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

Friday, March 17, 2006

Illicit Drug Use Starts With Cannabis

(this seminal research release is getting huge coverage elsewhere too.. but here for the record  is the definitive local release.)

Illicit Drug Use Starts With Cannabis
Tuesday 14th March, 2006

Illicit Drug Use Starts With Cannabis

Latest research from the long-running Christchurch Health and Development Study at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences examines the relationship between the use of cannabis and other illicit drugs in a sample of 1000 Christchurch born young people between the ages of 15 – 25. The research results have just been released in the international journal ‘Addiction’.

Prof. Fergusson concludes with "If, however, the association arises because using cannabis encourages young people to experiment with other illicit drugs the results could be seen as supporting the prohibition of cannabis use”.

Regrettably most of the sound bite media I have heard omits this bit, but in of itself it is not a satisfactory conclusion - Prohibition may still be the function that encourages young people' access and thus while Prof. Fergussons's research supports that there may be a causal 'gateway' relationship where prohibition serves to encourage early entry, encourage participation in and  maintain illicit trade networks,  maximizes personal risk from the set and setting and elevates social dysfunction.

Further, Fergussons conclusions suggest that cannabis policy can be reduced to a problem, solution paradigm.

His 'conclusionary' [safe and well intentioned] bet each way  is IMHO challengable. It is certainly at odds with Fergussons early suggestion (basically unreported) that incremental adjustments towards reform should be made measured and monitored.

Until we do the definitive cost benefit analysis on the prohibitory practice we cannot know which box to tick..
I am sure others will have something to add....


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