Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Calvina Fay Lies Again


Recently, Calvina Fay, Executive Director of Drug Free America Foundation(DFAF) appeared twice on Fox News in the US, debating the proposal to legalise cannabis in California. When viewing both appearances consecutively, some interesting factors unravel before your eyes. Although the first debate exposes most of her claims as false, she happily repeats them again for her second appearance 5 days later. This raises some serious issues of ethics and honesty. Calvina Fay lied and although it was pointed out to her, she repeated the lies less than a week later whilst debating the same issues on the same TV network. Why would a major TV network like Fox News allow Fay to reappear in a TV debate after she had blatantly lied in her first appearance? Did Fox News even bother to check her claims? But why would they? It’s not like Fox News are renown for their integrity or truthfulness. What about Fay? She represents America’s largest anti-drug group, Drug Free America Foundation(DFAF) and her fallacious comments surely must worry them? Reading through their website, it appears that the lies and misinformation put forward by Fay are also the official stance of DFAF. To find out more about DFAF and how they actually started out as a cult called Straight, Inc., go to The Straights website.


Calvina Fay on Fox News - RE: MPP's Ad to Legalize and Tax Marijuana Bruce Mirken. (08/07/2009)



Lies and Deceptions:
  • Marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol
  • Taxing marijuana would not bring in at least a $billion dollars in tax revenue
  • The tax revenue would not offset the health costs (repeating that it costs $44 billion for substance abuse and not explaining that’s for all drugs including alcohol)
  • Marijuana is a Gateway Drug
  • Marijuana is “extremely linked to schizophrenia and mental illnesses”
  • People don’t drink alcohol to get drunk but every recreational user smokes marijuana only to get high



"Crisis in California" - Calvina Fay Debates Rob Kampia (13/07/2009)



Lies and Deceptions:
  • Taxing marijuana would not bring in at least a $billion dollars in tax revenue
  • The tax revenue would not offset the health costs (repeating that it costs $44 billion for substance abuse and not explaining that’s for all drugs including alcohol)
  • Prohibition hasn’t failed
  • Organised crime would not be affected
  • Make it easier for organised crime to sell drugs
  • Citing child abuse and children in foster care as a cause of drugs without separating marijuana as the cause.
  • People don’t drink alcohol to get drunk but every recreational user smokes marijuana only to get high


THE MYTHS VS THE FACTS

Many people believe the myths that were put forward by Calvina Fay, are facts. And why wouldn’t they? Governments all over the world have been pushing these myths for decades and a willing media has played along with sensational headlines and extreme stories of drug related drama, scaring parents into needlessly sending their teens to a drug treatment program. But after nearly 40 years of increasing drug problems and no decrease in drug use, questions are being asked about the effectiveness of the "War on Drugs". As the years roll by, there are more and more people being added to the list of those who have experienced drugs but the major problems they had constantly been told about were not coming to fruition. Like all long held beliefs based on myths and lies, science, research and reality are their nemesis. The problem is that anti-drug warriors are fanatical zealots and will say or do anything to keep their agenda alive. This has lead to a sharp increase in junk science and targeted research in an effort to appear credible. This junk science is being combined with the old myths which is often enough to keep the fantasy alive and the masses fearful of drugs. Ironically, it is strangely similar to those often quoted warnings about Satan who uses lies mixed in with the truth to deceive us.

Unfortunately for DFAF and other professional weirdos, technology gave us the internet. Instead of relying on the MSM to give us information, we can track down the truth in minutes. Every single point that Calvina Fay raised in the debates were wrong and if you had any doubt, the truth was available in your spare bedroom via a computer screen and a internet connection. This has changed everything and one has to wonder how long the anti-drug warriors can continue their campaign of deceit.


Marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol
  • Marijuana is not physically addictive.
  • Number of alcohol-induced deaths(2006) in the US, excluding accidents and homicides: 22,073. Marijuana - none.
  • Alcohol is involved in 40% of US traffic deaths.
  • Alcohol is one of the most toxic drugs, and using just 10 times what one would use to get the desired effect can lead to death. Marijuana is one of – if not the – least toxic drugs, requiring thousands times the dose one would use to get the desired effect to lead to death. This “thousands times” is actually theoretical, since there has never been a recorded case of marijuana overdose.
-Safer Choice

Taxing marijuana would not bring in at least a $billion dollars in tax revenue
What would you choose to be more qualified to predict tax revenue? A financial report by tax experts, accountants and economists or the opinion of a known liar, propagandist and zealot? Bad news if you chose the second option, most people will trust the financial report. Poor Calvina. Scary predictions and public fear will only get you so far.

A bill to tax and regulate marijuana in California like alcohol would generate nearly $1.4 billion in revenue for the cash-strapped state, according to an official analysis released Wednesday by tax officials. The State Board of Equalization report estimates marijuana retail sales would bring $990 million from a $50-per-ounce fee and $392 million in sales taxes.
-CBS News
Milton Friedman leads a list of more than 500 economists from around the U.S. who today will publicly endorse a Harvard University economist's report on the costs of marijuana prohibition and the potential revenue gains from the U.S. government instead legalizing it and taxing its sale.
-Milton Friedman: Legalize It!

Marijuana is a Gateway Drug
Although marijuana can be a gateway drug, it is not because of the factors argued by Calvina Fay. Her beliefs are that it’s the pharmacological qualities of marijuana that cause users to progress to hard drugs. She believes in the fairy tale that dope smokers want to try something harder so if they try dope first, they will naturally progress to heroin or cocaine. The reason why marijuana might be a gateway drug is purely because of prohibition that force all drug users underground where users of soft drugs mix with users and dealers of hard drugs.

Instead it is the legal status of marijuana that makes it a gateway drug. In other words, the people who support prohibition are using the bad effects of prohibition as justification for prohibition. The conclusion of all the research is that we have a "gateway drug policy". It is the laws that create the problem.
-US Institute of Medicine on Medical Marijuana

The popular gateway theory or “Stepping Stone” analogy was created in 1937 by Harry Anslinger, head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in a desperate attempt to save face. Since then, nearly every major scientific study has debunked his gateway theory.

First, there is no drug that will magically give you a craving for other drugs you have never had. That is a belief in witchcraft, not science.

Hemp was George Washington's primary crop, and a secondary crop for Thomas Jefferson, so hemp has been around in America for a long time, without apparently causing much destruction in society. Each sailing ship carried several tons of hemp in its rope and sails, so cultivation of hemp was a major industry. Even though cannabis was widely grown, there were no allegations that it led to harder drugs.

In 1910, they believed that the certain steppingstone to opiate addiction was "eating Mexicanized food". The fundamental idea comes from America's puritanical history. It is the idea that pleasure is sinful, and small pleasures lead to cravings for larger pleasures. In this example, those who crave spicy food will inevitably crave larger pleasures, such as opium.

In the 1920s, some states outlawed marijuana because of the belief that heroin addiction would lead to the use of marijuana - just the opposite of the modern myth.

Cannabis had been widely known and used in many medicinal compounds for hundreds of years, so there was ample evidence in the 1930s to know whether there was a connection between marijuana and harder drugs.

In 1937, Harry Anslinger, head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, testified before Congress that there was no connection at all between marijuana and heroin.

[...]

The reason marijuana had to be outlawed, he said, was because it caused insanity, criminality, and death. One example he gave was of two young lovers who became so crazed after smoking a joint that they eloped and got married. Marijuana causes people to become so crazy that they get married. The other reasons he gave were no more sensible. The hemp industry representatives who testified were uniformly surprised and mystified to hear that a dangerous drug could be made from this widespread and common crop. The American Medical Association testified that they knew of no evidence that marijuana was a dangerous drug.

In 1944, the La Guardia Committee Report on Marihuana confirmed Mr. Anslinger's statement -- there was no connection at all between marijuana and heroin.

In 1951, the story changed. Harry Anslinger was testifying for the Boggs Act about why he needed more money and men to enforce the marijuana laws. Just before he testified, the head of the Federal addiction research program testified that they knew for certain that all of the reasons that had been given for outlawing marijuana in 1937 were entirely bogus. They knew for certain that marijuana did not cause insanity, criminality and death. Anslinger was left with no reason for tougher laws so he made up -- on the spot, with not a shred of evidence -- the assertion that marijuana is the certain stepping stone to heroin addiction. He directly contradicted his own testimony from 1937. It has been the basis of US marijuana policy ever since.

Since that time, the Federal drug enforcement officials have tried to support this myth with the idea that most heroin addicts started with marijuana, and statistics which seem to show that marijuana users are more likely to have used cocaine. The first assertion would get a failing grade in any freshman Logic class. The second can be explained by the fact that people who engage in one risk-taking behavior are likely to engage in other risk-taking behaviors. It, too, would earn a failing grade in freshman Logic.

In 1970, the Canadian Government did their largest study ever of the subject, and found no connection between marijuana and heroin.

In 1972, the US Government did their largest study ever of the subject, and found no connection between marijuana and heroin. This was also the conclusion of the largest study ever done by Consumers Union, published the same year.

Every major study of the marijuana laws in the last 100 years has concluded that the only connection between marijuana and heroin is that they are both prohibited and, therefore, sold in the same black market.

The most recent study of the subject was the report of the US Institute of Medicine on medical marijuana. They reported:

Instead it is the legal status of marijuana that makes it a gateway drug.

In other words, the people who support prohibition are using the bad effects of prohibition as justification for prohibition. The conclusion of all the research is that we have a "gateway drug policy". It is the laws that create the problem.

-Schaffer Library of Drug Policy: How did the marijuana gateway myth get started?
  • Rand study casts doubt on claims that marijuana acts as "gateway" to the use of cocaine and heroin.
  • Marijuana use per se not a 'gateway' to illicit drug use, study says


Marijuana is “extremely linked to schizophrenia and mental illnesses”
This is by far, the most contentious issue with cannabis but one fact remains - although drug use has doubled many times over since the 1970s, cases of mental illness has not increased and even declined slightly. If cannabis was such a important factor in causing long term mental illnesses such as psychosis and schizophrenia, the 190 million reported cannabis smokers would require thousands and thousands of special new hospitals just to deal with them. The “ticking time-bomb” apocalypse that was promised so many times in the 80s and 90s has fizzled out as cannabis smokers from over the last 3 decades are still not filling up our institutions.



People don’t drink alcohol to get drunk but every recreational user smokes marijuana to get high
A great example of how terminology can obscure the facts - drunk versus high. Just one drink can cause a mood altering effect and so can one puff or one cone of marijuana. Going to a bar for a quick drink with friends might fit the analogy that “people don’t drink to get drunk” but one standard drink usually does have some mild pleasant effect. And how often is just one drink consumed? A more appropriate analogy might be, “people don’t drink alcohol to get drunk ... they drink to feel the effect of alcohol”. Whether they are conscious of this is another issue. A common response might be, “I just want to relax” or “ I want to wind down” which really says, “I want to feel the mood altering effects of alcohol”. Drinkers have the choice to limit their intake to suit the desired effect. The same goes for drug takers, especially pot smokers. Someone who wants to “wind down” or relax after work will only use enough cannabis to achieve the desired effect. Calvina Fay’s argument suggests that there is no low level of being high, just “stoned” or that cannabis smokers have no control over the degree of being high. Of course, this is just crap.

Alcohol Facts:
  • If one takes one drink in an hour the alcohol concentration in the blood is .02% – .04% and the physical/psychological effects are: No overt effect, slight mood elevation.
  • If one takes two drinks in an hour the alcohol concentration in the blood is .05% – .07% and the physical/psychological effects are: Warm relaxed feelings, slight decrease in reaction time and muscle coordination.
  • If one takes three drinks in an hour the alcohol concentration in the blood is .08% – .11% and the physical/psychological effects are: Euphoria, balance, speech, & hearing slightly impaired. Increased confidence; decreased coordination.

From a drink/drug driving study:
In other words, people who use cannabis may be more aware of the fact that they're impaired after they have used, compared with people who drink alcohol and who do not feel impaired after just a drink or two, even though their driving ability has been lessened. Any use of a controlled substance, even just one beer or other social drinking, can impair driving ability for a short time afterward even though an individual may not perceive themselves as impaired.
-Drug War Distortions


Prohibition hasn’t failed
It seems that most people don’t agree with Calvina Fay. According to a 2008 Zogby Poll just prior to the last US election, 76% of likely voters believe the War on Drugs is failing. So do many opinion writers in the major media outlets throughout the US.


Organised crime would not be affected / Make it easier for organised crime to sell drugs
Nearly every single analysis of the "War on Drugs" and drug prohibition acknowledges that the main problem is organised crime. Even the head of UNGASS, Antonio Marie Costa said in the latest World Drug Report that organised crime and a black market were the side effects of current prohibition policies. In fact, I have never seen the suggestion before that organised crime wouldn’t be effected by removing prohibition let alone benefit from it. Where does Calvina Fay get her information from?


The tax revenue would not offset the health costs
As pointed out by both Rob Kampia and Bruce Mirken, the $44 billion figure that Fay keeps bringing up includes all drugs, not just cannabis. Bruce explained that it was mostly alcohol that made up the $44 billion amount. I don’t have the exact figures but logic tells me that the cost of marijuana to the health system isn’t very much. This might be seen as a cop out but frankly I’m sick of proving Calvina Fay wrong. Anyway, what about the savings from other factors e.g. no court for possession means huge savings, the police resources saved, the decreasing prison population, the cost of parole etc. Whatever ... bored now.

5 comments:

The Editor said...

A great rebuttal of Drug War mythmaking, Terry. I was going to disagree with you on the 'people don't always drink to get drunk' point but on reading your thoughtful analysis, you are right.

I'll blog a link to this post myself. An excellent resource.

victor said...
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Firesnake said...

Excellent post. Reminds me of another robust recidivist fantasy story teller [polygraphs are 'scientifically proven' to do what I want] once introduced as "the most hated woman in...".

http://www.bressington.net/

Good news is, HR is on the uptake in the USA. These BS artists are now pretty much just killing innocents - such is the galaxy sized holes in their junk pseudosciencettery.


The only study to vigorously analyse all cannabis and psychosis papers, was the oft' quoted Lancet meta-analysis. It notes 0.00125% of pot smokers present with schizophrenia. Or, 99.998125% of smokers do not suffer schizophrenia. Which actually stems from 6.2 million smokers of whom 800 were presenting with schizophrenia. What annoys me, is they dismiss this because it's not "bad enough". So, 800 people in need of help, doesn't even interest them. Ergo: it is indeed an ideology debate to them - not community health.

Pot is associated with a 40% increase risk of mental health - but we don't know which way causality runs. Alcohol = an 800% risk straight from the tap to the brain which shrinks on cue, most admirably. Cannabinoids are proven over and again to have genuine medicinal properties - neuroprotective... and also correlating to loss of grey matter. In the latter case, we do not know which way causality runs.

The alcohol "antioxidant" scam is close to nonsense, hummed along by all who profit from selling flavoured ethanol. Apart from being able to "correct away" the claim due to affluent lifestyles, education, health insurance, safe transport, yadda, yadda, correlating to red wine drinkers - we now seem to have matured to accept if it works for healthy cells, then unhealthy cells - cancer cells - benefit also. And guess what is promising as a cancer treatment drug?

The main point is, the issue is shaping up to be most complex. I'd advance the positions of various participants in 'the drug debate' as hard proof of intention. The prohibitionists, have had the same story since I became interested decades ago. Evidence focused professionals and therapists have moved radically with changes in research direction.

Nora Volkow - once dismissed as an agent of Bush BS - wrote a most interesting piece this year;

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/706332?src=mp&spon=17&uac=77067MJ

There are many papers now emerging sustaining the 'anti-psychotic' role of cannabinoids. Am I saying smoking is good? No. Do I think it is healthy? No. Does it make us mad and bad and hold no promise for medicine? No. Is it a gateway drug? LOL.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Editor.
I'm glad to share my worldly knowledge with the masses :-)

Thanks Firesnake
As usual, an excellent response.