Tag Archives: policy
The more people you know who use marijuana, the harder it becomes to say that they should be arrested for possessing it. After all, the vast majority of marijuana users are productive and otherwise law-abiding members of society. This fact has become increasingly evident as more and more people come out of the “cannabis closet” and become open about their experiences with the substance.
Last Friday, House Speaker John Boehner’s daughter Lindsay married Dominic Lakhan, a Jamaican-born construction worker. Lakhan was arrested for possession of a small amount of marijuana in 2006.
Is it possible that Boehner, who has consistently opposed marijuana policy reform, will start to come around now that he has a convicted marijuana user for a son-in-law? Does he think Lakhan is better off with an arrest record or that Lakhan deserves to be arrested again for using marijuana? Would he care about how it affects his daughter? Only time will tell.
Let’s hope his experience is similar to that of Republican Senator Rob Portman, who changed his stance on gay marriage after learning that his son is gay. While this position initially caused a slight loss in approval among Republicans in his state, the growing acceptance of gay marriage (which has been nearly mirrored by the increasing support for marijuana policy reform) could actually help him in the long run.
Politicians’ thinking traditionally lags far behind the general public on social issues, but it gets a little harder to ignore when that thinking hurts your own family.
In this interview posted today, Cato Institute’s Caleb Brown talks with Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) about the federal government’s reaction to the end of marijuana prohibition in Colorado and Washington and the future of marijuana policy reform. Take a few minutes to watch this:
Rep. Cohen is a great ally to reformers, whether he is sponsoring legislation to stop federal interference with state marijuana laws, proposing commissions to examine federal marijuana policy, or grilling DEA Bush-holdover Michele Leonhart on her politically driven inability to understand science.
If you combined Saturday Night Live‘s “Really?” segment with ESPN’s celebration of boneheaded NFL plays titled “C’Mon Man!” you would have my reaction to Derek Rosenfeld’s recent HuffPo article trashing our commander in chief. In his piece “President Obama Is the Last Person Who Should Joke About Marijuana”, Rosenfeld, who is the Internet communications associate at the venerable Drug Policy Alliance, took issue with one joke from the Prez’s annual White House Correspondents Dinner.
What was so egregious about Obama’s marijuana diss? It wasn’t one to begin with.
As jokes go, in fact, it couldn’t be more innocuous:
“But the problem is that the media landscape is changing so rapidly,” the president quipped. “You can’t keep up with it. I mean, I remember when Buzzfeed was just something I did in college around 2 a.m.”
If you think that has to do strictly with cannabis or was a jab at pot smokers only, I’ve got a greenhouse to sell you. Barry is a well-documented night owl, but if you’re up at 2AM, it’s probably because you closed down the bar, not smoked down with your friend.
I get it: pot gives you the “munchies”. But we potheads don’t own that any more than the gays own rainbows. Did the folks over at the DPA have a little too much sativa and, in a bout of paranoia, assume he was talking about them?
They must have, because the rest of the article is an unabashed rant against his presidency. Rosenfeld goes on to tout one of the most specious statistics that pot warriors throw around: Obama “has overseen more law enforcement raids on medical marijuana dispensaries than George W. Bush during his entire eight years in office.”
Hey, here’s a fact for you: he’s allowed more legal marijuana businesses to operate than the last 10 presidents.
Let’s also ignore that some of those DEA raids hit fronts for cocaine traffickers, amongst other things. Or that U.S. Attorneys were carrying out busts contradictory to instructions by the Obama administration during his run for re-election, knowing a strong pro-pot stance could jeopardize his campaign. Ignore all of that.
Next, Rosenfeld throws out some good facts about racial profiling when it comes to marijuana charges, but claims that today he would “very likely lose the chance of becoming President.” I could see the argument if he had bothered to make one. Losing access to student loans, for example, could have derailed young Barack. An arrest record? The guy he replaced, the loathsome GW Bush, had three priors before getting to the White House. Somewhere in Texas, he’s working on his fourth.
As a comedian, my biggest issue is that this article advances the notion of marijuana as a sacred cow. Especially after the DPA has held comedy fundraiser after fundraiser, even buying Prop 19 spots on Comedy Central. Whether it’s Cheech Marin or Doug Benson, humor has long been an effective tool for getting people to confront things they’re uncomfortable with.
What’s their alternative? Attack the guy who even the author admits has smoked marijuana, believes the drug war has failed and believes in science over ideology.
Because they didn’t get a punchline.
Everyone knows the president can, with a flick his magic wand, legalize whatever he wants! Don’t go after members of Congress, you know… the ones he mentions at the end of the piece that are capable of having an actual impact when it comes to legislation.
Rosenfeld must have spent a lot of time inside of that Trojan horse, because his argument reeks.
Box Corner is a weekly opinion column by Box Johnson, a Denver-area comedian and Toke of the Town contributor. When not writing, he can be found working on creating laser technology to clean dirty pipes.
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MONDAY April 29, 2013 — With the number of home births rising, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a policy statement on the practice that includes a recommendation that there be a caregiver who’s present solely to take care of the newborn.
“Babies deserve the best care they can get,” said Dr. Kristi Watterberg, lead author of the statement and a professor in the division of neonatology at the University of New Mexico. “And we need to support women wherever they choose to give birth.”
There are a number of reasons women may choose to give birth at home, according to background information in the statement. They may wish for a more family-friendly setting, increased control of the birthing process, fewer medical interventions and lower costs. The rate of home births is still under 1 percent in the United States, but it is growing, according to the policy statement.
A recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the number of home births jumped 20 percent between 2004 and 2008. More than 28,000 babies were born at home in 2008, which was the highest number of home births since 1990.
Home births aren’t well supported by the medical community. Various state laws and regulations can make a home birth even harder to achieve. There also may be a lack of well-trained and willing caregivers, or support in case of an emergency. Geography can also present a problem. Travel times greater than 20 minutes to medical care have been linked to an increased risk of complications, including death of the baby, according to the policy.
Some studies have suggested that home births in the United States are linked to a twofold to threefold higher risk of neonatal death. But Watterberg said a study done in British Columbia, where there’s a more integrated system that supports mothers birthing at home, found no increased risk of neonatal death. “We need better research,” said Watterberg.
However, because the rate of home births is increasing, and because the academy wants to provide a “professional, supportive interaction” with expectant mothers, Watterberg said the group developed its new policy. The AAP recommends the following factors for a mother considering a home delivery:
- Absence of preexisting medical conditions,
- Absence of significant disease during pregnancy,
- A singleton pregnancy (no twins, triplets or higher),
- Baby’s head is facing down,
- Pregnancy has lasted at least 37 weeks, but no more than 41 weeks,
- Spontaneous labor, or labor induced as an outpatient,
- A certified nurse-midwife, certified midwife or a physician practicing within an integrated and regulated health system,
- At least one appropriately trained person whose primary responsibility is the baby (this person must be qualified to resuscitate the baby if necessary),
- Ready access to consultation,
- Assurance of safe and timely transport to a nearby hospital with a preexisting arrangement for such transfers.
Watterberg said midwives often work in teams, and one can be responsible for the baby’s care after birth.
“It’s important to remember that this is an area of strong emotion. You’ll see babies in home births have terrible things happen, but you also have terrible things happen in the hospital sometimes. Women have the right to make an informed decision,” she said.
And, if a woman chooses home birth, Watterberg said it’s important for the expectant mother to meet the person who will care for her baby after birth. “Meet with that person beforehand. Talk with them about your plans, and see if they have anything to add,” she advised.
Dr. Peter Bernstein is a maternal-fetal medicine specialist and director of the perinatal safety program at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. He said: “A woman planning a home birth has a lot of due diligence to take care of that she doesn’t have to worry about in the hospital, like making sure the correct equipment is there, that the staffing is there and qualified.
“I understand where women are coming from. A hospital birth can become very medicalized and women feel a loss of control, but I’m nervous about home births. Too many simple things can turn into disasters at home. Even in low-risk women, things can go wrong. Then you may be 20 minutes from the hospital, and it’s another 15 minutes once you get to the hospital before you can get the baby out in an emergency,” explained Bernstein, who acknowledged that he treats high-risk pregnancies, so he tends to see more complicated births.
“I’d like to see a middle ground. I’d like to see more birthing centers associated with hospitals. Bring the home birth movement to a setting that feels more like home, but is attached to the hospital,” he said.
But, he added, “In a low-risk woman, who can set it up properly, home birth shouldn’t be outlawed. A woman can have the choice to have her baby at home.”
The full policy statement is published online April 29 and will appear in the May print issue of the journal Pediatrics.
Learn more about home births from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Posted: April 2013
Last week was very eventful for marijuana policy reform. The Oregon Senate approved a bill granting PTSD sufferers access to medical marijuana, the Vermont House passed a bill to remove criminal penalties for marijuana possession, and, in a victory that was years in the making, the Illinois House voted in favor of medical marijuana legislation.
The passing of House Bill 1 in Illinois is an example of public education at its finest. News organizations across the state set space aside to show their support for medical marijuana without reluctance.
Editorials in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Journal-Standard described the drug’s ability to alleviate suffering, and they also clearly addressed the bill’s strict guidelines to ease the fears of any hesitant readers.
Editorials like those composed in Illinois and other states such as Maine provide readers with a great service, and they can make all the difference in garnering support for marijuana policy reform.