Friday, March 30, 2007

Jailing Killing The Sick

20 years with HIV. Using marijuana to keep meds down. Arrested.

"Caught in the nexus of this sick web of federal blackmail, misplaced law enforcement priorities, and prosecutorial excess is Mr. Branson, who anticipates a slow, painful death if convicted, or if by way of a plea he is forced to give up his marijuana. He has indicated that he'll commit suicide instead.

As Harsanyi explains, it's easy to get lost in the details of this case. What's quite clear is that Branson is a very sick man. He isn't and wasn't selling marijuana. At least two doctors feel he needs it. So his apparent crime was to trust the word of a doctor who due to federal law, not state law, couldn't give him her prescription in writing. For this, and for a measly 12 plants, the state of Colorado wants to send him to prison, and possibly kill him."

via Sullivan

And for you edification:

"The most toxic recreational drugs, such as GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) and heroin, have a lethal dose less than 10 times their typical effective dose. The largest cluster of substances has a lethal dose that is 10 to 20 times the effective dose: These include cocaine, MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine, often called "ecstasy") and alcohol. A less toxic group of substances, requiring 20 to 80 times the effective dose to cause death, include Rohypnol (flunitrazepam or "roofies") and mescaline (peyote cactus). The least physiologically toxic substances, those requiring 100 to 1,000 times the effective dose to cause death, include psilocybin mushrooms and marijuana, when ingested. I've found no published cases in the English language that document deaths from smoked marijuana, so the actual lethal dose is a mystery. My surmise is that smoking marijuana is more risky than eating it but still safer than getting drunk.

Alcohol thus ranks at the dangerous end of the toxicity spectrum. So despite the fact that about 75 percent of all adults in the United States enjoy an occasional drink, it must be remembered that alcohol is quite toxic. Indeed, if alcohol were a newly formulated beverage, its high toxicity and addiction potential would surely prevent it from being marketed as a food or drug. This conclusion runs counter to the common view that one's own use of alcohol is harmless."

via American Scientist

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