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Randi Speaks: Charles Lynch PDF Print E-mail
James Randi Speaks
Written by Jeffrey Wagg   

UPDATE: According to the LA Times, the sentencing has been pushed back until June 11th. Maybe some sanity will settle out by then.

Randi takes a different tone this time as a recent letter has shown that his adopted country is sometimes less than compassionate. Are politics more important than people? Maybe, but it shouldn't be that way.

 

From Randi -

Understand this:  I heartily endorse and accept marijuana use for medical purposes; research has clearly shown that it works efficiently in that role, and brings comfort and relief to the suffering.  As a result of this stated conditional acceptance, I have been approached by those who advocate general use of the substance on the same level that tobacco enjoys.  Generally, this makes sense to me, except that if its use were to bring with it the same dreadful health penalties that accompany tobacco, I would be reluctant to accept that.  I am not a drug user, I have never even been inebriated.  That is my personal choice, and I feel that other persons should also enjoy freedom of choice, even if taxes are imposed on that freedom in order to legislate it; I don’t want out-of-control drivers threatening my safety, for example.

Drugs are not for me.  I wish that my friends would not use them.  Case closed…

If you'd like to comment directly on YouTube, click this link.

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written by KingMerv00, April 23, 2009
Nice job Randi.

For those who don't know, the federal power to regulate marijuana comes from the commerce clause of the constitution (Art. 1 Sec. 8 Clause 3) which reads:

The Congress shall have power . . . To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes


In Gonzales v. Raich, the Supreme Court held that the federal government can use the the commerce clause to regulate marijuana even if it is grown and sold entirely within the state. Even "funnier", the people who support that decision tend to be the same people who constantly trumpet states' rights.

Don't think about it too hard...you'll go insane.
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written by Willy K, April 23, 2009
Randi said he's angry about...
this egregious misuse of authority

I concur. The irrational fear of drugs as depicted in "Reefer Madness" is still with us.
I hope someday there will be a rational plan made by society to deal with intoxicating substances.
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written by knitwit, April 23, 2009
While it's true that there is evidence for the medical use of marijuana, you left out the rest of that statement which is that there are substitutes in every case. The harm done by smoking anything would seem to outweigh any benefits, especially when there is an alternative. In the case of the terminally ill, I wouldn't begrudge the person anything that made him or her feel better in the process of dying, but outside of that I can't see any justification for it unless we go all the way and just make it legal. But even if there is a case for legalization, it doesn't mitigate the harm of smoking the stuff.
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written by knitwit, April 23, 2009
Okay, my comment was made before I watched the video,and based just on the article. Of course I am outraged by this case and of course it's absurd. But I'm still not buying that marijuana is the only treatment, although Drew's parents make a compelling case; but Randi, where is the evidence? That doesn't justify the treatment of this man, however.

One little thing, in America we say disPENSEary not dispensARY. I think Canada uses the British pronunciation of this word. It's okay, that's the way you learned to say it--it just made me smile each time you said it.
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Bad precedent
written by MJG, April 23, 2009
KingMerv00 wrote:

In Gonzales v. Raich, the Supreme Court held that the federal government can use the the commerce clause to regulate marijuana even if it is grown and sold entirely within the state. Even "funnier", the people who support that decision tend to be the same people who constantly trumpet states' rights.


Which goes all the way back to the Wickard v. Filburn case from the 40s, which I personally think was poorly decided in the first place. Funny how some of the so called "strict constructionists" (looking at you Scalia) aren't too interested in Federalism and strict interpretation of the words "between the states" on this particular issue.
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written by KingMerv00, April 23, 2009
MJG wrote:

Funny how some of the so called "strict constructionists" (looking at you Scalia) aren't too interested in Federalism and strict interpretation of the words "between the states" on this particular issue.


Don't get too mad. Look at the vote breakdown in the Gonzolez case:

Voted in favor of regulation:
Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer, Scalia (in concurrence)

Voted against regulation:
O'Connor, Rehnquist, Thomas

It was mostly liberals that voted to regulate. Scalia is a bit hypocritical though.
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Reason.com
written by bigjohn756, April 23, 2009
I went to reason.com and tried to make a comment, but, it wouldn't upload. So, I'll put it here:

Does ANYONE remember the 18th amendment? Has anyone looked at the mess the war against alcohol caused? Apparently, the only thing learned from that catastrophic amendment was that instead of removing people's rights by passing a Constitutional amendment is to remove their rights by legislation instead. All these religiously motivated laws remove rights from the general populace instead of regulating those who lie, cheat, and steal.

You all must realize the damage the war on drugs has wreaked on our society. Just look around. We are constantly squandering money building new jails to house all of the artificially generated criminals. We are wasting untold millions of dollars fighting a war that cannot be won. Artificially inflated drug prices are making billionaires of drug dealers. Etc., etc.

Bah!
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written by phiend, April 24, 2009
knitwit wrote
While it's true that there is evidence for the medical use of marijuana, you left out the rest of that statement which is that there are substitutes in every case. The harm done by smoking anything would seem to outweigh any benefits, especially when there is an alternative. In the case of the terminally ill, I wouldn't begrudge the person anything that made him or her feel better in the process of dying, but outside of that I can't see any justification for it unless we go all the way and just make it legal. But even if there is a case for legalization, it doesn't mitigate the harm of smoking the stuff.


Smoking isn't the only way to medicate with marijuana, it can simply be ingested. Many medical users do not smoke it, they either ingest it through baked goods or oils and tinctures. The oil/tincture types are the best alternative to smoking, however they are hard and sometimes dangerous to make. The problem is the legal status of it makes alternatives to smoking cost prohibitive. And yes there are alternative durgs but that is not an argument against it. There are alternatives to most medication, sometimes one works better for a patient than another, sometimes one is simply cheaper. Having options in medical treatment is a good thing. Even if all the alternatives had the exact same effect, in long term pain management patients can sometimes build resistances to their meds, its good to switch them around a bit.
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written by MadScientist, April 25, 2009
I hope Charlie's freed and compensated for the damages done to him and his family.

Of course the agents involved would never dare make a move against real criminals - after all, the Mexican drug runners have shown that they're quite happy to kill anyone in their way. So - pick on someone who's doing everything legally and only selling restricted substances to those who are approved to purchase them. After all, hospitals can stock cocaine, morphine, codeine, and all sorts of other really nasty stuff - so what's the federal government got against regulating marijuana in the same way?

It's shameful that California doesn't seem to be doing anything for this guy - after all, if it weren't for California's own legislation, would Charlie have even been selling this stuff?

I bet the monkeys involved were all getting drunk and bragging about how they dealt with this threat to society. Stupid inept people do that sort of thing all the time. I say ship 'em off to the middle of the Mexican drug wars and give them a chance to fight the real bad guys.
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Just a Drop in the bucket
written by Randy, April 26, 2009
HI

I have been involved in California medical marijuana dispensaries since the age of 16 when i went through chemo. Through chemo I was vomiting 4-8 times a day, I was 6'4" at the time and weighed 98lbs. It was the use if marijuana that kept me from wasting.

I do my best to not let my personal experiences cloud my judgment of what medications are the most effective for others. But I do know this, If you had a broken arm you would not go to your local politician for treatment, you would go to your doctor. Why would an other medical situation be different. Political agenda should have nothing to do with medicine. Why not let the FDA and licensed physicians do the job they have studied most of their lives to do? Wouldn't that make more sense?


knitwit wrote: The harm done by smoking anything would seem to outweigh any benefits

What i don't think knitwit understands that the medical marijuana community urges non smoking methods. Currently there are baked goods, misters (similar to asthma inhalers), THC body balms (common for arthritis), Pills (Sativex, made in the UK ), and vaporizers (a form of steam inhalant).. All these methods are EXTREMELY safer than smoking, some exclude the euphoric effect so you can have the benefits without the "high" sensation. All these methods have been designed from other countries or by a small group of the medical marijuana collation. Now imagine if a group like Pfizer got involved, a company with the technology to extract certain molecules from the plant and exclude others. How much better off would Medical Patients be?


-Randy


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Dude In Charge
written by swordsbane, May 05, 2009
I am unimpressed with people calling for an end to a "fight we cannot win" America lives and breathes "Never say Never"

Rather call it a fight that SHOULD not be won. If prohibition has taught us anything, it is that we can live with a debilitating addiction afflicting most of the population better and with fewer deaths and lives ruined than we can by outlawing it. In fact we have learned to appreciate having it and have learned to treat it so that it is manageable. The reason any drug is dangerous is that it attracts the criminal element (largely because to use it or sell it you are automatically a criminal) and since it is outlawed, it is much harder to keep track of who uses it and under what conditions. No one (with the possible exception of some governments) wants to make drugs that kill people who use them. There would be no point. If the hospitals and doctors got involved instead of just treating the symptoms, then drugs would be far safer in any case. If you don't believe me, check the history of prohibition and see exactly what went into the moonshine and home-grown liquor that people made because there were no bars or liquor stores (except speak-easies).

There are so many advantages we would get by legalizing most, if not all, drugs. I don't see any downside that's as bad as what we already have. I seriously don't understand why there is so much antipathy toward it. It's got to be something more powerful than the taxes the government would get and the money saved from not having the "War on Drugs" and knowing how the government works, that would have to be pretty strong to overcome money and power.
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written by Steel Rat, May 09, 2009
No one (with the possible exception of some governments) wants to make drugs that kill people who use them.


But it seems so many do. Cigarettes kill, alcohol kills in more ways than one. Do you think Pablo Escobar cared if his drugs slowly killed people? There are lots to go around, and more customers made every day.

I just can't understand why people feel the need to use these substances recreationally. My formative years were in the 70's, where I sat in many a pot-smoke-filled room with friends, but never partook directly. Been drunk twice (While in the army in the early 80s) just to see what the big deal was, and still couldn't figure it out. Maybe it's genetics (though my father drank, still does; both parents and sister smoked and drank), I don't know.
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written by swordsbane, May 09, 2009
The tobacco companies were making the cigarettes more addictive, not more dangerous. If smoking hadn't been dangerous to begin with, it never would have been.

And alcohol doesn't kill except in ridiculously large quantities only found in college fraternities, or if someone drinks a slightly less ridiculous amount over a long period, same as drugs. If drugs were legal, then there would be a lot more avenues of help for those people. The drugs could be made safer. Of course sometimes they wouldn't, but we would be able to work on that too.

I just can't understand why people feel the need to use these substances recreationally.


Because it's recreational. I don't skydive but I understand why some people do.

I just don't understand why drugs are illegal, except that we don't like them. No one has ever come up with a reason that makes sense to me. The problems wouldn't just go away if they were legalized (although some of the more minor issues would) but almost everything that is a problem with drugs right now would be less of a problem if they were legal, and it is a certainty that fewer people would die from them, and in the meantime we'd be getting money back from the industry instead of spending gobs of money on it and not seeing any effect.

And no, I've never done drugs in my life, but I do drink and I like it.... maybe just a tad too much... like pasta. My doc says I might die from eating too much pasta, but I don't see anyone looking to make pasta illegal.
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written by Steel Rat, May 09, 2009
The tobacco companies were making the cigarettes more addictive, not more dangerous. If smoking hadn't been dangerous to begin with, it never would have been.


Semantics, perhaps. By making them more addictive the danger is amplified. The point is, they sell something that has no nutritional benefit that can definitely kill you, or at the least cause other problems. And you're right, that could apply to almost anything (too much of anything can be detrimental). But with cigarettes it doesn't take "too much". Same with Alcohol, and many of the "dangerous" drugs.
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written by swordsbane, May 09, 2009
But with cigarettes it doesn't take "too much". Same with Alcohol, and many of the "dangerous" drugs.


Which is still no excuse to make them illegal. The vast majority of alcohol drinkers are not a danger to themselves or to others, and their livers are just fine. The vast majority of drug users are recreational users, again not a danger to themselves or to others. We hear all the time about the alcoholics and the strung out users, and that's a good thing, but placed in perspective, their stories are not in the majority. Cigarettes are a slightly different matter because a smoker in the same room with you can directly affect your health, and they are arguably of more direct detriment to your health than either alcohol or drug use but still, that is a side-effect of their use, not the purpose. If half the energy (and money) went into combating the unhealthy side effects of drug use rather than the use (and sale) itself, we'd get a lot more done, and our prisons wouldn't be so crowded, and the taxpayers might have some more money in our collective pockets.
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written by Steel Rat, May 09, 2009
Fair enough. You've convinced me. Time to make that meth lab I've been wanting, as a protest against tyrannical government.
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