EDITOR: | December 26th, 2013 | 7 Comments

The war for the business of Marijuana is on.

| December 26, 2013 | 7 Comments

Some policies just don’t make sense!

October 1969

October 1969

Jack Daniel’s is a brand of sour mash Tennessee whiskey that is the highest selling American whiskey in the world. It is produced in Lynchburg, Tennessee.  Now hear this: Jack Daniel’s home county of Moore is a dry county, so you can’t buy this fine liquid at stores or restaurants within the county. This status reaches back to the passage of state prohibition laws in the early 20th century. While federal prohibition ended in 1933 state prohibition laws remain in effect. What gives? There are two hundred mentions of wine in the Bible.

On January 1, 2014 Colorado marijuana shops will opened their doors to sell recreational marijuana, a first for the third millennium in the developed countries. Why are we so scared of cannabis?

The use of recreational cannabis goes as far back as the tenth millennium BC in China.  According to many, cannabis use is also well documented in the bible.  Scholars believe the use of cannabis for its psychoactive properties are well documented in the Old Testament. Kaneh-bosm is the Hebrew word used by King Solomon and Moses to create anointing oil. We are stating the next sentence with respect to Christians: there are claims that Jesus of Nazareth used cannabis. As well archaeologists found a 2000-year-old Scythian mummy frozen in the Siberian permafrost buried with cannabis and paraphernalia.   It is indisputable that cannabis was used in biblical times.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) published a list of countries (and some territories) by the annual prevalence of cannabis use as a percentage of the population aged 15–64. According to the UNODC, 13.7% of US citizens and 12.6% of Canadian citizens make use of Marijuana at least once a year.  Italians figure at 14.6%. The country with the highest user rate was Ghana with 26.5%.  Perhaps most interesting, The Netherlands, with a well-known non-enforcement policy for possession of recreational marihuana shows only 5.4 % Cannabis users.

We can draw four corollaries from this dataset:

  1. The Dutch data shows that it’s not because cannabis is permitted that people abuse it.  There is evidence that decriminalizing marijuana decreases the numbers of youth users as supported by hard data (click here) The data suggests a similar effect to carding youth for tobacco products:  better enforcement and control of youth uses. This does not apply to regimes that take a totalitarian stance on cannabis. With a user rate of 0.003% Singapore is an anomaly. But then possession in Singapore cannabis can lead to up to 10 years in jail or $13,000 US fine or both.Trafficking in Singapore can lead to the death penalty.
  2. Cannabis use is more prevalent than recognized by mainstream society.  In another survey it was demonstrated that 51.6% of US citizens had used marijuana in their lifetime, the highest rate in the world.  How can we still put people in jail for possessing marijuana?  Who is lying?  It is a statistical certainty that conservative voters in North American suburbia are breaking the law.
  3. The war on drugs is failing: why try and control a substance that finds its way into mainstream society through black market?  We do not preconize the legalization of hard drugs like cocaine or heroine. But the point is the West spends money on destroying the marijuana trade, yet half the voters admit to using it. Shouldn’t we be taxing marijuana instead? In Colorado the State will apply a 25% excise tax on each level of the system: producer to a processor, processor to a retailer, and retailer to the customer. When cities like Detroit declare bankruptcy because they can’t meet payroll and pension commitments, wouldn’t be wiser to reduce our policing costs and find new ways to generate taxes?
  4. Given that people are using marijuana with or without state approval, a new health issue emerges:  there is a need to monitor and regulate the quality of the cannabis that is used.  As long as there are black marketers there will be tainted products in the marketplace that will put users at risk. The same argument applied to the contamination of moonshine by wood alcohol (methanol).  In those moonshining days (arguably those those days aren’t over yet in the hills of Tennessee), there was a significant risk of causing blindness by not controlling the early low-temperature distillates from certain fruits.  Likewise there are side effects of cannabis abuse, just like there are side effects of alcohol abuse. But it is possible to manage the downside of cannabis use: after all we are managing the use of alcohol (perhaps with the exception of Moore county).

At this point in time the marijuana controversy is primarily a political rather than a scientific debate.  Colorado is changing the nature of the debate. In my next column I will explain how Chinese interests are taking over medical marijuana the way Chinese interest have created a rare earth monopoly.

Dr. Luc Duchesne


Dr. Luc C. Duchesne is a Speaker and Author with a PhD in Biochemistry. With three decades of scientific and business experience, he has published ... <Read more about Dr. Luc Duchesne>

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  • Sue Glover

    Great article…..we have a closed down Kraft plant that was in our community for 100 years…proposal on the table for a medical marijuana facility…let’s revitalize this economy any way we need to. Great opportunities happening here…investors take note.

    December 26, 2013 - 1:21 PM

  • ChrisO

    People/Society are very strange and fickled.

    You will notice how people go to great lengths not to call alcohol a drug these days. And by doing so some how think they justify why it is legal and Marijuana isn’t. When compared on a drug basis, it is certainly hard to justify this stance (as in impossible).

    Prohibition created some of the worse crime rings the US ever knew up to that point, and proved a point that people seem to have forgotten.
    If you make a substance illegal that a large amount of people want and will pay a lot of money for, it will be supplied, and it will be supplied by the worst possible people.

    Society will always have to deal with the problems associated with these substances in one way or another, the real question should be what is best policy in terms of costs of personal freedom, money, crime, and suffering.

    Is it better to make a drug lord so rich he can buy any kind of weapon/people/craft so that he can carry on killing people to get more money or instead tax the people that use the substance to pay for the money to help the people that might suffering because of this use?

    Most of the time there is no simple answers, but as Einstein said “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

    We have the proof of Prohibition and all these years of the “war on drugs” to see what the result is.

    It is time to change.

    December 26, 2013 - 6:25 PM

  • Did someone say “Vashon Island, Washington”?

    Better for the local economy than than snowboards!

    December 26, 2013 - 7:28 PM

  • Pete

    I find it interesting that “scholars” who typically don’t believe the Bible at all (as opposed to theologians who typically do), have “found that cannabis” is referenced there. Do they believe anything else in the Book?

    Back in the heady days of the 60’s and 70’s I recall my university sociology professor making an interesting observation. Given what we know about alcohol, tobacco and the problems they cause in people’s lives, do we really need another vice that is believed to be no worse but might be?

    I also find it interesting that now that most people realize smoking is bad for them and those around them, that some would suggest we smoke something else. I think some have have smoked too much already!

    December 27, 2013 - 9:47 AM

    • ChrisO

      Personally I don’t buy the arguments about such things being in the Bible or not, by both sides. All this way to vague to mean anything.

      As for the “Given what we know about alcohol, tobacco and the problems they cause in people’s lives, do we really need another vice that is believed to be no worse but might be?”

      Well there is the rub. Making it illegal and declaring a “war on drugs” didn’t make the vice go away. The “vice” was there before the laws and continues to this day. You are not going to change people in this way, so that they magically don’t have vices. So you have to decide what is the best action, and that should not only talk about the suffering as a cost, but also people’s personal freedom. For instance just because you wouldn’t sky dive doesn’t mean you should have the right to stop another person from doing it.

      Take the money from the tax and spend it on educating people and such. Use it to help the people that just can’t stop themselves. Don’t put the money in the hands of the criminals.

      BTW I personal don’t smoke anything, don’t like the taste of alcohol, have never touched any illegal drugs and frankly even avoid the ones that are legal if I can. But I’m smart enough to know that others do and there isn’t much I can do about it.

      My best hope is that people in general will wise up and realize that they are in fact not stopping the “vices” of the world by these actions, and will pursue better choices.

      December 27, 2013 - 11:21 PM

  • Krazee Wheelz

    I would sooner live in a society of stoners than a society of drinks. Ask any cop…they will likely tell you the same. No one has ever smoked a joint and picked a fight or beat their wife and kids. Wake up people. Cannabis is natural, alcohol is man made. What else do you need to know.
    Ad for the ignorants who believe it’s a gateway drug…it better hurry…Willie Nelson is over eighty years old.

    December 30, 2013 - 9:32 AM

  • GoBucks

    Not sure what this has to do with critical materials but it is fun to kick around. So let’s start the year with a little fun!!

    Alcohol is most certainly a ‘natural’ substance. Youtube has all kinds of hilarious videos of wild animals smashed to the gills after gorging on fruit that fermented on the limb. Check ’em out.

    I’ll tell ya why we should fear the “bud”…because the state of Colorado is charging over $50 for 1/8 ounce. Four hundred bucks an ounce!!! You gotta be kidding me. If part of the idea behind legalization was to put the cartels out of business, this will only encourage them. They’ll sell at $300 or so and still make a killing (bad pun). Even stoners can count. After all, you need money for beer, too.

    How’s this for a little Cheech-and-Chong skit:

    (Cheech) “Hey man, I’m havin a party on Saturday night, you gonna come?”
    (Chong) “I dunno man, you gonna have any good sh–“…?
    (Cheech) “yeah man, I got some, don’t worry…just come on over…”
    (Chong) “Because if you got that government sh–, I ain’t comin…that sh– wouldn’t get a fly high…”?

    Guess you had to be there.

    January 3, 2014 - 12:42 PM

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