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Mr. MILLER. I would have no advertising, no vending machines, not even posters in the stores, no advertising in magazines, newspapers or T.V. You would have that kind of ban.
Mr. RANGEL. The private sector would produce it and they would not be able to compete as to which marijuana cigarette was better than the other.
Mr. Miller. It could be done without advertising. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, as in other jurisdictions, alcohol is marketed in stores with no advertising in the stores. We could ban it effectively in a regulatory mode and as the bill we provided a few moments ago states, there would be no advertising of any type.
Mr. RANGEL. How would a smoker know which manufacturer was offering the best quality of marijuana?
Would it be just word of mouth? How would you know which brand name to buy, You would expect that one can get high off these cigarettes, right?
Mr. MILLER. Yes, but I think the consumer would rather have the problem in his life of saying, “Is this better than that?”, than have the problem that, “I smoke marijuana, which means that I was afraid to call the police when my house was burglarized."
Mr. RANGEL. In talking about legalization, you don't want the manufacturers to compete, the marijuana manufacturers, but still the consumer would want to know which reefer is better than the next one being manufactured.
Mr. MILLER. The consumer may want that, and let them do market testing in the way they do in the market place today.
Mr. RANGEL. Please don't talk too fast, I can't understand you.
Mr. MILLER. The marketing device in our market society on facial soaps is one person recommending it to another. I don't think that is a problem.
Mr. RANGEL. So you suggest that the cigarette companies could get into the manufacturing but you would ban them from advertising their products to the consumer?
Mr. MILLER. No advertising and no displays and a very controlled, regulated market.
Mr. KAREL. May I respond?
Mr. KAREL. In some aspects. In the shock trauma study, I am familiar with that, it is an example of something else. The headline in the Washington Post said 34.7 percent of patients used marijuana. If you did a statistical analysis, you would find something in the range of 18 percent of the people tested positive for marijuana alone.
The other people had consumed alcohol. In one of the most infamous disasters, the Conrail disaster, the headline in the Post blared that marijuana was involved. However, Ricky Gates also said he had consumed alcoholic beverages. He also had a DWI conviction.
Mr. RANGEL. The problem is that when you have lost a loved one as a result of marijuana, alcohol or cocaine or heroin, no one gives a darn what the cause is.
I don't see how you can use that as a legitimacy for marijuana. Use is abuse.
The fact that we have made one-million-and-one mistakes in the distribution of alcohol, to me, is not an excuse to do the very same thing with other drugs.
Mr. KAREL. It is not an excuse.
Mr. RANGEL. Would it have made any difference if they said this engineer that drove this train was drinking too much beer? Would that make anyone feel better?
Mr. KAREL. Representative Rangel, I have tremendous respect for the work you have done and I would not say that if I did not believe it. No one advocates that it is okay.
Mr. RANGEL. Would you make your point again? Mr. KAREL. Whenever you look at statistics, for example, that 34.7 percent of the trauma patients used marijuana, the statistics show alcohol was the primary drug. Perhaps an old baseball story will help me make my point. Babe Ruth, during a 7th inning break, went back to the locker-room, ate 12 hot dogs, 13 pastrami sandwiches, drank half a gallon of Orange juice, ate an apple and then he threw up. The coach came over and said, what is the problem? He said, I should not have eaten that apple.
When a person has consumed a lot of alcohol and then smokes a joint, you cannot say the marijuana is casual. People should be prevented from driving while impaired for any reason.
I do not think you have done this, but other politicians have demagogued the issue of marijuana and driving.
All I would like is a rational, sober debate to look at facts, to try to make distinctions based on pharmacological differences, to not talk about a universal drug problem, to not look at the drug user as an outcast-and I agree with Mr. Whitfield on this—to take away the stigma, try to look at people.
You know people talk in one breath about compassion and treatment and in the next about locking more people up. There is not a person here today or yesterday who doesn't believe in the compassionate treatment of people with drug problems and we need more treatment.
I find a dichotomy between that and legal persecution of users. We are not talking about selling crack to children on playgrounds.
We are talking about draconian penalties. Are we making things worse or better? If I didn't believe that the scenario that I suggested stands a possibility of accomplishing the goals that you, Representative Rangel, want to accomplish and Mr. Dornan and the other people who have sat on this panel for the last two days, I would not make those recommendations.
I believe that there are possible ways of looking at the problem and helping, of lessening the number of kids exposed to harmful drugs, of reducing the problems. I don't accept implied assumption that things will get worse.
I don't accept that if X number of people are using a substance, use, per se, is abuse. Where do we hear that distinction between use and abuse?
Semantics are not trivial in this debate. As a politician you are far too sophisticated to not recognize the importance of semantics and distinctions and labels.
Mr. RANGEL. I will tell you one thing, an addict is an addict. I don't see people talking about giving alcohol to people with the
same weight that I see them talking about giving access to heroin and crack to addicts.
Mr. KAREL. My father was a research pharmacologist. That is a little of my background and I am familiar with the pharmacological issues. Alcohol is different.
If you have an opportunity to talk to Dr. Musto, you might ask him about this: one of the very legitimate uses of morphine in Kentucky by many responsible medical authorities was to substitute morphine for alcohol use in chronic alcoholics, an utterly astonishing concept today to most people. Why did they do it? Because morphine addiction, and this is what they were doing, addicting alcoholics to morphine, arrested result degenerative cirrhosis of the liver and did not result in the disruptive behaviors associated with alcoholism.
Mr. RANGEL. The addiction of people in my district to methadone is a heavier addiction than heroin. There is no limit as to what we should do. To try and stop it.
Mr. GUARINI. As I understand it, you made a hot dog, pastrami and apple analogy. Yet the Maryland Shock Trauma Center showed of the thousand-plus patients studied, about 35 percent were found to have used marijuana within four hours and 33.5 percent were found to have used alcohol, but 60 percent used both.
So there were more using marijuana than alcohol.
Mr. MILLER. Which shows that prohibition is not working. If you lump them together and talk about marijuana, it is automatically slipped into heroin and cocaine, and marijuana is not addictive.
Mr. GUARINI. Something goes on in their minds psychologically and there is a rearrangement of behavior if they have marijuana.
Mr. MILLER. I accept that, but if we can control the potency by bringing it out of the dark alleyways and into the light, if we can start being honest to people about what these substances do and have them listen because we are not lumping them together.
Education works in this country; coercion does not.
Mr. GUARINI. Studies show a correlation between people who begin on marijuana and go on to harder substances. If you are going to accept that fact.
Mr. MILLER. No. Surgeon General Koop's recent report showed the biggest gateway drug is that which is subsidized by the United States, tobacco.
Mr. GUARINI. Let's not talk about tobacco. That is a whole different bag. It is not a fair analogy. Let's talk about the pharmacology and the truth about marijuana. The fact is when you start with marijuana, people want more of a kick and they don't get it out of marijuana and they then go on to cocaine, crack, heroin, PCP and all these other things.
Am I correct?
Mr. MILLER. I don't think that is correct because you do not have a larger cocaine, crack, and heroin problem in Alaska than you do in New York where marijuana is available. The same is true for Oregon and other jurisdictions.
Mr. GUARINI. Is our research that we know of, all the differences in the use, treatment and addition of all the different kinds of drugs that are used, is there still perhaps, Dr. Boaz-Professor Masi, perhaps you might be able to help us in this. Is there still a lot we don't know about all these drugs and the addiction attendant to those drugs? Are we still-is there a lot of research that has to be done before we can make definitive decisions?
Dr. Masi. First of all, I will qualify my statement by saying I am not a medical doctor, but I think I can answer this question. I think that NIDA has made tremendous strides in informing us about the drugs, and we do know a fair amount. We used to think, and I think you heard the testimony yesterday, about 10 to 15 years ago some of these drugs we thought were a lot less harmful than we realize today. I think we have a lot more information at our disposal and are finding out far more the dangerous effects of all of the drugs, including alcohol as well as tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, heroin.
Mr. GUARINI. But we are still in the position of having to get more facts to base sound decisions on?
Dr. MAsı. Yes and no. I think we are learning a lot. I think more research is needed—I certainly would support more research in this particular area, but I also would support the need for training, education and treatment. I think there are the areas we really need the funding.
Mr. GUARINI. You don't support legalization of marijuana, do you?
Dr. Masi. No.
Dr. Masi. I think, for example, I see marijuana leading to other drugs and more addiction, which I am opposed to.
Mr. GUARINI. Let me ask one further question, if I can maintain just another line. The private sector you spoke of in the work place, do you feel the corporations of America are doing enough, could more be done? Is there a great loss of productivity which hurts our national economy which is not talked about very much, and that also affects our national defense because our military potential is reduced?
Dr. Masi. There is a tremendous cost to industry in the area I mentioned, productivity. A wide variety of ways are being effected in the workplace by drugs. We have to remember though that the primary drug of abuse in the work place clearly above all others is alcohol. However, I do think American industry is waking up. I think it has taken a while, but I think they are becoming more and more sensitive to the problems in the work place.
However, they don't know what to do. They are going into EAP programs, drug testing programs. As I work with companies, I am a social worker, working with companies day after day, and I say it is really tough for them, that is not their business. They are not in the business, for example, they are in another business producing another kind of product, and here they are suddenly thrust into drug prevention. So they are looking to the experts, asking what do we do? What can we do? But they know darn well they have a problem.
Mr. GUARINI. They should have a social conscience, not just an economic conscience, and they should be expected to pick up the cudgel and do more.
Dr. MASI. In no way do I want to give you the feeling their only concern is the bottom line. Industry knows the two go together. When you invest in people, you are saving money, and people are the more valuable resource. They know that, and they are investing and trying to find out what to do. But it is a major effort throughout the whole country, what do we really do? I think the most important thing about the work place that I hope came across is most drug abusers today are 40 years of age and under, they are not necessarily just the youth, just the kids, and I think it is a major mistake to emphasize all our Federal programs in only the direction of the young people, because actually the age group has literally moved up. So most drug abusers are literally working and are in the work place, and the work place is very aware of that.
Mr. GUARINI. I think it is very fortunate they do understand the problem, and I would like to see Corporate America become even more deeply involved in solving some of our social problems.
Dr. Masi. I agree. There are still some out there not as aware. I am on the National Security Institute Board of Advisors for Defense Contractors, and I think the idea of our Secretary of Defense saying, for example, that all defense contractors should have EAP programs is very good, because you shouldn't have drug testing without the EAP programs. That is a major mistake, just to have the testing. We really need the employee assistance programs.
However, there are problems on the other side with the employee assistance programs who are not necessarily reaching the numbers of alcohol and drug people in the work place that we need to, and that is an area we need to work on for the work place.
Mr. GUARINI. Thank you.
The Congressman was asking about drug abuse in the work place and lost productivity. The most abused drug in the work place, which causes the most lost productivity, is alcohol. I would point out we don't conclude from that, therefore, we should criminalize alcohol.
Mr. RANGEL. You are opening up another door, and you might get some people to take a look at that too. I don't think you are making your argument by saying that because people are not critical of tobacco and alcohol that we should be more flexible on the question of marijuana.
Dr. MASI. Could I comment?
I don't want my statement to be read in fact because the primary drug of abuse in the work place is alcohol, this means we should, for example, consider or legalize the others. That is not what I mean at all.
Mr. RANGEL. Nobody got that impression on this side of the table.
Mr. SHAW. I would like to drive home a point. I am tired of people making this analogy. The reason alcohol is the primary abused drug is because it is legal. That is why.