Pot Legalization a Disaster says Former DEA Chief

This will get some of my friends going.

Now none of them are dopers–theyinsist they just defend dopers on the principle of it. It’s a victimless crime–I mean, habit.

Bensinger says that THC stays around for about a week–I agree, which makes it no good as a recreational drug–more like a new lifestyle drug.

Bensinger considers Marijuana legalization a bad development. Besides the whole thing is crazy, Federal law and State laws conflict.

Who would hire someone with THC on board.


I would also like to, at this point, put the medical marijuana argument in a box–this isn’t about the ability of marijuana to help the horribly ill or even those who are about nausea and chemo–it’s about GETTING STONED WHENEVER YOU WANT TO.

The tax revenues will make this all the rage, so I will have to just anticipate that the functional work force will be taking a powder–or a toke, and so the effect will be fewer people who can do their jobs but a lot more people who have the munchies and really, really like listening to a 25 or 30 minute version of some Jefferson Airplane or Greatful Dead number.

Hey, Mozart, Schubert and Brahms chamber music and symphonies take a long time too.

15 responses to “Pot Legalization a Disaster says Former DEA Chief

  1. while i agree that the issues with intoxication will need addressing, i submit that anything that reduces the power of the federal government to arrest people, seize the property, etc, is a trade off worth exploring.

    the whole war on drugs has been both an utter failure, and a direct assault on the Constitution as well as individual liberties. more of the same is not an answer to the problem, imho.

  2. I agree that separating the issue of medical use from recreation use is a good way to further the discussion. Marijuana is currently classed as Schedule I indicating there is no current accepted medical use. Do you feel it should be lowered to class II to reflect its current use in the medical field? If so, do you contend that the potential for abuse of marijuana is equal to or higher than cocaine, meth, crack, or morphine? If not then it should be lowered to schedule III. There we find morphine, oxycodone, and anabolic steroids. Should marijuana be classed schedule IV? Ativan is schedule IV and is clearly more addictive and has a greater risk of overdose. Marijuana is less addictive and has a higher safe dosage than most over the counter cold medicines. If the debate is strictly about medical use, I simply argue that the law should be applied consistently based on fact not politics and propaganda.

    As for the referenced article, it’s no surprise a dinosaur from the DEA thinks his overpaid administration should keep its job. However with quotes like “It goes to where we’re fattest, which is our brain” I’m not sure why you’d post it on a science blog. I’d at least like to see sources cited for a claim such as the alleged “significant influx in hospital emergency room visits due to overuse of the drug”. At least they published the current conflict of interest at the bottom. “Bensinger is currently president and CEO of Bensinger, DuPont & Associates, a private consulting firm that promotes drug-free workplaces.” I do a similar job for the Navy. The myth and misinformation in the industry is endemic. I frequently have to send associates to Snopes.com to allay their fears about some new threat.

    You mention how long THC is detectable in the system. At what level is it still having an effect? Surely you’re not trying to push a “no safe dosage” argument. Shall we waste time comparing how long other common, unregulated chemicals stay in the body? That argument is a deliberate red herring that does not support the assertion that it is doing measurable harm.

    Contrary to Bessinger’s straw man argument, I have not been duped by any myth. I feel that the harm of the federal government’s failed policy is greater than the harm done by marijuana. The benefits do not outweigh the cost. You have again failed to support your argument to the contrary. Quit wasting our time with propaganda pieces and put up some science. That, or change the name of the site so those of us interested in the truth can move on once and for all.

    • Excellent response. I was struggling to say the same thing, but you said it much better than I would have. Bensinger’s views represent a combination of hypocrisy and wish-fulfillment. .In a sense, you have to believe at least some of this crap if you are involved with the DEA in order to convince yourself that you are performing a useful service. But rank hypocrisy exists as well, because big money can be made on unscientific, alarmist blather and useless drug prevention programs.

      The comment about THC “staying around” for “about a week” is particularly laughable and misleading. THC is perhaps chemically measurable for a week after it enters the bloodstream,, but as an occasional recreational user (and as someone who knows a good many “respectable” people who are also recreational users), I can say that the worst that will be experienced the next morning after an evening of modest recreation will be a mild “pot hangover,” which amounts to a slightly fuzzy-headed felling. This feeling is usually gone by mid-morning (or noon at the latest). After that, there is not effect of any sort. No fuzzy head, no “residual high.” Nothing. And as someone who has experienced hangovers from alcohol in the past (that period of my life is mercifully behind me), I can also say that alcohol hangovers are far more debilitating and affect functionality far more than a mild “pot hangover” ever will. These are subjective opinions, of course — but I’m confident that the vast majority people who have both consumed alcohol and smoked marijuana will support my observations.

      So what we’re left with is a tiny percentage of the population who are “chronics” and who may be motivated to smoke marijuana on the job. I would submit that these people are no different than alcoholics and other drug-dependent individuals who manage their addiction (psychological or physiological) to one extent or the other. Those who manage well (and who have jobs that allow for reduced functionality) will retain their jobs — sometimes for years. Those who don’t will fall by the wayside and learn from the experience — or not.. But even with wholesale legalization, I doubt very much that you are going to encounter any more “stoned potheads” in the workplace than you now encounter people who keep a flask and a package of breath mints in a desk drawer at their office.. Most adults, after all, are quite capable of distinguishing between work and recreation.

  3. Problem though is that our police forces in the name of protecting us from ourselves are turning into lawless paramilitary troops. Slamming down doors of innocent folks and killing them in their beds or arresting them and having them body searched (really raped) to find non existent drugs.

    At this point I would rather deal with a few more timers than I would deal with the militarized police.

  4. The war on drugs is a miserable failure, a costly failure and a leading cause of the growth of government and loss of individual rights.

  5. “First of all, please don’t mistake my position for that of people who are indifferent to drugs. I’m not indifferent to drugs. I think I’ve been quoted as saying if I could turn a single latch which would make all the drugs disappear from the face of the earth, with the exception of here and there, a vineyard in Bordeaux, I would turn that latch. Now, you say is it inconsistent for a conservative to take my position? I don’t think it is, because a conservative seeks to be grounded in reality. That which works is quantifiable; that which simply does not work, isn’t. If you were to pass a law requiring people to go to church on Sunday, it wouldn’t work. Under the circumstances, you would eventually simply withdraw such a law. My position on drugs is that they are, the drug laws aren’t working, and that more damage net is being done by their continuation on the books than would be done by withdrawing them from the books. This, as I say, should not be confused as a sanction for drugs. Drugs are a form of escapism, and the damage in taking them is not by any means self-limited. It damages other people also. For that reason, the question is: How do you diminish the net harm done by drugs?” Wm. F. Buckley

  6. “How do you diminish the net harm done by drugs?”

    Not the federal government’s job.

  7. Careful, if you smoke pot you might win a Nobel Prize, or an Olympic medal, or even worst, be elected President of the United States.

  8. I do have to say in seriousness though. I have a lot of respect for this site for cutting through the bullshit science we endure every day of our lives. The writing here always stresses evidence over hyperbole.

    So why is it that you can’t have an article about Marijuana legalization without resorting to comments about the munchies, or puns using the words high or munchies or dope?

    I mean seriously, I know you know the meaning of the word non-sequitur, so are you being purposely obtuse when you write something like “Now none of them are dopers–they insist they just defend dopers on the principle of it. It’s a victimless crime–I mean, habit.” (The implication still being that only a doper could get behind Marijuana legalization)

    Also, your comments about medical marijuana are especially troublesome. If someone in extreme pain from cancer wants to smoke a little wacky weed to feel better, and maybe make another day bearable, and they claim it works, who are you to deny that to them? Would you lock those people in a cage?

    Sure, medical marijuana is being pushed by people who sincerely want it legalized for recreation use. It’s a tactic to both remove the stigma, and to make it more normal. Big Deal? If you had any actual evidence of harm, wouldn’t 50 years of government money to prove that harm have come up with something…anything to say besides “you might get hungry?” I mean, look at climate science, there is only the vaguest of evidence and most of the world believe in it. It wouldn’t really take much.

  9. DanCapo,

    I know it might surprise you, but most of what is done at JunkScience.com is done by me. Presently. I am a very old emergency physician/ non practicing lawyer who does corrections medicine on the side.

    So I do these occasional pot pieces mostly just to get them all worked up, because, in spite of what you say, most big dope defenders are dopers.

    There are a few fanatic libertarians who also think that sex with children or animals is a victimless crime and shouldn’t be regulated. I consider them brain impaired. I won’t discuss that here.

    If i get a response on my pot arcticles that’s good, and I am really not trying to move anybody any way.

    In the past we had all these commenters who were offended that I would take the position that dopers were ruining their chance to be functional humans because (secretly) they used dope and thought they were doing just fine, even if they were still in their jammies at 1030 am. I make no judgments, but dopers are dopers–even if all they do is MJ. They still descend into Soma land as in Brave New World and never make much of themselves. Too bad, but incurable.

    Nothing has changed, DanCapo. There are dopers who think its just fine to get stoned every day and they refuse to believe it impairs their ability to be functioning adults.

    Sho nuff.

    Dopers are dead heads, and that is not because they follow the Grateful Dead or listen to them on their ear phones–they are dead in the head, and they argue with me about dope.

    And, to tell you the truth, I don’t much care, so don’t be offended that i don’t go hammer and tongs with them–they don’t concentrate that well anyway. You know like man they’re thinking bigger thoughts for sure.

    • Hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide every year due to alcohol and never one single recorded death due to marijuana…

      Alcohol is legal and marijuana is not….enough said!

      I am 53 years old and a lot of the people I have socialised with during my life are marijuana users, who have lived full and productive lives……your argument is deeply flawed.

  10. You are absolutely correct John. Especially dangerous when young people’s brains are still developing (up to about age 25.) By the way, alcohol is a bit of a problem too. You would agree? Not much we can do about it – it is legal. Don’t try to communicate with a marijuana user, all you will get is “Yeah man, yeah man…” Medical use is another matter. That should be left in the hands of competent physicians.

  11. i would remind you that people are not really that committed to the alleged medical benefits of MJ, which are not more than sedation euphoria and improved appetite.

    And thanks for your note.

    like man, i am very appreciatiiiiive.

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