish we could have made his life more comfortable, given him nutrition that he seemed to decline, and most of all peace and relaxation. It’s is truly time that the Goverment stops controlling marijuana.

    • George said:

      I’m very sorry for your loss, Marie.

  8. Bill Erickson said:

    I like the fact that you are a thinking person who cares about issues in the world. I believe that ultimate wisdom and answers (truth) can be known. This truth, if you can weed out all the carnal additions of humankind, is accessible. Sadly, the fingerprints of humanity have smudged the truth up so much that it has been made to appear unrecognizable and seeming to be impotent and a fallacy. The God of Abraham, Moses, Paul and Peter still lives however and He holds all wisdom and truth for those reflective enough to investigate and believe. At the core of this search, one will find the meaning of our journey here – the return to an intimate love relationship with the One whose very nature is love. He is everything right and good and lovely and offers us eternity to reach into the depths of His wonderfulness.
    Very soon we will see a truer picture of who He is. This will undo the man-made cultural perceptions of God and “church”. We will see the one true God emerge in people who passionately love Him with power to demonstrate His true identity – not the one we have given to Him, but one who He truly is. Those who groan for truth and the real meaning of life will receive Him.

    The best to you!

    Bill Erickson

    • George said:

      Right on, Bill. I can add nothing. I hope you are a gardener, as well as philosopher. Please post again.

  9. Deborah said:

    I do not use pot, not now or as a younger adult (56 now). I can not believe we do not have better studies to show how/when it is a positive thing for sick people…I do have a non scientific thought–Pot smokers tend to be MUCH less aggressive, rarely do they get high and beat the heck out of their wife, that is more the trait of beer abusers….I do believe most criminals use chemicals unwisely, but removing drugs would not remove the crime I think.
    I think we should by now know enough to allow the use of this chemical for those in pain/true medical need. Why are we having so much trouble doing this correctly?

    • George said:

      Agreed on most points. I’m not sure about the cartoonish beer drinking wife-beaters. Not sure. You say the beer is to blame? Of course, booze releases inhibitions and aggressions. But do you know the psychotic effects of pot on many folks? It’s well documented. Naturally—as in the wife beater—there has to be what the docs call an underlying predisposition. So, my scenario of some freaked-out boomers might be accurate. Today’s pot is ferociously strong—laced with hallucinogens or not. Thanks for posting.

  10. Reelgal said:

    Your “rant” seems a bit over-dramatic, over-reactive, and extreme to me, and not entirely accurate.

    But overall, I wish the government and related agencies would pay more attention to tobacco, the botanical that has been legal for decades, which has had and continues to have much more dire consequences, including dangerous side smoke, severe illness and disease, and death, than weed. How regulated is the growing of that herb, and how much does the smoking and non-smoking public care?

    I also question the appropriateness of your post on a nursery blog – I would rather give my business to a nursery that concentrates their energy on the growing of plants of the garden variety, not the posting of reactionary, right-wingish rants!

    • George said:

      Thanks. I’m not a right-winger! Where on earth do you get this idea? I want more regs, not fewer. And we’re speaking about a lot of backyard garden space that could be pleasantly and usefully planted in perennials and vegetables. So be it! Thanks again.

  11. Candace said:

    On the contrary, there is evidence to support the medical use of marijuana; in fact there are a number of double-blind studies (the ‘gold standard’ of medical research) of the effectiveness of medical marijuana. A good listing can be found here: There are a number of studies, you just need to look for them.

    Statistics, used out of context, can be misleading. I suggest that close to 100% of arrestees and truant teens smoke cigarettes. Perhaps the use of marijuana or cigarettes are a symptom rather than a cause. Perhaps these folks are ‘self medicating’ for depression or hyper activity.

    One of the benefits of legalizing marijuana is that it can then be better studied, regulated and the consumer protected from shoddy businesses. There are some studies that suggest certain varieties are in fact more effective than others at pain relief, studying this would help consumers.

    I do not use marijuana myself, but I think it should be legal. It is less of a social problem than cigarettes (which have a well-documented negative effect on health) or alcohol, the ‘drugs’ with the greatest social cost for society.

    • George said:

      Thanks. I didn’t know such thorough, peer-reviewed work had been done by board-certified physicians. I cannot understand why hospitals don’t use it, and my doctor shook her head and said, “The situation is a big mess.” I guess she will see the light, in time. What about our Surgeon General? When is he going to come out in favor of back lot, state-forest grown M.M., easily and freely available as any other doctor’s prescription? As far as alcohol and tobacco, I couldn’t agree more. Ban them, along with recreational marijuana. Honestly, we need a bit of a wake-up call in this country. Even pre-teens (11-12 mainly) are actually using alcohol and drugs, rather than just experimenting. At the critical onset of puberty, no less. And this is no coincidence. As a previous poster said, the country is in trouble with respect to self-control. Emerging adults have it tough these days. Thanks again.

  12. desktoparchitecture said:

    I came of age in the late 50’s at about the end of the “Beet-nick” generation and the start of the “Hippie” generation. In fact I graduated from university just in time for the “Summer of 67”. graduate school took me to Illinois in 1968, and the Chicago trials of the “Chicago-8”. I have never used “Pot” though I can not deny having had drug induced experiences the result of the medical profession and the FDA liscensing of pharmacuiticals which I had severe allergic reactions too.

    I would as a result consider “Pot” to be an extremely mild prescription compared to those already given to me in the past. I live in one of those states which has chosen to legalize medical use of “pot”. I truely believe that it should be allowed to be used under medical supervision in a limited manner.

    Hopefully if ther is any single thing which people like Ron Paul and Sarah Pallin with the Tea Party brign forth to fruition,it will be the legalization of “Pot” for medical use at the Federal government level.

    • George said:

      Thanks, Desktop. I especially like “Beet-nick”. How about, instead of tea party, garden party? Better symbol, don’t you think? Someone told me there was a left-of-center “Coffee Party”. What’s with the stimulants? Thanks again. Please return.

  13. Susie Fitzhugh said:

    What a surprising breath of fresh air and clear thinking it was to read this today. I intend to share it widely. I am personally aware of the dangers of marijuana, and would greatly appreciate more research on its tendency, in some people, to open a Pandora’s Box of problems with anxiety, panic,judgment and perception. Thank you very, very much for writing about this subject.

    • George said:

      I drop to one knee and weep for the relief your post provides. Thank you very much. Please post again soon.

  14. Judy Smith said:

    One of the major reasons the government has made cannabis illegal is because they would not be able to control it for TAXATION–for pete’s sake–it is a weed…If you insist that it is a gateway drug, for that matter so is milk…Cannabis causes far fewer problems than does alcohol both physically and emotionally. Of course anything in excess, even food, causes problems…but dependency is not a common problem with marijuana. LEGALIZE IT!!!

    • George said:

      Then, I ask you, why has it not been legalized? Safe as milk? You must be joking. But thank you for the passionate response.

  15. J. Douglas W said:

    Stick to gardening, not politics. That’s why I subscribe.

    • George said:

      Thanks, J.D.

  16. Ginger Taifour said:

    Hey George,

    While I enjoy reading your articles about horticulture, I don’t particularly like reading about your political views. Please, just keep to what you know best and leave politics out of it!

    Ginger Taifour

    • George said:

      I try to address horticultural matters. However, I shall try better to steady my fix on a stricter definition of horticulture. Thanks for the input, Ginger. Please come again.

  17. Miriam said:

    As a 73 year old female who missed the reefer madness of the 60’s and early 70’s, I have to say that I find alcohol to be much more menacing than pot. Families are devastated, children subjected to violence, people killed by drunk drivers and many lives ruined by alcohol abuse.

    I know many people who like a few puffs on a reefer in the evening to mellow out after being exposed to the craziness of everyday living. They contribute in meaningful ways to our society and I have yet to meet a family that has been devastated by a pot smoking family member.

    Personally I do not smoke pot because I get my “high” from doing spiritual practices. But everybody is at a different place in their spiritual growth and we can’t expect everyone to be the same. Prohibition showed us that we can’t legislate products that many people want. Medical marijuana is a step toward legalizing marijuana which would cut out many drug dealers and give the government the ability to tax it and make a lot of money.

    If you are going to condemn marijuana, you need to condemn alcohol as well.

    • George said:

      Very helpful insights, Miriam. Thanks. I am not so much condemning the abuse pot, just criticizing the federal and state laws and regulations of it. I think we agree more than not. Thanks again.

  18. Maria said:

    I am really impressed with the information presented in this article. Interesting about the number of pot shops in California- outnumbering coffee shops! Wow! This article deserves more notoriety. Can you find a way to share it on Facebook? You’d reach a lot of young people too. Thanks for this great article. It’s a topic I’ve felt strongly about and I am glad to see such a concise, informative piece! Great perspective!

    • George said:

      Thanks for your feedback. The article will appear in Thursday’s Philadelphia Inquirer in the Op/Ed section. Somewhat shortened and revised. That’s a start. Thanks again.

  19. Jo Ann Rousey said:

    My sister-in-law has terminal cancer, it came upon her last year, thought she had beat it, but it came back, they give her 3 to 6 months,or less to live, I pray for a miracle everyday, my brother is a strong man, but this has taken it’s toll on him. and so, medical marijuana is her last resort to ease the pain, I say go for it, anything to help her, she is a strong woman, and thank goodness california has passed this law. I just wish she did not have to go through this. But at least she can be comfortable.
    Thank you

    • George said:

      I’m very sorry for your sister-in-law. May medicinal marijuana continue to be a blessing to you both.

  20. JudyG said:

    History is repeating itself, again. Doesn’t anybody remember Prohibition, with gangs and murders and drive-by shootings and boot-leggers and..? Outlawing booze only led to MORE problems, and the laws against drugs are doing the same [not to mention using up a lot of prison space and tying up a lot of police, increasing robberies and violent crimes, and prostitutes and “dirty cops”]. Drugs ARE bad, they’re awful. But all we’re doing is enriching a lot of cruddy people — just like during Prohibition. There would so much more money available to help those with drug problems,etc. Think about it….

    • George said:

      Thank you for your thoughtful post. In fact, Prohibition turns out to have been somewhat mixed, but still, in the end, self-destructive policy. However, it may have saved many more lives, marriages and families than people think. I spent most of my youth and part of my adulthood in “dry” towns and villages. Remarkable how salutary it was. However, I agree with you. How about dropping the age for booze to 18, legalize pot, and then catch abuse of both at a much earlier age and “out in the open” versus furtive parties in the dark. Spot the alcoholics earlier, easier and treat them more cheaply in the long run. Poor kids: they die for their country before having a glass of wine or shot of tequila. Thanks again.

  21. Brett John said:

    I am posting this comment prior to unsubscribing to your email list. While you do post informative and entertaining information, this recent post regarding medical marijuana is going way too far. I’m sure that most people who read these emails subscribed because they are interested in gardening, NOT your personal political thoughts. This is not the place to force your viewpoints on a “captive” audience.

    • George said:

      Thank you. As you point out, you are hardly part of a captive audience. Perhaps other points of view are more interesting—so be it. However, this is a horticultural issue. If you want to know more about it, go to California and see the degraded lives of street people and homeless, for whom cheap grass is a pathetic comfort. Skid row, 2010. Sure, M.M. is effective. I said so. But letting loose the scene I describe in my post is irresponsible public policy, in my view. And it’s mainly backyard garden grown, so I must speak out on some level. Thanks again and please re-subscribe.

  22. John Novak said:

    Your article is very dissapointing. Reefer Madness is still alive and functioning.

    Why would you, a representative of the agricultural community, want to put limits on growing plants that can change the economy for the better?

    Do you have a contract with tree and paper companies? Are you in bed with cotton and all the pesticides and fertilizers that this crop demands? Who or what profit driven factor is motivating you to write this nonsense? Tobacco maybe?

    Get real. Cannabis has never in its history ever caused a single death from overdose.

    More potent pot means you use less to get the desired effects.

    Marinol is not nearly as effective as fresh cannabis.

    Scant evidence? This is so laughable is it sad.

    You have lost my respect completely.

    Go back to growing trees and perrenials

    • George said:

      Thanks for your piquant input. You’re wrong on most counts, but right on marinol. So, let’s improve marinol. We can land a man on the moon, but not improve marinol? I doubt it. Actually, Earl Butz has been reincarnated and is helping me, Dr. Mabuse-style. Very engaging post. Please reread my article and come again.

  23. Louise said:

    Good God get real! You must be a child of the 1940’s scared silly by a movie. Women selling themselves into prostitution to get their next joint, crazed pot-smokers raping and pillaging polite society. No one has ever died of a marijuana overdose. It is all just pure fantasy. Ask any cop if he’d rather deal with a pot-head or a drunk!

    Marijuana’s medicinal benefits include: pain relief, muscle relaxation, anti-nausea, ocular effects for glaucoma patients, relief for multiple sclerosis and AIDS sufferers…Here is a link to see what the AMA says

    “findings substantiated by significant increases in marijuana-induced emergency room visits in the last 15 years.” LOL!!!! Source please!

    57% of fatal accident victims test positive for alcohol! I do wish you would post YOUR statistical sources! Alcohol is traceable for 3 days while positive results for marijuana stay in the body for over 3 weeks! So of your 11%, how many had smoked pot that day?

    Marinol does not provide the same medicinal results. Admittedly smoking anything causes serious health problems however vaporization of marijuana has proved a safer method of delivery.

    You say there is “scant evidence” of it’s benefits…go to an HIV or chemo center and ask the patients!

    • George said:

      Thanks. I’m concerned you might have missed my points about allowing genuine MM relief, and asking for more—not less—testing. These reports are fairly common, aren’t they? As for fantasy, you might look around. Public high schools are generally being overrun with drug activity. It all started with pot in the early to mid 60s. Finally, the title of the post is my clumsy attempt at humor or irony. I should have called it “Reefer Madness 2.0”.

  24. gardenbug said:

    Pot does work for many people. Many people also abuse pot. The Federal government has consistently refused to do meaningful studies on pot, very possibly because of the following reason.
    Originally the ban on Marijuana came because of the competition to chemical and drug companies from hemp, considered the same species, but not possessing such high levels of the active psychoactive ingredient. The law banning marijuana passed in 1937, and was removed during WW II and reinstated after the war.
    And no, i do not smoke pot – or anything else – but I do know some cancer victims that it really worked for, relieving the severe nausea that many suffer from during therapy. I also know of cancer victims for whom it gave no relief.

    • George said:

      Thanks much. Very interesting view point, and I agree. Please post again.

  25. Laurel said:

    I am surprised and disappointed by your position – it almost kept me from reading your message. However, I did read it, and even though I disagree and believe that marijuana should be legalized for everyone so that it can be government-controlled (and taxed), I congratulate you on the VERY well-written discussion of your views on the issue. It is very well-rounded and rational. What else would I expect from you folks? Nice job.

    • George said:

      Thanks very much. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Please come again.

  26. Pat said:

    A blog relative to horticulture is no place for a diatribe against a social/medical behaviour and use issue. While your opinion will certainly ring true with some, there are many more for whom it does not.

    Marijuana hasn’t been more closely studied because the government has made such scientific exploration difficult. The preponderance of scientific studies show without a doubt that the advantages of using this drug are many.

    You are incorrect in your statement that today’s pot is stronger than that of the 1970’s.

    If we had any sense the country would bring marijuana under the ATF umbrella, sell it as such, take it away from the criminal element, and reap the financial rewards of the accompanying taxes.

    • George said:

      Thank you. It is appropriate for me to address horticultural matters. This includes backyard Cannabis culture. Pot is certainly stronger today than in the 60s/70s. Breeders, mainly in the UK and Holland have refined the genus to “racehorse” levels. They are perfecting more than its flavor. As for “diatribe”, I disagree. My post is humorous, not ugly. As for the ATF, fine, tax the user, sell it in liquor stores. Make sure to card the minors. But what a bonanza in tax revenue. Just keep the potheads away from me, and vice versa, that’s all. I, for one, don’t like dopes. Thanks again.

  27. Leonard H Raizin, M.D. said:

    The federal government via the interstate commerce dept. has prohibited the medical community from doing research on Marijuana. There is said to be over 150 compounds in the plant; some of which might have great merit for pain relief and other medical uses.
    I’m sure there are commercial labs. willing to separate the compounds and find the useful ones. The Commerce Dept. must allow this.

    • George said:

      Thanks. I could not agree with you more.

  28. martha said:

    Thank you for being rational – yes, who regulates how pot is grown, what is added, what noxious chemicals we are putting into our body without the CHOICE to know what’s inside? To be labeled “certified organic” our food farmers must jump through many stringent “hoops”; do any of these “certified organic” consumers know or care where their pot comes from? Just sayin’….

    • George said:

      Thanks very much. I took a bit of a deep breath after reading your words. This is what I was really getting at.

  29. Alan Barbour said:

    A tailor should stick to his last. A horticulturist should defer to experts on things outside his area of expertise rather than rely upon sensationalist popular press pieces.

    • George said:

      Thanks for your advice. As a horticulturist, I must raise horticulture-related public policy issues from time to time. The cultivation of Cannabis for medical purposes is done by amateurs, who are loosely regulated, if actually regulated at all. Therefore, I am not being “sensationalist” but, in fact, quite the opposite: genuinely concerned. If my foray into literary style offends you, so be it. As for being typecast or set into a compartment, I broke the mold a long time ago.

  30. Fran said:

    I totally agree with your assessment of the reefer madness. These are thoughts that I have had and cannot understand why the unleashing of this unregulated drug is sweeping our nation. It does worry me. Thank you for speaking to this issue.

    • George said:

      You’re welcome, Fran. Thanks very much for posting.

  31. Linda Dunbaugh said:


    You’ve said it all very clear and succinctly. As a retired probation officer, most of those I interviewed and later recommended sentences for started using marijuana at an early age and never matured past their early adulthood. This is only an opinion but one based on over 25 years of experience.

    I agree there needs to be intensive research and a better delivery system before we use this substance on a wide scale.

    • George said:

      Couldn’t say it better. Thanks for sharing your many years of experience and your public service. Pot abuse is quite harmful and, no question, a “gateway” drug, especially for those underage and disadvantaged such as poor minority classes. Thanks again.

  32. JOE CARTER said:

    I have to totally disagree with you on several points. The reason that marijuana has not been evaluated on a wide scale is due to the governments prejudice by not allowing it. In the studies that have been conducted it was found to be very helpful in the treatment of glaucoma and in the stimulation of appetites in patients being treated for cancer and for AIDs patients with wasting syndrome. Also there is absolutely no evidence that marijuana is harmful in any way.

    • George said:

      Thanks for posting. I point out in my article that I am in favor of pot being used for folks in need, such as cancer, AIDS, et al. Also, I call for more testing, not less. Thanks again.

  33. Sheridan S. said:

    some good points are made. however there are over 60 active chemicals in marijuana which is why the synthetic THC pills often do not work, they lack one or more of the other chemicals that give relief. the leathal dose of pot that will kill half of test subjects is many times higher than opiates like morphine and even alcohol. tylenol will kill you before pot will. are there side effects that are cause for concern with pot? yes! should it be watched the same as individuals that require opiate pain killers? yes! but is it worthless as a drug. most defiantly not.

    unfortunately due to its rating as a schedule one drug research into what diseases and such it may help have been limited. does more testing need to be done? defiantly but the fact of the matter is it is far less toxic than the over the counter tylenol we freely give our children. and has far fewer side effects than medicines such as opiate pain killers that put an patients into a fog anyway.

    • George said:

      Thanks very much. I was completely unaware of the dangers of over the counter drugs. Glad to hear you support my call for more testing of Cannabis. Frankly, I dislike most, if not all, painkillers. Except during or after surgery, when I have very much needed them. Thanks again.

  34. J said:

    There has been decades and decades of scientific research documented on marijuana. Those with fear of legalizing marijuana should take a good hard look at the fact that alcohol is legal, kills multitudes of people via alchoholism (a fatal disease when left unchecked)and drunk driving, is a toxic substance and yet most senators and representatives regularly ingest it! This does not even begin to cover the consequences that tobacco poses. The amount of federal and state dollars spent on drug enforcement could be better spent to feed and provide health care for those who need it in this country! I now will unsubscribe from your site!

    • George said:

      Thanks. If you unsubscribe from my site, I won’t be able to receive your well-stated, if somewhat unrelated views. I’m not talking about tobacco or alcohol, just pot. What’s next? Meth? Thanks again and, sincerely, please come back. I’m big on diversity as well as controversy.

  35. nadia said:

    This was a very informative article and well written. Thank you for calling attention to this especially in the horticulture industry, we all need to stay informed.

    • George said:

      Thanks much for your point of view.

  36. George Ackerman said:

    Thanks for a clear and reasoned voice of rational
    caution: no lies, no wild exaggerations, unreasonable “the sky is falling” statements.

    Legalization is, plainly, simply and historically
    proven to be a bad idea rife with abuses handled with a wink and a nod by those who know better but have their own personal agendas not in line with the best interests of this nation and the majority of its citizens.

    Many people clamoring for a self-injurious sanction does not make it less self-injurious…or less stupid.

    • George said:

      Thank you for your thoughtful remarks. I’m worried about the “backyard” quality of much of the pot that is raised. Please post again.

  37. katy k said:

    It was interesting to read your comments. I agree that enough research may not yet have been done. But considering one of your basic premises is wrong, I consider the rest of the article as opinion alone. Medical marijuana is not primarily for pain. It is to quell the nausea which comes with many treatment procedures. And some of your conclusions mix variables, therefore being non-sensical. However you look at it, the question of marijuana legalization will continue to be examined.

    • George said:

      Thanks for your thoughtful post. Nausea is mild pain. And, as I say in the post, I am in favor of medical marijuana for folks in pain. It is the abuse that bugs me. These new regulations virtually promote abuse.

  38. Lydia Wisner said:

    See the e-mail I just sent. I’m very dissapointed in Heronswood Nursery stating its polital position on Marijuana. That’s not what I look for from a plant supplier.

    • George said:

      Thanks for the post. Occasionally I bring up plant-related issues, sometimes just plant issues. While it is political, it is also horticultural. I hope you can accept my deviations once in a while. Thanks again.

  39. Anonymous said:

    Dear Heronswood –
    You could not be more correct in your assessment and call for caution in the full on medical marijuana assault. I live in Mendocino County California and our once lovely, decent, law abiding community has been invaded by commercial growers and others looking for a “get rich quick” scam under the guise of
    growing “medicine”. As a teacher, I resent what these interlopers have done to our students and young adults who no longer see the need for an education to earn a living when they can go bud marijuana.

    We who have lived here in this gem of a community for generations have been shoved aside by the dope invasion. It operates under the radar without paying taxes or obeying our laws. We ran an election to overturn the ordinance that led to an open door for this underground society — and in spite of dirty tricks by the growers, voted to stop this criminal activity. The marijuana growers sued. The “Kelly” decision threw our initiative — to return to lawfulness and ban growers and criminals — was thrown out. Many have given up and are leaving this beautiful county. The ones who are leaving are our best and brightest. Enough!

    A heartbroken long time resident of Mendocino County (please do not reveal my name. It could be dangerous for me).

    • George said:

      Thanks. Precisely the reason I posted. Thank you for helping point out the problem “on the ground”. Also, I appreciate—and point out—your need to keep your name confidential. “Here come the gangsters.”

  40. Andrew said:

    The solution is not locking 100,000s pot users away We Americans love to do that to anyone who is “different”. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll! Gasp! Gasp! Wheeze! Joseph!, Jesus!, Mary!!!!
    One could argue that the world is going to hell in a hand basket, anyways, so pot hardly makes any difference.
    Pervasive corruption, predominant predatory greed,
    perpetual war, critical overpopulation, depletion of essential resources, and poisoning of our habitat. A world filled to the brim with lies, delusions, ignorance, and denial. The only societies that will survive will be those whose resources can sustain their population. (None?!)
    p.s. cigarettes kill 400,000 a year and alcohol huge numbers too. Certainly we should at least jail all the tobacco farmers. Somehow the author didn’t mention the number of alcohol drinkers or cigarette smokers who were convicted of violent crimes.

    • George said:

      Thanks for your post. I try to address only Cannabis, not tobacco and alcohol. Perhaps that was a mistake. However, this is “news”, since I, for one, was astounded by the lackadaisical attitude of the government. It is bizarre to me that pot should be as easy to get as alcohol. A culture of death, indeed. But my main concern is: Where’s it come from, how’s it grown, and so, who says it is “ok”?

  41. Peter Weber said:

    If you are going to debate the problems and risks of Marijuana, lets compare to Alcohol. Can you overdose? Pot, no. Alcohol, yes, very easily and it can kill you. Has anyone heard of someone becoming angry and violent while on it? Pot, no. Booze, too often to count. Hey, after the night of using it, have you heard of anyone blacking out and not remember what they did and become very sick because of overconsumption? Always when you party with Alcohol, but I have never heard of blacking out on weed. I could keep going but the point is that alcohol has become the most OK social drug to use, and it doesn’t even have a medical use whatsoever. And I would much be around alot of people getting stoned than a bunch of drunks. I don’t have to worry about someone wanting to get in a fight for no reason, or any people getting date raped. It’s delusional to look at the statistics on pot and condemm the use of it, and not look at the same statistics on alcohol. If it shouldn’t legal for marijauana use then I say we should start up the Prohibition again.

    • George said:

      Thanks. In fact, you can overdose on Cannabis. At least alcohol lets you sleep it off. But, you’re absolutely right. Pot isn’t as toxic as booze. Violence and anger, I don’t know, but it is well known that it produces anxiety in many folks, which can lead to violence. But alcohol abuse is nasty. On the other hand, pot produces profound distortions of time, space and motion, so I would say it might be in the general class of “don’t drive”, every bit as much as alcohol. As for Prohibition, I’m against it. But could you allow for a middle ground? Pot abuse is a scourge among teens. Would you prefer two sins or just one? I say one. Kids are exposed to enough garbage. More control, not less, especially as it relates to the horticulture practices involved. Thanks again.

  42. Sanford Rosner said:

    Good idea! Growing marijuana is alluring but I resist doing it because of the legal consequences as well as the appearance of evil that would be created in the eyes of others who hold to a higher moral code than me.

    • George said:

      Thanks. I’m not being moralistic, but warning of potential dangers. You should talk with Major Bloomberg about salt and butter. Thanks again for posting.

  43. dan ayers said:

    Ah yes another wacky article spouting off the “dangers” of pot. What a conglomeration of half truths and misleading statements. The testing you say is not there is just plainly wrong. Anyone who cares to not let thier ideology blind them from the current research available would see the many holes in your statement. The harms inflicted on the people of this country in the name of pot prohibition far outway the good. If we spent just half of the money we spend on the “war on drugs” on education against its use by minors we would be in a far different place. But no, we lock up people for pot possesion and clog up our court systems wich costs all of us billions of dollars per year not to mention saddeling a young person with a criminal record wich they willl wear like a chain around thier neck… Fatal accidents with thc in thier system??? How many with just thc??? nothing else?? Oh that right.. NONE. No one has ever died from it alone. People dont get into bar brawls.. dont beat thier wives. dont drink and drive, dont destroy thier liver and body and dont get addicted in a physical sense. Alchohol in constrast inflicts all of those things but it has been a long time since alchohol has shared the same prohibition that marijuana is currently under. In fact it was just this year that the American Medical Association petitioned the dea to re-classify merijuana away from a schedual 1 drug. It recognised that pot has no place being along side of a drug like heroin and thats coming from the largest and most conservitive medical association in the world. I dont have the time to list evry study done, even by our own dea, that called for the legalization of pot, though squashed by those in charge because the findings didnt fit with the political agenda of the day. I suggest that you put your pre-concieved notions asside for a moment to take a look at the science out there. Or dont, but know that proponents of prohibiton are all to happy to pull the wool over your eyes.

    • George said:

      Thanks for your thoughtful, passionate response. I did some research but not enough, perhaps. I address only Cannabis, not alcohol. I, too, would be grateful to the Feds if they restricted available hard liquor, as you seem to be. Pot abuse is dangerous, as well as the proverbial “gateway” to harder drugs. Legalizing it may be the answer, as you suggest, but not in the way the current situation—which is the scope of my article—suggests. Thanks again.

  44. Janet said:

    Very thoughtful, well researched and well stated comments.

    • George said:

      Thank you.

  45. Ron said:

    I’m not sure how the moral issue of “Legalizing Pot” pertains to your general horticulture column. But since you’ve ask for feed back on your moral crusade, here are a few counter points.
    Your mention of teenagers, and their impaired abilities when smoking pot, well the same is true of alcohol. Perhaps we should bring back prohibition. All sectors of our war on drugs are a failure. We spend billions and are losing, our prisons are over filled at an enormous cost to our society both in dollars and humanity. Our states are on the brink of financial collapse when revenue from taxing the sale of pot would bring in billions. There are no scientific studies that show pot to be physically addictive, yet when it was classified as illegal it was put in the same category as heroin, opium, and cocaine.
    Again, this is really just another, what one considers moral and or immoral. I’ll look forward to your future comments on religion, sexual issues, and how to raise children.

    • George said:

      Thanks. Here is author and drug expert William Burroughs on pot: “Marijuana is a sensitizer, and the results are not always pleasant. It makes a bad situation worse. Depression becomes despair, anxiety panic. . .I once gave marijuana to a guest who was mildly anxious about something. . . After smoking half a cigarette he suddenly leapt to his feet screaming, “I got the fear!” and rushed out of the house.” Now, as you seem to suggest, maybe the guy was nutty to begin with. However, pot is well-known to aggravate anxiety in some, and “dumb down” mental faculties in others. An occasional smoke? Who cares? But that’s not the basis of the illegal industry. Hooking children is. Will that criminal industry vanish? Please think about it. Thanks again.

  46. Cindy said:

    Nice. Short, sweet, and to the point! I have begun addressing the issue with, “Its not something I’m interested in. I’d rather grow roses, basil, tomatoes, trees, shrubs (the list goes on & on). I’m just not interested.” That seems to halt all arguments, period. I’d rather mow grass, I’d rather pull weeds, I’d rather do any of the tasks people hire me to do than to even talk about that topic. Good article. I’m going to print it out and give to a few people I know…

    • George said:

      Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  47. Zach said:

    Why do you care what attendence rates and grades pot using teens get? you already have your career. you have to look at it like smoking cigerettes…you dont have to do them if you think they are gross and damaging. but that doesnt give you the right to say to someone you cant smoke. if they want to smoke a cancer stick then by all means its their choice they want to harm their lungs. And i have another question for you, Why is alcohol and tobacco legal and it kills thousands every year? and pot is illegal and its never been the certain cause of death in its 5000 years of recorded use? Also in todays economy it would be in the governments best interest to legalize it and tax it so they can help jump start the economy. Thats another source of income for them. And if you think the recession is over…think again….this oil spill, florida tourism is a 3 billion dollar industry a year alone. not to mention new orleans and other gulf cities, so we are about to get hit hard again with high unemployment and inflation. Everything has its pros and cons, but lets focuse on the positives here, they outweigh the negatives.

    • George said:

      Thank you, Zach. You make a powerful argument. However, I am not certain that pot is harmless. Tobacco and alcohol have storied pasts. Their abuses have been terrible, no question. I simply wish to go in the opposite direction. I’m a bit too moralistic for some—or even many. But the main reason I wrote the blog is to question the provenance. Where’s all the M.M. coming from? Therefore, maybe on Federal control we agree. As for the economy, have faith. Thanks again for a great post.

  48. K.L. Aynedter said:

    It is most unfortunate to see how ignorant people still are with regard to the legal marijuana issue. It has been proven time and time again to be harmless. Will over 30 years ago there was a study that take 25 years to conduct proving and stating this fact. A resent study showed that the use of marijuana had no negative affect while driving a vehicle. Not to mention all of the many other uses that this plant could provide. Did you know that Henry Ford designed a car made from hemp and that it ran on the same.

    • George said:

      Pot is not harmless. Henry Ford was looking to reduce costs. He was also a bigot. The studies you mention are not without debate. Thanks much for your post.

  49. Patt Dolan said:

    Yes, you are correct, we “pot heads” must either grow our own garden variety pot or depend on some garden variety pot that we obtain from our growers. The federal governemnt is very stingy with the only federally approved (legal for research) growth of marijuana available. Until the government loosens the apron strings and allows more research to be done, then no research can be done.
    Instead of pointing out that the potency for marijuana is all over the place (which we are well aware of), why don’t you try to find a way to help us make the THC levels not so hit or miss.
    I suffer from arthritis and fibromyalgia and it is a choice between medical marijuana or hydrocodone (Vicodin) for pain. Which would you choose?
    Try not to judge so harshly until you have walked in the other person’s shoes. Your knowledge of plants could be put to good use, helping to find a definitive answer as to why marijuana helps when marinol does not.
    I am not trying change your mind. I’m just trying to show you that there are two sides to every story. Try reading to the end of the book before judging.

    • George said:

      Thanks for a great post. I agree about testing, as I tried to point out in the blog. I’m not a Cannabis breeder. If legalized, it may become part of our range, but I’m unsure about the future. Vicodin is very effective. Is not Percoset better, since it is less addictive? A local hospital official and doctor pointed out to me recently that, of all things, television is one of the most effective pain killers that exist. That is the main reason hospitals install them. I shall try to follow your advice. Thanks again.

  50. T. Carole LaChance said:

    Thank you for your informative article. I truly appreciate it. My 36 year old son was addicted to pot and he took his life. I blame pot for this trajady.

    • George said:

      I’m sorry for your loss.

  51. larry depuy said:

    You cited 6 to 11% of fatal accident victims tested positive for thc you did not say if they were responsible for the accident or if they had other substances in their systems such as speed or alcohol . Very relevant factors . In the late 60’s and early 70’s pot smoking gained tremendous popularity and most pot smokers grew their own marijuana . As a plant nerd I was amazed at how many people were coming to me for advice on growing ” er… marigolds” . As time went on more and more people were getting busted for cultivation and since , the penalty for possession was less, people turned to drug dealers for their pot . Of course the drug dealers didn’t always have pot but they always had something . So the laws prohibiting marijuana turned pot into a gateway drug. Pot growers , due to limited space , had to breed more compact plants that were more potent. I moved to Humboldt County over 5 years ago and I would not smoke pot today even if it were legal and you paid me to do it. In this area the Mexican drug cartel uses our forests for “pot grows” hikers who stumble upon these grows are never heard from again , unless there unfortunate remains are found . The cartel growers dump fertilizers and biocides (not to mention trash) that pollutes the streams , endangering the salmon (already in trouble), the people and other wild life. The Mexican drug cartel now controls half the states in Mexico. A local resident was vacationing with his wife in Mexico , he and 5 other men at a restaurant were taken out back and executed . Portugal recently legalized pot and pot use declined. The most effective crippling blow we could give the Mexican drug cartel , would be to legalize marijuana. Please research ” Diez y ocho ” the gang , it’s 18 in English . This may further help you understand the extent of the damage done by pot prohibition. Of course teenagers shouldn’t smoke pot , but making it illegal has only given it the” forbidden fruit ” appeal . It is natural to think if something is bad we should pass a law against it . It is the moral thing to do ,but, the reality is not that simple. The cost of pot prohibition in the U.S. has brought Mexico to the brink of disaster, and has cost this country billions of dollars and countless lives and lives ruined . It is not to late . The regulated legalization of marijuana could reverse a lot of the damage caused by a law of good intentions . A law that created unforeseen horrific consequences . It’s not just a simple right or wrong . It’s what course of action has the best outcome. For pot , legalization ( medical and recreational ) is the best option .

    • George said:

      Thank you for a fascinating post. Strong arguments. It is likely that this terrible substance (in my view) will become as legal as alcohol. As I said to another person, abusers thus may be earlier and easier to treat, since they won’t be “hiding” as users. However, it remains odd that we sanction yet another destructive recreational drug. Then what, cocaine? Where to stop? Thanks again for your excellent insights.

  52. mike ligmann said:

    5000 years is enough testing.
    leave me alone!
    Mike L.

    • George said:

      Testing? If you mean breeding for potency, you’re right. Consider cyanide. Grass (the real one) is a major source of this, one of the world’s greatest poisons. Breeders of pasture grasses are concerned with keeping cyanide levels very low or practically non-existent. Just as I wouldn’t rely on cows to necessarily be correct, I don’t rely on pot breeders and growers, unless they’re stepped on—and hard—by the Feds. Protecting the public; this is where our tax dollars should be working. Thanks for posting!

  53. Valerie Alexander said:

    I almost skipped this entry, because I thought a free-thinker like you would favor this push-back against Federal law. So much for my prejudices.

    Your points are all very well-taken from this corner. I have a friend who was institutionalized, and the brother of a friend lost two years of his life, both to marijuana and not much else. They were college age, and just got in over their heads.

    I would only add that a buyer of uncontrolled marijuana has no idea what else might be mixed in with the weed. PCP has been a common additive, sometimes with disastrous results. I am more afraid of what adulterants might be added, than the pot itself.

    I cannot envision this drug being given anything less than prescription, controlled status if it is legalized.

    • George said:

      Thank you very much, Valerie. So many blog responses, so little time. Please come again.

  54. john said:

    I think you should keep yourself focused on plants and gardening and leave your personal opinions about government and policy to yourself. Make your own decisions about how you want to live and what to believe and then keep it to yourself. Don’t legislate how others should live or force your own beliefs on them.

    • George said:

      Thank you. Rather it is my obligation as both a citizen and horticulture professional to speak out when the public is left unprotected. Also, I have not forced anything on anyone. This attitude is nowhere in my article.

  55. embo said:

    Heavens, it seems completely off-base from gardening to launch into an essay about legalizing marijuana! Nonetheless, your arguments against it don’t make much sense to me.

    That old adage about pot being “the stepping stone” to harder drugs is just so much tripe; if you’re going to explore all drugs, you’ll do so regardless of what substance you start with. Not to mention the strange pass we’ve long tolerated in our culture, where alcohol is perfectly legal for of-age users, but pot is not — yet how many traffic fatalities or mistaken / heat-of-passion gun deaths have been attributed to being high on pot?
    My point exactly.

    • George said:

      I am not saying it should be banned, but more forcefully and carefully controlled, as well as thoroughly tested. Thanks.

  56. larry depuy said:

    Your response to Brett John was way off base . Clearly you have not talked to any mental health care professionals who worked in California while Reagan was Governor . The LPS act Signed into law by Reagan emptied our metal hospitals into the streets. People who needed 24 hr. supervision and Dr. prescribed medication found themselves on the streets , coming off their medication , with no food ,money , shelter, or toilet , just the clothes on their back. Then Reagan went on to become President. Arnold S. closed three mental hospitals about a year ago , to balance the state budget. Meg Whitman just spent 71 million dollars of her own money for the primaries! You might better ask why that kind of money doesn’t go to the mentally ill living in our streets who have been forced into self medicating themselves in an attempt to deal with their hopeless nightmare situation . Far to many people have your callus simplistic view of the homeless . You might google Betty Chin , California’s Woman of the year ,to better understand the plight of California’s homeless. Scientific American had an article many years ago citing 29 or 39 different forms of THC . This means there are any number of combinations that could and should be tested for medicinal purposes . We now know that everyone has a different genome and consequently a different response to any drug. Drugs will soon become genome and perhaps even epi-genome specific to an individual. I know of professionals who have smoked pot for decades , they are bright , intelligent , responsible dependable and successful people . I also know one woman who is so controlling she has lost most of her friends , she is impossible to be around , except when she is stoned , then she is ” normal ” A lot of today’s youth have turned to alcohol , pot , huffing , and other self destructive forms of behavior not because of these substances but due to today’s stresses and pressures brought about by the pace and complexities of the modern world , and being exposed to media we couldn’t have dreamed of just a few years ago . Not to mention parents who are to busy to properly raise children or were just plain not qualified for the job but did it anyway. This was the first posting I have read of yours and I thank you for a chance to respond . This is an emotional issue for me as my sister was schizophrenic , she was one of the lucky ones , she was in a state funded board and care facility , where at the age of 65 she had to walk to a hospital in the middle of the night where she died a few hours later . If the facility had of been a properly staffed and funded she would be alive today , but at least she didn’t die in the street.

    • George said:

      Thanks for your heartfelt post. As a teenager I vividly recall the Eddie Elson days of mental health patients’ rights movements and campaigns. Much of his work was to prevent families from committing someone to an asylum. You may recall it became mixed up with civil rights issues. If mental hospitals are the solution for many of the homeless and disturbed, I am 100% for rebuilding them. I even think churches should get back into the asylum business, so to speak. After all, they built 99% of the world’s hospitals. Easy access to variable and unknown-sourced pot, along with San Francisco and Los Angeles’ dreadful substance abuse problems, I am 100% against. Since you share personal data, please let me. I’ve lost relatives as well as friends to mental illness triggered, if not caused, by drugs. Perhaps it is partly genetic, but I submit that it is mostly, if not entirely, drugs. Thus, a society that condones marijuana to the extent that it uses the “Trojan Horses” of M.M. in order to legalize it every bit as much as tobacco and alcohol, is back-dooring its citizens. It’s dirty pool. Also please understand that the horticultural aspect is my main concern. But, again, I call for more testing and commend the AMA for telling the Feds to loosen up. Thanks again and please return soon.

  57. ghostrider77 said:

    you don’t know what your talking about, dude…

    i live in Santa Barbara, up near the airport by ucsb… there are 3 place to buy it within walking distance of my house… one is really legit I got an ounce some chronic purple wreck for 300!!!! without a doubt the place to go for ounces best prices ever… staff is super friendly and they give you a free gram if you bring friends who are new… I got 3 free 20 dollar grams for bringing in my homies…. super awesome club

    oh and my stuff used to get all dried out in their janky green containers but they switched those out to these sick clear ones that keep my herb danky

    • George said:

      Thanks for posting, I think. I just wonder if you’re too good to be true. The meter is too poetic for a pothead. So, if mom and dad are lurking in the background, “Hi, folks!” Otherwise, I suggest you visit a social services agency. You are gifted, and throwing away your life, in my opinion. There are good agencies in Santa Barbara County. I used to work in Lompoc years ago and they were good then. But, no M.M. dispensaries back then. Now I heard there are over a dozen in SB proper alone. Must be all the sick people in all the college and resort neighborhoods in California. Right, ghost? Be well, thanks for your interesting response and please post again.

  58. It is very refreshing to hear from one who is not considered having any religious connections when refering to the dangers of “weed”. Not as if your religious beliefs are on trial, however, it appears if one has any religious beliefs or practices and speaks out against the legalization of marijuana, an automatic disclaimer to the validity of ones warnings follows. The facts surrounding its use need to be more readily available to the public. Why are they (the facts) omitted and this “harmless” drug myth allowed to grow unhindered, in view of our goverments “war on drugs”, and the national danger it truly implies?

    • George said:

      Thanks for your interesting slant on my article, Sylvia. I believe most of the critics of this viewpoint are sincere. They are concerned with short-term social costs, such as jailed possession offenders. However, I believe we are more correct when the long term mental deterioration is considered and, as Kawika points out, the social costs as well.

      Thanks again

  59. Kawika K said:

    A very informative article. As a recreational user back in the mid-70s to the mid-80s, I know first hand how pot has an anti-motivational effect on many users. Perhaps it’s not so much of a gateway drug but it exposes you to people with less than perfect morals that have no problem with theft and other anti-social behaviors needed to come up with money for their party habits. I know a lot of people that didn’t develop to their highest potential due to lack of motivation from using it, legal intanglements from either using it, selling it or coming up with the money to buy it. Now I’m disabled from rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis and could benefit from it but it’s so expensive and the legal penalties prevent me from accessing in my state.

    One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is how the law came into effect that made pot illegal back in the 1930s (Marijuana Tax Stamp Act). It was basically an attempt to control the Mexican population that was at that time mostly involved in migrant farm labor. The laws allowed people to be deported or imprisoned for possession. Certain legislators in border states were concerned about the possibility of the migrant workers becoming permanent residents that this was one tool to prevent it without appearing out and out racist. I learned this from a program on the History or Discovery Channel several months ago that explored this country’s experiences with marijuana use. Other than the Mexicans, about the only other people that used it prior to the 1940s were black jazz musicians which numbered much less than the Mexicans.

    • George said:

      Thank you for your thoughtful post. I hope you can find an effective painkiller for your illness.

      God bless you and please post again.

  60. John Novak said:

    Umm…hello? Marinol is based on just the THC in cannabis. That is why is is not effective to most users.

    Cannabis has many more cannabinoids that have their own medicinal value, and they also change the ways in which THC effects the brain! Different combinations have different therapeutic uses.

    As for cannabis causing people to be lazy, that just means you are not aware of how many people in society use it.

    I have temporal lobe epilepsy and did not respond to any seizure related medications. I was having up to 60 seizures per day.

    My family doctor and two neurosurgeons introduced me to medical marijuana in 2003.

    My seizure activity has been reduced by nearly 90%.

    90% less seizures has given me a new lease on life , as you might imagine. I am now a business owner, PR director for a non-profit and father of two wonderful sons. I have a wonderful marriage of 13 years.

    And yes…more powerful pot means I use less to get the desired effects.

    So again, I say go back to growing trees and perennials.

    Legalized cannabis means more jobs and less criminal violence.

    Here’s two questions for you…

    Why can I buy opium poppy seeds and grow the flowers legally in the USA?

    Why can’t I buy cannabis seeds and grow the flowers legally in the USA?

    “Six to 11% of fatal accident victims test positive for THC.”

    That stat does not tell us what other dugs were in their systems, so it is useless.

    And I bet 100% of all fatal accident victims tested positive for sugar.

    • George said:

      I sincerely hope that medical marijuana continues to be of great value to you. I was addressing the public policy issues related to the current proposed legislation.

      The fact is that most medical marijuana dispensaries are close to schools, colleges and inner city neighborhoods. God knows where the stuff is coming from, since it is clear that it is being used mostly to get high.

      Best of luck to you and please post again.

  61. Mose said:

    I’m choosing to unsubscribe due to your statement that you “must” address this issues. I’m not sure I want to be doing business with someone who can’t control himself. Your e-mail seems to have been sent more for the purpose of attracting attention to yourself than to inform your customers. Many of the readers’ comments above cite sources, which you failed to do in your little rant (I object to your pompous description of this stunt as “literary”). Most disturbing, however, is your self admitted ignorance regarding much of the research available on this issue. Responding that a comment is “wrong” without citing evidence is lazy, not a trait I typically look for in a retailer. Stick to “writing” about the grasses you sell, and the next time you need attention, upload a YouTube video. Goodbye George.

  62. Dan said:

    As a MD, I think you are right on. I did not use the stuff in college, mostly because I wondered what people would spray on such a valuable and illegal crop to keep bugs off, and did I want to smoke the residue. While there are certainly some uses, the wholesale rush to embrace MM is crazy.

  63. K.L. Aynedter said:

    I am very sorry to read most of these very negative postings, we all have differing reactions to most of the many substances that are available. I for one smoked pot for close to 30 years. It got to the point that all I needed was one puff, the stuff got way to potent for me and one day I stopped and have not smoked since. I don’t believe in the ‘addiction’ premise at all. Some will say “but you were addicted for almost 30 years”, No, I never ‘Had to have it’, I never had withdraws or any of the other BS some say.
    This is unfortunately a very contentious issue and will continue to be. The illegal aspects of marijuana have and will continue to grow until the majority of people vote to legalize it,tax it and allow the creation of the many jobs and other enterprises that would follow. Many other industrialized countries have legalized it or decriminalized it and the sooner we rethink this issue the better.

  64. Very provocative posts here, George. I have two things to add.

    First, we must remember biochemical individuality when discussing the medicinal qualities of any drug, legal or illegal. Everyone has their own unique biochemistry, meaning you might react to a substance differently (positively or negatively) than I might. Of course this is not the point of your essay, but it needs to be stated.

    Second, I can’t help but pass along a little marijuana humor, so here goes: What’s the difference between a drunk driver and a stoned driver?

    (this is so bad)

    The drunk driver runs the stop sign, and the stoned driver waits for it to turn green.

    Thanks for being you, dear. 🙂

  65. Anita said:

    I have been on chemo 3 times a week for 6 months with another 6 months to go, if I wasn’t able to get medical marijuana I sure would not be able to eat enough food to keep up my strength thru this hell of chemo.

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