Rethinking Ageism
Crabby Old Lady and the Things They Don't Tell You About Getting Old

AG Sessions Aiming For Marijuana Prosecutions

Today's story is an update of one from 23 October 2017 titled Cannabis and Chemo about my first visit to a marijuana dispensary to see if I could find relief for my insomnia.

Over-the-counter sleep aids don't work for me and my doctors are reluctant to give me prescription sleep drugs but one of them suggested weed (I live in Oregon where both medical and recreation marijuana are legal).

I'm expanding on this story because in the past two weeks, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made it clear he intends to find a way to agressively prosecute marijuana growers, distributors, sellers and users. He believes marijuana use is "only slightly less awful" than heroin addiction.

Oh, please.

”Sessions argued that the DOJ's hands need to be untied when it comes to prosecuting marijuana dispensaries, 'particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime.' reports Amanda Marcotte in Salon.

“There is, of course, no evidence,” she continues, “that marijuana use is contributing to the opioid crisis and, in fact, there's a significant link between legalized medical marijuana and a decrease in opioid overdoses.”

First of all, opioids are about 50 times more addictive than heroin and they are the cause of the current epidemic. Rolling Stone magazine reports that early in 2017,

”...the National Academies of Science, Medicine and Engineering released a landmark report determining that there is conclusive evidence that cannabis is effective in treating chronic pain.

“What's even more promising is that early research indicates that the plant not only could play a role in treating pain, but additionally could be effective in treating addiction itself – meaning marijuana could actually be used as a so-called 'exit drug' to help wean people off of pills or heroin.”

The reason this is of great interest to elders is that they are the fastest growing group to adopt cannabis for medical reasons.

Motley Fool reports that a recent Gallup poll shows

”...a record 64% of Americans now want to see pot legalized nationally. That's up from 60% in 2016...Support for medical weed is even higher, with a separate survey from Quinnipiac University in April 2017 finding 94% support for legalization.”

But even as old people are fast adopting marijuana especially for medical use, even growing their own in some cases to cut down costs, their acceptance of legal weed lags significantly behind young people's. Motley Foolagain:

“In the combined 2003 and 2005 analysis, Gallup found that only 29% of seniors supported the idea of legalizing weed. By 2016, as noted, this was up to 45%.

The magazine notes that it's hard to tell if elders are increasingly embracing the use of pot or if younger adults are growing into the elder age category.

However - different polls, different results. In October of 2016, The Pew Research Center survey demonstrated widespread support for sensible cannabis laws in nearly every demographic.

”The poll, conducted in August, shows 37 percent against legalization. A decade ago, opinion on legalizing marijuana was nearly the reverse – just 32% favored legalization, while 60% were opposed, Pew reported.

Millennials – those ages 18 to 35 – are more than twice as likely to support legalization of marijuana as they were in 2006 (71 percent today, up from 34% in 2006), and are significantly more likely to support legalization than other generations.

Among Gen Xers — ages 36 to 51 — a majority (57 percent) support legalization, a considerable jump from just 21 percent in 1990.

But even Baby Boomers— ages 52 to 70 — are seeing the light: 56% percent support legalization, up from just 17 percent in 1990.”

Obviously, legalization is a trend that can't be denied.

As I noted in my previous pot post, marijuana is useful for helping to treat and/or alleviate many of the symptoms of the “diseases of age” - cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy, arthritis, depression and glaucoma among many others.

I use it for sleep, having switched from cannabis candies to tincture. I have noticed – as I did in all the decades I smoked pot for fun – that there is, for me, a mild hangover the next day. I feel slightly sluggish physically and mentally so I use it only every second or, sometimes, third night.

Eight states have legalized marijuana for recreational use while 29 states and the District of Columbia have done so for medical use. In 2014, Congress passed The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment which bars the U.S. Department of Justice from using federal funds to prosecute people buying or selling medical marijuana in states that have legalized it.

Last Friday, that amendment would have expired leaving AG Sessions free to prosecute except that Congress renewed it even over objections from Sessions. However,

”Ames Grawert of the Brennan Center for Justice told Salon, 'Every time, there’s sort of a dance around whether it will actually get cut this time or not."

“It’s reasonable to be at least 'a little concerned,' Grawert said, that Sessions' pressure will eventually convince congressional Republicans to dump the amendment.

In response to that, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, and a bipartisan group of 24 other lawmakers earlier this year introduced a new piece of legislation, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017, which would prevent the federal government from prosecuting any marijuana users, growers or distributors who are in compliance with state laws.

With all the real troubles in our country you would think the attorney general would have better things to do than chase down people whose health benefits from cannabis along with a business that brings in billions of dollars in taxes to states where the drug has been legalized. I sure don't want to lose my sleep remedy now that I've found it and I'm pretty sure millions of other elders feel the same way about the reasons they use marijuana.

You might want to let your representatives in Washington, D.C. know where you stand on this issue – even if you don't use marijuana. You can find their contact information here.



Comments

In Canada we are about to legalize cannabis for the entire country (July 2018). Medical use is legal here now, it is just recreational use that is currently illegal. The different levels of government are hammering out the tax split now. Various restrictions will be in place (different for different provinces) such as age limits, grow-your-own options and driving-while-stoned rules. But at least we will see a more or less unified view between federal and provincial authorities.

Interestingly, Canada criminalized marijuana use well before the USA did. So I suppose it is fitting that we will decriminalize before the (entire) USA as well.

In the sentence, "First of all, opioids are about 50 times more addictive than heroin. . ." did you mean to say marijuana? Otherwise, it's pretty confusing, since heroin is an opioid.

I do support total legalization of cannabis and wish it would be done instantly across the entire country, but I continue to have mixed feelings about it, because of something you report here about the sluggishness or sort of hangover you experience the day after you use it for sleep. The widespread use of marijuana in large amounts on a daily basis by a large number of young people in the community where I live is truly disturbing. Law enforcement here has made it a back burner issue, mainly due to the huge problem we have with shootings and other violent crime that takes precedence. Our jail stays filled as it is, and the courts are badly backlogged; aggressively prosecuting marijuana crime here would great exacerbate that. Still, I do worry that complete legalization would lead to gross overindulging, but perhaps most people would learn to self-regulate eventually.

Sessions wants to bolster the coffers of the private prison industry. Most of what people know of cannabis is hearsay as our country has spent many decades and dollars prosecuting "offenders" and a miniscule amount of money researching the benefits of the plant.
Personally, I'm sluggish on the mornings which I've not had enough sleep the night before.

With our experience, we preferred our children's use of marijuana over alcohol when they were in that experimental stage of teen-age-hood. Toking was fairly widespread (1990s) in CA and while there were problems, they were incomparable to the devastating overall results of teen alcohol use.

Like they say "People on alcohol run red lights, while people on marijuana stop at green ones." Did I read that here?

People seem to need something that relaxes them or takes their minds to alternative realities. I'm all for it, so long as it's with educating the people to the pros and cons to be expected. And I think the prisons who house convicted users should open their release gates so long as no other crime was committed.

Once it becomes a viable, legal money-making entity, which corporations are fully aware of and planning for, there will no longer be resistance, for the most part.

A shame on our culture that it is money which determines so much of our lives (far, far beyond this issue) rather than what is helpful and healing so we all could live as well as possible. My long time support of a legal farm for medical use has shown marijuana's useful, sometimes needed, value to those who are in medically-compromised conditions. And being in a supportive community is a bonus, rather than a fearful atmosphere of illegality.

I'm very liberal in this area, and hope minds open to the benefits of other products presently unavailable that could be particularly of use to elders. Some are being approved for experimental studies now, but likely won't be accepted for another generation.

20 years of sleeping aids, ended, thanks to CBD oil (Cannibis oil with no psychotropic indications). It has anti-inflammatory properties, and yes, there is a slight sluggishness which diminishes with regular use.

My father, when he was dying from Lou Gehrigs was prescribed marijuana to relieve his suffering and increase his appetite.

Honestly, what is the motivation by this Attorney General...just old fashioned "demon weed" generational ignorance or the support of drug companies and prisons? It is prehistoric, unfounded, and harmful.

Protecting the alcohol business, the prison business, and heaven forbid, people might even get a new idea or two, what with a toke and taking a few minutes to look a little more deeply into things. Thanks for another good take on things, Ronni.

I've never tried pot (having lived in Oklahoma most of my life) but am open to the idea if there comes a time when my doctors think it might help. Both medical and recreational pot are legal here (Colorado), and the state is reaping millions in tax dollars. However, law enforcement is grappling with the problem of how to determine if a driver is high, how to test for it, and what the acceptable legal limits should be. Nobody wants to share our crowded roads with impaired drivers, no matter the substance involved.

What Annie said.

I'm with Simone. My husband and I were once living in a Mormon controlled town and we were arguing with a very nice man who was Mormon that Marijuana should be legalized and the reasons for that and his only counter argument against legalizing "weed" was that it was the gateway for dangerous drugs. That mythology lives to this day.

I tried to point out that criminalizing alcohol led to crime and people still drank ( sometimes dying from homemade alcohol). It's so insane that I do believe that Clifford is right. It's really all about filling those private and money making prisons.

Sessions is an old fossil who is as unqualified to be AG and -rump is to be President.

I think Sessions' motivation is worse than money. He's an old-fashioned Alabama racist. He loves tough laws against marijuana for the same reason they were written in the first place -- they're an excuse to throw more black people into prison with mercilessly long sentences.

Agreeing with Cathy about the opioid/heroin typo in today's piece.

For what it's worth, I've been alcohol-free for over 45 years, which is why I'm alive and tracking. Alcoholism has a strong genetic component (though it is a complex illness). I've never enjoyed marijuana (I know plenty of alcoholics who loved it, I'm just apparently funny that way). From my standpoint, at least, the addictiveness of marijuana is piffling compared to any number of other substances. Recently, because of my arthritis, I've tried some medical cannabis (in an oil-based tincture). I'm sorry to say I don't notice a lot of pain relief from it, which was my reason for trying it. I also notice that, when I try THC rather than CBD, I end up feeling pretty dizzy and a little weird, which I definitely don't want. So. That's my experience. But I believe people when they say they have good effects from the stuff. It should CERTAINLY be legal. It's cotton candy compared to alcohol.

I'm with Sylvia on this... I would much rather use medical marijuana than the oxycontins I'm currently taking. The grass would have to be much cheaper.

Susan suggests that "Nobody wants to share our crowded roads with impaired drivers, no matter the substance involved."

I completely agree. An impaired driver is an impaired driver. The cause could be being drunk or being stoned or not having had enough sleep.

Years ago my daughter was driving home from college when another driver smashed into her car and totalled it.

It turned out that the driver had been driving for hours and hours to get home and fell asleep at the wheel. Fortunately, my daughter was not hurt, and her insurance covered the cost of the repairs.

I've been taking CBD oil (with NO THC) for more than a month, and I'm delighted to report that I'm sleeping 8 or 9 hours every night. There's no foggy-ness the next morning. It's a reasonably priced product that I can buy at a local Fort Worth store.

However, I was hoping it would help with my hand tremors (essential tremor) and it has done nothing to lessen the shaking.

I'm happy that Ronni and I are finding satisfying sleep with this product.

The war against the old, the sick and disenfranchised is alive and well with this administration.

Liz B. I live in Fort Worth (Texas I assume:) and would love to know the shop you go to to purchase the CBD oil.
my email is terrybuck54@gmail.com
Thanks!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)