Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Feds Drag Feet on Cannabis Studies While States Legalize It and Comics Joke About It

I just caught a 2006 Saturday Night Live episode in which Seth Myers reads a story about a study finding cell phones don't cause cancer.

"Yee haw!" shouts a giggling Amy Poehler, who proceeds to put her cell phone in her mouth, attempting to light it with a cigarette lighter.

In case there was any question about which non-cancer-causing substance Poehler was celebrating, the story that followed was about a 125-year-old Indian woman named Fulla Nayak, who claimed that smoking cannabis every day was her secret to long life.

A headline on the latest NORML press release might have been, "Yet Another Study Shows Marijuana Smoking Not Associated With Increased Risk Of Lung Cancer." NORML 's Paul Armentano reports that an international team of investigators from Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States recently analyzed data from six case-control studies involving over 5,000 subjects from around the world. Authors concluded, “Results from our pooled analyses provide little evidence for an increased risk of lung cancer among habitual or long-term cannabis smokers.”

Brooke Baldwin of CNN, who so fully exposed Nancy Grace's mania about marijuana, has posted another good interview, this time with Sanjay Gupta focusing on why research isn't being done on medical cannabis in the US. The issue came to the forefront on Friday when NIDA chief Nora Volkow admitted to a congressional committee that it was easier to study heroin in this country than it is to get an approved protocol for marijuana. However headlines that the FDA is considering rescheduling cannabis at the behest of the DEA are rather overblown, since they are only doing so as required by yet another rescheduling lawsuit.

Now that 23 states have legalized medical marijuana, and Washington state is about to follow Colorado with legal recreational pot stores on July 8, few seem to be waiting for more government studies before they indulge. Case in point: Actress Aubrey Plaza from Poehler's new show Parks and Recreation appeared on Getting Doug with High in March. The show, in which comic Doug Benson brings people on to get high with him, held a special live event at Largo in LA last night with Tokin Woman Sarah Silverman, Ngaio Bealum and others. Benson's 2007 film Super High Me rather proved the point that marijuana's purported harms are overblown.

Meanwhile, it's no laughing matter that Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres has died at the age of 54 from salivary gland cancer, brought on by chewing tobacco (a legal substance).

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