January 22, 2004

In the Middle of the Bottle is a Little of the Way You Talk

* First reported death said to have been caused by marijuana smoking, likely wasn't. an excerpt:

"Let's just take a little look at that. Let's assume that it really was an overdose (the first in recorded history). Millions of people have smoked pot for thousands of years. And now that we have one death, 'Ooh, look at how dangerous that is!' Harmful drug? Aspirin poisoning causes 60 deaths a year in the U.S. Catastrophic liver failure from Tylenol overdoses causes 150 deaths a year, and Viagra causes death in 5 of every 100,000 prescriptions. We're not locking those people up, are we?

"Here's a suggestion for the shadow secretary -- put a warning on packages of marijuana cigarettes suggesting that if you smoke every day, you should limit it to five.

"But the thing is, I'm still not convinced that you can overdose from marijuana. Let's take a look at a piece of a report put out by the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency Administrative Judge:

"8. At present it is estimated that marijuana's LD-50 is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000. In layman terms this means that in order to induce death a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much marijuana as is contained in one marijuana cigarette. NIDA-supplied marijuana cigarettes weigh approximately .9 grams. A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response.

"9. In practical terms, marijuana cannot induce a lethal response as a result of drug-related toxicity.

"Now, let's say you believe everything the drug warriors say and think that marijuana is 30 times as potent today. How you'd smoke 6 joints a day of really potent pot is beyond me. Plus, pot smokers are able to regulate their intake. If they smoke really potent pot, they tend to smoke less. But, what the hell, let's assume. Then it would only take 50 pounds of pot in 15 minutes.

First marijuana overdose? Yeah, right."

* Mike Watt is keeping a journal documenting the recording of his next album, the secondman's middle stand.

* Washington Post editorial showing the pork in the spending bill that the Senate is expected to pass this week:


"It is grotesquely stuffed with pork. According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a conservative budget watchdog group, it earmarks funding for 7,931 projects costing $10.7 billion -- $50 million for an indoor rain forest in Iowa, $1.8 million for exotic pet disease research in California, $200,000 for recreation improvements in the city of North Pole, Alaska. And it is a grab bag of clandestine, largely ill-guided policymaking that ought to have been done in the normal course of congressional business, not stashed in an 1,182-page spending measure.

"It is easy to become so inured to stories about congressional pork that what once looked outrageous seems like congressional business as usual. But according to figures compiled by the Congressional Research Service, both the number of earmarked projects and their cost have ballooned since the Republican takeover of Congress: from 4,126 individual spending items costing $26.8 billion in 1994 to 10,540 items costing $44.6 billion in 2002. As Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said yesterday in a valiant, if ultimately doomed, fight against the omnibus bill, 'The sum of these political indulgences is enormous and growing and amounts to the theft of our future and the theft of our economic recovery.'"


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