Pot-Crime Poser

October 12, 2016

Cannabis_artFoggy-overcast this early Wednesday on California’s north coast, a preview devoid of color for the next week or so.
According to the NWS, two big storms a-coming — the first tonight and Thursday, the second on Saturday — and weather a-shifting…

Seemingly, not on a slide with reality — this from the Washington Post this morning:

“Around the country, police make more arrests for drug possession than for any other crime,” the report finds, citing FBI data. “More than one of every nine arrests by state law enforcement is for drug possession, amounting to more than 1.25 million arrests each year.”
In fact, police make more arrests for marijuana possession alone than for all violent crimes combined.

(Illustration: ‘Cannabis,’ by Michael Creese, found here).

Now less than a month from big, ballot-box day, one great interest is Prop 64, the measure to legalize marijuana in California — yet law behind the times.
Although the initiative would legalize adult recreational uses of marijuana, crime is still pot’s nemesis, with-or-without the law.
Further on the legal side reality from the Post story:

On any given day in the United States, at least 137,000 people sit behind bars on simple drug-possession charges, according to a report released Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch.
Nearly two-thirds of them are in local jails.
The report says that most of these jailed inmates have not been convicted of any crime: They’re sitting in a cell, awaiting a day in court, an appearance that may be months or even years off, because they can’t afford to post bail.
Drug-possession arrests skyrocketed, from fewer than 200 arrests for every 100,000 people in 1979 to more than 500 in the mid-2000s.
The drug-possession rate has since fallen slightly, according to the FBI, hovering near 400 arrests per 100,000 people.illicit drug use today is more common among Americans age 12 and older than it was in the early 1980s.
Federal figures show no correlation between drug-possession arrests and rates of drug use during that time.

The last a noted underpin of how there’s a way-huge slack between what’s really happening and how the law is applied on the street.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is pushing passage of Prop 64, though, he doesn’t like pot, and hasn’t tried it.
Newsom just wants the law to reflect real life — via Santa Rosa’s Press Democrat yesterday:

“I’m not pro-marijuana. I’m just vehemently anti-prohibition,” Newsom said Tuesday.
Newsom, a prime proponent for Proposition 64, the November state ballot initiative that would legalize adult recreational uses of marijuana, said it’s fundamentally about social justice.
“To me this is about black and brown folks. This is about poor folks being targeted,” he said of the disproportionate number of marijuana-related arrests among minorities.
He cited statistics showing more than 8,800 arrests for non-violent marijuana felonies last year in California, saying, “We are still arresting and incarcerating folks that don’t look like me.”

Yeah, right.
Newsom believes marijuana’s on a shift, however:

Asked about the impact legislation will have on the Emerald Triangle — the counties of Trinity, Humboldt and Mendocino, where much of the high quality marijuana comes from — Newsom said Prop 64 aims to protect and preserve that culture and not result in “the cannibalization and monopolization, large multi-national folks coming and destroying that.”
He said there will be the opportunity to create appellations similar to those in the wine industry.
Newsom, a co-owner of wineries, restaurants and hotels, said in some instances people may substitute pot use for alcohol, but he doesn’t see that as an issue in the high-end premium wine market.
“My sense is there will be an increase in (marijuana) use. I think its 50-, 60-, 70-, 80-year-olds. I don’t know that that’s devastating.”

Not at all — wait-n-see.

Meanwhile, a couple of other pot-related news items this past week:
First, on the medical side, new studies suggest cannabis might be useful in treating cervical cancer.
Via MotherBoard last Thursday:

Through in vitro, or test tube/petri dish, analysis, researchers from the biochemistry department at North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa found that the non-psychotropic cannabinoid, or chemical compound, CBD (cannabidiol), taken from a Cannabis sativa extract, could hold anticarcinogenic properties.
They pointed out that cannabis acted on the cancerous cells through apoptosis, or a process of cell death, causing only the cancerous cells to kill themselves, and inhibiting their growth.

One study from the journal of Current Clinical Pharmacology found that cannabis served as a preventative agent, reducing inflammation, which researchers also said was useful in reducing the likelihood of cancer.
Another study from Oncology Hematology also noted cannabis’ anti-cancer effects, explaining how the plant’s cannabinoids inhibited tumor growth in vitro, such as in a petri dish or test tube, and in vivo, or a living organism.
A handful of other studies have also looked into cannabis as a treatment specifically for cervical cancer.
Another from the University Hospital in Geneva, Switzerland, found that the cannabinoids, including the body’s own endocannabinoids, offered “attractive opportunities for the development of novel potent anticancer drugs.”
At the same time, there could also be carcinogenic effects of cannabis smoke, especially for cancer patients.
One study in France found that “increased risks of lung or colorectal cancer due to marijuana smoking were not observed, but increased risks of prostate and cervical cancers among non-tobacco smokers…were observed.”

And research also on possible side effects of marijuana use at an early age — per Lawson Health Research Institute last Wednesday:

In a new study, scientists in London, Ontario have discovered that early marijuana use may result in abnormal brain function and lower IQ.
Dr. Elizabeth Osuch, a Scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute and the Dr. Joseph Rea Chair in Mood Disorders at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University, is a Canadian leader in studying both mood and anxiety disorders and the effects of marijuana.
“Many youth in our program use marijuana heavily and, despite past research, believe it improves their psychiatric conditions because it makes them feel better momentarily,” said Dr. Osuch, who is also the Medical Director of the First Episode Mood and Anxiety Program (FEMAP) at London Health Sciences Centre.
“For this reason, we decided to study the effects of marijuana and depression on psychiatric symptoms, brain function and cognitive function.”

Of additional interest, those participants who used marijuana from a young age had highly abnormal brain function in areas related to visuo-spatial processing, memory, self-referential activity and reward processing.
The study found that early marijuana use was also associated with lower IQ scores.
“These findings suggest that using marijuana does not correct the brain abnormalities or symptoms of depression and using it from an early age may have an abnormal effect not only on brain function, but also on IQ,” said Dr. Osuch.

Pot does something, must remember that…

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