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January 23, 2012

With Friends Like This...

If only NORML lawyers would stop playing doctor; when they do, they give aid and comfort to the DEA, one of a very few organizations even more clueless than their own. After over eight years of biting my tongue when cannabis reform "allies" pontificate about "legitimate" medical use, I'm finally breaking my silence to address complaints aired by one Norm Kent, an attorney, NORML board member, and talk radio host in the current Counterpunch. Kent complains that,”Flaws in the California system have allowed critics to expose that access to marijuana has not been legitimately reserved for those who are ill,” Oh, yeah, Norm? What medical school did you go to? How many years of residency have you done? How many medical histories have you taken from sick people? Do you think three years of law school and smoking dope for about 30 makes you an expert on the medical uses of cannabis, even if you are also a lymphoma survivor? For that matter, what do you know about the disgraceful role your own profession has played in creating, enabling, and enforcing America's abominable “war” on drugs. After all, when Harry Anslinger's fatuous Marijuana Tax Act was struck down by the Supremes in 1969, it was an AG named John Mitchell who dreamed up the medically indefensible “Schedule One” and his crony, the insecure Richard Nixon who protected it against revision (it should never have seen the light of day). Oh yes, it was also NORML's founder who scotched any chance of reclassification by a favorably disposed Carter Administration by spitefully alleging that his drug adviser had snorted coke at the 1977 NORML Christmas party. Way to go, guys.

It’s too bad your world is so disorderly that people who should have known that NORML’s strategy of “regulation through medicalization” required all but “legitimate” patients (like yourself) to refrain from selfishly seeking a recommendation for themselves on the mistaken notion that their severe panic attacks, seizure disorders, or debilitating migraines aren't all that serious, especially if they also look healthy from across the street.

I could go on, but you obviously know enough about medical use of cannabis from your own experience that you don’t have to familiarize yourself with the benefits it confers on victims of PTSD, young girls molested by relatives as children, or soldiers who’ve been repeatedly deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan and are prevented by both regulations and random drug testing from smoking cannabis. Too bad they are thus prone to drink excessively, beat their wives, and/or commit suicide between deployments.

You also obviously don’t know that NORML hasn’t lifted a finger to help disseminate my data, which ties the huge surge in the domestic pot market that began in the Sixties to the millions of baby boomers who were discovering the anxiolytic benefits of inhaled cannabis by getting “high,” as teens in that same era. I can see also from your wikipedia bio that you are a gay male who was born into the leading edge of the Baby boom, went to law school and has long been active in both NORML and talk radio. (also that you were a doper before being treated for the lymphoma). That’s enough info for me to make some reasonably accurate guesses about your drug initiation history and important family relationships. I could probably surprise you with what I know about you, but I also surmise from what you've written that you will probably be more comfortable pretending you never saw this.

By the way, all the questions raised in your Counterpunch article have only one answer: the drug war, as it has been enforced under the Controlled Substances Act had effectively blocked unbiased clinical research on users of any "drug of abuse" until Proposition 215 enabled an unbiased study of pot applicants. When I began taking applicant histories, I didn't know that my fellow pot docs were more interested in selling their signatures than in clinical research or that the majority of lawyers and policy wonks would be so confident in their clinical judgement about "valid" use. To say nothing of the stubborn dishonesty of federal drug police and US Attorneys.

BTW, you shouldn't have been so tough on President Obama. He's a post boomer who never knew his own dad, has admitted trying weed, getting high, and snorting coke, as well as having to struggle to quit cigarettes. He fits my profile so closely, so he might just be persuadable if he weren't also a lawyer and a prisoner of ambient drug war rhetoric.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at January 23, 2012 04:59 AM