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, May 30, 2006

Dope `Is Robbing Students Of Drive'

No doubt these selfless & concerned citizens will be reading Beyond Zero Tolerance from cover to cover (Yeah Right!) /Blair

Newshawk: http://www.norml.org.nz
Pubdate: Fri, 26 May 2006
Source: Northern Advocate (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2006 Northern Advocate
Contact: http://www.northernadvocate.co.nz/info/letters/
Website: http://www.northernadvocate.co.nz
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/2929
Author: Natasha Harris
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?224 (Cannabis and Driving)
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/youth.htm (Youth)

DOPE 'IS ROBBING STUDENTS OF DRIVE'

Marijuana is sapping young Northlanders' motivation, memory and ambition - sparking calls for tougher penalties against dealers who target schoolkids.

A national campaign to make dope-smoking look "uncool" is also badly needed, according to police and a high school principal.

Whangarei campus cop Hank van Engelen and Dargaville High School principal David Bargh say marijuana is destroying teenagers' lives by robbing them of their desire to learn.

With Northland's harvest hitting the streets, increasing numbers of Northland teens are turning up stoned or smoking at school.

Mr van Engelen and Mr Bargh say drug dealers think nothing of peddling marijuana to teenagers, so they want judges to impose harsher penalties. A signal needed to be sent that dope was as socially unacceptable as drink-driving.

"The rules need to be enforced ... otherwise society's saying marijuana's OK," Mr van Engelen said.

The men also want an advertising blitz similar to the "don't drink and drive" campaign, to stamp out what they say is Northland's pervasive cannabis culture.

"I think there's an acceptance that marijuana is OK. We should be making it look really uncool and not glamorous, because a lot of kids think it's cool," Mr Bargh said.

Mr van Engelen believed constant warnings about methamphetamine, or P, made people forget how destructive marijuana could be.

"It's like a big black cloud. You have a kid that's doing really well, then they start smoking marijuana and they can't seem to get out," Mr van Engelen said.

Recently Bream Bay College caught four students in a week smoking marijuana at school.

At Dargaville High, socials have been canned - in part because a stoned and drunk third-former smashed a window and threatened teachers.

According to Whangarei youth drug and alcohol service Rubicon, some Northland youth are smoking marijuana four times a day.

Manager Jenny Gibbs supported tougher penalties for drug dealers, and said there were "tinnie houses on every corner".

Currently Rubicon puts about 12 pot-smoking students aged 11-17 on "drug contracts" each week. The contracts are one-year agreements to stay off marijuana, signed by the student and police.

Most of Mrs Gibbs' clientele are Maori girls aged 13-15.

She said alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes are the three most common drugs used by students.

As for P, principals say a few pupils have dabbled in the drug - but it is hard to detect because it is odourless and lacks tell-tale signs like bloodshot eyes.

Some Northland high schools have jumped at the chance to host a hard-hitting P seminar by two former Northland detectives.

Methcon Group, set up this year to advise businesses on how to spot workers hooked on P, is touring 10 schools with a presentation packed with shocking pictures and videos.

Methcon co-owner Mike Sabin said some of the students told him saying they would never touch P after seeing its effects. (He is saying that this kid is innoculated! Whaaa... /Blair)

"Kids are saying, 'I had no idea it was that bad'."

* Your whole future can go up in smoke, says student

Grant used to love watching his son play rugby and cricket.

That was until the Whangarei 14-year-old traded the sports field for a seat on the couch.

What Grant didn't know was that David, not his real name, had taken to smoking marijuana at the weekends.

It wasn't until David got into trouble at Kamo High School for giving a joint to a friend that his father found out about his six-month habit.

"I said to him it's a natural progression to smoke P and I'm
absolutely terrified," Grant said.

This month David was kicked out of school for smoking marijuana while on a no-drugs contract.

"My wife and I are absolutely devastated. We don't know how long it'll be until he starts school again," Grant said.

Under the law, schools don't have to enrol an expelled student. Today Grant and his wife will find out if Kamo High has been able to find a school that will accept David.

"The longer that he doesn't go to school, the more he loses
motivation," Grant said.

Grant was disappointed the school did not give his son another chance to prove he could stay off marijuana. The school could not be reached for comment yesterday.

David said he started smoking marijuana after his older brother offered him a joint, and it made him "feel happy". He bought his supply from a tinny house.

He took it up again after a six-month break because "I was with all my mates and I hadn't smoked it in ages and just wanted a buzz".

"I regret it a lot now because I don't want to go to another school."

His advice for other teens? "Don't smoke it because if you get kicked out of school another school might not take you and it stuffs up your future."

-- ends --

Blair Anderson
ph (643) 389 4065
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Monday, May 29, 2006

Drug education on the rocks

After a veritable no-show by educators and health promotion/harm preventionists  at the (southisland) Drug Foundation hui held at the Christchurch Avon Holiday Inn one can hardly be surprised to hear just how systemicaly impaired the debate around drug policy and youth is. /Blair


ABC Online

ABC Online

PM - Youth survey finds anti-drugs message failing to get through

[This is the print version of story http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2006/s1648692.htm]

PM - Friday, 26 May , 2006  18:42:00

Reporter: Simon Lauder

MARK COLVIN: There's further proof today that not all government anti-drug messages are having that much effect on young people.

They are mostly aware of the dangers of hard drugs like heroin, but a major national survey of teenagers shows that most don't think alcohol and marijuana are actually harmful.

Simon Lauder reports.

SIMON LAUDER: For a teenager determined to go against their parents pleas to just say no, there's a lot to choose from.

(Sound of 'Feelgood Hit of the Summer', Queens of the Stone Age: "Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol. Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol.")

SIMON LAUDER: Early results of a national study of teenagers' attitudes to drugs were presented to an international conference in Sydney today.

Researchers surveyed 1,800 12 to 18 year olds - people like 16-year-old Victor and his mates.

VOX POP 1: The safest drugs are marijuana, because you know, it makes you high but it doesn't actually damage your brain.

VOX POP 2: Marijuana some good shit.

SIMON LAUDER: Adolescent psychiatrist, Professor Graham Martin, from Queensland University, headed the study, which found most teenagers think the most readily available drugs to them are acceptable and not a health risk.

And that's a worry, says Professor Martin, because alcohol and marijuana use often leads teenagers to other drugs.

GRAHAM MARTIN: Clearly if you are using substances and those substances have some kind of impact on your brain, and you like whatever that impact is, you are probably more likely to go on and try something else.

So if alcohol has a good effect on you and you're around a party scene you're likely to take ecstasy, and if you take that you might like to get into something else as well.

So there is that kind of progression that worries us. My real worry is that alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis are sort of acceptable and all three of those really provide young people with an understanding that it's okay to use substances to alter your brain.

SIMON LAUDER: Professor Martin says teenagers are more likely to use drugs if they have a disposable income - money to burn. He also found young people don't respond well to being told what to do.

That's a point the Federal Government advisory group on drugs, which commissioned the study, says it's its keen to take on board.

Gino Vumbaca is the Executive Officer of the Australian National Council on Drugs.

GINO VUMBACA: I don't think anyone actually advocates a just say no approach anymore, but a lot of young people who experiment with drugs may find it pleasurable and think like, well, what's all this about it being harmful and damaging and dangerous?

But addiction and dependence and drug problems creep up on people, you know, they don't just appear on the first time you use a drug, that's fairly rare, it's something that builds over time.

SIMON LAUDER: Professor Martin's study didn't just survey teenagers on drugs, it also surveyed more than 100 organisations whose job it is to provide services to help them.

GRAHAM MARTIN: Organisations that are underfunded, struggling against the odds, with a very poor database, and not much support to understand the available evidence. So they're really struggling.

SIMON LAUDER: Going against the survey results is 19-year old Tim, who as a medical student may know more than your average teenager about the effects of drugs. He has his own theory on why teenagers are obsessed with alcohol.

VOX POP 3: I think that's socially entrenched, and I think that's where authorities will always run into problems in trying to curb drinking, when it's almost a cultural thing.

(Sound of 'Feelgood hit of the Summer', Queens of the Stone Age: "Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol. Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol.")

MARK COLVIN: 19-year old Tim, ending that report from Simon Lauder.


© 2006 Australian Broadcasting Corporation


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Blair Anderson
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Hard-line drug measures inspire 'cat-and-mice' game

29 May 2006
By KIM THOMAS

Sniffer dogs in schools and random drug tests may encourage rather
than limit students' illegal substance use, says a visiting American
drug expert.


Emeritus Professor Rodney Skager, of California University, spoke at a conference tackling the issue of youth drug use in Australia last
week.

Skager, who will visit New Zealand this week, said initiatives such as
random drug testing and the use of sniffer dogs to detect illegal
substances treated young people as criminals and encouraged evasive behaviour.

Skager said random drug tests also encouraged young people to take
drugs that were more easily passed through the system, such as
methamphetamines, which were undetectable after a few days, compared with cannabis, which stayed in the body much longer.

"It creates a cat-and-mice ideology where young people try to find
ways to beat the system," Skager said.


In New Zealand, the board of trustees or principal of individual
schools decided how to deal with drug issues, but some educators are in favour of more initiatives to root out drug users.

Skager said an American study that compared drug-taking between
schools that used random drugs tests and those that did not, found no difference.

In the US, the response to students caught with drugs was to ban them from activities such as sports teams or kick them out of school, which alienated them from school counsellors.

A more positive approach would be to involve these students in counselling, in-school support groups or referral to specialist help,he said.

Ministry of Education spokesman Vince Cholewa said if a board or principal wanted to get a student to submit to a drug test, they wouldhave to comply with the Human Rights Act.

The latest ministry statistics, from 2004, showed more than 1200 primary or secondary pupils were suspended for drug-related issues.
This was a drop from the previous two years, when between 1300 and 1400 students were suspended.


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Sunday, May 28, 2006

ECAN says 50ug/m2 OK?

The Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts study showed that each increase of 10 µg/m2 of PM10 over 2 years increased the risk of death by 32% for patients with diabetes, by 28% for patients with COPD, by 27% for patients with congestive heart failure, and by 22% for people with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

see  http://mildgreens.blogspot.com/2006/05/air-pollution-increases-mortality-risk.html

(which, arguably vindicates the proponent of mitigation of PM10 from mobile source exposure, while *ECAN still proffers the 'in Auckland it is motor vehicles, while in Christchurch it is the open fires!')

It was pointed out (again) that the risk from PM's are accumulative, there is no artificial horizon line under which the risk goes away or even diminishes... it is a linear relationship, with zero zero origin. The 'open fires' argument is dangerously flawed because it ignores location and occupation based risk, population density and at risk groups. (Ottawa Charter/Healthy Christchurch??).
 
*Sir Kerry Burke, Electricity Consumers meeting, Shirley Primary School, CHCH, Saturday 27 May)

Blair Anderson
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Letter of Intent to Build Plant in New Zealand

W2 Energy Inc. Issues Letter of Intent to Build Plant in New Zealand

NEW YORK 5/23/2006 3:11 PM GMT (TransWorldNews)

W2 Energy Inc., a developer of green energy, is pleased to announce it has issued a letter of intent to TechnoJunk and GreyMatter of Christchurch, New Zealand to build a plant for an ongoing producing coal mine.

 Mr. Michael McLaren states, "The project immediately gained my interest as it was an opportunity to show the real value of our technology." The plant would produce both diesel fuel and electricity to overcome a unique transportation problem with the material handling of the coal.

The project which will be at least a 10,000 bbp plant will be exceptional in that it will show our technologies capabilities to produce clean energy from coal in the cleanest place on earth. The 10,000 bbp plants produce approximately $US310M per year in product.

About W2 Energy Inc.

W2 Energy Inc. is a growing, publicly traded company that develops renewable energy technologies and applies it to new generation power systems. Specifically, W2 Energy Inc.'s biomass to energy plants utilize state of the art technologies to produce green energy as both fuel (sulfur free diesel) and electricity at the most efficient cost in capital investment and production per/barrel, per/Megawatt.

The W2 Energy GAT reactor breaks down biomass or coal using the chemical energy stored in the biomass itself; the plasma acts as a high temperature catalyst. Unlike typical plasma reactors that utilize convection of the intense heat produced by the plasma, our GAT reactor can amazingly produce enough Syngas (H2, CO) to feed a 10,000 barrel per day synthetic diesel plant and 100 Megawatt steam turbine with a mere 4 MW input. Since our unique process works in this manner, most if not all the CO2 produced by the process is converted into carbon suboxides in the form of humic acid, and is mixed within the ash to produce high grade organic fertilizer. Therefore the process is completely C02 neutral even using coal or peat as base fuel.

Safe Harbor for Forward-Looking Statements: Except for historical information contained herein, statements are forward-looking statements that are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, which may cause the company's actual results in the future periods to differ materially from forecasted projections. These risks and uncertainties include, among other things, energy market volatility, product demand, market competition, and risk inherent to the company's research and development operations.

CONTACT:  W2 Energy Inc.
(416) 246-1100
www.w2energy.com

 



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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Air Pollution Increases Mortality Risk

Charlene Laino, Medscape Medical News 2006. © 2006 Medscape

May 23, 2006 (San Diego) — Up to 2 years of exposure to particulate air pollution — more commonly called soot — can raise the risk of death for patients with heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, or inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, according to the first such study to follow hospitalized patients discharged alive for specific diseases.

"While previous studies have found that long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with increased mortality, we found that all the effect seems to occur within the first 2 years," said coauthor Joel Schwartz, PhD, professor of environmental epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.

"What that means is that we if clean up the air, we will see improvements [in risk for death] right away — not 20 years from now," Dr. Schwartz told Medscape.

For the study, presented here at the American Thoracic Society International Conference, the researchers used Medicare hospital discharge data from 34 US cities to examine whether subparticles in the air were associated with survival. The patients, who had been admitted between 1985 and1999, were followed for as long as 15 years.

Specifically, the researchers looked at particulate matter (PM10) particles smaller than 10 microns in aerodynamic diameter, or about one-seventh the width of a human hair, that can easily travel into the respiratory tract, Dr. Schwartz said.


The study showed that each increase of 10 µg/m2 of PM10 over 2 years increased the risk of death by 32% for patients with diabetes, by 28% for patients with COPD, by 27% for patients with congestive heart failure, and by 22% for people with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

"Overall, several hundreds of thousands of deaths each year in the United States are due to such pollution," Dr. Schwartz pointed out.

Jonathan Samet, MD, professor and chair of the department of epidemiology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland, said the findings are consistent with previous research showing that particulate matter is associated with an increase in mortality rates.

That said, "now [Dr. Schwartz] has narrowed it down and showed that even a few years of exposure can make a difference," Dr. Samet told Medscape. "By November, we are looking to even further tighten our controls on particulate matter [and research such as this is crucial]."

But Dr. Schwartz was pessimistic. He said that the proposal that the Environmental Protection Agency has suggested for November "is not a tightening of air pollution controls, against the advice of its own scientific advisors. While they can still change their minds, whether they will is another thing," he told Medscape.

So what should be done? One way to reduce particulate matter levels to is put scrubbers on coal-burning power plants, he said. In addition, catalysts should be required for diesel engines, according to Dr. Schwartz.

"London just refitted all its buses with catalysts," Dr. Schwartz said. "The technology is there but we're not doing it. We could and save many, many lives in a relatively small number of years."

ATS 2006 International Conference: Abstract B16. Presented May 22, 2006

Reviewed by Margaret Clark, RN, RRT-NPS



---clip ends---

This important public health 'risk' was identified, quantified [$] and conveyed to ECAN/ARC, Ministry of Health and Transport and others 6-7 years ago. See http://www.mildgreens.com/biosafe

Increasingly we are being made aware just how much Particulates are imposing (thus subsidising dirty fuel)on our community.

Consider: The PM10 for airborne particles does not protect public health with "an adequate margin of safety," - JAMA March 2006 in its article on PM10 & PM2.5 and the elderly.





Blair Anderson
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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Marijuana Does Not Raise Lung Cancer Risk

By Salynn Boyles

People who smoke marijuana do not appear to be at increased risk for developing lung cancer, new research suggests.

While a clear increase in cancer risk was seen among cigarette smokers in the study, no such association was seen for regular cannabis users.

Even very heavy, long-term marijuana users who had smoked more than 22,000 joints over a lifetime seemed to have no greater risk than infrequent marijuana users or nonusers.

The findings surprised the study’s researchers, who expected to see an increase in cancer among people who smoked marijuana regularly in their youth.

“We know that there are as many or more carcinogens and co-carcinogens in marijuana smoke as in cigarettes,” researcher Donald Tashkin, MD, of UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine tells WebMD. “But we did not find any evidence for an increase in cancer risk for even heavy marijuana smoking.” Carcinogens are substances that cause cancer.

Tashkin presented the findings today at The American Thoracic Society’s 102nd International Conference, held in San Diego.

Boomers Reaching Cancer Age

The study population was limited to people who were younger than 60 because people older than that would probably not have used marijuana in their teens and early adult years.

“People who may have smoked marijuana in their youth are just now getting to the age when cancers are being seen,” Tashkin says.

A total of 611 lung cancer patients living in Los Angeles County, and 601 patients with other cancers of the head and neck were compared with 1,040 people without cancer matched for age, sex, and the neighborhood they lived in.

All the participants were asked about lifetime use of marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol, as well as other drugs, their diets, occupation, family history of lung cancer, and socioeconomic status.

The heaviest marijuana users in the study had smoked more than 22,000 joints, while moderately heavy smokers had smoked between 11,000 and 22,000 joints.

While two-pack-a-day or more cigarette smokers were found to have a 20-fold increase in lung cancer risk, no elevation in risk was seen for even the very heaviest marijuana smokers.

The more tobacco a person smoked, the greater their risk of developing lung cancer and other cancers of the head and neck. But people who smoked more marijuana were not at increased risk compared with people who smoked less and people who didn’t smoke at all.

The THC Connection

Studies suggest that marijuana smoke contains 50 percent higher concentrations of chemicals linked to lung cancer than cigarette smoke. Marijuana smokers also tend to inhale deeper than cigarette smokers and hold the inhaled smoke in their lungs longer.

So why isn’t smoking marijuana as dangerous as smoking cigarettes in terms of cancer risk?

The answer isn’t clear, but the experts say it might have something to do with tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is a chemical found in marijuana smoke.

Cellular studies and even some studies in animal models suggest that THC has antitumor properties, either by encouraging the death of genetically damaged cells that can become cancerous or by restricting the development of the blood supply that feeds tumors, Tashkin tells WebMD.

In a review of the research published last fall, University of Colorado molecular biologist Robert Melamede, PhD, concluded that the THC in cannabis seems to lessen the tumor-promoting properties of marijuana smoke.

The nicotine in tobacco has been shown to inhibit the destruction of cancer-causing cells, Melamede tells WebMD. THC does not appear to do this and may even do the opposite.

While there was a suggestion in the newly reported study that smoking marijuana is weakly protective against lung cancer, Tashkin says the very weak association was probably due to chance.

Cancer risk among cigarette smokers was not influenced by whether or not they also smoked marijuana.

“We saw no interaction between marijuana and tobacco, and we certainly would not recommend that people smoke marijuana to protect themselves against cancer,” he says.

By Salynn Boyles, reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

SOURCES: American Thoracic Society 102nd International Conference, San Diego, May 23, 2006. Donald Tashkin, MD, professor of medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles. Robert Melamede, PhD, molecular biologist, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. WebMD Medical News: “Pot Smoke: Less Carcinogenic Than Tobacco?”

Blair Anderson
http://mildgreens.com
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Heavy Pot Use Protects Against Cancer? WTF!


P3D rendering of the THC molecule.3D THC
Image via Wikipedia
eople who smoke marijuana do not appear to be at increased risk for developing lung cancer, new research suggests.

Tuesday , May 23, 2006, By Salynn Boyles

While a clear increase in cancer risk was seen among cigarette smokers in the study, no such association was seen for regular cannabis users.

Even very heavy, long-term marijuana users who had smoked more than 22,000 joints over a lifetime seemed to have no greater risk than infrequent marijuana users or nonusers.

The findings surprised the study’s researchers, who expected to see an increase in cancer among people who smoked marijuana regularly in their youth.

“We know that there are as many or more carcinogens and co-carcinogens in marijuana smoke as in cigarettes,” researcher Donald Tashkin, MD, of UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine tells WebMD. “But we did not find any evidence for an increase in cancer risk for even heavy marijuana smoking.” Carcinogens are substances that cause cancer.

Tashkin presented the findings today at The American Thoracic Society’s 102nd International Conference, held in San Diego.

Boomers Reaching Cancer Age

The study population was limited to people who were younger than 60 because people older than that would probably not have used marijuana in their teens and early adult years.

“People who may have smoked marijuana in their youth are just now getting to the age when cancers are being seen,” Tashkin says.

A total of 611 lung cancer patients living in Los Angeles County, and 601 patients with other cancers of the head and neck were compared with 1,040 people without cancer matched for age, sex, and the neighborhood they lived in.

All the participants were asked about lifetime use of marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol, as well as other drugs, their diets, occupation, family history of lung cancer, and socioeconomic status.

The heaviest marijuana users in the study had smoked more than 22,000 joints, while moderately heavy smokers had smoked between 11,000 and 22,000 joints.

While two-pack-a-day or more cigarette smokers were found to have a 20-fold increase in lung cancer risk, no elevation in risk was seen for even the very heaviest marijuana smokers.

The more tobacco a person smoked, the greater their risk of developing lung cancer and other cancers of the head and neck. But people who smoked more marijuana were not at increased risk compared with people who smoked less and people who didn’t smoke at all.

The THC Connection

Studies suggest that marijuana smoke contains 50 percent higher concentrations of chemicals linked to lung cancer than cigarette smoke. Marijuana smokers also tend to inhale deeper than cigarette smokers and hold the inhaled smoke in their lungs longer.

So why isn’t smoking marijuana as dangerous as smoking cigarettes in terms of cancer risk?

The answer isn’t clear, but the experts say it might have something to do with tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is a chemical found in marijuana smoke.

Cellular studies and even some studies in animal models suggest that THC has antitumor properties, either by encouraging the death of genetically damaged cells that can become cancerous or by restricting the development of the blood supply that feeds tumors, Tashkin tells WebMD.

In a review of the research published last fall, University of Colorado molecular biologist Robert Melamede, PhD, concluded that the THC in cannabis seems to lessen the tumor-promoting properties of marijuana smoke.

The nicotine in tobacco has been shown to inhibit the destruction of cancer-causing cells, Melamede tells WebMD. THC does not appear to do this and may even do the opposite.

While there was a suggestion in the newly reported study that smoking marijuana is weakly protective against lung cancer, Tashkin says the very weak association was probably due to chance. (actually Tashkin actually acknwledged at a conference that there appeared to be some prophylactic effect, which going by the sample size and 'heavy use' suggests further research should be done promptly..../Blair)

Cancer risk among cigarette smokers was not influenced by whether or not they also smoked marijuana.

“We saw no interaction between marijuana and tobacco, and we certainly would not recommend that people smoke marijuana to protect themselves against cancer,” he says.

By Salynn Boyles, reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

SOURCES: American Thoracic Society 102nd International Conference, San Diego, May 23, 2006. Donald Tashkin, MD, professor of medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles. Robert Melamede, PhD, molecular biologist, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. WebMD Medical News: “Pot Smoke: Less Carcinogenic Than Tobacco?”


Blair Anderson
http://mildgreens.blogspot.com

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Aussie faces 10 years jail

Looks like we have another Schapelle Corby injustice 'media' trial ahead. The prohibitors got good value from the last one, it is so valued because it keeps the corruption premium high! /Blair
Sunday May 21 23:02 AEST

An Australian woman arrested with a small amount of marijuana on the Indonesian island of Lombok faces court on Monday, with the possibility of a 10-year jail sentence.

Local resident Barbara Kathleen Higgs, 43, was arrested in February, allegedly with 50 grams of cannabis and two small bags of seeds, at the resort beach of Sengiggi, where she part-owns a hotel named the Bulan Baru, or New Moon.

Higgs, originally from Pinjarra in Western Australia, is being held at a women's jail in the Lombok capital Mataram.

Her arrest followed a nationwide drug crackdown in Indonesia ordered by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Lombok police said Higgs, who has lived with her New Zealand husband in Lombok for five years, admitted buying the drug from a friend in Senggigi for 500,000 rupiah (*$A73).

[*** about the price of a good Pinot-Noir in a DoubleBay Steakhouse]

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

The fair choice for climate change / Aubrey Meyer

Contraction and Convergence was promoted as the 'beyond kyoto' solution to the NZ Prime Ministerial Inquiry into Climate Change. It was Another Mild Green Initiative backed by 200 of the worlds largest 'bricks and mortar' investors with a two trillion dollar annual portfolio. All the media reported was "hemp" with the agenda that even that was laughable. Oh dear! /Blair


The fair choice for climate change



VIEWPOINT
Aubrey Meyer

This week and next, government representatives attend UN talks in Bonn looking for the next step forward on climate change. In The Green Room this week, Aubrey Meyer argues that the effective and fair model they need already exists.


Contraction and Convergence secures survival by correcting fatal poverty and fatal climate change

The impact of climate change, it is generally agreed, will land hardest on the poor.

So perhaps it is time to listen to what people from the poorest continent, Africa, are asking for.

At the climate negotiations in Bonn this week, the Africa Group of Nations has called for the adoption of a concept called Contraction and Convergence - C&C, in the jargon.

They first made their call a decade ago. And with 12 million Africans currently facing drought and famine linked to climate, they have good reason to assert that C&C is right, that it is urgently needed, and ask: "For how long must Africa suffer at the hands of others?"

Contraction and Convergence is the only long-term framework for regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which does not make carbon dioxide production a luxury that only rich nations can afford.

It creates the social equity which Africa needs, and the carbon reductions which are in all our interests.

Global shares

Contraction and Convergence is a straightforward model for an international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions.

It sets a safe and stable target for concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and a date by which those concentrations should be achieved, based on the best scientific evidence.

The atmosphere being a "global good", C&C declares that all citizens of the Earth have an equal right in principle to emit, and will actually be given an equal right by this future date, the individual allowance for each citizen being derived from the "safe" global target.

So from the grossly inequitable situation we have now, per capita emissions from each country will "converge" at a far more equitable level in the future; while the global total of emissions will "contract".

That is C&C in a nutshell.

CONTRACTION AND CONVERGENCE: HOW IT COULD WORK
Contraction to 450ppm CO2-equivalent

Convergence to equal per capita emissions at 2030


Here is a numeric example based on current assessment of the danger.

A maximum, or "ceiling", of 450 parts per million (ppm) atmospheric CO2-equivalent is set, giving rise to a future global emissions "budget" that contracts year-on-year to near zero by around 2080, to keep concentrations within that "safe" ppm ceiling.

The tradeable shares in this future budget are agreed as "one person, one share" globally, but moderated by a convergence to the global average of equal per capita shares over, say, 20 or 30 years as a compromise to ease the transition.

Poverty correction

The constitutional logic of C&C is unarguable; there are no grounds for defending unequal use of the atmosphere.

The economics are impeccable. C&C secures survival by correcting both fatal poverty and fatal climate change in the same arrangement.


Greenhouse gas emissions from industrial development in the West have been accumulating in the atmosphere for 200 years
So far, GHG emissions have been a close proxy for wealth. Per capita emissions in rich countries are now way above the global average, let alone a sustainable average; and in poor countries, way below.

Africans in particular have good reason to complain about this, as in no sense are they the authors of their misfortunes at the hands of global climate change.

Greenhouse gas emissions from industrial development in the West have been accumulating in the atmosphere for 200 years, and still today Africa's accumulated emissions are a fraction of the total produced by a country such as Britain.

The global account so far shows that 33% of people have 94% of the global dollar income and account for 90% of the global historical total of greenhouse gas emissions, while the other 66% of people have 6% of global dollar income and a history of emissions totalling 10%.

The ratio of poor to rich life value in all this is worse than 15 to one.

The rising climate-related mortality has led UK MPs to observe that this asymmetry, if uncorrected, becomes the economics of genocide.

Symmetry restored

Contraction and Convergence corrects all this.


Internationally, the list of eminent individuals and institutions supporting C&C is already large and growing fast
Shares created by C&C are valuable because they are tradeable. A C&C agreement makes it possible for poor countries to finance their future defence against climate change and their "clean development", by trading their considerable excess emission shares to rich countries.

The rich countries would use their capital to retire their "dirty development", and put in place economies that are clean and geared to reduced consumption.

This is a "framework-based-market"; and organised this way, the trade marries poetic justice and economic efficiency into a plan which the British magazine New Statesman described this week as a "compelling logic that could, without exaggeration, literally save the world".

In Britain, five of the seven political parties support C&C, as does more than half the total number of MPs. There is a Private Members' Bill that seeks to put C&C on the statute book.

Internationally, the list of eminent individuals and institutions supporting C&C is already large and growing fast; and then there is the UN itself.

Most governments of the world have been bound since 1992, when they signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to "avoid dangerous climate change" - to stabilise the rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere below a "dangerous" value.

The Kyoto Protocol was the first attempt at finding a mechanism to curb emissions from the industrialised world, emerging as an alternative to C&C.

It is now seen as completely inadequate. The UNFCCC executive has said since 2003 that "C&C is inevitably required to achieve its objective".

Was it this, and a keen sense of justice for Africa, that caused the Archbishop of Canterbury to observe: "Anyone who thinks that C&C is Utopian simply hasn't looked honestly at the alternatives"?

Will governments represented at the Bonn talks this week look at the alternatives and reach, finally, for C&C?

Now that the leading lights of the British government and the anti-poverty movement such as Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Bono have bonded so publicly with Africa on climate change and poverty, and declared that its voice must be heard, perhaps Africa's call for C&C will at last be listened to.

It is the international agreement they seek, and that we all need to survive.

Aubrey Meyer is director of the Global Commons Institute (GCI), an independent group concerned with the protection of the global commons.

The Green Room is a series of opinion pieces on environmental issues running weekly on the BBC news website.

A series of thought-provoking environmental opinion pieces


--
Blair Anderson
ph (643) 389 4065
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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Genesis pick up on Another Mildgreen Initiative

Genesis eyes basket willows for NZ ethanol plant

THURSDAY , 11 MAY 2006

Auckland-based biotech researchers are looking at producing ethanol and other products from plantations of a shrubby willow grown to be coppiced so that its re-growth is regularly harvested.

A biofuel company, Biojoule, has been set up as an offshoot of Genesis Research, and plans to have a trial plant producing ethanol for transport by next year.

The Government is setting up a legal framework for the use of petrol/ethanol blends.

If the willow refinery works as planned, it will be the start of commercial biofuels produced from crops in this country. But unlike countries such as the United States and Australia, where broadacre crops such as maize are used for producing ethanol, and Brazil, which relies on sugar cane, New Zealand will use cropped willow cuttings.

Genesis founder Jim Watson said yesterday the company was seeking to raise $5 million from private investors to build the pilot plant. The willows – a shrubby species developed in the north-west United States for craft businesses manufacturing willow baskets – are already growing on trial plots near Taupo.

An executive of the Lake Taupo Development Company growing the willow, Barry Delany, has said the coppiced willows can be harvested every three years.

The cane willow crop is a hardwood which will produce ethanol for transport – made from the 50 per cent of the wood which is cellulose. The remainder of the wood, will also be processed, to extract lignin that can be turned into plastics – replacing some of the reliance on oil-based plastics – and xylose, a natural sweetener which can be used by diabetics and does not cause tooth decay.

The trial plantation started with about 8000.

A Biojoule executive who attended the recent BIO2006 trade expo in Chicago said the company was getting yields of 11 to 16 tonnes of dry matter per hectare each year from the willow.

In New Zealand, Dr Watson has said growing tree crops such as cane willow on marginal land is likely to be most economic proposition for biofuel production from crops in New Zealand, and would not compete with land use for agriculture or timber production.

Other biofuel proposals have included converting waste tallow from meatworks to biodiesel, and for processing the "slash" waste from forestry to extract ethanol.

Timber waste broken down by heating it in the absence of oxygen produces carbon monoxide and hydrogen that can be further refined to give large volumes of methanol.

And ethanol can be recovered from wood and turned into an alcohol to be added to conventional petrol.

Fonterra's Edgecumbe dairy factory has also been distilling ethanol from waste whey to blend in petrol.

Fonterra successfully tested petrol mixed with 10 per cent ethanol in a 1.8-litre car. The blend provided by Gull Petroleum was approved by the Environmental Risk Management Authority (Erma).

The Edgecumbe ethanol plant produces 30,000 litres of ethanol a day and five million litres in a dairy season and Fonterra also produces ethanol at Reporoa and at Tirau.




(there is a remarkable congruenecy between the IP shared at a meeting held at the writers instigation at Aucklands Genesis Biotech and the end goal state here, except they have missed the all important 'economics' of production that is a feature of the Anderson solution. Xylose is without doubt, a highly useful by-product - the more we understant that micro-refinery 'by-products' add value to the energy stream the more important the materials handling (problem) will become dominant in the economics of production.)

--
Blair Anderson
ph (643) 389 4065

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Friday, May 19, 2006

FDA says cannabis useless, approves chemical version

More
MEDICAL MARIJUANA

Synthetic Pot Pill Gets FDA Approval

POSTED: 2:38 pm EDT May 16, 2006
UPDATED: 2:56 pm EDT May 16, 2006
Seventeen years after it was withdrawn from U.S. markets, a synthetic version of the active ingredient in marijuana is going back on sale as a prescription treatment for the vomiting and nausea that often accompanies chemotherapy, its manufacturer said Tuesday.Valeant Pharmaceuticals International hopes to begin selling Cesamet in the next two to three weeks, company president Wes Wheeler said. The Costa Mesa, Calif. company received Food and Drug Administration approval Monday to resume sales of the drug, which it bought from Eli Lilly and Co. in 2004. Valeant currently sells the drug, also called nabilone, in Canada. Lilly originally received FDA approval for nabilone in 1985 but withdrew it from the market in 1989, Wheeler said. Valeant, since purchasing the drug, has revised its label and updated its manufacturing process, he added. The drug will compete with Marinol, made by Belgium-based Solvay SA. Marinol, another synthetic version of tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana that's more commonly known as THC. It also received FDA approval in 1985. Synthetic THC acts on the brain like the THC in smoked marijuana, but eliminates having to inhale the otherwise harmful smoke contained in the illegal drug, Valeant said. Cesamet is a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a high potential for abuse. The 1-milligram tablets are meant to be taken twice daily before cancer patients undergo chemotherapy and up to 48 hours following treatment. Side effects include euphoria, drowsiness, vertigo and dry mouth. The FDA last month said it does not support the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Link's found, reality lost.

'Link found' between cannabis and harder drugs

 
New Zealand Herald, 14.03.06
 
Cannabis users are almost certain to try other illicit drugs, latest research findings suggest.

Research at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences looked at the relationship between the use of cannabis and other illicit drugs in a sample of 1000 young people aged between 15 and 25.

The Otago University study showed high rates of both cannabis and illicit drug use, with almost 80 per cent of the sample using cannabis by the age of 25 and more than 40 per cent using other illicit drugs.

It found that in the great majority of cases the use of cannabis preceded the use of other illicit drugs.


Meanwhile.... in the Harm Reduction Journal

( 3:17  doi:10.1186/1477-7517-3-17 published May 09 2006)

A preliminary DTI study showing no brain structural change associated with adolescent cannabis use....While differences existed between groups, no pattern consistent with evidence of cerebral atrophy or loss of white matter integrity was detected. Concluding, that frequent cannabis use is unlikely to be neurotoxic to the normal developing brain.


Suggesting, we have got it all wrong... who are we protecting? And from what?

In Drugs, Violence and Public Health [Fraser Institute], the content related to youth & drugs clearly evidences that there is a lot of ageism going on, that current justice based drug policy is a mere  convenience for the political cognoscenti.

Blair Anderson
ph (643) 389 4065
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Cannabis cancer risk played down - BBC

Cannabis smoke is less likely to cause cancer than tobacco smoke, a leading US expert says.

Dr Robert Melamede, of the University of Colorado, said that, while chemically the two were similar, tobacco was more carcinogenic.

(click the link for more insight into this 'reality based-harm minimisation strategy' by Dr. Robert Melamede.)



He said the difference was mainly due to nicotine in tobacco, whereas cannabis may inhibit cancer because of the presence of the chemical THC.



But health campaigners warned against complacency.

Cannabis remains the most commonly-used drug in the UK with one in 10 people using it in the last year, according to the British Crime Survey.

Smoke from tobacco and cannabis contains many of the same carcinogens, and cell damage linked to lung cancer has been found in the lungs of chronic cannabis smokers.
Jean King, of Cancer Research UK

The Class C drug, which was downgraded in 2004, has already been linked to mental health problems and breathing difficulties.(by association and not causation; for clarity this phrase should put the 'risk' into a reality based perspective. We have known for years that the 'harms have been largely overstated' [ NZ HSC report1998] /Blair) 

But scientists are also exploring whether it can be used to treat a range of conditions, including multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease.

Dr Melamede said whereas nicotine activated carcinogenic compounds, THC - one of 60 cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant - had been shown to inhibit them in mice cells.

"Compounds found in cannabis have been shown to kill numerous cancer types including lung, breast, prostate, leukaemia, lymphoma and skin cancer."

But he said the effects of cannabis were complex as evidence also suggested low doses of THC could stimulate growth of lung cancer cells.

Smoking

And he added the two could interact as cannabis was often smoked with tobacco.

"It is possible that as the cannabis-consuming population ages, the long-term consequences of smoking cannabis may become more similar to what is observed with tobacco.

"However, current knowledge does not suggest that cannabis smoke will have a carcinogenic potential comparable to that resulting from exposure to tobacco smoke."

Jean King, director of tobacco control at Cancer Research UK, said many of the studies that had looked at the link between cancer and cannabis had used purified cannabinoids.

[its about at this point I recommend reading  For Your Own Good : The Anti-Smoking Crusade and the Tyranny of Public Health (a jolly good read... See synopsis at Amazon) /Blair]


"Results from such studies may not represent the overall effects of cannabis smoke, which contains more than 400 chemicals.(less than Bread!)

"Smoke from tobacco and cannabis contains many of the same carcinogens, and cell damage linked to lung cancer has been found in the lungs of chronic cannabis smokers."

And she added there should be no complacency as cannabis was often smoked with tobacco, which is responsible for a quarter of all cancer deaths in the UK.



(Disgraceful; it is a pity leading health professionals are disconnected from reality and impose prohibitions' 'impediments to credible health promotion' in direct conflict with Ottawa Charter 'see the impediment, and remove it' principles... /Blair)

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/health/4350642.stm

Published: 2005/10/17 23:20:44 GMT

--
Blair Anderson
ph (643) 389 4065
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Monday, May 08, 2006

Francisco trial, June 15 & 16 [EFSDP]


"the sum of the evidence against me is a twig the size of a toothpick found
in about an inch of dirt on the floor that may not even be cannabis --could
be hops which I grow on my farm"

staggering in its disproportionate response..... / Blair

From: Greg & Amy Francisco <jjfarm@net-link.net>
To: MINORML <minorml-talk@norml.net>, efsdp_talk@drugsense.org,
Sent Lte <sentlte@mapinc.org>
Organization: Educators for Sensible Drug Policy http://efsdp.org/
Sender: owner-efsdp_talk@drugsense.org
Subject: EFSDP: Francisco trial, June 15 & 16

Fellow activists:

One of the hardest things for me to do is to toot my own horn. Must be
the midwesterner in me. Sometimes I look at people like
Adam B and his knack for self promotion with envy. This is certainly a time
when I wish I could be more like that. Anyway, here goes.

Preparations for my trial continue to move forward. It is still scheduled for June 15 & 16. From all feedback I have received I expect a
good turn-out. Please, not for my good, but for the good of our larger
movement, if at all possible do attend. The trial will be held at District
Court 7-B, 1007 Wells St., South Haven, MI, 49090. The courthouse is located in a backwater (literally) of South Haven, back beyond the boat yards and marinas. Probably the best way to get directions would be to go to Mapquest.com and enter the address. Trial scheduled to begin at 9:00 am,
hopefully we can have demonstrators and such in place a good hour previous
to that.

I have made arrangements with a local motel for a reduced rate. It will
be tourist season by then and South Haven is a tourist town so I had to do a
bit of shopping around for the best rate. I have reserved a block of
rooms at the Comfort Suites, 1755 Phoenix St, South Haven, MI 49090 under my
name. Their telephone is (269) 639-2014. Price is $85/night plus tax.
They would only agree to hold the rooms until May 15 and then regular rates
go back into effect so if you plan to stay there, you'll need to confirm
your reservation this week. The motel is right off the expressway and only
a mile or so from the courthouse.

Alternately free camping is available at the Willow Ranch, 125 60th St,
Grand Junction, MI. Bim may also have a few spare beds in the house but
you'll have to make your own arrangements directly with him on that.
Bim@bimwillow.com or (269) 253-4306 The Willow Ranch is located about
8 miles east of South Haven.

The evening of June 15 we are planning on gathering at the Willow Ranch.
Bonfire, jam session and just all around good fellowship. For those who
have never been to the Willow Ranch I can promise a good time, ala Rainbow
Farm (on a much smaller scale). We can also do a pot luck style dinner if
there is interest in order to keep costs down. Please observe the 3 basic
rules of the Willow Ranch, No guns, no hard liquor, no Elvis impersonaters.

My case continues to generate national attention. In just the last week
I have had conversations and e-mails from several national leaders in our
movement including Jack Cole of LEAP, Jude Renaud of Educators for Sensible
Drug Policies and Charles Thomas of Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative. And
that is a typical week. I continue to be just blown away. Van Buren
County has handed us a fantastic soap box and it is in all of our best
interests to seize it.

I have cultivated a couple valuable media contacts who have promised to
give this trial good coverage. Already that is paying dividends. On
April 20 I was interviewed by our local CBS affiliate on the FDA statement.
The story ended up being the lead item on that evening's news broadcast.
The sound bite of me that made the air was in response to the claim cannabis
wasn't good medicine due to "unacceptable" side effects. I first pointed
out what anyone who has had a script filled lately already knows--the pharmacist hands you not only yer bottle of pills but darn near a full length book listing potential side effects like kidney and liver failure, loss of hair and libido, unconciousness, even sudden death. Now contrast that with the side effects of cannabis--mild euphoria and a general sense of well being. Asked why allowing sick people to feel better is an "unacceptable" side effect? We just can't buy coverage like this.

Anyway, I also talked with the reporter about my case and she indicated that she would give it coverage. I indicated to her that there would be a large turnout of sign waving demonstrators to provide them some good
visuals. Please don't make me a liar. I am resigned to the fact that I may very well be convicted on this. That's not the point. I'm willing to take a "hit for the team," if it will advance our cause. And I really don't expect much more than a slap on the wrist anyway. Of course Michigan law mandates that I will lose my professional license and hence my career but I've already moved on anyway and the thought of ever going back into the classroom again makes me a lot more queazy than going to court.

My refusal to budge one inch and take any sort of plea agreement has already set Van Buren County back on their heels. Frankly, I don't think they quite know what to do with me and are wishing they had just honored the "No prosecution in exchange for resignation" agreement. From an original charge of felony Drug Free School Zone, 3rd offense, with a possibility of 4
yrs in state prison they have reduced it several times until now I'm facing
a simple misdemeanor possession, 1st offense with a max of 90 days in the County pokie and a $100 fine. And even that is remote--the last time we were in court the Prosecutor looked over at us and said he was inclined to ask for no jail, no fine, no costs, if I would only just plead guilty and take the conviction (and of course surrender my teaching certificate, shut up, go away and stop making waves). I've already seen all the jail time I'm going to on this one, I'm confident on that.

Again, I remind you, the sum of the evidence against me is a twig the size of a toothpick found in about an inch of dirt on the floor that may not even be cannabis --could be hops which I grow on my farm and after almost a full year, and despite repeated requests, Van Buren County has YET to produce the
evidence to my defense team for an independent examination--and a vague reference in the original police report to some "roach material" (a bit of charred paper half the size of my little finger nail) which has now mysteriously evaporated into thin air and is quite likely the residue of one of my adult son's hand rolled tobacco cigarettes. This was found in my locked, parked truck which was searched without probable cause, warrant or consent. Even the police have conceded that much.

The last thing, and this is the most difficult of all for me to discuss--it's that damn ethnic Dutch pride in me--this has created a
tremendous financial drain on Amy and I. Our household income has esssentially been slashed by 50%. Fortunately we do have our own business to fall back on--a wool mill. I have been working day and night to build that up in order to replace lost income. And the business is booming, we can sell pretty much everything we produce. But I am plowing any profits right back into the business and not taking any draw whatsoever. I can not/will not ask for outright donations--see sentence #1 of this paragraph. But I would certainly welcome any business anyone can send our way. Our website can be found at
http://www.woolmill.com/woolmill.com/jehovahjirehfarm.htm. Please, if you know anyone who is a hand spinner, knitter, felter or crafter who works with natural fibers, send them our way. I have also created a limited line of felted pouches/purses specifically to raise money for my legal fund (and Matt is giving me one heck of a good deal and a payment plan on his fees--I really appreciate that cause he's got to eat, too). Ordinarily these purses would retail for $25 to $50 but there is no set amount in this case. Probably too late for Mother's Day next Sunday but they would make tremendous gifts as well.

Very much look forward to seeing one and all next month. As Richard L. often points out--It's not what others do, it's what YOU do.

Thank you. And please feel free to distribute this to any other lists.



Greg Francisco
(269) 628-4340
greg@woolmill.com
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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Mexico goes Dutch

In Mexican Drug War, A Desperate Measure
Limited Legalization Sharpens Focus on Traffickers Rather Than Users

By Manuel Roig-Franzia
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, April 30, 2006; Page A12

MEXICO CITY -- Sixteen months after President Vicente Fox declared "the mother of all battles" against drug trafficking, Mexico is increasingly awash in drug violence and is now turning to a new, and controversial, approach: decriminalization.

see also CATO Inst. release
Cato-at-liberty » Two Very Restrained Cheers for Mexico’s New Drug Law


(snip)
Unfortunately, Mexican leaders show no willingness to legalize the manufacture or sale of marijuana, cocaine, and other drugs. Indeed, they have argued that the new law will enable law enforcement agencies to devote more resources to supressing trafficking. That means the huge potential profit in the drug trade will persist—and so will the corruption and violence that is tearing Mexico’s society apart.

The new law is a small step in the right direction. But Mexico (and other countries) need to abandon the entire prohibition model to produce truly meaningful benefits.
(end snip)

Blair Anderson
http://mildgreens.com
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