Warm Southern Breeze

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Bill Bratton, Ex-NYC Top Cop, Says Pot “Addictive”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, December 31, 2018

William “Bill” Bratton, was NYC’s Police Commissioner 1994-96, 2014-16, and LAPD Chief 2002-2009

Former New York City Police Commissioner William “Bill” Bratton appeared on a Sunday call-in interview on the radio show “The Cats Roundtable with John Catsimatidis” on WNYM 970 AM (Hackensack, NJ) recently, and was asked about his thoughts on the legalization of cannabis in New York State for Adult Recreational Use (ARU).

He said in part that, “At this particular time, I still strongly oppose it. I think there are too many unanswered questions. We still don’t have effective capabilities in law enforcement to deal with the issue of driving while impaired by the use of marijuana. It is as addictive as any other drug. We don’t really know the full effect of that drug on the development of children. I guarantee that about the same as alcohol is very available to young people, marijuana – particularly the way it’s being proposed in this state in terms of allowing people to grow it in their homes, as well as the widespread distribution of it – young people will be getting their hands on it. There’s the compounding feature of the smell of it. Nobody wants to live in a building, in an apartment building, a public housing project, on the streets, in the parks, with the pervasive smell, which you’ve already started to see an increase in the use of it on the streets. The enforcement lessons of… (unintelligible) There are too many unknowns. And, ah… ” etc.

Fortunately for you, dear reader, I’ve researched the matter, and can address just about all his questions.

He claimed that:

1.) “We still don’t have effective capabilities in law enforcement to deal with the issue of driving while impaired by the use of marijuana.”

Research from 2010 entitled “The Effect of Cannabis Compared with Alcohol on Driving” (published in the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health – NLM, NIH) stated that “Epidemiological studies have been inconclusive regarding whether cannabis use causes an increased risk of accidents; in contrast, unanimity exists that alcohol use increases crash risk.”

According to the July 2017 NHTSA research supplied to Congress entitled “Marijuana-Impaired Driving: A Report to Congress” many of the THC immunoassay screening tests can give a positive response to the presence of inactive THC metabolites, even though THC is not present in the sample, and for that reason, blood tests are considered “the gold standard” for testing the presence of intoxicants, and a superior detector of recent use, since they measure the active presence of THC in the system.

The exceeding majority of crash studies which examine substance-infuenced causes that cite marijuana use as a factor, do not examine THC blood levels, and instead use urine toxicology screens for the non-psychoactive metabolic by-product THC-COOH, and not active THC. Thus, they improperly identify cannabis as culprit, when alcohol was the exclusive cause.

In fact, cannabis legalization was found to have a lowering effect upon fatal crashes.

Research published in 2013 entitled “Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption” published in the Journal of Law & Economics found that “Legalization is associated with an 8.0 percent decrease in the weekday traffic fatality rate; in comparison, it is associated with a 10.9 percent decrease in traffic fatalities occurring on the weekend, when the consumption of alcohol rises. Legalization is associated with a 7.3 percent decrease in the daytime traffic fatality rate; in comparison, it is associated with an 11.0 percent decrease in traffic fatalities occurring at night, when fatal crashes are more likely to involve alcohol. …the legalization of medical marijuana leads to sharp reductions in binge drinking, a form of alcohol abuse considered to have “especially high social and economic costs.” Using data from FARS for the period 1990-2010, we fnd that trafc fatalities fall by 8-11 percent the frst full year after legalization. Te legalization of medical marijuana is associated with a 7.2 percent decrease in traffic fatalities in which there was no reported alcohol involvement.”

Colorado law specifies that drivers with five nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in their whole blood can be prosecuted for driving under the influence (DUI). However, no matter the level of THC, like every other Law Enforcement Officer, Colorado’s “Law Enforcement Officers base arrests on observed impairment,” regardless of the substance which impairs driving – including prescription medications.

2.) “It is as addictive as any other drug.”

That is BLATANTLY FALSE, and has been found to be discredited so many times that it’s hardly worth noting. Furthermore, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine wrote in 2017 that “…the literature is unclear on the association between cannabis use and the progression to the sort of cannabis use determined to be “problem” use.” And that statement in NO WAY indicates, nor suggests anything remotely associated with “addiction.” Even the DEA stated specifically in their “DRUGS OF ABUSE: A DEA Resource Guide: 2017 EDITION” p75, that “No deaths from overdose of marijuana have been reported.” And frankly, anyone who suggests that cannabis consumption is “addictive” or harmful as opioids, has more than a few screws loose.

3.) “We don’t really know the full effect of that drug on the development of children.

He’s correct. Because experimenting upon human subjects like the way Nazi Dr. Josef Goebbels did – particularly on unborn children – is a criminal act. The ethical problems with that statement ought to be self-evident to anyone with a lick of common sense. Children should not be using cannabis recreationally, which is why it’s called ADULT RECREATIONAL USE. Medically, CBD has been shown to have significantly positive effects upon treating intractable seizures, safely, and non-toxically… unlike many pharmaceutical compounds prescribed by modern medicine. In fact, since at least 1947, medical science has known that cannabis is efficacious in treating seizures.

4.) “You can tax marijuana all you want. It is still going to be illegally grown, illegally sold. We’re opening up Pandora’s box.”

In states where it is legalized, taxed, and REGULATED like beverage alcohol, or tobacco, the black market has significantly declined, or been practically eliminated. Of course, there will be people who, for whatever reason, will make illegal whiskey (aka “moonshine”), but those incidences are so few, far between, and insignificant, that it’s hardly worth noting. Our nation certainly doesn’t have bootlegging problems of the extent and scope that existed during Prohibition. And the argument that laws will stop certain behaviors, is only half-baked, because laws exist primarily to punish, and then deter, bad behavior. Laws against murder haven’t stopped murder. Neither has the Death Penalty affected murder rates. Fact is, anyone who supposes that laws are a “magic bullet” to solve all problems is sorely misguided. Laws are made for the lawful, because lawbreakers will do just that – break laws. In the time since cannabis was made illegal in the United States in the late 1930’s, a remarkable phenomenon has occurred – the emergence of a global narco–trafficking enterprise… because prohibition has been so “successful.”

5.) “I guarantee that about the same as alcohol is very available to young people, marijuana – particularly the way it’s being proposed in this state in terms of allowing people to grow it in their homes, as well as the widespread distribution of it – young people will be getting their hands on it.”

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “most teens aren’t smoking marijuana.” As found in Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings “5 out of 6 12-to-17 year olds have never tried marijuana.”

That same survey found that from 2002–2013 marijuana use in the past month by Young Adults aged 18- 25 remained relatively stable and unchanged with a slight increase from 17.3% to 19.1% for those years respectively. Youth aged 12-17 showed a slight decline, but was similarly stable and unchanged at 8.2% to 7.1%, for those years’ range respectively. Equally stable and relatively unchanged for the same period was the age of initial use, which ranged from 17 years to 18.4 years, and in 2013 was 18 years.

Long-term (longitudinal) epidemiological research (epidemiology is the study of factors affecting health) published in “Monitoring the Future, National Survey Results on Drug Use 1975-2017, Volume 1, Secondary School Students,” also known as the National High School Senior Survey, shows that from 1975 to 2017, 60% to 63.1% of 12th Graders responded not having used marijuana, respectively. The range was 49.4% to 76.8%, with an average of 63.5%.

Peer pressure by teens is an important consideration when teaching youth, and data by SAMHSA in Estimates of Marijuana Use and Related Indicators — National Survey on Drug Use and Health, New York, 2002–2014 found that Perceived Disapproving Attitudes towards peers trying marijuana once or twice for those aged 12-17 from 2002-2014 ranged from 74.6% to 83.5%.

That same report found that the percentage of Perceived Availability (defined as “fairly easy” or “very easy” for them to obtain marijuana if they wanted some) for the average of all age groups 12-17, 18-25, and 25+, from 2001 through 2014 ranged from 57.5% to 59.6%.

6.) “There’s the compounding feature of the smell of it.”

Smoking cannabis is NOT the only way it can be consumed. Cannabis can be consumed orally, by eating it. When so done, it’s called “edibles.” In fact, in this blog, there’s an entry about the ORIGINAL cannabis brownies – including a recipe. If smell is the worst thing one is concerned about, that’s a very minor concern.

7.) “…you’ve already started to see an increase in the use of it on the streets.”

He cites no evidence to support his specious claim. But, even if what he claims were true (and again, there is NO evidence to support his claim, and he cites no evidence), in states where cannabis is legal for Adult Recreational Use, it is illegal to openly consume in public.

Frankly, the claims that Mr. Bratton makes are practically on par with the outrageously outlandish, absurdly preposterous claims made by the racist marijuana hate-monger Harry Anslinger, who was the first head of the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Narcotics, which later became the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration).

And if Mr. Bratton wanted to harm, or delegitimize the rapidly accelerating, now-global movement to Legalize, Tax, and Regulate cannabis for Adult Recreational Use, he ought instead focus upon some other argument, because the ones he makes are more full of holes than a wheel of Swiss cheese.

Now, if Mr. Bratton is feeling really froggy, he can pore over (just like I did) a report published in 2017 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine which is entitled “The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research.” Fortunately, it’s a free online download as a PDF file. Get set for some serious reading, because it’s 468 pages long… excluding the 19 introductory pages.

And then, of course, there’s the other research which I’ve cited here (which is also linked, for the readers’ convenience).

All you gotta’ do, is read, read, read, read, read… and read some more. Apparently, Mr. Bratton hasn’t been doing much reading on that subject about which he speaks. And again… he certainly never cited any research.

One would expect more from public officials.

Hear the interview: https://catsroundtable.com/commissioner-bill-bratton-country-falling-disrepair/

Read the accompanying story: https://nypost.com/2018/12/30/former-nypd-commissioner-bill-bratton-not-sold-on-recreational-pot/

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