Opinions - Public relaxed on the use of cannabis

Discussion in 'Drug Policy Reform & Narco Politics' started by Lunar Loops, Aug 14, 2006.

  1. Lunar Loops

    Lunar Loops Driftwood Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Why concentrate on the number of admissions to hospitals supposedly due to cannabis use, when this is only a minor line in an otherwise generally positive article? It's like give with one hand, but take with the other. Make sure there is a lasting doubt in Joe Public's mind about the possible dangers of cannabis use. The Torygraph; I suppose I should expect no better from the tabloid broadsheet with the bulldog bite. This from The Daily Telegraph (UK):

    Public relaxed on the use of cannabis
    By Philip Johnston, Home Affairs Editor

    (Filed: 14/08/2006)

    Most people would be happy to see the personal use of cannabis decriminalised or penalties for possession lowered to the status of a parking fine, says one of the largest opinion surveys conducted on the issue.
    [​IMG]
    The report showed that 700 annual hospital admissions on mental health grounds resulted from cannabis use

    However, the majority of the public is adamantly against any lessening of the restrictions on heroin or crack cocaine, drawing a clear distinction between so-called hard and soft drugs.
    Three quarters of people think that the sale and possession of hard drugs should remain a serious criminal offence but only a third think the same of soft drugs.
    The YouGov survey, carried out for the The Daily Telegraph and the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), indicates a pragmatic attitude towards drugs, legal and illegal, with many people acknowledging that the damage caused by alcohol and tobacco often outweighs that from the occasional use of soft drugs.
    The findings follow a report this month from the Commons science and technology committee suggesting that the drugs classification system, which dates from 1971, should be scrapped and replaced by a scale that rates substances on the basis of health and social risks.
    The committee proposed a scale that would rate substances purely on that basis, removing the link with potential punishments under the law.
    The scale would include legal drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco, to give "a better sense of the relative harm involved" in the consumption of drugs.
    The Government is discussing new policies as part of a review of its 10-year drugs strategy, which runs out in 2008.
    There is growing pressure on ministers to consider a new approach based on a "rational" ranking of the harm that various substances cause.
    The YouGov poll suggests that the public would be receptive to such a move.
    Its findings will help to underpin the work of the RSA's commission on illegal drugs, communities and public policy, which has spent more than a year looking at the issue and will report in December.
    Asked which substances caused most harm, respondents placed tobacco and alcohol well ahead of cannabis and only just behind heroin.
    That reflects the thinking of scientists who have drawn up a new scale based on risk which they say should replace the A, B and C rankings introduced in the Misuse of Drugs Act 35 years ago.
    On this template, alcohol would be a borderline Class A/B drug because it is involved in more than half of all visits to accident and emergency departments and orthopaedic admissions. It often leads to violence and is a frequent cause of car accidents.
    YouGov also confirms a sizeable age gap in attitudes to drugs: people born after 1960 are far more likely to regard their use as inevitable, whether or not they approve.
    Government policy in recent years has been moving towards a tougher crackdown on hard drugs while encouraging the police to focus less, if at all, on the personal use of soft drugs such as cannabis.
    That approach was behind the reclassification of cannabis and was reinforced by a recently published internal Whitehall study suggesting that most acquisitive crimes were committed by an estimated 280,000 high harm drug-users to support their cocaine and heroin habits. It found that the approach adopted over the past decade had failed to reduce hard drug use and the crime that accompanied it.
    The study also said that more than three million people used illicit drugs every year and compared the 749 deaths annually from heroin and methadone with the 6,000 deaths from alcohol abuse and 100,000 from tobacco.
    It also showed that about 700 annual hospital admissions on mental health grounds resulted from the use of cannabis, compared with 500 for heroin users.
     
  2. Forthesevenlakes

    Forthesevenlakes Platinum Member

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    while I think that any drug should be legal but accompanied by much better, and realistic drug education, this article is interesting in that it shows that public attitudes towards cannabis may be changing for the better.

    i'm not sure i fully buy the fact that "700 annual hospital admissions on mental health grounds resulted from the use of cannabis". what would qualify as cannabis causing mental health issues? a parent putting their child into detox because he/she was caught smoking pot? or have they proven that cannabis somehow triggered mental health issues in some people? to swim's knowledge cannabis users are a subsection of the population, and as such may have mental health issues that arise independently of their use. wonder if this is taken into account.

    also, the title of this article is rather funny if you think about it, its the whole reason i read this thread =]
     
  3. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

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    I do not agee with complete legalizing of all drugs. IMO the idea behind the new zealand schedule 4 is good. Schedule 4 drugs are legal to sell within certain conditions. The Kiwi's do not follow up on this thought and hardly apply control to schedule 4 substances. The world wide sales of piperazines is proof of that. The NZ government is stupid enough to believe in self control of the party pills industry. It's a multi million business and could easely cough up the finances for a regulatory body.

    IMO substances should be lightly to heavely regulated by the government depending on harmfulness and addictivity of the substance. Making several less harmful or addictive substances legally available would have an impact of the consumption of more harmful substances.
    More harmful substances should be available under strict medical supervision and strict conditions.
     
  4. Bajeda

    Bajeda Super Moderator Platinum Member & Advisor

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    I believe it wise to have extremely dangerous drugs under control.


    However politically he believes all drugs should be legalized. Its a matter of principle. The government doesn't have any right to regulate what goes into my body so long as it doesn't hurt other people.

    In a perfect world this would work, but probably not so much in the real world. A nice compromise could be achieved through sorting out hard/soft drugs through their respective qualities, such as medical benefits, spiritual benefits, level of risk, level of addiction, how much they contribute to problems affecting people in society other than the user, etc.

    I believe sensible drug policy can be achieved, but its going to be a long hard road to get there I feel. A good first step would be to start actively talking about this though and produce some solid information instead of having either side saying "Its picture perfect" or "Its downright terrible"


    The 700 per year thing could be very sketchily checked by looking at the percentage of people in the population who are schizophrenic compared to the percentage of people in the population who consume cannabis. This would be a very rudimentary check however. Maybe theres some more research on the statistics of the issue. I'll have to check later.
     
  5. Alicia

    Alicia Gold Member

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    swia thinks out of all substances they ed have more difficulty controlling drug use such as crack,cocaine,speed possibly more so that, and meth. If everything would decrimilsed ,legalized what ever I can see them having problems with those certain drugs, wheres with opiates they seem to be self regulating to a point but stimulant drugs would be more of a hand ful.
     
  6. Bajeda

    Bajeda Super Moderator Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Swim thinks that as those drugs are more dangerous to society they would be taxed more heavily, but then again who is to decide what is dangerous or not? Its very hard making laws that seem just to everyone.
     
  7. Alicia

    Alicia Gold Member

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    i think i was referring to management of abusive stimulant users rather then the direct dangers themselves.. i know what u mean thou.
     
  8. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

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    What percentage of users of a drug become addicted, get health problems, violent, psychological problems, etc. can define the risk of a drug. This information should be used to define the amount of control on each drug.
     
  9. prescription

    prescription Newbie

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    The first part is true, the NZ government doesnt really bother enforcing party pills because the only real conditions are age and ingrediants and event his has been tightened with regulations on the ingrediatns becoming tighter and tighter (BZP is a good example of an ingrediant that they are currently trying to control).
    The reason why the control is being slackened is because to the NZ police this is an item in the same school as alcohol and cigarettes and so its enforced in the same nonchalant way.
    Also saying that the the party pill industry will manage to pay off a board... well as soon as a couple of fatalities occur then the pills will be taken off the market anyways, its a sort of test phase right now.

    Good post just thought Id add my 2 cents. :)
     
  10. bewilderment

    bewilderment Drug Geek Extraordinaire Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Exactly. And, really, is a drug more dangerous to society while legal or while illegal? While legalization of highly addictive drugs can result in increased use (an example simply being alcohol and cigarettes), the criminalization results in a rise of violent crimes as druglords take over the business. The people who usually make it "big" in the drug industry, and those more likely to be involved in more violent criminal activities are those who deal with the more addictive substances such as meth and crack. This is not always the case, but more often it is. Hence, legalizing things like marijuana and mushrooms are not going to make a big dent on the violent crimes associated with so-called "hard drugs".

    And, yeah, what is a dangerous drug? I believe there's more to consider than just the physical addictiveness. What's the worst: gasoline, crack, Datura, alcohol, smack, PCP, or starter fluid?

    IMO, all drugs should be legalized and come with information pamphlets for harm reduction. I have parents, I don't need parenting for the government as well. Everyone should have the right to do whatever they wish with their own bodies so long as it does not violate the rights of others whether or not it is healthy...this refers to the right to eat McDonald's cheeseburgers every day for the rest of your life as well as the right to ingest whatever substance one wishes.
     
  11. Riconoen {UGC}

    Riconoen {UGC} Newbie

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    amen to that bewilderment.
     
  12. zera

    zera Gold Member

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    It's important to remember that many drugs have become "hard" or gained their hard aspects because of them being made illegal in the first place. For example one of the reasons that heroin is so widely injected rather than snorted is because of its low quality caused by the fact that it's illegal. Crack cocaine probably would have never been invented or at least become widely used if it wasn't for the cocaine laws in the first place.

    Switzerland has achieved much success with their de facto heroin legalization experience and there's no denying that heroin is one of the hardest drugs out there. In Swim's opinion the harder the drug the more impetus there is to legalize (or at least decriminalize it). There's far more social problems associated with cocaine and heroin use and distribution than marijuana use and distribution.
     
  13. podge

    podge Gold Member

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    very true man...very fucking true