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Jul-22-2014 00:39printcomments

Marijuana, Reefer Madness, Fake Experts and Politicians

Marijuana vs Jimson Weed: Will the real LOCOWEED please stand up?

locoweed (jimson weed)
Jimson weed, or Locoweed, & seeds. It is known to make horses sick if eaten in large quantities. Photo:

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - I know that some readers will feel that my title is a bit too broad. I have good reasons to write it.

I was introduced to marijuana in 1928 when I discovered that the Mexican kids in my hometown, Klamath Falls, Oregon, were smoking it, which I believed to be “locoweed”! I discovered later that the rolled cigarettes they were enjoying were not Jimson weed, most commonly called locoweed, but marijuana.

Jimson is not marijuana, but produces many similar effects. It has been used for asthma and as an analgesic, but unlike marijuana, it is a powerful hallucinogen and deliriant. Toxic to people and animals.

Historically, Jimson weed was used for medical and spiritual purposes. It is rarely used for these purposes anymore, and because Jimson weed's effects aren't generally considered pleasurable, addiction is rarely, if ever, a factor. "Red as a beet, dry as a bone, blind as a bat, mad as a hatter" is a phrase used to describe Jimson's undesirable side-effects.

Jimson was apparently originally discovered in N. America, but when people found out they could smoke it for medicinal effects, its use spread throughout Europe and Africa. They even had cigarettes made out of the stuff to treat Asthma, and they sold them in tobacco stores right here in the USA. The first use of it was about 1790 in the United States. Still, its benefits were limited, and use declined over time.

My next exposure to marijuana was when I started medical school in 1949 and discovered a gallon jug of Cannabis cough medicine in the store room. It was made by Parke-Davis and Co., one of the largest pharmaceutical firms. It worked.

Marijuana as Cannabis was widely used in the USA, and Europe since about 1840. By 1900, the three top-selling medicines were marijuana/cannabis based.

It was prescribed for about 100 medical conditions. Nobody knew the chemical structure until about 1925, but it was the most prescribed medicine until about that time when it was replaced by chemicals of known structure. Marijuana was declared illegal by about 1937, because it was used as a cigarette by Mexicans and black musicians, and was considered “bad for white folks”. So there. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

It was continually used by the musicians and Latinos and was rediscovered as a euphoriant and tranquilizer by white, college students in New Orleans about 1930. From there on, it’s use sky-rocketed!

As of about 1970, marijuana was being brought home to the US by our soldiers in Viet Nam. About 1990, it was estimated that about 40 million Americans used it without many adverse side effects.

Federal anti-marijuana bureaucracies went into hallucinatory orbit and about 6-8 federal agencies started arresting thousands of users from using this tranquilizer which they found had hundreds of valid medical uses, with arrests and incarceration totally about a million Americans per year.

In 1996, marijuana was legalized for medical use in California, and Oregon followed in 1998. Many states gradually voted to legalize its use for medical purposes. As of July, 2014, 23 states have in some way legalized it for medical, and eventual, recreational use.

It is much safer than tobacco, alcohol, methamphetamine and cocaine. Anything else? It’s safer than that too.

These new legalization laws have brought about a new industry which is estimated to be worth 100 billion dollars per year, and simultaneously brought about hundreds if not thousands of laws causing arrests and fines, and incarcerations of thousands of users.

My state of Oregon was one of the first states to legalize medical marijuana for medical purposes. We now have 60,000 legal medical patients, and about 40,000 caregivers who most likely also use marijuana.

In 2 states, Colorado and Washington, legal users amount to between 300,000 and 600,000 and more users are appearing all the time. More than half the population of the USA in 23 states has access to legal marijuana, and possibly 6 more states will legalize it in the next year or so.

It is estimated that taxes on marijuana will bring in 50 billion dollars a year and climbing rapidly.

Hundreds of thousands of people are finding it useful to treat about 100 medical conditions.

I wrote a recent article “Marijuana News: Politicians Prescriptions for Marijuana Defy Doctors”, which was the title in a New York Times (June-26 2014) article, which indicated that politicians were playing both doctor and policeman and doing everything they could to restrict marijuana use. They should give it a rest and stick with their booze!

Rated second in the U.S. for the “drunkest state in the country”, Washington DC wins the top title for the nation’s biggest wino population with an average of 40.1 bottles consumed per person, per year. Alcohol is cheaper in Washington DC than in any other place in the United States. And, what do you know? It’s “legal”. The drug that kills over 25,000 Americans every year, while Cannabis kills none. Now that's really LOCO!



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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.