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“Cannabis has become the football in a contest between evidence and passion”

Headline: May 8, 2008UK: Cannabis Upgrade Made Official – Britain has moved Cannabis back to “Class B” – the culmination of months of debate and propaganda regarding the relative safety of Cannabis (marijuana), especially in the area of mental health among the young.  In January 2004, under Tony Blair’s administration, Cannabis was downgraded to “Class C” – along with tranquilizers and the like, possession of which is a non-arrestable offence.

Here is a TV show in Britain from last week that frames the debate, with additional annotation from from the You Tube producer:Question Time – 5.5.2008 Reclassification of Cannabis

Much has been made of “Skunk” – a generic name for the “new, powerful” Cannabis– blamed for many evils, including triggering of psychosis. Government and media concentrated on reports of a supposed 40% rise of schizophrenia cases among young people experimenting with the new marijuana. (Note that alcohol and other drugs cause a much higher incidence of mental illness – see below.) Much debate continues concerning the relative strength of today’s Cannabis compared with Cannabis of the past. One thing is certain, though – Prohibition always causes an escalation of concentrated substances, as bulky smelly items are difficult to smuggle and conceal. (Remember “Bathtub Gin & “Moonshine”? – they trumped beer & wine.) Therefore, pills and powders are favored while producers and traffickers of Cannabis are forced to concentrate their product, by using more potent varieties.

 There are always markets for high and low grade Cannabis (swag), just as was the case in the 1970’s – remember “Maui-Wowi”, “Thai Stick”, “Panama Red”, “Alculpoco Gold” – the list goes on. As smuggling across international borders has become very risky, it is true that the milder Sativa varieties indigenous to South America (“Columbian”) are largely unavailable, as indoor farming has favored Indica varieties and crosses, enabling a quicker harvest and more potent product.  The Modern Prohibitionists (Drug War proponents) can take credit for that one.

UK: OPED: Hysteria Over Cannabis Is Getting in the Way of Truth – “Cannabis has become the football in a contest between evidence and passion“. All this comes after an expert panel, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs ( ACMD ), tasked with recommending the best approach to the Cannabis “problem”, came to the conclusion that the classification should not to changed. Among the reasons: The supposed rise in mental illness is not reflected in the population during the rise in Cannabis potency, other factors than official classification influence young people to try Cannabis; and the saddling of these young people with criminal records and the resulting sanctions is detrimental to their futures.

At the 2007 National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) conference in California, Mitchell Earleywine, PhD, addresses the comparative risks of marijuana and other drugs for mental illness:2007 NORML Conference – Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D

Headline: July 30, 2007U.S. Reefer Inanity: Never trust the Media on Pot – Last summer, at the start of this debate, mental health experts tried to defuse the hysteria, as cited in this article by the Huffington Post. “One study found that alcohol has been found to increase the risk of psychosis by 800% for men and 300% for women.”

Headline: May 10, 2008US: Pot May Worsen Depression, Drug Czar Says – While acknowledging that he had no proof for what he was saying, America’s “Drug CzarJohn Waters warned parents of teens who are depressed and medicating themselves with Cannabis that pot may may the situation worse.  Experts, including one from NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse), pointed out that many young people smoke marijuana and never develop mental illness and that the evidence had been “stretched”.White House Report on Teen Marijuana Use

Blog: May 12, 2008 – How To Tell If The Drug Czar Is Lying? His Lips Are Moving – Paul Armantono, Deputy Director of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana laws) has an in depth analysis of this story.

Headline: May 13, 2008US: Heavy Marijuana Use Linked to Risk of Heart Attacks78 to 350 Joints per Week – Are you kidding?

If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
– Samuel Adams

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8 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Ninth Stage wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt “Cannabis has become the football in a contest between evidence and passion” Headline: May 8, 2008 – UK: Cannabis Upgrade Made Official – Britain has moved Cannabis back to “Class B” – the culmination of months of debate and propaganda regarding the relative safety of Cannabis (marijuana), especially in the area of mental health among the young.  In January 2004, under Tony Blair’s administration, Cannabis was downgraded to “Class C” – along with tranquilizers and the like, possession of whic […]

  2. By » Reefer Madness 2008 - UK to US on 13 May 2008 at 12:31 pm

    […] Lynn wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptAmong the reasons: The supposed rise in mental illness is not reflected in the population during the rise in Cannabis potency, other factors than official classification influence young people to try Cannabis; and the saddling of these … […]

  3. […] This recommendation comes shortly after Britain reversed several years of leniency on Cannabis users, reclassifying Cannabis as Class B, with the possibility of arrest and jail. (see previous post) […]

  4. […] catch-all term for the more potent “sinsimellia” Cannabis becoming popular in England (see previous post). The Global Cannabis Commission report states that much of the harms associated with Cannabis use […]

  5. […] compared to alcohol), fears of high potency “Skunk” weed infiltrating Britain (See Previous Post) and last spring Cannabis was returned to Class […]

  6. […] Marijuana Unearthed in Ancient Tomb – Once again, the theory that Cannabis high in THC (aka “skunk“) is a recent phenomenon to be feared is debunked. Preserved in desert conditions in […]

  7. […] Digitalis from the plant Foxglove, THC is derived from marijuana. Our government warns us about the “new, more powerful marijuana” with high levels of THC, yet allows pure THC in the form of Marinol to be prescribed as a Schedule Three medicine. I hope […]

  8. […] Digitalis from the plant Foxglove, THC is derived from Cannabis. Our government warns us about the “new, more powerful marijuana” with high levels of THC, yet allows pure THC in the form of Marinol to be prescribed as a Schedule Three medicine. I hope […]

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