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

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Avian Flu Epidemic Scare is a Hoax, Dr. Joseph Mercola.

....the U.S. placed an order for 20 million doses of this worthless drug at a price of $100 per dose. That comes to a staggering $2 billion. . . .

We are being told that Roche manufactures Tamiflu and, in a recent New York Times article, they were battling whether or not they would allow generic drug companies to help increase their production. . . . But if you dig further you will find that a drug was actually developed by a company called Gilead that 10 years ago gave Roche the exclusive rights to market and sell Tamiflu. . . . Ahh, The Plot Thickens . . .

If you read the link below from Gilead, you'll discover Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was made the chairman of Gilead in 1997.
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Monday, February 27, 2006

Nothing About Us Without Us Canadian HIV / AIDS Legal Network

Good to see the phrase popping up in the same sentences as 'drugs',  /Blair


"Nothing About Us Without Us"

Greater, Meaningful Involvement of People Who Use Illegal Drugs: A Public Health, Ethical and Human Rights Imperative


http://www.aidslaw.ca/Maincontent/issues/druglaws/greater_involvement.htm

 
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Friday, February 24, 2006

Healey blasts Legislature for `wrong priorities' - Boston.com

Healey blasts Legislature for `wrong priorities' - Boston.com: "'We're also dealing with issues I think are low priority -- like decriminalizing marijuana -- at the same time when I haven't even had a hearing yet on some very important drug reforms like making our laws tougher on methamphetamine use.'"

Its not just New Zealand facing down the double standards.
Boston is for many reasons, my favourite US city.
/ Blair
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The Marlborough Express: Where can I get cocaine asks TV star

--- snip ---
"Kronfeld's reference to cannabis was brief.

Waterworth: 'Hey, that last little bit I gave ya, f. . . that was mean skunk, wasn't it?'

Kronfeld: 'Aw man, it was hellish.'

Waterworth: 'Wasn't it, I just loved the smell of it.'

Kronfeld: 'Yep, I've still got a tiny little bit.'

Kronfeld again, later: 'I'll just save that for just a little, ah, special moments.'"
--- end snip ---

Spot the All Black!
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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Drug Fears For Jobless Mill Staff

"Meanwhile, Rotorua Hospital psychiatrist Shailesh Kumar said 30 to 40 per cent of admissions to New Zealand psychiatric wards were triggered by cannabis use.

'The harmful effects of cannabis are widespread and far-reaching. Marijuana is noted to cause or precipitate acute psychosis especially in the vulnerable population - those with pre-existing mental illness or complicated physical health issues such as brain injury or delirium,' he said.

A study which followed the progress of young people using cannabis found it often led to harder drugs and socially unacceptable behaviour.

While the drug was not physically addictive, it caused psychological dependence for the user, Dr Kumar said. Some users claim marijuana provides pain relief but there is no scientific evidence to back this up.

A Rotorua counsellor, who did not want to be identified, said she had thought of cannabis as a passive drug until she witnessed the damage it did to clients. "
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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Seven in 10 young crooks use cannabis daily | the Daily Mail

More than seven out of 10 teenage criminals have smoked cannabis every day for at least 12 months, a government report has revealed.

The study shows for the first time the shocking link between use of the drug and a youngster's chances of ending up behind bars."
Forgive me, but there is some very long bows being drawn here. There are various estimates arround the 70% of all young folk having smoked cannabis and many of those will do it daily for periods of time. Prohibition means its not safe to have around. Consumption is compulsory.

A weird prohibitors "harm reduction' encourages 'smoke the evidence' quick!!

The criminogenic correlation with kids 'in trouble' is a product of prohibition. Additionaly the presence of cannabis in the youth community, coupled to Cannabis being a crime in and of itself perverts the relationship.
Putting these kids in moral boot camp invites dissent and disprespect for rule of law.

What is required is restorative justice, not brutal intolerance.

Checkout the rest of the UK article,
"political football and no referee!" /Blair
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Alcohol, not drugs, poses biggest date rape risk - New Scientist

New Scientist: Alcohol, not drugs, poses biggest date rape risk - News: "DRINKING, not drink spiking, may be behind the vast majority of date rapes. An analysis of blood and urine samples suggests that while most victims were drunk at the time of the assault, very few had swallowed sedatives."

Not surprising research at all. This was found to be the case in Western Australia several years ago.
A consequence of "labelling" social behavours is they are often misidentified for complex socialogical reasons, none more so than where moral entrepeneurs are involved!. /Blair
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Monday, February 20, 2006

Cops receive complaint of 'mediocre cannabis'

February 18 2006 at 12:10PM

A cannabis smoker has been arrested after complaining to police that he was sold bad weed.

Hans-Juergen Bendt, 52, from Darmstadt, lodged a complaint about his dealer with police after he sold him seven ounces of 'completely unenjoyable' hash.

Bendt complained the dealer refused to refund him the �270 (about R2816) he had paid for the drugs.

But despite the official complaint, in which Bendt described himself as a victim of 'fraud' involving drugs of 'absolutely mediocre quality', the officers failed to act upon the allegations and booked the complainant instead.

He is now being charged for the illegal purchase and possession of narcotic substances."
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Friday, February 17, 2006

NZH, letter to the editor, In Our Name

LTE to NZH

In Our Name.

The muted response to the Balinese court imposed killings suggests the prejudices surrounding drugs are such that this is entirely acceptable 'humane public policy'. Few will acknowledge these judicial executions will do nothing to change harms,  availability or quantity of drugs consumed [BALI NINE EXECUTIONS / NZH 16/02/2006].

The US lead, abstinence based UN Single Convention on Narcotics, of which New Zealand and Australia are signatories is answerable for this manufactured consent, not 'license to kill'  national sovereignty as is excused by some commentators. The right to do justice by ballistic invasion, neck stretching, shock and chemical intervention for what is a consensual adult activity is never questioned. It is at serious odds with best practice health promotion that we shoot anyone anywhere, to send a signal.
 
Blair Anderson
Director, Educators for Sensible Drug Policy    http://www.efsdp.org
50 Wainoni Road. Christchurch, New Zealand 8006

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

"A maxim for the twenty-first century might well be to start by not fighting evil in the name of good, but by attacking the certainties of people who claim always to know where good and evil are to be found." Tzvetan Todorov
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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

10 Years on - Drugs and Our Community

see Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy - Titles and Summaries:

1996 Australia Drugs and our Community - Report of the Premier's Drug Advisory Council, Melbourne: Victorian Government, March, 1996

1996 US Report and Recommendations of the Drug Policy Task Force, New York County Lawyers Association.
The recommendations are:
1. Pursue Alternative Models in Establishing Future Drug Policy
2. Provide Immediate Sentencing Relief and Additional Judicial Discretion in Criminal Prosecution of Drug Cases
3. Reduce the Harms Associated With Substance Abuse and Drug Prohibition
4. Concentrate Law Enforcement Resources on Reducing Violent Crime and Prosecution of Violent Criminal Offenders
5. Reshape the Drug Policy Debate -- Return to Objective Analysis and Realistic Goals
6. Implement Public Education Campaign on Drug Use and Substance Abuse
7. Decriminalize Marijuana
8. Reverse Encroachments on Civil Rights and Restore 'Due Process of Law'
9. Provide Alternative Social and Economic Opportunity for Inner City Youth
10. End War on Youth and Inner City Communities -- Restore Confidence and Integrity in Government"


How far have we come?
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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

British Medical Association's Lancet Supports Marijuana Law Reform

British Medical Association
42, Bedford Square
London, WC1B 3SL
Tel: 44 (0) 171 436 4981
Fax: 44 (0) 171 323 6441"

[extract, first published 10years ago, Lancet, Volume 346, Number 8985, November 11, 1995, p. 1241]

Leaving politics aside, where is the harm in decriminalising cannabis?

There is none to the health of the consumers, and the criminal fraternity who depend for their succour on prohibition would hate it. But decriminalisation of possession does not go far enough in our view. That has to be accompanied by controls on source, distribution, and advertising, much as happens with tobacco. A system, in fact, remarkably close to the existing one in Dutch coffee shops. Cannabis has become a political football, and one that governments continually duck. Like footballs, however, it bounces back. Sooner or later politicians will have to stop running scared and address the evidence: cannabis per se is not a hazard to society but driving it further underground may well be.
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Denial of Failure and Cynical in the Extreme

"PM Blair's Secret drugs report betrays cynicism and denial of failure says TRANSFORM drug charity

The [UK] Guardian published a confidential report on drugs from the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. The report comprises the second phase of a reporting process that began with a report released in July of last year that showed that the so-called ‘war on drugs’, (particularly supply-side enforcement of the drug laws) was the cause of many of the problems associated with heroin and cocaine.

Meanwhile NORML released insightful response to recent declarations of 'mental health' risk of cannabis.
Health Risks Call For Regulation, Not Prohibition

/Blair (not the Prime Minister) Anderson
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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Is cannabis use psychotogenic?

The major challenges for health educators will be in finding credible ways of communicating with young people about the significance of cannabis use that might increase the overall lifetime risk of developing schizophrenia... / Wayne Hall [School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland, 4006 Australia]
Is cannabis use psychotogenic?
By: Hall, Wayne. Lancet, 1/21/2006, Vol. 367 Issue 9506, p193-195, 3p; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(06)68012-4; (AN 19472189)
Pity authorities dont understand this.... the Canterbury District Health Board confirmed in writing two days ago... "As we do not hold any contracts or funding for this area we unable to respond". This conveniently allows them to ignore any input from visiting Prof Rodney Skager [emeritus professor of education psychology UCLA] or allow peer review assessment of the donated booklet by the same author, "Beyond Zero Tolerance" for inclusion into the Community and Public Health resource library.

No wonder PPTA, Trustees, etc. remain flummoxed by critical failure in drug ed.

/Blair
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Thursday, February 09, 2006

THE TROUBLE WITH TOUGH LOVE

"Why is tough love still so prevalent? The acceptance of anecdote as evidence is one reason, as are the hurried decisions of desperate parents who can no longer find a way of communicating with their wayward kids. "
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Dr Newcombe critique's pot/mental health studies

"Where is the evidence that levels of use or harm are reduced by prohibiting cannabis? Indeed, there is plenty of evidence to the contrary - that is, that banning cannabis has led to an increase in prevalence of use and harm." Dr Russell Newcome on the ACMD report on cannabis

Russell offers a critique of the [UK] Home Office report 'Further consideration of the classification of cannabis under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971' recently published by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Australia: Hard Line on Drugs

by Simon Benson, (03 Feb 2006) / Daily Telegraph Australia



- begin snip -
CANNABIS smokers may be forced to take counselling sessions on the links between marijuana and mental disorders to avoid being charged on a first offence, in a rewriting of NSW drug laws.

The Daily Telegraph has learned Premier Morris Iemma called for a review of the cannabis cautioning scheme to send a stronger message about the effects of marijuana on mental health.

But the real crackdown will be brought to bear on those caught growing high strength ( hydroponic ) cannabis - now thought to be a significant factor in rising mental health problems.

The Government is about to introduce what it claims will be the most hardline legislation in the country, with people facing 10-year jail sentences for growing as few as five hydroponic plants.

Sentences of 20 years will be made law for crops of 200 plants. A range of new offences will also apply to people who expose children to hydroponic drug houses.

Mr Iemma has undertaken a complete rewriting of cannabis laws in response to concerns from health authorities that it is a significant contributor to the mental health crisis.

'No one wants to see a young person who has made a genuine mistake, unfairly punished,' Mr Iemma said.

'But we can't downplay the health and social consequences of regular cannabis use.

'That's why I want to see whether this scheme can be used to further tackle cannabis use and its devastating impact on mental health.

'There is growing evidence of a link between long-term cannabis use and the incidence of severe mental health problems,' said Mr Iemma.

'Regular cannabis use can exacerbate mental illnesses and associated criminal activity. Experts tell us that potent, hydroponically grown cannabis is a particular problem.'

Hydro, as it is known, can be between five and seven times stronger than conventionally grown marijuana.

The cautioning scheme for people caught with 15g of marijuana was introduced in 2000 to offer police an alternative to charging offenders and clogging courts with petty offences.

It has been hailed a success for freeing up police to tackle serious crime and keeping people from attracting criminal records for minor offences.

Users are issued with a warning for the first offence and then issued with a caution on the second, requiring them to call a counselling service. But less than 14 per cent comply.

The [Australian] Government is drafting its response to a review of cannabis cautioning undertaken by the Bureau of Crime Statistics.

------- end snip ------

spot the evidence based policy development... yeah right!

(see also Cannabis Prohibitionists Gone Mad )
  • The Australian Offenders face a maximum of 25 years in prison and maximum fines of $500,000 if caught with more than 2kg of cannabis or more than 19 plants - (13 Feb, 2006)
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Friday, February 03, 2006

Tougher laws for NSW hydroponics - tvnz.co.nz

"Iemma said hydroponic crops grew faster and yielded about five times more than conventional plants.
He also claimed their cultivation was predominantly the domain of organised crime.
'The research and evidence is that there is a direct link between the potent form of cannabis, hydroponically-grown cannabis, to the development of severe mental illnesses,' Iemma told reporters.
The Minister for Mental Health Issues, Cherie Burton, said one smoke of the hydroponic cannabis could bring on a mental illness."
And the NZ Mental Health inquiry of 1998 said the 'harms are often overstated!"
Wow....
We can now say 'on evidence' that Prohibition causes politicians to lie... Sad eh!
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WindsorStar LTE:First do no harm

Letter to the Editor,
Windsor Star,
167 Ferry St.,
Windsor, Ontario,
Canada N9A 4M5

Dear Sir/Madam,


ref: (Editorial, Jan 30 2006) see http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/news/editorial/story.html?id=4b9aa7c8-397a-4fcd-86df-bfb13b602309


First do no harm

Editorializing on medical efficacy (or not) of cannabinoids for pregnant woman has demonstrated that in the public discourse on illegal substances, science flies out the window. [Pot and Pregnancy a bad mix./30Jan06]

While Victoria University researchers have found smoking a little cannabis does produce the well known anti emetic effect, so too does ingesting cannabis's 'evidential' goodness via an infusion. British Pharmacopoeia pre 1950 describes such 'grannies special tea' for morning sickness and a whole lot more besides. For many Caribbean woman, the taking of 'the herbal tea' is culturally normalized - so much so that during confinement smoking ganja is left entirely to the menfolk. Research by **Harvard Medical School found newborns [neonates] from both heavy smokers and 'tea' drinkers performed inexplicably better across a raft of tests. Victoria research merely validates what many folk know from lore. It maybe speculative but it sure looks logical; that better retention of (available) nutrition may account for the measurable physiological advantage that accrues to the child and all accomplished with minimal [if any] toxicological downside. It demonstrates cannabis usage is better mediated by normalized behaviors than by laws and prejudices. In the complex fields of pre/post natal, pediatric and mother care, stress is to be avoided.. The alternative, although not posited directly in your Windsor Star editorial, is Jail. This radical intervention has been found wanting in failing to produce any useful outcomes for mother or child. Effacious societal norms are the conservative, cheapest and healthiest policy, so lets avoid the license to toke prejudice and First Do No Harm.



Blair Anderson
Director, Educators For Sensible Drug Policy
http://www.efsdp.org
50 Wainoni Road.
Christchurch, New Zealand 8006

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


**NB
PREGNANCY AND CANNABIS BABIES

Prenatal Marijuana Exposure and Neonatal Outcomes in Jamaica: An Ethnographic Study Melanie C. Dreher, PhD; Kevin Nugent, PhD; and Rebekah Hudgins, MA

Measurements and main results.

Exposed and nonexposed neonates were compared at 3 days and 1 month old, using the Brazelton Neonatal Assessment Scale, including supplementary items to capture possible subtle effects. There were no significant differences between exposed and nonexposed neonates on day 3. At 1 month, the exposed neonates showed better physiological stability and required less examiner facilitation to reach organized states. The neonates of heavy-marijuana-using mothers had better scores on autonomic stability, quality of alertness, irritability, and self-regulation and were judged to be more rewarding for caregivers."


"A maxim for the twenty-first century might well be to start by not fighting evil in the name of good, but by attacking the certainties of people who claim always to know where good and evil are to be found." Tzvetan Todorov
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