Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Friday, July 27, 2007

On Point: What About Cannabis?

We've had a lot of blog chatter about Mary Jane this week and I have a feeling BlogaBarbara is up to the color orange with Homeland Security...meanwhile, a faithful reader tells me that the British Press is saying one joint can make you mentally ill and the new prime minister is working on intuition that this study is correct. Hard to believe that the study is correct, hard to believe the prime minister hasn't at least done a Clinton-esque experimentation. Here's a snippet:

A single joint of cannabis raises the risk of schizophrenia by more than 40 per cent, a disturbing study warns.

The Government-commissioned report has also found that taking the drug regularly more than doubles the risk of serious mental illness.

Overall, cannabis could be to blame for one in seven cases of schizophrenia and other life-shattering mental illness, the Lancet reports.

The grim statistics - the latest to link teenage cannabis use with mental illness in later life - come only days after Gordon Brown ordered a review of the decision to downgrade cannabis to class C, the least serious category.

The Prime Minister is said to have a 'personal instinct' that the change should be reversed, with more arrests and stiffer penalties for users.

I'd like to hear from other experts on this subject -- are we all doomed? It's hard to believe that cannabis has such an effect.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pot heads don't know how stupid they get. Sure it affects them, just like booze shuts down all emotional growth and stunts personal development and retards the maturation process.

All you have to be is a non-smoker, non-drinker to realize how backwards and increasingly out of touch boozers and pot heads get over time.

7/27/2007 9:48 PM  
Anonymous Medicinal MJ: the new Nipper potion of choice said...

Went for a walk on the wharf tonight and came across a news-press being used to hold cut up anchovie bait.

It was open to today's Wendy/Nipburger bit about how the city should host the pot stores.


So Travis and Wendy can blame Marty for not selling enough weed?

What happened to Wendy's libertarian free enterprise rant, anyway?

Maybe, instead, the news-press itself should get into the pot dispensing business.

Think about it:

The news-press has a good, central location at DLG.

Plenty of potential customers laying about on the lawn.

Plenty of room inside the building, too, now all the reporters and editors are gone.

Goons around in case things get out of hand.

And the paper is already blowing lots of wacked smoke, eh?

7/27/2007 10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, too bad you aren't focusing on the predominance of comments regarding concern about and objection to additional marijuana distribution centers in SB. There is much misinformation abounding. Somehow people are being led to believe there is "nothing we can do" to regulate the existence or spread of these ridiculous retail pot centers. In fact, many cities in California have enacted restrictions, moritoriums and other means of regulation. I think its a great question for the City Council candidates to respond to.

7/28/2007 12:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MJ is addicting just like other drugs & alcohol. Talk to any rehab counselor. But I don't think it is in the same classification category as heroin, meth, barbituates or alcohol though.

I've personally seen the damage done by those who habitually use MJ but still would rather see it available medically to those who benefit.

7/28/2007 1:12 AM  
Anonymous max height said...

I don't know about pot causing schizophrenia, but, as a non pot smoker, I would say it causes stupidity and forgetfulness. I don't like associating with sober pot smokers because they seem to have lost some IQ points -- this seems obvious to everyone except the pot smokers themselves.

7/28/2007 6:06 AM  
Blogger johnsanroque said...

I don’t smoke pot anymore, but I used to smoke fairly regularly during a younger part of my life. There's too much emotion, of course, when people discuss anything controversial. A previous comment that marijuana is addicting, just like other drugs or alcohol, is a misleading statement.

Marijuana might be addicting to someone who has the physical make-up that makes him vulnerable to marijuana addiction. That's true for alcohol as well. But marijuana is not addicting to the vast majority of people who've tried it or used it. Just as there are alcohol drinkers who are not alcoholics, there are pot smokers who are not addicted and never will be.

I offer myself as an example, but for those of you who don't want to believe me, I also offer millions of other people who smoked marijuana in the past but no longer do so. The evils of pot smoking have been vastly overblown. It's not a gateway drug and it's not going to make you crazy like the guys in Reefer Madness--despite what someone says in Lancet. There's too much empirical evidence to the contrary to believe that.

Don't drink and drive--and don't smoke and drive. Either one is stupid. But having a joint in your backyard instead of that scotch or wine is no big deal. If you could take away the politics and get lobbyists for pot as well-funded as lobbyists for cigarettes, pot would have a remarkable boost in popularity and acceptance. Does anyone want to debate whether tobacco or pot has killed more people?

7/28/2007 7:49 AM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Johnsanroque said...I don’t smoke pot anymore, but I used to smoke fairly regularly during a younger part of my life.

NOW I know why our Blogabarbara exchanges have been so frustrating.

Ditto Anon 9:48pm....

All you have to be is a non-smoker, non-drinker to realize how backwards and increasingly out of touch boozers and pot heads get over time.

7/28/2007 11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for clarifying the addiction thing johnsanroque- for too many years pot was said to be non addicting & you are right, it is only if you are predisposed to addiction.

I think it should be legal even though my ex spouse used pot everyday & as a result left me to raise our child alone.

I didn't realize he was using until much later (we were divorced). It explained all his irresponsible behavior & weirdness.

I've used it in the past & even recently had some of a friends medical 'brownie'. I observed myself & saw how it made me feel very paranoid!

I think it can bring out some latent stuff inside people but so can alcohol.

Both make people perceive things incorrectly & act stupid.

7/28/2007 11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Below is an excerpt from

The whole post is worth reading because it gives a thumbnail history of pot in the United States.

For several years, Rep. Maurice Hinchey, a rare progressive voice from formerly conservative upstate New York, has introduced amendments cutting off funding for Federal efforts to crack down on state-sanctioned medical marijuana. His amendment came up for a vote on Wednesday, and lost-- by a smaller margin than in past years, but still decisively, 262-165. Surprisingly, 15 Replicants voted in favor, some for libertarian reasons, like Ron Paul and some who are allegedly stoners, like Dana Rohrabacher. More disturbingly, 79 Democrats voted against-- not just the regular reactionaries who always vote with the Republicans (like Barrow and Matheson and Taylor and Carney and Hill and Salazar...) but also some of the progressive freshmen like Mike Arcuri, John Hall, and Jerry McNerney.

So much for states' rights, that issue supposedly so dear to the Replicants. Worse, so much for the individual liberties that Democrats claim to stand for-- at least on this issue.

On Wednesday, the same day the Hinchey Amendment was defeated, the DEA raided and shut down 10 medical marijuana dispensaries in the L.A. area, arresting people who were there to protest. I'm not aware whether there were more raids in other cities-- but if there weren't, it's a safe bet there will be.

We're not just talking about potheads being deprived of their magic lollipops. Closing down the dispensaries, against the will of the voters of California or any other state, means that people whose pain could be eased by medical marijuana-- cancer patients, AIDS patients, glaucoma victims-- will just have to go back to suffering as they did before the medical marijuana laws passed.

7/28/2007 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We opened up easy access to medical marijuana. Now that we have learned what a mess it has become, it is time for a vote to close it down.

7/28/2007 3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah weve all heard about the person who smoked a joint and got violent right? {maybe with a bag of OREO'S) Pot sure is alot better than Presciption drugs! I really think we should be able to make our own choices about MJ

7/28/2007 3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, the Lancet article did not say "one joint" makes you crazy. It dealt with studies of long time users and their higher rates of severe mental problems.

This argument is too important to let it get trivialized by throwbacks to Reefer Madness misinformation.

If pot heads want to destroy their own lives on their own, just like alcoholics do, that is fine. But we all suffer because of the spill-over effects so we non-smokers and non-drinkers also have rights.

And putting a "medical" pot shop in the middle of a family neighborhood because of a single plot zoning glitch with the windows open 24/7 spewing out intense marijuana fumes on the yards and sidewalks where kids play and have way too many loiterers taking over neighborhood property while they wait to pounce is my idea of unacceptable spill-overs.

This activity is in need to strong regulation, if we cannot get rid of it entirely.

7/28/2007 3:13 PM  
Blogger johnsanroque said...

Thank you, Bill Carson, Max Height, and anonymous 9:48 for letting me know how stupid, backwards, and out of touch I’ve become, while simultaneously losing I.Q., shutting down my emotional growth and stunting my personal development. I wouldn’t have realized all this if it were not for straight arrows like you who are able to pierce the pot-induced haze I’ve been experiencing over the past few decades.

Unfortunately, your postings are the typical knee-jerk reactions against pot (and Bill’s against booze, too) that we’ve heard for fifty years. Let me try again to explain the point I was trying to make which none of you address. Pot can be a problem for some people, and it can be abused. And some people choose to use it in a reckless manner. There are tens of millions of your fellow citizens who have used pot as a recreational drug without any bad side effects. Some people can handle it and some people can’t—just like liquor, wine, cigarettes, pain killers, anti-depression medications, tranquillizers, and sleeping pills.

Marijuana has been demonized, mostly by government, because it’s good politics to rail against “drugs”. Although there are some who disagree, there are many mainstream physicians who believe that marijuana has beneficial medical applications. Tobacco, on the other hand, with billions of dollars of government subsidies, has no supporters within the medical profession and is proven to kill lots of people. My point was that singling out pot for special condemnation is illogical and ignores the reality of the people you see around you who have been recreational users and have not experienced any lasting negative effects and have not moved on to stronger drugs.

If some of you want to make the case that marijuana, tobacco, alcohol, tranquillizers, and all other substances that alter perception and physical reactions should be outlawed, I’ll listen to those arguments. And, as I said earlier, people who use pot or alcohol recklessly are stupid. But I’m not inclined to listen when people regurgitate hackneyed statements about the unique evilness of marijuana. I’ve seen no evidence of it (okay, guys, there’s your straight line to jump on.)

7/28/2007 3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gee anon 1214, I know people who are convinced they use cocaine "medicinally"---and please, don't jump to the reactionary Santa Barbara-progressive-conclusion that I must be some scary right-wing fanatic. I smoked pot for fifteen years. and stopped when I realized despite all the "harmless" hype that it was in fact just not so good to ingest substance into my lungs and body and mind and pretend it was good for me.

So, the appellation "medicinal" is nothing but spin and even the most "progressive" AMA can't find it in themselves to call marijuana helpful for any disease. Of course anything that is mind-altering can help with lots of what ails me. But the bottom line is---- it is not--in any country in the world--classified as a pharmaceutical drug. So go ahead, blame the pharma companies, George Bush, Marty Blum or Wendy McCaw, but just face reality--- it is NOT a legal drug. Any feel-good attempts by voters to be persuaded otherwise is just a fiction. And further attempts to persuade anyone with intelligence that businesses with Kilos of pot are somehow providing a medical service----just, please. Smoke pot if you must, grow it if you must but PLEASE don't do so under the guise of enhancing your physical health. Your lungs tell you otherwise. and most of all, do NOT further damage an already damaged community with these "stores" that of course will add to the gang/drug/crime problem in our neighborhoods---that's not coming from a moralistic place---but again, reality.

7/28/2007 3:32 PM  
Anonymous city watcher said...

I am not a pot smoker - was occasionally years ago until I realized that if my friends were becoming so stupid when they smoked pot, then so was I. Depending on the setting (and the strength of the pot, I did occasionally get paranoid.) Stopped smoking it with no difficulty (unlike stopping smoking tobacco) so it is clearly not physiologically addictive, 'though for some it may be psychologically addictive.

But that has nothing to do with the dispensaries. Seems like a good idea since it clearly has medical usage. But why does this small city need more than one or two centrally located? There's perfectly adequate bus service in SB. I thought there already was one such dispensary; why create more potential policing problems?

As for the study, interesting. I'd like to see more research. It would be interesting to learn if there are similar findings for Amsterdam, for instance, where pot is essentially legal. Only anecdotally, one can easily point to acquaintances who've smoked for years who have had personality changes - perhaps as a result - but it is important and difficult to determine what, exactly, is mental wellness to be able to determine what is mental illness.

7/28/2007 3:39 PM  
Anonymous victim said...

I don't read the NewsPress on purpose, but the other day I was innocently walking along State Street, and a rich person (probably Rebulican) threw their copy of the NP on the bench next to me.

It was as if I was being tormented. How dare these people force me to look at that offensive rag. Of course, I had to pick it up and read it. And I just could not believe how terrible it was. I feel so violated. Somebody please help me.

7/28/2007 3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need DEA raid here. Who can we call?

7/28/2007 4:43 PM  
Anonymous SPEED BOMBER? said...

There are some very well educated civic minded denizens on products from the pharmaceuticals. Why would they ever want commoners to have medical marijuana? It doesn't mix well with some medications.

The *Smoking just one cannabis joint raises danger of mental illness by 40%* is maybe 1% reality based? You need to know more about who does the research et al. Government pharmacy.....

The United Kingdom has a problem distributing highly addictive legal medication, SPEED, to pilots who are bombing other countries. There's an annoying problem when the soldiers go to overkill and someone has to answer to all the children and innocent who are the victims. Governments aren't the know it all for everything.

7/28/2007 4:54 PM  
Anonymous lower westie said...

"Stupid and forgetfull"

Let me be honest here, I still puff, and yes, It does inhibit my desire to socialize and most certainly saps my ambition. But maybe tha's a good thing. My carbon footprint is very small since all I want to do is stay home, blog, and watch television.

Here's an related message . . .

I sent this email to the PIO at the SBC Sheriff's department.

Re: the Twitchell Pot Bust.

I know the officers of the SBSD are following their sworn duty in the
persecution of marijuana growers, but in light of yesterdays court
ruling in favor of Santa Barbara's Measure P, is it really worth
sending 30 people up there to eradicate this 3 mile long grow?


I didn't vote for
Measure P, but having had a smoke or two of this evil weed, let me offer you a
solution to disposing of the evidence. Take all of it over to the
Lompoc Penitentiary, and build a furnace-like device to pump THC laden
air into all of the prisoners cells. I think we need to mellow these
criminals out. No more weight lifting, but plenty of baked goods.
This way, when they finish their term, they come out fat and in search
of blueberry muffins.

7/28/2007 7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill Carson-- While I can agree re: All you have to be is a non-smoker, non-drinker to realize how backwards and increasingly out of touch boozers and pot heads get over time.

What does that have to do with those helped with medical cannabis? If you or yours are in slow death pains, no morphine for you.

Why can't you separate pot and medical marijuana if you are so superior and clear headed?

7/28/2007 7:31 PM  
Anonymous donaldo de Santa Barbara said...

Bill Carson comments and his support for Anon 9:48 comments lumping potheads and boozers into one catagory or another seems right in line with someone who's addicted to intolerance of other opinions and perhaps anger over not having everything his way. Perhaps Bill is out of touch.

I know many people that I would consider parnoid and/or stupid or could be clinically schizophrenic. They don't drink or smoke pot. The one thing I have noticed about potheads is that they do have duller reactions at times and overly heightened reactions at other times. At other times I cannot tell the difference. It is my observation that pots effect is to accentuate whatever traits or mood that the user already entertains. Happy=Happier, Creative=Hyper Creative, Sad=Sadder, Parnoid=Schizo.

I am pre-conditioned to think that you cannot perform daily life while using/smoking and I am puzzled by those who can perform well while using pot daily. I know that with my personality I could not and yet I do know of very productive people who do use. Again that perplexes me. It bothers me greatly when I suspect users are using and driving.

My personal use is limited as pot use tends to make me somewhat uncomfortably paranoid. Again that is what pot appears to heightens the current general mood and I tend to be very skeptical and cautious of people. I would state that I did just a few years ago try a little and immediately noticed pain relief it provided from general aches and pains. It ways very soothing and helped me get a good nights rest.

Bottom line for me is that POT should be legalized because I don't think it's any worse than our addiction to many other things including perscritpion drugs, alcohol and my favorite "worse" addiction is your stupid car.

We would not be having the neighborhood pot shops if it were fully legal and widely available. I suspect that the pot shops will be scapegoats for a lot of bad evil things and with a little justification only because that shops are where the concentration of activity is. You really should be able to grow it in your own windowbox.

7/28/2007 7:53 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

3:13 pm -- did you see the headline? yes -- prolonged use does worse things but the headline, however misleading to a point, did say that.

Victim -- perhaps you commented in the wrong place? This post isn't about the News-Press.

7/28/2007 11:15 PM  
Anonymous YOU DON'T HAVE TO SMOKE IT said...

I detest any substance when it is smoked, it is gross. Cigar smokers would be the first to go in my irrational dictatorship! This is the best part of marijuana -YOU DON'T HAVE TO SMOKE IT- do you really think non-smokers would smoke?

If people linger around these "medical marijuana" shops as said, smoking and polluting the air, that is gross. It demonstrates the necessity for reason. Yes, I'll listen to arguements restricting cigars, cigarettes, alcohol, sugar (processed like a drug and distributed in food), marijuana and more- they all must go together.

Have you been around some businesses, like banks, where people loiter and smoke cigarettes? It is disgusting! It is worse to see young children's lungs exposed to an addictive toxin. Ignorant aduts don't care for more than their own debachery.

The status of marijuana or a substance like sugar are the responsibility of government and the pharmaceuticals.
No, "medical marijuana" is not literal in that sense. There is a "marijuana" pharmaceutical product that doesn't work, or they'd sell it as the greatest cure. Placebos are used in medicine, they have no substance, but psychological helpfor some. We still have a PLANT. People could grow their own and decide to cook or smoke.

People die when they don't eat. If a cancer patient has an apetite from smoking or eating marijuana it shouldn't be a crime.

I agree: no drink, no smoke, no pharmaceuticals, NO DRIVE.
Children on alcohol (sugar) or smoke, NO. Although I was given alcohol cough medicine as a child and survived.

I am wondering do taxpayers want to spend money on raiding these shops? We can't keep all the other drugs from crossing borders, why not keep our borders better regulated?

The resurrection of Reefer Madness is just dumb, if those people want to make a point or be listened to. They are equally mentally gone as any drunk or pothead. Try resurrecting Prohibition, while you're this madness, both are total crazy nutcases.

Anonymous 4:43 PM- You jest, but let's face it, DEA raids are bad for tourism, no need to call DEA, they are in sync with other powers that be and economics. They'll be here.

This is States rights v Fed's. Government pharmaceuticals have major responsiblities. Individuals legally growing plants would solve alot of problems.

7/29/2007 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the concern is that they are in the middle of neighborhoods. Would you want a porn shop next to a school, or a gun shop, or a liquor store?

Hell, City Hall is closed every other Friday, so you could sell it from there. There's even an off street parking lot for customers.

7/29/2007 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looked in the phone book under Federal Govenment Serives, and no phone number for the DEA. Agree, it is time for a raid and I welcome it.

7/29/2007 6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Ventura Office is closest:
(805) 383-6454

email contact:

7/29/2007 6:59 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Dear Donaldo de SB,



Bill C.

7/29/2007 8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The DEA didn't forget Santa Barbara.

7/29/2007 9:30 PM  
Anonymous another tactic said...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

City rolls out laws to make marijuana dispensaries illegal

San Juan Capistrano adopts an ordinance to prevent opening distribution centers and introduces a licensing restriction.

The Orange County Register

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – The City Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted an interim urgency ordinance restricting the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries.

At the same time, the council introduced a new ordinance restricting business licenses issued for activities that are "determined to be in conflict with state or federal law." While California voters more than a decade ago approved medical use of marijuana in the state, possession still is prohibited under federal law.

The new ordinance would effectively prohibit marijuana dispensaries because they would violate federal law.

An inquiry about the possible establishment of a dispensary in the city spurred the council to action.

"Law enforcement's concern is that many of these operations are thinly veiled sales of marijuana for profit," said Lt. Mike Betzler, chief of police services.

Councilman Lon Uso said he has not made up his mind.

"I don't have a fear or phobia of having a medical marijuana dispensing facility in San Juan, but before I make a decision I need to hear all the information," Uso said. "If a doctor feels that this is a proper treatment for an illness, we should be considerate of that."

On Tuesday, the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved a program that will issue photo identification cards to users of medical marijuana, joining 31 other California counties that have the ID program.

Contact the writer: 949-454-7329 or

7/30/2007 12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

people who want to use mj will continue to do so, just as they always have, whether or not it is legal

if you want to raise a fuss over illegal drugs, i suggest you focus efforts on the truly tragic meth & heroin problem in this town

7/30/2007 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the DEA phone number.

Does anyone know where all eight locations are? I'd like to report them all.


7/30/2007 11:19 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

7:47 PM -- Sorry but I didn't include your comment about exactly where you think the medicinal marijuna dispenseries are because I'm not so sure that is a good thing to profile potentially innocent locations/property owners. They should be applying for business licenses and the city should know exactly where they

7/30/2007 10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One cannabis joint as bad as five cigarettes: study

Tue Jul 31, 3:27 AM ET

Smoking one cannabis joint is as harmful to a person's lungs as having up to five cigarettes, according to research published on Tuesday.

Those who smoked cannabis damaged both the lungs' small fine airways, used for transporting oxygen, and the large airways, which blocked air flow, the researchers said.

It meant cannabis smokers complained of wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness, the study by experts at the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand found.

The researchers tested 339 people -- those who smoked only cannabis, those who smoked tobacco, those who smoked both and non-smokers.

The study found only those who smoked tobacco suffered from the crippling lung disease emphysema, but cannabis use stopped the lungs working properly.

"The extent of this damage was directly related to the number of joints smoked, with higher consumption linked to greater incapacity," said the authors of the report published in the medical journal Thorax.

"The effect on the lungs of each joint was equivalent to smoking between 2.5 and five cigarettes in one go."

The British government is considering whether cannabis should be reclassified as a more serious drug because of the dangers associated with stronger strains.

"The danger cannabis poses to respiratory health is consistently being overlooked," said Helena Shovelton, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation.

"Smoking a joint is more harmful to the lungs than smoking a cigarette and we have just banned people from doing that in public places because of the health risks."

Last week British researchers said using marijuana increased the risk of developing a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia.

Copyright © 2007 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

7/31/2007 8:39 AM  
Blogger ronsaint said...

I am , as always, appalled by the ignorance displayed by those silly souls ranting about the evils of marijuana. These people either can't read or choose not to. Basically, all the research boils down to this: there is NO valid reason for cannabis to be prohibited to adults. Those who say otherwise are liars or uninformed fools.

8/01/2007 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:36 am No one here said pot use should be banned. Stop exaggerating or else you will undermine your argument and prove pot heads lose grey matter afterall.

If it is to be a legally available drug, then all warning labels need to apply and all prescription limitations also need to apply.

Informed consent needs to include all health warnings, now coming tumbling in after a few decades of using this "harmless" substance.

It ain't and users need to know what gun they are putting up to their head, just like with cigarettes or all the other Big pharm blockbusters out there harming millions of misguided and exploited users.

Fake euphoris IS bad for your health.

8/01/2007 6:25 PM  

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