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Reefer is Worth Getting Mad About

LdyLunatic

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Vienna -- Supporters of the legalization of cannabis would have us believe that it is a gentle, harmless substance that gives you little more than a sense of mellow euphoria.
Sellers of the world's most popular illicit drug know better. Trawl through websites offering cannabis seeds for sale and you will find brand names such as Armageddon, AK-47 and White Widow. "This will put you in pieces, then reduce you to rubble -- maybe quicksand if you go too far," one seller boasts. This is much closer to the truth.
In Canada, as in most parts of the world, cannabis is by far the drug of choice. An estimated 4 per cent of the world's adult population -- that's about 162 million people -- consume cannabis at least once a year, more than all other illicit drugs combined.
Does that matter? I firmly believe it does, because the cannabis now in circulation (like Canada's BC Bud) is many times more powerful than the weed that today's aging baby boomers smoked in college. The characteristics of cannabis are no longer that different from those of other plant-based drugs, such as cocaine and heroin.
Evidence of the damage to mental health caused by cannabis use -- from loss of concentration to paranoia, aggressiveness and outright psychosis -- is mounting and cannot be ignored. Emergency room admissions involving cannabis are rising, as is demand for rehabilitation treatment. These health problems are increasingly being seen in young people.
North America is the world's largest cannabis market and most of its cannabis is homegrown. The U.S. market alone has been valued at more than $10-billion. As Canadians are starting to discover, a market that size inevitably attracts organized crime. So cannabis is a security threat as well as a health risk.
Amid all the libertarian talk about the right of the individual to engage in dangerous practices, provided no one else gets hurt, certain key facts are easily forgotten.
Firstly, cannabis is a dangerous drug, not just to the individuals who use it. People who drive under the influence of cannabis put others at risk. Would even the most ardent supporter of legalization want to fly in an aircraft whose pilot used cannabis?
Secondly, drug control works. More than a century of universally accepted restrictions on heroin and cocaine have prevented what would otherwise have been a pandemic. Global levels of drug addiction -- think of the opium dens of the 19th century -- have dropped dramatically in the past 100 years. In the past 10 years or so, they have remained stable.
Cannabis is the weakest link in the international effort to contain the global drugs problem. In theory, it's a controlled substance. In practice, it's running rampant. It grows under the most varied conditions in many countries, a high-yielding plant that can be grown indoors. This makes supply control difficult.
But we can tackle demand, particularly among the young. That need not mean sending them to jail. Young people caught in possession of cannabis could be treated in much the same way as those arrested for drunk driving: fined, required to attend classes on the dangers of drug use and threatened with loss of their driving licence for repeat offences. Prison would be a last resort. Schools and universities should apply zero tolerance.
National policies on cannabis vary and sometimes change from one year to the next. The experience of countries that were more tolerant of cannabis use is ambiguous and not persuasive. The distinction between "soft" and "hard" drugs is, at best, artificial, especially with such a damaging psycho-active substance as modern-day cannabis. Even some advocates of cannabis as a "soft" drug are now reconsidering as they observe the devastating health consequences of abuse.
Canada was a pioneer in introducing systematic anti-smoking policies, which are now being copied around the world. Their success demonstrates that preventive measures can help to change attitudes. Similar policies are needed to prevent cannabis use getting completely out of control.
Let's draw the right conclusions. Cannabis is dangerous. We ignore it at our peril.
Note: Today's marijuana isn't the stuff baby boomers toked, says the UN's Antonio Maria Costa. Pot's characteristics now aren't that different from other plant-based drugs -- like cocaine and heroin.
Antonio Maria Costa is executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Author: Antonio Maria Costa
Published: August 5, 2006
Copyright: 2006 The Globe and Mail Company
 

Ganj

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Dear Antonio Maria Costa --

Shut the **** up.

Thanks.
 

LLCoolBud

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I second that.

If I could get paid by talking out my ass i'd be with Antonio, but unfortunatly this is not the case.

So... AGAIN

Dear Antonio Maria Costa

Shut the **** up.
 

DopeDoctor

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Theres so much wrong with that article, but I guess no one needs to point it out, its obvious, to us. However millions of people that have never had anything to do with weed read that, and think, "Wow, pot is ruining society, I have to support this idea, and bash any stoner I see"

In Canada, as in most parts of the world, cannabis is by far the drug of choice. An estimated 4 per cent of the world's adult population -- that's about 162 million people -- consume cannabis at least once a year, more than all other illicit drugs combined.
THATS TERRIBLE NEWS!!! PEOPLE PREFER SOFT DRUGS!!!!
 

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