marijuana

Colorado’s violent crime plummets after legalisation of weed

Coincidence?

The murder rate in Colorado has fallen dramatically ,by more than 50%, since the legalisation of cannabis.

According to government data released this week, the city- and countywide murder rate has dropped 52.9% since recreational marijuana use was legalized in January. This is compared to the same period last year, a time frame encompassing Jan. 1 through April 30.

f13d0115939a1e66aa350d8215928aed Read more »

Cannabis going corporate?

Marijuana plants grow under artificial sunlight in one of the many climate-controlled rooms at Tweed Marijuana in Smiths Falls, Ontario. Tweed is one of about 20 companies that are licensed to grow medical marijuana in Canada. Credit Dave Chan for The New York Times

Marijuana plants grow under artificial sunlight in one of the many climate-controlled rooms at Tweed Marijuana in Smiths Falls, Ontario. Tweed is one of about 20 companies that are licensed to grow medical marijuana in Canada. Credit Dave Chan for The New York Times

With expanding legalisation in the US it appears that cannabis is going corporate.

That is certainly the case in Canada.

How long before we hear the term “Big Weed”?

Hershey stopped producing chocolate in Smiths Falls, Ontario, six years ago. The work went to Mexico, but the factory remains, along with reminders of the glory days: A sign that once directed school buses delivering children for tours. A fading, theme-park-style entrance that marks what used to be the big attraction — a “Chocolate Shoppe” that sold about $4 million of broken candy and bulk bars a year.

The once ever-present sweet smell of chocolate is gone, too. In the high-ceilinged warehouse, where stacks of Hershey’s bars and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups once awaited shipment, the nose now picks up a different odor: the woody, herbal aroma of 50,000 marijuana plants.

Clinical, climate-controlled rooms with artificial sunlight house rows upon rows of plants at various stages of growth. In the “mother room,” horticulturalists use cuttings to start new plants. The “flowering rooms” are flooded with intense light 12 hours a day to nurture nearly grown plants in strains with vaguely aristocratic names like Argyle, Houndstooth and Twilling.   Read more »

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Dissent of the Day – Legalisation of Cannabis

Another reader emails on the issue of cannabis legalisation responding to William’s email.

Brett makes some good points too:

Hi Cam.

After reading your correspondents argument for legalisation of cannabis I thought the alternative view was worth considering as well. The concept that legalising cannabis removes the “cost of fighting violent cartels” 
. and “prevent ordinary otherwise law abiding citizens from consuming public resources” is simplistic in its approach and overstates the potential benefits.

Firstly the concept of violent cartels doesn’t really apply in NZ to the extent it does in South America for example. For sure organised criminal gangs are actively involved in distribution of cannabis but legalising cannabis would not remove them from the NZ crime scene, it would simply cause them to focus on other revenue streams such as meth, heroin etc. It would however create another method to launder revenue from the other illegal activities as legitimate cannabis revenue. it would probably also increase their business opportunities as a flow on effect.  More legal drug users mean more potential illegal drug users as there is plenty of evidence supporting the concept of Cannabis increasing the susceptibility to addiction. Its simply about growing target markets.

By creating a legal cannabis industry you are creating an industry that has a vested interest in increasing cannabis use. The more people who smoke, the more profit they generate. The last thing our economy needs is an increased population of hop heads who cant function to reasonable levels of productivity. There is absolutely no doubt that cannabis use results in poorer cognitive performance. While Alcohol is metabolised out of the body in a matter of hours, cannabis takes six weeks or more. Due to the fact that the THC deposits itself in certain body fats, particularly those around the brain, its effects are cumulative. Some studies indicate that regular use of cannabis  lowers the average IQ of the user by 6 points. Just what we need in NZ , more dumbasses who don’t contribute to society!

Think that legalisation wouldn’t increase its use? Did lowering the drinking age contribute to increased youth binge drinking and the associated social problems? Did legalised synthetic cannabis create a new population of drug users because ‘it was legal’ and promoted by greedy manufacturers with no ethics?   Read more »

A reader emails about Legalisation of Cannabis

William emails:

It is increasingly obvious that the prohibition of what legal highs attempt to replicate is shortsighted.

People will continue to do whatever it is that they choose to do, which in this case is experimenting with a plant that has grown naturally for thousands of years. Whether or not this plant is illegal is irrelevant to them.

As it stands, the prohibition delivers three hits to New Zealand. The first is the cost of fighting violent cartels and this cost will only increase. This is a ‘war’ that will not end, so would it not be a better state of affairs if New Zealanders did not break the law and fund violent cartels every time they indulged?

The second hit is the lost revenue because of non-taxation. Instead of giving violent cartels an enormous revenue stream, why does the government not collect tax on the product so as to pay for its detrimental effects? A similar state of affairs exists with both alcohol and cigarettes, both of which would be illegal if judged by the same criteria as marijuana. There would be boosted revenues for the government in G.S.T, income tax and company tax, aside from the thousands of jobs that would be created for those in the industry.  Read more »

Uruguay’s goal to make cannabis good and cheap

Uruguay is legalising cannabis, the first country to allow the cultivation and sale of cannabis.

They are slowly explaining how the rules will work.

Uruguayans will be allowed to buy enough marijuana to roll about 20 joints a week at a price well below the black market rate, the government said on Tuesday as it detailed a new law legalizing the cannabis trade.

Congress in December approved a law allowing the cultivation and sale of marijuana, making Uruguay the first country to do so, with the aim of wresting the business from criminals.

Leftist President Jose Mujica signed a decree outlining the fine print of the new policy on Tuesday. It says Uruguayans will be able to buy up to 10 grams of marijuana a week at between $0.85 and $1 dollar a gram, a low price designed to compete with black market cannabis that mostly comes from Paraguay.

Activists who have backed the measure said legalized marijuana would be high-grade and affordable.

“You can’t compare a flower that is quality-controlled by the Public Health Ministry … with Paraguayan (stuff) which is absolutely harmful because it has external substances,” said Bruno Calleros of the Cannabis Liberation Movement.

He said legal marijuana would cost roughly 20 percent of the current market price for similar high-quality marijuana.

Each Uruguayan will also be allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants or the equivalent of 480 grams (about 17 ounces) for personal use and form smoking clubs of 15 to 45 members that can grow up to 99 plants per year.

Read more »

Police against cannabis reform

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No surprises here, the Police are opposed to cannabis reform preferring instead to continue waste resources prosecuting people for using cannabis. They have already virtually decriminalised cannabis in any case by not prosecuting most users caught with a joint or two…instead going after larger quantities.

But for all the years of battling cannabis they are no closer to eradicating it from our shores. You have to wonder why they bother…then again this is the same people who say having a pistol grip on a rifle is bad…for no reason whatsoever and no scientific proof that having a pistol grip makes the owner of a rifle a homicidal maniac.

Still they are opposed to legalisation of cannabis and the sole basis for coming to this conclusions is that 5 people last year removed themselves from the gene pool by driving drugged.

Police say they do not support the decriminalisation of natural cannabis despite calls by Auckland’s Deputy Mayor that it’s safer than banned synthetic versions.

Penny Hulse said it was time New Zealanders discussed the decriminalisation of cannabis, much as they had had discussions on prostitution and same-sex marriage.

But a police national headquarters spokesman said there was no political will for decriminalisation and their stance on the issue was clear.

“Police do not support the decriminalisation of cannabis.”

[...]    Read more »

Backlash to Legal Highs happening overseas as well

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The Daily Mail reports

More than 20 UK music festivals have banned the sale of ‘legal highs’ at their events this summer after a spike in the number of people dying from the drugs.

The festivals, which include T in the Park, Bestival, Lovebox, Global Gathering and Sonisphere, will also take part in a ‘digital blackout’ on Monday to highlight the danger of taking the drugs. Read more »

Stunning hypocrisy about trying to get a German out of the country

Matthew Theunissen reports on this hapless German exchange student

A German international student has been expelled from school and faces being kicked out of the country because he had one puff on a joint in his free time.

The move has been labelled excessive by the teenager’s family, who are incensed that international students are held to a different set of standards than locals, but Tauranga Boys College is standing by its decision.

The 17-year-old, who wished to remain anonymous, and four other German international students met after school on March 7 and decided to procure and consume marijuana.

Because he had a motorbike, the student was the one who purchased $80 of the drug before the group met in a local park.

He said he only had one puff and was not intoxicated when he drove home.
“I couldn’t really inhale it and I had to cough because it hurt. It wasn’t for me.”

One joint, 5 students, 1 puff.     Read more »

The classic liberal view on legal highs

Stephen Franks has a good post from the classic liberal perspective on the current moral outrage over legal highs.

There are plenty of good reasons to challenge the criminalisation of suppliers of goods not proven dangerous (and even those that are plainly dangerous – like alcohol) to willing adult buyers. Supply offenders are not ‘victimless’, because drug users are losers. But the ‘victims’ seek out the ‘offenders’.

A tenet of liberty is that the state’s coercive powers should not be used to limit the freedom of informed adults. For years we struggled to get rid of the laws that enforced only a censorious majority’s opinion of what behaviour was self damaging. Laws against homosexuality, breaking marriage vows, abandoning your responsibilities to support children and aged parents and many other ‘moral offenses’ have been repealed. The slogan ‘the law has no place in the bedrooms of the nation’ reflected a view that minorities should be free of majority tyranny.

It will be interesting to see if any National Party MPs dare to distinguish their position on these drugs from freedom to ride motocross, or play polo, or climb mountains, or play rugby, or not wear a helmet on your quad bike? Why applaud nanny state banning of this one form of self harm but have no law against eating too much or drinking  to drunkenness, or giving yourself diabetes with soft drinks, or any other of the myriad  ways people harm themselves.

Some of those harms are much more expensive (in terms of the numbers who are susceptible) and with more proven cause/consequence connection.   Read more »

Cannabis – the dissenting view

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In case I get accused of pushing one particular agenda or another here is the counter argument against legalisation of cannabis from the Heritage Foundation.

Ken Sabet outlines what he says are the Seven Myths arguing that cannabis is fine.

Myth No. 1: “Marijuana is harmless and non-addictive”

No, marijuana is not as dangerous as cocaine or heroin, but calling it harmless or non-addictive denies very clear science embraced by every major medical association that has studied the issue. Scientists now know that the average strength of today’s marijuana is some 5–6 times what it was in the 1960s and 1970s, and some strains are upwards of 10–20 times stronger than in the past—especially if one extracts THC through a butane process. This increased potency has translated to more than 400,000 emergency room visits every year due to things like acute psychotic episodes and panic attacks.

Mental health researchers are also noting the significant marijuana connection with schizophrenia, and educators are seeing how persistent marijuana use can blunt academic motivation and significantly reduce IQ by up to eight points, according to a very large recent study in New Zealand. Add to these side-effects new research now finding that even casual marijuana use can result in observable differences in brain structure, specifically parts of the brain that regulate emotional processing, motivation and reward. Indeed, marijuana use hurts our ability to learn and compete in a competitive global workplace.

Additionally, marijuana users pose dangers on the road, despite popular myth. According to the British Medical Journal, marijuana intoxication doubles your risk of a car crash.

Myth No. 2: “Smoked or eaten marijuana is medicine.”

Just like we don’t smoke opium or inject heroin to get the benefits of morphine, we do not have to smoke marijuana to receive its medical effects. Currently, there is a pill based on marijuana’s active ingredient available at pharmacies, and almost two-dozen countries have approved a new mouth spray based on a marijuana extract. The spray, Sativex, does not get you high, and contains ingredients rarely found in street-grade marijuana. It is likely to be available in the U.S. soon, and today patients can enroll in clinical trials. While the marijuana plant has known medical value, that does not mean smoked or ingested whole marijuana is medicine. This position is in line with the American Medical Association, American Society of Addiction Medicine, American Glaucoma Foundation, National MS Society, and American Cancer Society.    Read more »