Sunday, March 15, 2009

Run for your lives, there's reefer in that ciggie

The thing is, if you are going to try to invent a new reefer madness scare, it's a really bad idea to quote fantasy reports from one of the previous ones. Of course a report to Nixon said:

Seldom in the nation's history has there been a phenomenon more divisive, more misunderstood, more fraught with impact on family, personal, and community relationships than the marihuana phenomenon.

Nixon wanted to pander to his conservative base. What drove the Observer to the same sort of fabrication is beyond me. But the report is irresponsible. Teenage boys waste their days away smoking dope? This is news? The report quotes some guy from Drugscope, which has a strong interest in creating drug scares (it should go without saying why antidrugs charities would want drug scares to be blown up) and some lunatic Tory MP who claims to have met "many" families that have been devastated by MJ.

Yeah right. That's credible. But this is what happens. A bunch of people with an agenda fabricate a story out of anecdotes and plain invention, and then push it in the press. A willing hack writes a distorted, evidence-free, onesided piece of shit, and another plank is laid in the wowser's body of work. It must be true because the Observer says so, right? I know, ridiculous, but remember, there are people in this world gullible enough, or cynical enough, to claim that newspapers are good sources of knowledge. Wikipedia, you should note, thinks that newspapers like the Observer are "reputable sources". But this sort of shit is very lightly edited, and of course there is no factchecking, on account of the piece not including any facts.

***

Here are the facts though:
The level of marijuana use is no higher than it was 20 years ago.
Although there are some forms of skunk available that are stronger than your dad's puff, the average strength of MJ has not risen.
There is no causative link between MJ and mental illness, although some studies have suggested a correlation. (Even if it were fact that MJ caused mental illness in the susceptible, which is the strongest claim you could even hope to stand up on the evidence, it would not be reasonable to prohibit MJ on that basis, any more than it would be reasonable to ban peanuts because some people react badly to it.)
Several studies have suggested that marijuana is much less harmful than legal and readily available drugs. (I say suggested, but of course some studies have very strongly stated that this is the case. It remains ridiculous to prohibit marijuana but allow alcohol consumption.)
Marijuana is not addictive. Even heavy smokers can go cold turkey without suffering withdrawal symptoms.

My view remains, of course, that the government has no right at all to prevent us from using the drugs of our choice, and it should focus its energies on harm minimisation and reducing incentives to take drugs. Ultimately, if your teen is smoking so much ganj that they can't get it together to do anything constructive, maybe you need to look at the alternatives you provided them in the first place.

2 Comments:

At 5:51 pm, Blogger Father Luke said...

I'm downloading grass from
Pirate's Bay with torrent files.

- -
Okay,
Father Luke

 
At 6:21 pm, Blogger nobody said...

Your quote from that report to Nixon was, if taken literally and out of context, entirely true. Of course the context sets it in the negative.

"Seldom in the nation's history has there been a phenomenon more divisive, more misunderstood, more fraught with impact on family, personal, and community relationships than the marihuana phenomenon."

Entirely true. Few other phenomena have ever shown so many, so quickly, so lucidly, what a crock of shit they've been fed.

"Ultimately, if your teen is smoking so much ganj that they can't get it together to do anything constructive, maybe you need to look at the alternatives you provided them in the first place."

Or perhaps look at your idea of what "constructive" means. "Constructive" does not mean "contributory to the material success of the state".

 

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