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The AARP says, toke up!
December 18, 2004 9:30 AM   Subscribe

AARP poll finds older Americans favor medical marijuana. With a medical marijuana case in front of the Supremes, and with a dozen states now with medical marijuana laws on the books, AARP decided to take a poll. Here's what they found: "Nearly three-fourths of older Americans support legalizing marijuana for medical use." My father (a senior citizen) takes prescribed Marinol (synthetic THC) as an appetite stimulant; my wife, a cancer survivor, got through chemotherapy largely on the strength of the weed I was able to buy on the street in New York. [MI]
posted by enrevanche (23 comments total)

 
The medical benefits, in the experience of my loved ones, are very real indeed. Twist one up, America!
posted by enrevanche at 9:31 AM on December 18, 2004


Old people vote. I wish them all the luck in the world on this one.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:57 AM on December 18, 2004


Old people vote in large numbers. If the AARP ever decides to push for it, it'll only be a matter of time.
posted by absalom at 10:19 AM on December 18, 2004


American Association of Retired Potheads?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:24 AM on December 18, 2004


Well, as Bill Hicks once said, could it be that marijuana is illegal because anyone can grow it and thus no one could make a profit off of it?
posted by GreatWesternDragon at 10:56 AM on December 18, 2004


GreatWesternDragon writes:
Well, as Bill Hicks once said, could it be that marijuana is illegal because anyone can grow it and thus no one could make a profit off of it?

You know, I love Bill Hicks, but I've never understood this particular comment. Growers and sellers are currently making *massive* profits from the illegal marijuana trade; decriminalized or legalized pot wouldn't be as profitable (prohibition laws are really best understood as Drug Dealer Profit Protection Acts) but it would still be a nice little earner for industry.

Anyone can grow tobacco in their backyard garden if they want to, but R.J. Reynolds still makes a nice piece of change. (Speaking of RJR, I bet they have some interesting contingency plans for manufacturing factory-rolled, filter-tipped joints in the event of across-the-board legalization.)
posted by enrevanche at 11:36 AM on December 18, 2004


Enrevanche, I think it has something to do with the work involved. Now granted, I don't smoke tobacco or pot, but I have plenty of friends who do one or the other or both. One woman I know well used to be a seasoned pot grower back in her day. I've talked with her about it before and I've learned a few interesting things if ever I want to take up "the hobby."

From what I gather, tobacco growth and production is very labour intensive. From the planting, to the growing, to the cultivating, to protecting the plants from pests, to the harvesting, to the drying, to the production, etc etc etc. It all seems to be a lot of work compared to growing your own weed.

Like I said, I may be off on this. But according to friends, it's far easier to grow pot than tobacco. Especially when one isn't doing it en masse.

Denis Leary was wrong, pot doesn't lead to carpentry, it leads to horticulture and botany.
posted by GreatWesternDragon at 11:52 AM on December 18, 2004


Crazy yes, Healthy? YES.
I have recently been introduced to a vaporizer. It is a clinical method of using marijuana. There are a few different types out there. It was really an amazing experience (in my nonprofessional opinion) No coughing or lung annoyance at al, and it looks rather low key, land the smoke is not drifting around like some 60's den, smells like your cooking with it as opposed to burning it.
posted by wuakeen at 12:24 PM on December 18, 2004


You know, I love Bill Hicks, but I've never understood this particular comment. Growers and sellers are currently making *massive* profits from the illegal marijuana trade; decriminalized or legalized pot wouldn't be as profitable (prohibition laws are really best understood as Drug Dealer Profit Protection Acts) but it would still be a nice little earner for industry.

But still, the plant is not patentable. If legalized, yes, prices would still be respectable and revenue would be generated, but nothing like the mega-billions reaped yearly from patentable pharmaceuticals (and currently illegal cannabis.)

I remember when cannabis users considered
pot expensive compared to pharmaceutical products.
Not any more.
posted by telstar at 12:27 PM on December 18, 2004



You know, I love Bill Hicks, but I've never understood this particular comment. Growers and sellers are currently making *massive* profits from the illegal marijuana trade; decriminalized or legalized pot wouldn't be as profitable (prohibition laws are really best understood as Drug Dealer Profit Protection Acts) but it would still be a nice little earner for industry.


I'll just steal mrgrimm's comment from an older thread:

The Justice Department's brief also avers that by taking cannabis instead of prescription drugs, medical users are undermining the market for legitimate pharmaceuticals. - AlterNet
posted by revgeorge at 2:17 PM on December 18, 2004


Funny how the bullshit "moral" card gets tossed out the window when facing the grim spectre of death. So, last week it was okay to make sure we jail people who posses pot and take away their student loans, but once a relative gets sick suddenly they're all on the ganja boat. What's that old saying about such head inthe sand attitudes until it affects you? A democrat is a republican who just got arrested. Or something like that.
posted by skallas at 4:09 PM on December 18, 2004


Funny how the bullshit "moral" card gets tossed out the window when facing the grim spectre of death.

If only that were true. Despite abundant evidence of marijuana's medical efficacy, and poll results like the one cited above showing that most Americans support medical marijuana use, it's the "moral" argument that will likely prevail against it, at least for a few more years.
posted by enrevanche at 4:42 PM on December 18, 2004


Think about it. Us AARP folks were in our teens in the 60s. Of course we're for it now.
posted by jim-of-oz at 4:59 PM on December 18, 2004


telstar,
Even though the plant is not patentable, I suspect that it would still be a huge industry. I imagine that the tobacco companies would be all over a product like pot. They already have the facilities and workers to produce joints. If what GreatWesternDragon said about pot being easier to grow is true, then the companies can just switch all their fields to pot production and probably cut down on costs. And the reason they would switch is simple: pot would probably be nearly as popular as cigarettes, but without the enormous tax burden and negative image associated with them. What tobacco company wouldn't want to be able to swtich to mass-producing a product that's cheaper and easier to make, and that would help them shake their "merchants of death" image?

I seriously doubt that people would grow their own pot if it was legal much. People grow pot themselves now because it's illegal. If you could run down to the store and buy a pack of joints, I doubt you'd want to waste the time and resources to make your own.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:23 PM on December 18, 2004


I seriously doubt that people would grow their own pot if it was legal much. People grow pot themselves now because it's illegal. If you could run down to the store and buy a pack of joints, I doubt you'd want to waste the time and resources to make your own.

I disagree with the reasoning behind this statement. Now I am not saying that in this legalized-grass scenario people would grow everything that they smoke. I do think that home production would be significantly greater than either home brewing or recreational home tobacco production (if this even exists). The most significant deterrent to home brewing (aside from the length of time it takes) is that the product is usually awful at the end. I have had to pretend to enjoy more bad home produced wine and beer than I would ever like to admit. (and what is up with homemade wine being consistently sweetened up with syrup?)

But with pot, the product that your average grower can create with the right equipment and knowledge (which is widely available) is equal to anything anyone in the world can produce. The high quality seeds are also already widely available to anyone who can access google. People who are willing to put a few months worth of work would easily be able to create a high quality (pun definitely intended) product that would be fun to show off to friends and enjoy around the house. Not that I would ever recommend or do such a thing currently.
posted by aburd at 7:53 PM on December 18, 2004


aburd,
No, I agree with what you're saying. I don't doubt that there would be significant number of people who would grow their own stuff at home. I was mostly arguing against the idea that the ease of growing pot would preclude the development of a vastly profitable mass industry.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:04 PM on December 18, 2004


Although I think there is some validity to the argument that pharmaceutical manufacturers would rather have some patented chemical being pushed than a plant (while a profitable industry might in theory arise, the current reality they're looking at is the club model of California, which largely excludes the medical establishment from the production/distribution side), it seems clear to me that the primary factor mediating against medical marijuana is simply and plainly the war on drugs. The DEA to a large extent justifies its massive, inneffective and grossly expensive bureauocracy on the basis of marijuana, for the simple reason that the volume of this substance dealt is so overwhelmingly larger than any other illegal drug. Accepting medical marijuana is seen (correctly) as a gateway to general acceptance of marijuana, it certainly threatens its schedule one classification. They oppose it on general principles. Hell, they oppose non-psychoactive hemp and seed oil when they can get away with it. And they give a rat's ass what anyone, of any age group, might think about it - it's not as if they're elected to their jobs.
posted by nanojath at 9:01 PM on December 18, 2004


I seriously doubt that people would grow their own pot if it was legal much.

Sangermain I tend to agree. Actually, one can simply look at the Dutch example and see that if a legal market exists, of course most people will obtain cannabis through local storefronts rather than producing their own supply.

But, which currently dominant US industries would be affected by cannabis legalization here? The inebrient (alcohol) industry and the pharmaceutical corps are my best guesses. And don't forget these guys.

Bill Hicks said that pot is illegal because "anyone" can grow it, and these very powerful industries care very much about heretofore excluded competition (which is "anyone", to them). Hence Bill Hicks makes a kind of sense, even if he was a bit blunt in his presentation. Pot would be a profitable business for some, but not nearly as profitable as the market shares it would replace. Ask farmers how profitable they are compared to Anheuser-Busch or Lilly. Also, Aburd makes a good point about even casual growers ability to harvest top quality material. That's the way we expect it to be. The tomatoes from my garden are *much* better than the tomatoes in the store.

And the idea that these selfsame pharmies and brewers and tobacco co.s would take up the legal cannabis industry themselves? Maybe. Why don't we legalize and see what happens! I'm suuuuuch a free market republican.
posted by telstar at 2:23 AM on December 19, 2004


The Justice Department's brief also avers that by taking cannabis instead of prescription drugs, medical users are undermining the market for legitimate pharmaceuticals.

Legitimate? Meaning government sanctioned as payback for campaign contributions, right? For a pill that is only legal because it DOESN'T get you high?

In case you didn't check telstar's link, take a look at the price below.

MARINOL CAP - 10MG - 60 capsules - $987.53 Mail Order

Are you seriously telling me people would rather pay $16.46 a pill rather than grow some themselves? When it comes to difficulty of cultivation, please remember, it isn't called WEED for nothing.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 5:34 AM on December 19, 2004


I want tacos. Anyone up for tacos?
posted by squirrel at 7:04 AM on December 19, 2004


When my (beer-drinkin' cowboy) stepfather did his back in in a big way a few years ago, when I was visiting my folks in Canada, I went out for the first time in about 15 years and bought him some good BC hydroponic skunk from some buddies, to help with the pain.

Fixed him right up.

I don't like the green myself, much, never have. But it ought to be as legal everywhere else as it is becoming in BC.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:54 AM on December 20, 2004


If everyone who smoked pot stood up and admitted it, policy would change overnight. Fear has kept it illegal.
posted by Dantien at 12:05 PM on December 20, 2004


Pot might be as popular as cigarettes, but very few people out of the overall population (and probably out of the pot-smoking population too) would smoke 2 packs a day of legalized pot that was professionally rolled and looked like a Marlboro.

Why? Because pot is not addictive like nicotine. It's been shown (can't find it at the moment, sorry) that pot smokers generally smoke just enough to get high - as opposed to nicotine addicts who need to smoke a lot to keep their nic level high. The amount to get your average smoker high is what, 2 hits? 1 bhang load? Which is around 1/8 of a cigarette.

Yeah there's some stoners who chain-smoke weed, but even they are not inhaling anything like the same amount of smoke as a tobacco smoker. Can you imagine smoking 40 joints in a day? That would kill me almost immediately!

At the very least, after about 10 I wouldn't be able to move to light the 11th...

It's the addiction to nicotine and the constant smoking that makes tobacco so profitable. I've met maybe 5 stoners in my life (out of hundreds) that smoke all day every day, as opposed to every cigarette smoker I've ever seen.

YMMV, of course.

I suppose the cost of a pack of joints could go up to offset the lack of revenue, but beyond a certain point it would get cheaper to grow it yourself.
posted by zoogleplex at 6:02 PM on December 20, 2004


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