Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Progressive Anderton on cannabis and alcohol

sad sad reading..
mistruth and strawmen...

Should cannabis remain illegal?

Should something be done to reduce the harm caused by alcohol?
Blair Anderson Electorate Candidate, ILAM  http://mildgreens.com         http://mildgreens.blogspot.com/ ph (++643) 389 4065   cell/TXT 027 2657219   car-phone 025 2105080   
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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Prevention, not detention!

SocietyGuardian.co.uk | Society Guardian | Prevention, not detention: "by the time most children and young people reach the youth justice system, the majority are already damaged and deprived.

So what can be done? The above article and think piece that explores youth crime issues. My thoughts as we ponder who we should vote for....

How about decision making on the philosophical rediscovery of the founding principles of this city's heritage, the empowering and enabling of an educated egalitarian society. We should not be seeking difference based on who has, and who hasnt. Our difference should celebrated, embraced and valued....enriching each and very ones quality of life. Politics has to drop the 'its them', the othering and lableing focus that gives us insane sexist and ageist laws the likes of the 'boy racer' bill. It is deluding us into thinking that we can legislate moral behavour. It is inequitable, and such laws should be gone before lunchtime.

They serve no functional purpose, fail to deliver the outcome intended and cost us [all] dearly.

First, we must re-build community youth services. We must engage more young people in education and vocational training, and not resort to 'zero tolerance in the classroom'. We need to make sure that mainstream services meet the needs of children already on the edge of society. Second, we need to work with parents who, for whatever reason, are ill-equipped to provide a structured, caring environment for their children.

Too many commentators seem to think that preventing youth crime is a matter primarily for the criminal justice system. It is not. Too often we're told that longer, harder spells inside will cure the nation of its youth crime ills. They will not. Preventing youth crime is an issue for everyone - politicians, teachers, doctors, youth workers and parents.

Only by listening carefully to young offenders, and looking hard at the role that our mainstream services must play, will we make real progress."
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Friday, August 26, 2005

Valuable lessons to learn from Ellis conviction

"The New Zealand Drug Foundation said today that the conviction of Marc Ellis for possessing ecstasy was a warning to all people about the consequences of taking drugs.

Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell
said that while Mr Ellis was fined $300, the ramifications for his career, business and travel prospects were far greater.

'A $300 fine is minor compared to the potential cost that Mr Ellis faces in terms of his career, his business and his ability to travel in future,' said Mr Bell.

'The message is clear: No drug use is the safest use, not only because of the potential health risks but because of the damage it could inflict on your reputation, your career and your future when the law catches up with you,' he said."
--- ends ---

The consequence of Marc Ellis's conviction is a completly disproportionate harm, has no bearing on the risk to self or others and sends a dangerous and hypocritical message. This is even more so for MDMA, a relatively innoccuous substance by any standard.

There will be members of Rotary's up and down the country who heard Detective Chief Superintendent Eddie Ellison on the subject of ecstasy who will now be pondering the rationale behind this conviction.

Why the h*#^ he apologised for his adult behavour that harmed no one I have no idea.
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Ministry of Silly Rules � Dopey Stoners

[ The UFO Party is really scraping the bottom of the barrel here! /Blair ]

The government�s decision to hold a select committee inquiry on hate speech created a whole new avenue of grievance for those with a victim mentality.

In their submission to the committee, the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party claimed that the illegal status of cannabis �stigmatises an extremely large proportion of the population, and is inciting division, misunderstanding and hatred amongst Kiwis.

The day to day use of perjorative terms relating to the crude description of marijuana as �dope�, particularly in the media, and by politicians, is offensive to our membership. We believe such language is bullying, and sends a very dangerous message to society.

That�s dopey stoners for you.

But surely the government won�t take any notice of this sort of rubbish, you say? Well think again. A Ministry of Youth Development drug education handbook released last year claimed that schools should avoid promoting abstinence in case it �stigmatises experimentation with drugs as deviant behaviour�. At United Future we reckon it is high time to bring back some common sense."
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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Cannabis splits parties hoping for power

25 August 2005 / By KIM RUSCOE

Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons is signalling that United Future could be left out of a joint coalition deal with Labour in a clash over the two smaller parties' cannabis stances.

Tensions ran high between the two supposedly allied parties during a Radio Live debate yesterday, with United Future leader Peter Dunne ruling out the Greens as a coalition partner, saying his party would not do business with any party that changed the legal status of the drug.

'It doesn't look like he's going into coalition with Jeanette Fitzsimons,' quipped Radio host Michael Laws.
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Drug Foundation urges caution before drug-testing teens

"The New Zealand Drug Foundation today expressed disappointment at Morrinsville College's recommendation to parents that they conduct urine tests on their children to detect possible drug use."
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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Climbing the Marijuana Mountain

NORML New Zealand - Climbing the Marijuana Mountain - NORML talks with David Lange:

"the unsatisfactory half-way house of instant fines."


David clearly had a deep understanding of social justice...
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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

David Lange, Mo Mowlam, Peace heroes remembered

'Treat it [cannabis] the same as you do other substances which produce euphoric effects, and license and tax it' - David Lange, 1993 Norml News

see http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0508/S00257.htm

As NZ mourns popular former PM and occasional advocate of legal regulation, David Lange, cannabis law reformers wish to pay tribute as well to a perhaps more prominent legaliser who also passed away last week: - the former British MP and Secretary for Northern Ireland, Mo Mowlam.

Apart from being instrumental in brokering peace in Northern Ireland, it was Mowlam who linked the War on Drugs to the rise and empowerment of global terrorism."
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Bali High

Millions of ecstasy tablets are consumed every weekend - it is by all
accounts (including very scientific ones) an largely innocuous substance
with low harm to others, or self.

Indonesian 'tough love' laws are disproportionate in the extreme. The
recent death penalty by hanging for a pound of cannabis as exacted on
father of two, sporting icon and primary income earner for the
extended family is why New Zealanders with a social conscience have
grave concerns as to whom we have 'free trade' agreements. Ten years, or
even the duress of same, for what may yet not even be MDMA is an
injustice and offends all commonsense.

Meanwhile NSIADs such as VIOXX have killed 55,000 people worldwide.
(Assoc. Prof. Robert Melamede, University of Colorado 2005)

--
Blair Anderson
50 Wainoni Road.
Christchurch, New Zealand 8006

http://mildgreens.com http://mildgreens.blogspot.com/
ph (++643) 389 4065 cell/TXT 027 2657219 car-phone 025 2105080

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Cannabis:What They�ve said

1.
Tom Scott & Trevor Grice v 1998 NZ Health Committee Report

Cannabis : What They�ve said

"Up until recently it was possible to defend cannabis on the grounds that the jury is still out. Not any longer. Scientists from around the world have filed back into the court room, and the verdict is guilty" - Tom Scott, The Great Brain Robbery, 1996

"Moderate use of the drug does not seem to harm the majority of people (p39)...The risks posed by cannabis are currently less than those posed by alcohol (p38)...We recommend that based on the evidence received, the Government review...the legal status of cannabis (p40)." - 1998 NZ Health Committee Report: Inquiry Into The Mental Health Effects Of Cannabis

"Today�s joint could be anywhere between 5 and 50 times stronger than its 1960s� predecessor" - Trevor Grice, The Great Brain Robbery, 1996

"The Drug Policy Forum Trust, the Police and the Ministry of Health stated that the potency of cannabis had not increased significantly over time." - 1998 NZ Health Committee Report, p36

"...treat it [cannabis] the same as you do other substances which produce euphoric effects, and license and tax it" - David Lange in the Summer 1993 issue of NORML News, p11-13.

Every major study into cannabis and its use, from that of the Indian Hemp Commission in 1894 to that of the 1998 NZ Health Committee, has come to the conclusion that the prohibition of cannabis is far more harmful to society than the use of cannabis itself.

Support the abolition of cannabis prohibition.

Cannabis : What They�ve Said #2

2. Nick Smith v 1998 NZ Health Committee Report

"There is a direct correlation between New Zealand�s high use of cannabis and our high rate of youth suicide" - Dr Nick Smith, the National Party�s education spokesperson in Call for Tougher Drug Penalties - Sales of drugs to young people shocks MP, Otago Daily Times, 2-9-2000.

"Evidence suggests that cannabis use is not a causal factor in suicide" - 1998 NZ Health Committee: Inquiry Into The Mental Health Effects Of Cannabis, p15 - a report commissioned by Dr Smith�s own National Government.

"It is a proven trigger for mental problems" - Dr Smith, as above in ODT, 2-9-00.

"The negative mental health impact of cannabis appears to have been overstated ...occasional cannabis use presents few risks to the mental health of most users" - 1998 Health Committee, p38.

"The ongoing talk about decriminalisation is giving the young people the message that cannabis is okay" - Dr Smith from National Party media release, School Trustees & National Launch Anti-dope Petition,13-7-00.

"The risks posed by cannabis are currently less than those posed by alcohol" - 1998 Health Committee, p38.

"Given the degree of drug supply to young people, should there not be tougher penalties?" - Dr Smith as above ODT, 2.09.00.

"Cannabis prohibition enforced by traditional crime control methods has not been successful in reducing the apparent number of cannabis users in NZ" - 1998 Health Committee, p40.

"We recommend that based on the evidence received, the Government ...reconsider the legal status of cannabis" - the overall recommendation of the 1998 Health Committee, p40.

3. 1998 Health Select Committee Findings

CANNABIS LAW REFORM IS HERE! #2

The 1998 Health Select Committee held an inquiry into the mental health effects of cannabis. Here are some of their findings:

"Moderate use of the drug does not seem to harm the majority of people." - p39

"It is clear that current policies do not deter cannabis use to any great extent." - p39

"If cannabis does cause harm to a small proportion of users then it is preferable that those people have good access to treatment without fear of stigmatisation or criminalisation." - p39

"Evidence before us suggests that cannabis use does not cause behavioural difficulties, instead it is frequently used by youth who are pre-disposed to deviant behaviours." - p15

"Evidence suggests that cannabis is not a causal factor in suicide." - p15

"Aside from cannabis-induced psychosis [a rare occurrence] we are reluctant to draw any causal relationship between cannabis and mental illness." - p18, [p17]

"The tendency of schools to sanction students caught using cannabis through suspensions and expulsions may be counterproductive." - p34

"We welcome any steps that enable people to make informed choices about the use of legal and illegal drugs." - p35

"The Drug Policy Forum Trust, the Police and the Ministry [of Health] stated that the potency of cannabis had not increased significantly over time." - p36

"We view the double standards which sometimes surround the cannabis issue as an impediment to effective anti-drug education." - p39

"We recommend that based on the evidence received, the Government review the appropriateness of existing policy on cannabis and its use and reconsider the legal status of cannabis." - p40

Support The Abolition Of Cannabis Prohibition.

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Former British Drug Czar Mo Mowlam passes away

Mo Mowlam died in hospital from a brain tumor last night.
She will be remembered for her courageous and risky contribution to the Irish Peace accord. However her role as Prime Minister Blair's 'anti'drugs czar deserves a wider audience.

All the more significantly for this insightful drug policy news item circa NZ election 2002.

Former British Drug Czar Mo Mowlam Calls for Total Global Legalization, Cites Need to Quit Funding Political Violence
see http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/256/mowlam.shtml

Mowlam wrote that the most effective means of fighting the "war on terror" would be to legalize the drug trade and thereby dry up a significant source of funding for criminal activities and political violence worldwide.

Clearly reflecting a broader European revulsion with the war drums beating along the Potomac, Mowlam's essay included a strong critique of President Bush's "war on terror" as it has been waged so far. "While the United States and Britain continue to assert that toppling Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq is the best next step in the war against terrorism, I would like to suggest a more productive course of action," wrote Mowlam. "May I suggest that rather than bombing innocent civilians in Muslim countries, the United States and Britain begin to take a more intelligent approach to the drug trade: namely, to legalize it."

One could be forgiven for thinking we have learned nothing and are destined to repeat it.. /Blair (not the prime minister)
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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Guidelines needed for cannabis - EPMU

"Though cannabis is illegal, its use is widespread and employers have to deal with that reality everyday," said David Lowe, EMA's Manager of Employment Relations Services.

"'Businesses seem to be blamed for workplace accidents and face huge fines; anything to help reduce the risk of an accident is welcome.

'A new law to make an illegal substance even more illegal in some circumstances, is unlikely to work.

'Testing employees for cannabis use is already fraught with difficulties, let alone working out the levels causing impaired judgment, or the duration of intoxication.

'A code of workplace practice is needed as a guide to managers on how long safety concerns remain after cannabis use.'"
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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Libz cannabis policy "common sense"

Scoop: Libz cannabis policy "common sense": "'Vote Libertarianz for legal cannabis,' was the message of Libertarianz Drug Deregulation spokesman Dr. Richard Goode today. 'The Greens have dropped the ball on this issue,' says Goode. 'While Libertarianz promotes complete legalisation, the Greens have demoted their former cannabis legalisation advocate, Nandor Tanczos, to a precarious seventh place on their list. Tanczos is now proposing instead that cannabis smokers receive instant $100 fines for lighting up.' Goode describes Tanczos' decriminalisation proposal as 'one giant leap backwards for the Greens.'"

---- cut ----

Goode points out that the ACT party, too, while advocating Zero Tolerance for Crime, refuses to draw any distinction between real crimes for which there should be zero tolerance, and victimless crimes which should be removed from the statute books forthwith.

Goode concludes: "The ACT Party wants to lock people up for 'crimes' against themselves; the Benighted Future Party wants to lock them up for use of imaginary drugs; the Labour and National Parties want to lock them up because they can; the Green Party wants to fine people for smoking cannabis, and lock them up for growing their own or for supplying. Only Libertarianz advocates full, complete and unalloyed legalisation, as a matter of urgency."
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Monday, August 15, 2005

Former Seattle Police Chief Says War on Drugs Must End

(Published in the Drug War Chronicle, 8/12/05)

Drug War Chronicle: What are you calling for in terms of drug policy? . . .

Chief Norm Stamper: I believe it is time for a radical overhaul of the nation's drug laws. It's time to get out of the business of drug enforcement as we know it. The drug war has been an abysmal failure, causing more damage than it has prevented. In the book's chapter on drug policy, I wrote that I favored 'decriminalization,' but if we go to another printing, it's one of two or three things I will revise. What I really meant was legalization and regulation. I don't think the government should get completely out of the business -- it should set standards for purity and regulate the business the same way it regulates alcohol and tobacco. Some people say you can't legalize heroin or meth or PCP, and in the book I took the position that PCP should stay illegal. But upon reflection, even though there are real problems with using some of these drugs, I think everything an adult wants to ingest, inhale, or inject should in fact be available to him or her. "

"Those invested in the drug war continue to use their own propaganda to advance the cause of drug enforcement. . . ."

"....but then I moved to progressive Seattle to be chief, where I could say things like this. But if I were chief in, say, Orange County, California, I might be committing political suicide by advocating for significant drug reform."

"....but there is no justification for tearing up somebody's home or business on a drug raid. The lack of civility that too often accompanies these raids is very counterproductive. It does nothing but further the mistrust, suspicion, and objections so many citizens have to police practices."

(And this is why we, in Christchurch - who wax lyrical about walking the talk, must have this community conversation too. /Blair)
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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Classical liberalism meets drug policy

["Canvassing for Opinion"]
Sometimes ya just have to chuckle...

Rodney Hide for Epsom: "Curiously, the Mildgreen Initiative is provaricating to have visiting Harvard Professor Jeffrey Miron come to New Zealand to assist prepare an authorative and long overdue cost/benefit analysis of drug prohibition." [http://www.rodneyhide.com/index.php/weblog/comments/marginal_revolution1/]
--
Posted by Blair "J" Anderson to "Canvassing for Opinion" at 8/10/2005 07:46:14 PM

  
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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Definition of harm reduction

Definition of harm reduction

Harm reduction is a term that defines policies, programmes, services and actions that work to reduce the:
    • health;
    • social; and
    • economic
harms to:
    • individuals;
    • communities; and
    • society
The principles of harm reduction:

    • Is pragmatic: and accepts that the use of drugs is a common and enduring feature of human experience. It acknowledges that, while carrying risks, drug use provides the user with benefits that must be taken into account if responses to drug use are to be effective. Harm reduction recognises that containment and reduction of drug-related harms is a more feasible option than efforts to eliminate drug use entirely.
    • Prioritises goals: harm reduction responses to drug use incorporate the notion of a hierarchy of goals, with the immediate focus on proactively engaging individuals, targetting groups, and communities to address their most compelling needs through the provision of accessible and user friendly services. Achieving the most immediate realistic goals is viewed as an essential first step toward risk-free use, or, if appropriate, abstinence.
    • Has humanist values: the drug user's decision to use drugs is accepted as fact. No moral judgment is made either to condemn or to support use of drugs. The dignity and rights of the drug user are respected, and services endeavor to be ‘user friendly’ in the way they operate. Harm reduction approaches also recognise that, for many, dependent drug use is a long term feature of their lives and that responses to drug use have to accept this.
    • Focuses on risks and harms: on the basis that by providing responses that reduce risk, harms can be reduced or avoided. The focus of risk reduction interventions are usually the drug taking behaviour of the drug user. However, harm reduction recognises that people’s ability to change behaviours is also influenced by the norms held in common by drug users, the attitudes and views of the wider community Harm reduction interventions may therefore target individuals, communities and the wider society.
    • Does not focus on abstinence: although harm reduction supports those who seek to moderate or reduce their drug use, it neither excludes nor presumes a treatment goal of abstinence. Harm reduction approaches recognise that short-term abstinence oriented treatments have low success rates, and, for opiate users, high post-treatment overdose rates.
    • Seeks to maximise the range of intervention options that are available, and engages in a process of identifying, measuring, and assessing the relative importance of drug-related harms and balancing costs and benefits in trying to reduce them
--  Blair Anderson 50 Wainoni Road.    Christchurch, New Zealand 8006  http://mildgreens.com         http://mildgreens.blogspot.com/ ph (++643) 389 4065   cell/TXT 027 2657219   car-phone 025 2105080   
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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Peter Dunne talks nonsense (United Future)

NORML New Zealand - Peter Dunne talks nonsense & wonders why Nandor doesn't bother replying:

In a desperate attempt to get publicity, United Future leader Peter Dunne has recently been calling on Nandor to answer some "questions" he has about cannabis. Tired of this lack of gumption to research these things for himself, we [NORML] have compiled the answers for him here.

also see United Future Policy - Drugs and the Law
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Dunne, you deserve your arse kicked. Politicaly and metaphorically.

I for one welcome TV3's decision to keep the debate to party's that espouse facts and base policy on evidence.

Mr Dunne's constant clamoring for media attention on issues such as his feeble "family values" while dangerously perpetuating myths relating to cannabis law reform is in the writer opinion, wise use of the electoral time and moneys expended informing the public.

There is 'quite deservedly' no place on the hustings for former pot smoking hypocrites who pander to fears and manufacture prejudice while promoting alcohol, tobacco and gambling.
[I find it inexplicable that there has been no retort (or even dialog) regarding the information forwarded to UF on crime prevention and health promotion issues forwarded by the writer eg: prohibitioncosts.org and kcba.org ]
One can only be left to believe that it is UF policy to harm maximise, promote crime and obtain political power by what ever means necessary, and at everyone else's expense.

I am for one, sure keen to see Mr. Dunnes response to his hankering and grandstanding for a debate on the facts with Nandor. (Day Seven: Nandor completes week of silent shame; )..given that he has been roundly served a factual and erudite response by the Greens on the matter.

There are times when the visual metaphor of being caught so publicly with 'ya pants down' - demands an equally graphic visualisation of a legal and political kick 'correlatively' applied such that it might deter such aberrant and childish behavior if only because it makes us, the poor minions who have to suffer Dunne's teams interminable ignorance, feel better.

You see.. Mr Dunne, your an intellectually dishonest person. You attempt to hold others to standards you do not hold yourself. You deserve your arse kicked, politicaly and metaphorically.

The less we see of you and yours, will on evidence, greatly serve to elevate the quality of debate.
/Blair

  
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Man slain at grow-op

Amongst the stories flooding in on Marc Emery's arrest was this...."home-invasions on gardens with fatal consequences." These are rips... and the best the law can do is arrest 'the seed guy' on behalf of idiot(s) John Walters and GW? Are there no honest politicians left? I would be happy to hear if one even has a brain?
I hope the Vansterdam Mayor and former cop (and coroner) brings a bit of common sense to the table.

Someone please convince me instant fines would fix this!
/Blair


Man slain at grow-op:
Police find 200 marijuana plants in Coquitlam home of victim

by Brad Badelt mailto:bbadelt@png.canwest.com
Vancouver Sun / August 2, 2005
image CREDIT: Stuart Davis, Vancouver Sun

Uniformed RCMP officers and investigators from the RCMP regional homicide team search the house where a man was shot dead.

COQUITLAM - A 51-year-old man was shot dead Monday morning in his Coquitlam home, where police discovered more than 200 marijuana plantsworth an estimated $30,000.

RCMP spokesman Cpl. Pierre Lemaitre said police believe the shooting in the 1100-block of Charland Avenue was directly connected to themarijuana-growing operation.

"We have very strong suspicions that it is linked, but we don't have 100-per-cent proof at this time," Lemaitre said. "More often than not,violence does seem to show up when we have these types of things."

Coquitlam RCMP received an anonymous call reporting gunshots around 8:30 a.m. and shortly after received a 911 call from the victim, asking foran ambulance.

"It just so happened that our officers were doing neighbourhood inquiries in regard to the gunfire and were knocking on the [victim's]front door when the call came in," Lemaitre said.

The victim, whose name has not been released, was taken to Royal Columbian Hospital, where he died.

Lemaitre said police do not have a suspect or a suspect vehicle. He could not confirm whether police have had earlier dealings with the victim.

According to Lemaitre, most home invasions in the Lower Mainland are connected to a marijuana-growing operation.

"Usually, the minute people on the street talk about a home invasion, you know pretty darn well that it's going to be related to some kind of ripoff of a grow-op," he said. "There might be one out of 10 that isn't, but I'd say on average this type of forced entry with violence isrelated to a marijuana ripoff."

A Surrey man was shot and killed earlier this year and police indicated he may have been connected to a marijuana-growing operation in his home. Last year, the front windows of a North Delta home were shot out andpolice later discovered a growing operation in the house.

"The biggest thing for Lower Mainland residents is to at least hope that the one's committing the forced entry are at the right house," Lemaitre said. "It has happened where innocent neighbours are the ones who have their doors kicked in while they're home."

� The Vancouver Sun 2005
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Monday, August 01, 2005

Convention's nexus, the breakdown of rule of law

The Editor,
PakTribune
http://paktribune.com

The nexus in the matrix of dysfunction created by illegal 'drugs' is the
breakdown of rule of law. Even if all the efficient production of
Afghani opium was directed towards ameliorative pain relief to the
millions who need it worldwide it would still only meet 60% of known
demand. The persistent threat to peace and stability is the United
Nations Single Convention on Narcotics and its banal enforcement that
counterproductively turns a useful and needed agricultural commodity
into conflict chemicals that destabilize economies and fund terror on
both a local and international scale. Good folk in South East Asia,
Pacific, South America, Balkans, Middle East.. and former Soviet states
suffer the same ignominy of a largely US enforced moral paradigm that is
so flawed it should be a war crime to defend drug prohibition. There is
no efficacy in continuing the insanity. Drug Policy and all that it
represents should be a focus of the global community's United Nations
review.

Until this core humanitarian issue is fixed we are, each and everyone
of us, just pissing into the wind.

We are victims of what we condemn our neighbors to do to ourselves.

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