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

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Nights of extreme Stupidity in Christchurch Drug Policy

A rational scale to assess the harm of drugs. Data source is the March 24, 2007 article: Nutt, David, Leslie A King, William Saulsbury, Colin Blakemore. The entire alcohol debate is gravely flawed with a suspension of any analysis around 'alcohol' being a drug. I hear it labeled so in pejorative terms by people who in so doing believe that somehow that justifies there prejudices to all drugs. Yet there in the middle of this see "Nights of extreme in Christchurch" [ ] we have policeman attributing more moderate behaviors associated with the time when raves fueled by Ecstasy occurred describing "E" as a 'happy drug'.

And there lies the clue. It is so obvious to anyone who looks at what drives the behavioral outcomes, the need to be part of something, to bond... "Until we accept that our national drug policy is corrupted by the idea there is 'evil vs good' drugs we never get a handle on this."

Mere possession of "Ecstasy" [MDMA] was elevated to a Class A schedule (which to a young person means 'must be really excellent') with life in prison, comparable to murder. Yet, in the London party scene half a million "E" tablets are consumed every weekend and it is cheaper to buy than a can of coke. These 'consumers' are hugging each other.

In a review of Addiction Treatment: Science and Policy for the Twenty-First Century, by Stanford University's Dr. Alex Macario [JAMA June 4] he highlights "the amazing discord between scientific knowledge and public perception" surrounding drug use.

The simplistic treatment of alcohol outside of the National Drug Policy framework was the product of serious lobbying when in the mid 1990's alcohol stakeholders kept 'legal' policy from 'illicit' policy. Yet there is nothing pharmacologically that justifies this other than an accident of history and and some dubious 'conventions'.

It is time in drug policy to accept the holistic approach was "highly recommended" in the policy formulation process pre-1996 and bring ALCOHOL, TOBACCO and CANNABIS into a regulated and thus controlled management regime that acknowledges 'some harms' while removing the impediments to credible anti-drug education. (NZ Health Select Committee 2002).

Class D represents the legislative model for such an initiative. Then we can get cracking on taking an evidenced based review of where BZP, MDMA and LSD (and others) would fit in the ABC classifications and get this stuff sorted. It could be the making of 'civil' New Zealand. Clearly the pharmacology of alcohol has no bearing on if you are a "good" person, or if you do take AB or C drugs, you are a "bad" person.

Removing the logical anomaly is the stuff of social capital. But don't hold your breath expecting the media, in particular the PRESS to ride that wave. Crime and Moral Panic makes for much more interesting front pages.

Note: EU REPORT, June 2008 - "Cannabis Safer Than Alcohol Or Tobacco, Says Study"

The report said most users cease smoking cannabis by their late 20s or early 30s and that the vast majority did not experience any negative effects. “On every comparison of dangerousness we have considered, cannabis is at or near the bottom in comparison with other psychoactive substances,” said author Robin Room, in an analysis contained in a 700-page EU report on cannabis. The report, A Cannabis Reader: Global Issues and Local Experiences, was published yesterday by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction to coincide with international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking. Coincidentally the same day the NZ Police tells us Cannabis is the biggest threat to society.

NZ's Police Intelligence will choke on this. The bastards need to stop telling lies. It's not in their mandate, indeed according to the Police Act, warrants 'to arrest' are based on them telling the truth... they could make a good start here, this report spills the beans. Until they read (and apply) this they are without moral authority.

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

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Friday, June 27, 2008

BERL, POLICE, JUSTICE and headbanging

LondonImage via Wikipedia

Aside from the NZ Police's questionable use of the DRUG HARM INDEX to self interestedly perpetuate an unaccounted policy, demanding as it were 'more resources' without any accounting for 'deliverable outcomes', it is entirely contestable in managerial let alone economic terms.

The Drug Squad is in effect 'deficit funded' without as much a skerit of evidence that the resources AND priorities are allocated with ANY efficiency.

This is POOR management practice.

This was roundly critiqued by visiting top cop and former head of Scotland Yard Narcotics/London Metro, Chief Super Det. Eddie Ellison to the Ministry of Justice in 2004. (Eddie was also a founding member of TRANSFORM, now with UN consultative standing )

"It wouldn't pass muster at Police College, let alone the Home Office. There is no room in modern policing for unaccountable deployment blindly following political directives" -(private conversation with the writer)

Eddie presented to 17 MoJ Officials alongside Snr Detective Jack Cole, both of whom were executive directors of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition [] also recently accredited by the UN.

Eddie also conveyed this to Gregg O'Conner of the Police Association.

Some months later the MoJ couldn't find a single person who attended the board meeting room presentation, declaring again in a recorded telephone conversation to the writer "we have a very high staff turnover'

The BERL DRUG HARMS report and the subsequent Police Intelligence claims that cannabis is the problem bring the POLICE once again into disrepute.

There is no accounting the POLICE and JUSTICE stupidity of continuing to bang ones head against the wall and hoping it will soon stop hurting....

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

BERL's BoonDoggle

Lysergic acid diethylamideOne could send NZ's entire
LSD 'problem' (10gms) in
one envelope via NZ Post!
and Dogs couldnt even smell it!
Hardcore drugs P, cocaine and Ecstasy gave New Zealand a bill of about $546 million for social costs in one financial year. (Ecstacy "hardcore", who are these guys kidding, this is proof Accountants should stay away from drugs)

They are a big part of the total $1.3 billion that drug use cost the country in 2005 and 2006.
The figures come from a new index designed by economists to help police decide where drugs do the most harm and enable them to use resources more efficiently.

The Drug Harm Index, released yesterday, will help police determine the socio-economic costs from drug seizures and track the value of the drug trade in New Zealand. (this is laughable - "it amounts in reality to harms from prohibition in dollars per kilo/Blair)

It measures social harms related to drug use such as lost work output, health service use, diverted resources and reduced quality or loss of life. (it does not measure all harms , it does identify a state service that is forbidden from lying, telling lies. This has the signature of CZAR Anderton all over it, and he calls me dangerous!/Blair)

The study investigated harm caused by four drug categories - stimulants (methamphetamine or "P", cocaine and Ecstasy), opioids (opium, homebake heroin and morphine), cannabis (plants and plant extracts) and LSD (hallucinogens).

It found that 373,310 people used cannabis, but only 17 per cent of these were frequent users.
(evidence of law in disrepute/Blair)

There were 38,390 cocaine users, of which 88 per cent were frequent users.

Nearly 23,000 people used crystal methamphetamine (36 per cent of them often) and 81,890 took Ecstasy (24 per cent often). (How come?, I thought these substances were prohibited? Doesnt the policy work? - Idiots!)

Cannabis was the most used drug by far. At the other end of the scale, LSD use was limited to 2.6 times a year on average.

Men who took drugs were absent from work about 70 per cent more days than abstainers, and women 20 per cent more days. (This is unsupported by evidence that shows cannabis users take less sick days than joe public and on average had a higher mean income/Blair)

Male cannabis users took about 8 per cent more sick days than the average male worker and opioid users took 40 per cent more days. (and alcohol/tobacco ??? you twerps! )

Other findings were:
* Cannabis cost $431 million, opioids $326 million and LSD $7.1 million.
* The most damaging drug per kilogram was LSD, which cost more than $1.05 billion a kg (ROFLOL - do the homework here, $7million/1.05billion - BERL reckons NZ's LSD 'problem amounts to a total of about 10gms, or about a third of an ounce )
* About 1578 people - 16 per cent of the prison population - were in jail as a result of drug-related crimes. This was at a cost of about $68,880 per person - $108.7 million in total.
* Court costs were $353 million.
* People serving community sentences cost $20.9 million and those on home detention cost $300,000.
* Hospital costs attributed to patients with drug-related problems amounted to $6.76 million - an average of about $2949 for each of 2292 patients. (Health Costs attributable to Alcohol may be as much as 70% of the total health vote according to UK NHS - Illicit drugs are cheap!)
* There were about 1920 drug-related deaths (including road accidents and homicides), costing $205.2 million, or $106,000 a person (non-of-which can be scientifically thus evidentially attributed to cannabis/Blair)
While stimulants contributed 41 per cent of the total costs, figures showed that in 2006, police and Customs seized 33,480kg of cannabis compared with only 155kg of stimulants. (not bad eh, 33 tonnes of cannabis!, NZ smokes its way through more than 200 tonnes a year and no one died! Doh!)

And police dealing with drug offences spent 55.8 per cent of their time addressing cannabis, against 43 per cent of their hours dealing with stimulant-related issues. (demonstrating what a massive waste of resources prohibition of cannabis is)

Former police detective Mike Sabin, who now specialises in dealing with P users, said police should dedicate as many resources to drug offences as they did to road policing. (what is he suggesting, Random Footpath Checks? )

He said police and the Government had made an effort to reduce road accidents over the past 10 years. "We've seen a halving of the road toll in that time ...If we saw the same level of policing on drugs I think we'd see a significant reduction in the costs identified in this report." (absent any proof this is pure speculation - he's making it up as he goes - the guy is an idiot if he believes that somehow suddenly NZ Police can do what billions of dollars has failed to accomplish, keep taking the pills Mike!, it should help with the delusions.)

Police had started to steer away from drug and organised crime policing, possibly because it was costing too much, clogged up the courts and created statistics that would not exist unless you "went out and found the drugs", Mr Sabin said. (not while the Police 'budgets' for drug interdiction remained an unaccountable cash cow that Mr Sabin is all to ready to suck the tit of)

Police spent about 4 per cent of their time working on drug-related offences, the index showed.
National crime manager Detective Superintendent Win van der Velde told the police Ten One magazine a reduction in social costs since 2000 showed drug seizures in 2006 avoided $485 million of drug harm. (hahahahhaahaaa! your joking... Operation VeeDub cost millions to prosecute and the guys walked! )

"This index holds the potential for police to become more targeted and responsive to areas of crime where greater harm occurs."

(This is even funnier. Perhaps he's going to disband the Expert Advisory Committe (on Drugs) for lying to the public about drug harms! Mr Sabin calls himself "Methcon", is that some kind of cruel joke?)

The study did not include party pills such as benzylpiperazine (BZPs), which were reclassified as Class C drugs from April 1. (Contrary to best practice public health - they reclassified because [Czar] Jim Anderton paid for the research outcomes he wanted to see)

Such appaling 'cost benefit analysis' is a drug offence!

Blair Anderson

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Monday, June 23, 2008

United Nations Driving Shapelle Mad

attn: Blair Norton,TVNZ Reporter,Christchurch.

Hi Blair,

United Nations Driving Shapelle Mad

Shapelle is depressed BECAUSE OF THE UNITED NATIONS Conventions on Narcotics.
The NZ Law Commission is examining NZ obligations under these covenants and treaties this year (see terms of reference)
Human Rights AND Drug Policy  is a key issue at UN Vienna meetings in July. (NZ delegation of 9 has 2 attending from Christchurch)
Shapelle is serving twenty years for the amount of cannabis smoked in Australia every 60 seconds.

Reporting on this issue is long on history (how many times do we need to hear what she did)  and short on insight on just how disproportionate the sentence.

She was lucky to escape the death penalty.

Singapore hangs people for 500gms of what Oregon State (and twelve other states =33% of USA pop) would allow as medicine.

Blair Anderson  ‹(•¿•)›
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Tougher laws may make young taggers 'heroes'

Friday, 20 June 2008,
Newmarket Business Association

Tougher laws around tagging just passed by parliament may in fact make tagging just that much more ‘cooler’ particularly among minors, claims one Auckland business district. MPs have voted to get tougher on taggers by supporting measures such as lifting the maximum fine for tagging from $200 to $2,000 and banning the sale of spray cans to people under 18.

“The legislation is a step in the right direction but the public needs to keep vigilant. These tougher laws could in fact bring on an unintended consequence – that is make taggers even bigger 'heroes' among their mates,” says Cameron Brewer head of the Newmarket Business Association..

Curious that the same logic "engine of malcontent" doesn't apply to youth and cannabis. / Blair

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Professor Dawkins on Class D

Professor Dawkins (Otago School of Law) on Class D

(recorded at the Dunedin Cannabis Week, May 2008)

Blair Anderson

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Crime expert: Using drugs a human right

DRUGS should be legalised because there is a “human right” to use them, according to a new book by an Irish criminal law expert.

Paul O’Mahony also said the war on drugs had “failed catastrophically” in Ireland, and across the world.

The Trinity College psychologist and criminologist said it was a “scandal” that enormous resources were being used to enforce prohibition. He said this policy had not only failed to lower drug use, but may have contributed to its increase.

In his book, The Irish War on Drugs, the Seductive Folly of Prohibition, Mr O’Mahony said the campaign for abolition needed a clear, rallying idea, which would cut through complex arguments.

“What is required to achieve a tipping point, a revolution in thinking, is a bold, inspirational idea to which people can subscribe as a matter of self-evident principle.

“Only the concept of a human right to use drugs can fulfil this role of providing a meaningful, inspiring and unifying idea which can guide the transition to a fully non-prohibitionist system.”

He said there was a human right to use drugs, so long as it did not negatively impact on the rights of others.

He said such a right was consistent with legal and constitutional concepts of individual freedom and human rights.

“Recognition of the right to use drugs is warranted in moral and legal terms and is in accord with the scientific understanding of human nature.” He said the appetite for mood-altering substances and new experiences was “normal” from a physical, psychological and social point of view.

Mr O’Mahony said prohibition had failed to acknowledge the differences between less and more dangerous illegal drugs and the fundamental similarities between illegal drugs and legal drugs, such as alcohol and prescribed drugs.

I raised the HUMAN RIGHTS issue (and its international implications) at Beyond2008 in WGN. /Blair

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Anderson Bay Teacher gets a Lesson in Politics

Gmail - benson_pope.jpg

It's a pity MP David Benson-Pope didn't take the offer, it would have improved his chances!
However, he will still be retiring on 80% of his salary, pity he couldnt have held on to his Ministerial portfolio's, he could have stiffed the public purse for even more!

Blair Anderson

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The War on Drugs Has Failed - Should America Legalize Drugs?

The war on drugs has failed;
We must make peace, heal our wounds, and change our laws.

Richard Burton,
Chair, NAACP Prisoner Rights Sub-committee

In 2005, International Activist Cliff Thornton invited me as Chairman of the NAACP Prisoner Rights Sub-committee, to participate in a drug conference in Hartford, Conn and after several years of research as it relates to drugs and its side effects, I offer these thoughts.

The drug war can't be won, and we have lost. We merely repeat the mistake of Prohibition. The harder we try to stop this evil, the more lucrative we make it, and the more it spread. The war on drugs cannot be eradicated by making it more profitable and at the same time creating more jails/prisons, disparities, casualties and tax burdens. American drug law enforcement agents detain a man in 2005.

This view is shared by activists like Jack Cole a conference participant, a retired police lieutenant who worked on the front lines of the war on drugs, and who feels that prohibition causes more damage than the drugs themselves do.

According to Cole, "The war on drugs was really responsible for about 99% of all the things that we attribute to the, quote, `drug problem.'" Furthermore, Cole maintains that the federal government's attempts to stamp out the drug trade merely "inflates the values of these products virtually by up to 17,000 percent" and "creates an obscene profit margin, making many people willing to kill."

Rutgers University professor Douglas Husak gives more detailed statistics, citing studies that have shown that the types of crimes generated by illegal drug use occur "when drug users and dealers battle over drug sales, turf, and other aspects of illegal drug sales." Husak maintains that the crimes caused by the drug trade "would be virtually eliminated if drugs were available at retail stores." Jack Cole, the retired policeman, expresses much the same sentiment when he says that drugs need to be legalized "so that you can control it and regulate it and keep it out of the hands of our children." The goal of legalization is not to encourage drug use, but to discourage the victimization of drug users, as well as society, at the hands of the illegal drug trade.

Cliff Thornton the founder and president of Efficacy, a drug reform organization based in Hartford Thornton called for a three-pronged approach to deal with the various drugs that are now illegal: legalization of marijuana, medicalization of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines, and decriminalization of the rest. He said the so-called drug war is a war on people, especially people of color, that has cost billions of dollars and has destroyed families and communities, but has done nothing to curb the flow of drugs into the country.

Cliff has shared with me, his life story on this issue and his ongoing advocacy, as well as other like minded national advocates and I think we must signal a "Code Blue". The rash of recent crimes and murders in Chicago, Philadelphia, DC and other major cities across the country, are thought to be drug related, lend to this conversation "The War on Drugs Is Destroying Lives."

Richard P. Burton, Sr., Director
P.O. BOX 440248
Jacksonville, FL 32244

PROJECT R.E.A.C.H., INC., A Non-Profit 501 (c)(3)Organization: To Reach Out To The "At Risk Community" In Areas Of: Re-enfranchisement, Education, Advancement, Counseling and Housing. Your Gifts And Donations Are Tax Deductible. Please Send A Donation Today.

Cole, Jack. "The War on Drugs Is Destroying Lives." Legalizing Drugs.
Cliff Thornton. "Under The Influence" --edited by Preston Peet

PO Box 1234
860 657 8438
Hartford, CT 06143


Working to end race and class drug war injustice, Efficacy is a non profit 501 (c) 3 organization founded in 1997. Your gifts and donations are tax deductible.

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

Social Ecologist 'at large'

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Those Scots!, So Pragmatic about Street Disorder

Saltire flag in the windImage via Wikipedia Forum sets out radical drugs plan

A report published by a Scottish Parliament-backed think tank has called for radical new ways to tackle the damage done by drugs and alcohol. Recommendations include the setting up of "consumption rooms" where addicts would be able to take drugs safely, and for heroin to be prescribed to users.

The report also suggested the taxation of cannabis to enable it to be more tightly regulated.

The Scotland's Futures Forum was asked to look at ways of tackling addiction.

The think tank was established by the parliament and was tasked with looking at the challenges facing Scotland, and seeking ways to meet those challenges.

In this latest report it asked how the damage caused by alcohol and drugs in Scotland could be halved by 2025.

It said drug use had been historically seen as a justice issue but should be treated as a health, lifestyle and social challenge.

The report said a greater proportion of resources should be allocated to treatment research, monitoring and evaluation.

It examined the idea of drug consumption rooms and heroin-assisted treatment to combat the high levels of drug-related deaths and hepatitis C infection.

It also studied law enforcement and found prison unproductive and unsustainable for low-level alcohol and drug offences.

The forum believes cannabis should be taxed and highly regulated to help reduce availability and harm.

Former health minister Susan Deacon, who is now professor of social change at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, said it was important to be "open-minded" about the possible solutions to the drugs problem.

She said: "No-one is saying that there should not be an important enforcement element in drugs policy or the justice system does not have a role to play but I think there is widespread concern that there has been a disproportionate emphasis on criminal justice issues.

"We must look at drugs, alcohol and wider addiction problems as being health and social matters not simply matters which should be looked at within our criminal justice system."

Canadian Senator Larry Campbell, who was behind the setting up of injection sites in Vancouver in 2003, said addiction should be treated as an illness.

He said: "We have 600 injections a day on average, we have had over 1,000 overdoses in the clinic, and we have never had one person die. - If they had been injecting in an alley or in a room by themselves, we would have had a number of people dead. - Secondly we have seen our HIV and hepatitis rates stabilise because they are not using dirty needles."

He also added that more people were getting treatment for addiction, and street disorder had decreased as a result of the injection rooms.

Story from BBC NEWS:
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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Deal with Policy Inadequacies rather than funding failure.

Logo of Insite.
Andre Bigras of the Drug Prevention Network of Canada writes critiquing Vancouver's supervised drug injection facility Insite, suggesting it to be a waste of money. Peer review analysis shows it not only saves lives of drug consumers, but significantly it has a major health benefit to otherwise innocent victims in both reducing HepC, HIV and other social liabilities due to acquisitive crimes. His misunderstanding of the goals and aspirations of needle 'services' is as misguided as his understanding of New Zealand's "supposed' consideration to introduce forced treatment. NZ legislated in 1966 to do this but like most other educated and informed countries has moved away from it due to ineffectual outcomes. He may have been referring to a recent parliamentary hearing where a former policeman, now public speaker and pseudo-educator self-interestedly called for renewing such interventions but they were roundly dismissed. Likewise, Mr Bigras misrepresents the science behind both England's reclassification and Hollands border tourism issues. (He couldnt have got it more wrong on Scotland, see

It is however a fact that the NZ Law Commission, a statutory body headed by former Prime Minister and Bill of Rights architect Sir Jeffery Palmer, is undertaking a historic review of NZ drug laws including the international conventions that underpin them. The Canadian Senate Committee called for such international debate in 2002 and significantly this year the EU and the UN are doing some self examination from first principles. Mr Bigram may be pleased with Tony Clement's position on drugs but like Dan Gardiner, civil society globally is now confronting the abject failure of the current expenditure in enforcement 'demand reduction' to produce any quantitative or qualitative result. Such principled review is the stuff of social capital.

Blair Anderson Director, Educators For Sensible Drug Policy,


Re: An irrational and stupid drug policy, May 31. I fully support the government's new drug strategy for Canada that is based on prevention, treatment and enforcement. I thank Health Minister Tony Clement for taking a stand. Less than five per cent of the injection drug users of Vancouver use Insite, the supervised injection site, leaving 95 per cent on their own. Those statistics from the Insite report itself indicate to me that to meet all the needs of every injection user, Vancouver would need another 19 sites alone. Each site costing $3,000,000 per year. Not knowing how many will make it to treatment, only how many have been referred, means that this need could grow on a yearly basis. I respect Mr. Gardner's opinion but do not agree with it. I have worked in a volunteer capacity with the homeless, poor and addicts of the inner city of Ottawa for more than 12 years and have witnessed firsthand the deterioration of their lives and our city. Having visited Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, I can only pray that the same doesn't happen here in Ottawa. Mr. Gardner mentions that "real prevention means dealing with the social decay -- broken families, mental illness, illiteracy -- that promotes drug abuse." I agree that this indeed is the root cause and would definitely be a good starting place to invest money. This is the real issue at the end of the day. Harm reduction measures only ensure the addictive behaviour continues and doesn't do anything to prevent it from beginning in the first place. England has reclassified marijuana, Scotland is examining its methadone program, New Zealand is examining if it can force addicts into treatment and Amsterdam in Holland has closed some of its prostitution sites along with some cafes which are really cannabis distribution sites. My question to Mr. Gardner is: are all those other countries and governments also irrational and stupid given they are reviewing their drug policies and re-adjusting them to better serve the citizens?

ANDRE BIGRAS, Gatineau, Drug Prevention Network of Canada

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TV documentary: Prime Time Investigates: War Without End

An extraordinary documentary marking a new level in broadcast journalism critiquing the international war on drugs was shown on Irish TV. (3 June 2008).

Filmed in Colombia, Ireland, England, the US, The Netherlands, Switzerland and many more, it includes a veritable who’s who of drug policy experts on all sides of the debate.

"It is absolutely unequivocal in demonstrating the futility and massive costs of fighting the war on drugs, as well as suggesting legal regulation as a viable alternative." - Emily C

A must see for anyone interested in the debate.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Cannabis is not a cause of anti-social behaviour.

An advertisement distributed by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1935Image via Wikipedia In the politics of drug policy in the community an emerging concern is being expressed characterised by an anti-fun, anti-youth intolerance ranging from neo-prohibitionism to a 'more rules is better than some rules' debate surrounding alcohol deficits in the community. If Cannabis is not a cause of anti-social behaviour AND cannabis is displacing alcohol and other mind altering substances it can be reasonably argued its use is ''harm minimizing" AND producing a positive social outcome.

And why do those who are morally (or politically) concerned 'about drug harms' resist change (ie: "we don't need a third drug!") when cannabis is so prevalent and so benign by any comparison yet 'in their name and mine' its draconian sanction so damaging.

"The Advisory Council also found that cannabis use isn't actually associated with antisocial or criminal behaviour, but the public perception is that it is, because there's a lot of misleading information which confuses people." - Dr Margaret Melrose, reader in applied social science at the University of Bedfordshire

Why do we make rational movement in the policy analytic standard seemingly 'illegal to discuss' if not downright impossible?

Blair Anderson

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Long-term daily cannabis use seen harmful to brain tissue, mental health

SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 13:  Corey Kelly, who is HIV positive, smokes medicinal marijuana at the Alternative Herbal Health Services cannabis dispensary July 13, 2006 in San Francisco. San Francisco city planners are deciding July 13 if they will issue a permit to allow Kevin Reed to open the Green Cross medical marijuana dispensary right in the middle of San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf area, a popular tourist destination.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Corey KellyImage by Getty Images via Daylife
Dr. Yucel says "Many people in the community, as well as cannabis users themselves, believe that cannabis is relatively harmless and should be legally available,"
(see Yucel Research link here)

This argument is a straw man.

The heavy use of cannabis as characterized by this study [5+ daily joints*356*10yrs] would be the extreme exception in consumption.

It would be very difficult to find 15 cannabis only consumers in Australia using at this level.

(further) This heavy consumption was occurring in a context of absolute prohibition, clear evidence of policy 'efficacy' failure being so predicated on zero tolerance of any harm.

But what do we find? A harm association by a correlation only, and as reported elsewhere - no basis for thinking there is cannabis harm causation other than at sub clinical behavioral measures.

Remember the UN cannabis related covenants sanctions billions of dollars annually on police, justice, law, and corrections and maintains a culture of global corruption and injustice that hurts tens of thousands of innocent non-cannabis users. Who is protecting their neuroanatomical wellbeing?

What we have here is a premise that cannabis is NOT harmless whereas sociological and epidemiology 'evidence' demonstrates that relative to alcohol and tobacco, cannabis harms have been AND continue to be largely overstated. This is a substantially different reason for legal regulation than the inferred argument that the legal status should not change because 'some harm' at the extreme end of consumption can be demonstrated. Dr. Yucel's research is no justification for continuing criminalisation to save people from themselves. The inference that it is makes the academic value of this research moot.

Consider, were the same 15 individuals to have consumed (and displaced joints) some eighteen thousand drams of single malt whiskey over ten years Dr. Yucel and his team would have been counting death certificates and adding up hospital bills for mental health incidences, accidents and disease including cancer, liver disease, cardiovascular issues, diabetes and more.

By any standard this research is arguably a testimony to cannabis being an effective 'alcohol displacement harm reduction' intervention with fewer downsides than most 'bigpharma' medications. It is easier, cheaper, more respectful [informed consent] and more efficacious if the evidence presented here was used to making the case for 'there are some self medication harms but there is no impediment to legal regulation to enable credible health promotion'.

Remember, prohibition didn't stop these 15 males consuming to the Max. and had we not MRI'd them, we (both researcher and society) wouldn't in all likelihood even noticed them.

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

Social Ecologist 'at large'

ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Pot Shrinks Brain but subclinical effect!

Chronic Cannabis Use May Affect Brain Structures, Memory and Mental Health (Interview with Murat Yücel, PhD)

Long-term, heavy cannabis use 'alters brain' - - Long-term, heavy cannabis use 'alters brain', UK - 11 minutes ago Full Story Long-term, heavy cannabis use could result in structural abnormalities in areas of the br...
Heavy marijuana use shrinks brain parts: study - U.S. Daily - Heavy marijuana use shrinks brain parts: study U.S. Daily, ca - 14 minutes ago The study, published in the American Medical Association's journal Archives of General Psychiatry, also fo...
Cannabis may shrink brain, scientists report - - Cannabis may shrink brain, scientists report, UK - 19 minutes ago Smoking cannabis for long periods of time may shrink parts of the brain that govern memory, emotion and aggr...

oh dear....

But consider... BRITAIN’S new drug Czar wants to DOWNGRADE mind-bending ecstasy and LSD. Professor David Nutt, [Experts to debate New Zealand drug laws - 15 February 2008, : NZ Drug Foundation ] who was appointed last month says they should no longer be class A because it does not deter people from taking them. Should we be surprised that he also said moving Cannabis to Class B was "naive"

We live in interesting times

Blair Anderson

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Cannabis - no threat. Very relevant to NZ Law Comm. review?

Small data set but very relevant to NZ Law Comm. drug policy review?

It complements the important sociology research paper presented by Geoff Noller at Otago University in early May.


"I would argue that it is the prohibition of marihuana that actually leads to crime," he said. "Not that there aren't any cases where someone is inebriated and in such a state that they aren't thinking clearly and do things that normally they wouldn't do, but that is the same with alcohol. If you look at it, the drug that is most highly correlated with crime, particularly violent crime, is alcohol. And no one is calling for that to be criminalized."

.... snip....

"Although these findings are not generalizable given the small sample size, if they are corroborated by further ethnographic research there may be a compelling reason to reconsider present laws that prohibit marihuana use and treat recreational marihuana users as criminals. These recreational marihuana users do not consider their marihuana use as a compulsive behaviour resulting from some form of pathology such as boredom, alienation or depression, as is often asserted by those who support the current drug laws. They are no more escaping reality through their use of marihuana than those people who are engrossed by novels, enthralled by television and movies, mesmerized by religious prayer and devotion, captivated by playing online role-playing games, thrilled by roller-coasters and theme-park rides, or engaged in any other mind- and mood-altering behaviour."

(my highlighting)
Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

Social Ecologist 'at large'

ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219

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