Decriminalisation by stealth?

April 29th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Ian Steward at SST reports:

Police have been accused of “decriminalisation by stealth” after a study showed possession arrests have halved in the last 18 years.

A Massey University research centre report shows despite the number of users remaining constant, arrests for cannabis possession since the late 1990s have fallen.

The Government says its policy is anti-cannabis and anti-decriminalisation, but the research shows there were 454 arrests for every 100,000 people in 1998, but only 227 by 2006.

It is worth noting that the research is up until 2006 only. But I doubt it has changed since.

Labour Justice spokesman Charles Chauvel said police had recognised the current approach to cannabis was failing, and had implemented changes in spite of the law. “It’s pretty much decriminalisation by stealth.”

He said a recent Law Commission report recommended cannabis be treated more as a health than a criminal issue, but Parliament “failed to act”.

At the time, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said the Government would not adopt the commission’s recommendation of a three-warnings approach to cannabis.

Chauvel said he agreed with the police approach, but would “prefer it was under the supervision of Parliament”.

I have to say I agree with Chauvel on this issue. The Law Commission recommendation of a mandatory caution scheme was a good one. By not implementing it, it means the Police operate such a scheme without legislative guidance which is less than ideal.

 

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42 Responses to “Decriminalisation by stealth?”

  1. Viking2 (11,571 comments) says:

    Like Rodney quite rightly points out in his column today. We dont need Govt. interference in stuff. You lot just can’t help yourselves though,at all. Bloody nannies all of ya.

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  2. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    It actually ideal that the police operate with the least possible interference from elected committee men.

    labour spent nine years trying to make the police a branch of the labour party

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  3. fish_boy (152 comments) says:

    No one gets arrested for smoking pot today unless they are dicks and blow smoke in the face of a cop or something. Hell, I can’t remember hearing of anyone in the last five years getting arrested for having a single pill on them when shaken down by the plod and in theory at least that is a class B.

    My theory is that, just like when juries wouldn’t convict back in the day if there was a death penalty likely, cops are aware of the inordinate impact a drug conviction can have on a young persons life in these interconnected database days. So they let people go rather than do a shitload of paperwork to ruin someones life over very little.

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  4. Will de Cleene (485 comments) says:

    The Law Commission also recommended a moratorium on the arrest of medical cannabis users, as well as a range of other sensible measures which the government has ignored. It is crazy that you can be prescribed morphine by your GP, but you can’t be prescribed cannabis.

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  5. Leaping Jimmy (16,634 comments) says:

    The whole cannabis regime here and elsewhere is totally skewed by the fact the US will not allow any country with which it has influence over, to have a relaxed regime. As exemplified by this recent quote:

    “It is no longer radioactive for leaders in Latin America to say that prohibition is not the only answer,” said Moises Naim, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

    Implying that up till now it has been radioactive to do so. Which everyone who knows anything about geopolitics already knows. Only ignorant idiots deny such a policy exists and its applied to every single trade partner not just the south americans.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303624004577340212625723878.html

    Including us in particular with the TPP which is a huge limiting factor in us changing our laws here. People like Dunn frankly have no idea what they’re talking on this issue. Guys who think like him should be tied down and made to smoke a series of huge doobies until they truly understand what it really is all about. I imagine that would cure his coiffure issue as well.

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  6. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,922 comments) says:

    I’s much rather the coppers spent their time locking up the murderous bastards who make and peddle P; the murderous brown bastards who, every week, kill and bash little children;and the murderous bastards who kill bus drivers for forty bucks.

    If some people want to smoke a bit of hootch, let them go and fry their brains in peace.

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  7. Christopher Thomson (377 comments) says:

    Wasn’t it on this very blog that was supporting the Otago Uni(?) study that supported the poverty connection that overwhelming showed that cannabis certainly was a gateway to harder drugs?

    Rather than supproting its decriminalisation and general acceptance on the spurious claim that everyone is doing it, maybe we should be taking a firmer stance and recognising the danger it presents.

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  8. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    (a lot of what you need to know on that subject..)

    http://whoar.co.nz/?s=cannabis+marijuana

    (especially recommended for that c.thomson..

    ..’gateway’..eh..?..

    ..yes..it is a gateway-drug..

    ..i used that gate to help me stop using tobacco/alcohol/heroin/cocaine…

    ..and that ‘gateway’ should be offered to anyone trying to stop most things…

    phillip ure@whoar.co.nz

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  9. Put it away (2,880 comments) says:

    So it was weed that turned you around from taking other peoples money by armed robbery to taking other peoples money by welfare fraud?

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  10. Weihana (4,606 comments) says:

    Adolf Fiinkensein,


    I’s much rather the coppers spent their time locking up the murderous bastards who make and peddle P

    Murderous? Gee, that doesn’t sound like hyperbole at all. With about 100,000 people using this drug in our society I should expect our murder rate to be astronomical. This sort of sensationalism is exactly the problem with debate about drugs and the harm they cause and the best regulatory methods to reduce that harm.

    To be clear, I am not expressing any sympathy with those who illegally produce methamphetamine. It is a very addictive and harmful drug, but the only reason it is manufactured in the neighbours house down the road is because it is illegal.

    I don’t believe it should be legalized for regular commercial consumption, but prohibition achieves little except to exacerbate the harm associated with the drug. I expect decriminalization would do the most to reduce the harm associated with the drug. It would reduce the price alleviating the harmful effects of poverty, it would greatly improve our ability to identify and treat those who are addicted, and it would also ensure the drug was safely manufactured.

    During the 40s and up until the mid-50s Heroin was widely prescribed in NZ in an oral dose form. We still do the same with other harmful drugs like Oxycodone. Despite the potential for abuse and the harmful effects of these drugs, which in my opinion rival those of any drug, somehow life still goes on.

    I’m not aware of any evidence that usage of P would change significantly as a result of a change in the legal status and common sense suggests that social trends play a far bigger role than legislation in governing how people behave. The vast majority of people do not use it because they are aware of the dangers, not because it is illegal.

    When people moralize the discussion on drugs and talk about “murderous” dealers they stifle honest debate. We could just as easily talk about “murderous” liquor stores which profit from selling alcohol to alcoholics who drink then drive and kill about 100 people every year on our roads. But what does this achieve other than to make one feel good about themselves and their self-righteous opposition to drug abuse?

    Sickness is best treated by health professionals, not with jackboots and prisons. Prohibition has been tried for decades and abuse of illicit drugs is pretty much as high as it has ever been. How many more decades of prohibition must we endure before the terminally stubborn accept that this experiment has failed and acknowledge the additional harm enforcement efforts create on top of the harm the drugs cause by themselves?

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  11. nickb (3,696 comments) says:

    So it was weed that turned you around from taking other peoples money by armed robbery to taking other peoples money by welfare fraud?

    fucking lol’d

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  12. DJP6-25 (1,389 comments) says:

    Charles Chauvel is right about dope being a medical issue. It’s also a matter of choice. I wonder if this will be a step on the way to ending prohibition?

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  13. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    …the Otago Uni(?) study that supported the poverty connection that overwhelming showed that cannabis certainly was a gateway to harder drugs…

    I’d be willing to bet that most of these “gateway” cannabis users had used alcohol or tobacco well before they tried cannabis, and yet no-one calls those “gateways” to harder drugs for the simple reason that they’re not illegal. Which offers an immediate and cheap solution to ending the role of cannabis as a gateway drug…

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  14. backster (2,185 comments) says:

    The Police need the right to use discretion, not legislative guidance like the Judges suffer from in determining sentences.
    Discretion allows them to take into consideration attitude, and the exchange of information about more serious offending.

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  15. WineOh (630 comments) says:

    Taxes on cigarettes more than cover the additional health costs to the public system.
    Taxes on alcohol are roughly half the amount of direct harm in the system (conservatively, it could be much lower than this depending on how you calculate alcohol harm).
    Tax on cannabis- zero – what is that as a percentage of weed related harm?

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  16. Weihana (4,606 comments) says:

    Christopher Thomson (310) Says:
    April 29th, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Wasn’t it on this very blog that was supporting the Otago Uni(?) study that supported the poverty connection that overwhelming showed that cannabis certainly was a gateway to harder drugs?

    When the people that supply cannabis also tend to supply other drugs then a correlation between cannabis use and use of other drugs is not unexpected.

    The other issue you have is that whilst the “gateway theory” considers illegal hard drugs it ignores the fact that many people in society use prescribed drugs that in my view are just as “hard” as the illegal ones. On the other hand many of the so-called “hard” illegal drugs are not particularly “hard” in relative terms. For instance, an individual who consumes a “party drug” on occasion is probably on safer ground than many who are prescribed powerful painkillers by their doctor and much of the danger party drug users face is due to the inability of consumers to really know what they are taking due to the illegal status of those drugs.

    Scientific studies rating the harmful effects of drugs are often at odds with the common perception (and legal status) of drugs and what qualifies as “hard”. Drugs like ecstasy and LSD are generally less harmful when considered objectively than many other drugs such as cannabis and alcohol which people generally view as “soft”.


    Rather than supproting its decriminalisation and general acceptance on the spurious claim that everyone is doing it, maybe we should be taking a firmer stance and recognising the danger it presents.

    We have tried this. The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs has been in force for some time now and drug abuse is as bad as it has ever been if not worse than before these punitive measures were introduced to deal with what is, fundamentally, a health issue.

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  17. Harriet (5,132 comments) says:

    Racing Stewards suspend jockeys for having pot in their ststems due to three facts, they are responsable for the lives of their fellow jockeys, the health of $100k investments and the money that is ‘on the line’ in a race.It’s all a business matter.

    Long, long before pot is legalised, employers will be making sure that the ‘science is setteled’ with regards to the efffects of having pot in ones body and working.At the moment, some employers can use ‘detection’ to keep these people from their place[s] of work, and this is about to become more popular, given the fact that once the ‘pot law’ is passed, most employers won’t then have the option of detection because ‘pot smoking in my private time’ is now ‘my right’.

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  18. Weihana (4,606 comments) says:

    Harriet,

    I think it’s fairly evident that chronic cannabis use has effects on short term memory which can persist for several weeks following cessation of the drug and it sounds perfectly reasonable to limit usage in certain areas of employment for safety and/or commercial reasons.

    If cannabis were legalized it would not likely prevent employers from stipulating in the employment contract that personal use of cannabis is a violation of the terms of agreement.

    An analogy can be made with alcohol and pilots. Commercial pilots are not permitted to get drunk the night before their flight despite it being in their “private time” because the effects of alcohol persist after consumption. A general rule of thumb is 12 hours for light drinking and 24 hours for moderate to heavy drinking. For some people their hangover lasts longer. If a pilot is an alcoholic they may also be medically unfit to fly.

    The fact that usage of a drug may not be a criminal offense does not mean that it is a fundamental right which overrides any contractual obligations one may have. To assume legalization means this is to assume a level of incompetence amongst our legislators that is not likely given the political hysteria that surrounds any mention of drug liberalization.

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  19. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    …once the ‘pot law’ is passed, most employers won’t then have the option of detection because ‘pot smoking in my private time’ is now ‘my right’.

    Just like airline pilots have the right to come to work with alcohol in their bloodstream because ‘drinking in my private time is my right,’ huh?

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  20. WineOh (630 comments) says:

    I’ve never smoked pot, and probably never will. Personally I think the stuff is vile, and reeks worse than tobacco smoke (oddly enough though the whole tobacco leaves drying in old wooden barns in the USA that I visited smelled amazing).

    The “war on drugs” that the USA started & continues to drive doggedly is an attack on ‘supply’ without really making a serious effort on the “demand” side of the equation. Stamp out the serious drugs with a two pronged approach of enforcement on the makers, importers and distributors of the nasty stuff (eg- Meth) but also equally support proper programs to get people off the stuff & keep them off. At minimum decriminalise dope, as a precursor to treating it like cigarettes, tax it heavily & make the users actually pay for whatever harm it does create (ask psyc nurses about whether dope is entirely benign).

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  21. hmmokrightitis (1,595 comments) says:

    How is it, when there is a discussion about dope, philu turns up…

    oh…

    :)

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  22. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    We already have laws to deter kids killing off their parents….this is a red herring straw man. It doesn’t change the fact that its still the individuals right to end their own life…and yes even if depressed.

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  23. big bruv (14,160 comments) says:

    So..on the one hand the government wants to outlaw tobacco yet the same government is telling us that dope is perfectly OK.

    One only has to look at what dope does to people to work out it is far more dangerous, at last count I can offer 11626 examples of the obvious damage it does to ones brain.

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  24. Steve (4,591 comments) says:

    hmmokrightitis (362) Says:
    April 29th, 2012 at 5:28 pm
    How is it, when there is a discussion about dope, philu turns up…

    Phool is probably suffering from the ‘wallop’ PIA gave him at 2.32
    ‘So it was weed that turned you around from taking other peoples money by armed robbery to taking other peoples money by welfare fraud?’

    The TAXPAYER is fucked off with you Phool

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  25. Viking2 (11,571 comments) says:

    People like Dunn frankly have no idea what they’re talking on this issue.

    Nor most others I suggest. Ultimate political fence sitting political prostitute.

    Seen here the other week.

    http://screencast.com/t/nhvEbllLwlG

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  26. Harriet (5,132 comments) says:

    Weihana,

    I was aware of the alcohol and pilots situation but some/most employers will still want the option to test staff for pot as they do with alcohol.This is not just a matter of safety, but also as you say in your previous comment ‘…with what is, fundamentally, a health issue…” no employer wants to be in the situation where they have to accomodate the ‘future health needs’ of a pot smoker as it would be another cost on business.Currently, when staff are effected by drugs and don’t perform or turn up for work, they are dismissed, but with drugs being ‘legalized’ I can then see ‘staff drug health matters’ that are self-induced, being incorporated into the same way we treat staff with other health matters that, for the most part, are not self induced, like the common cold, menstration or menopause.Employers do need the ‘right’ to test for drugs if drugs statistics/evidence can’t support the notion that drug taking is NOT ‘reasonably’ harmful to one’s health.Besides, it’s the health department, Police etc who say ‘drugs are a major cost on society’ so business, also, should be allowed to negate the chance that drug taking will be a cost on them.Insurance companies do it with smokers.

    ‘Detection’ to me, that would be of concern, is when staff are tested and show ‘constant’ drug use.Dismissal from employment should then be allowed.

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  27. wat dabney (3,809 comments) says:

    Have you ever caught those NZ/AUS reality TV police shows where so many young lives are ruined by police enforcing state drug dictates.

    “Oh we caught them with a bag of ecstasy pills.”

    Fuck them. They have no more legitimacy than the Mongrol Mob.

    Word to the wise: carry a gun. Shoot the police officer who stops you. Make sure he’s dead then torch the police car.

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  28. Leaping Jimmy (16,634 comments) says:

    WineOh, prohibition of an in-demand product simply doesn’t work. The lesson from prohibition could not be more stark and of course, if you forget the lessons of history, then and only then, are we condemned to repeat it. Which we are currently doing, in this area.

    You can moralise if you like, you can even rationalise, as to why narcotic drugs have to be prohibited, but since human societies are primarily driven by lust, gluttony and avarice – all the moralising and all the rationalising in the world fails to make a dent in actual human behaviour. This is why prohibition did not work, not in the US in the 20’s and why it doesn’t work, globally, for narcotics, today.

    Since it’s not rational to imagine one is going to change these human motivations anytime soon, one needs to if one wants to make a difference, design a system which allows these behavioural drivers to be managed, rather than pretending they don’t exist. Otherwise one will never change consumption because one is not striking at the root.

    In terms of drugs, it’s mostly gluttony which drives it and when committing gluttony, no one cares about their health, by definition. Even if it’s only for that meal or that night, then they do get back to caring about it. Avarice (price sensitivity) is also a factor as is lust (e.g. that’s why Exctasy is so popular) and I wouldn’t be surprised if a huge proportion of porn surfing is done while stoned. Anyhoo, my point is, design systems which take those drivers into account and manipulates them. For example you could use the health angle to drive moderation in the same way that moderation of chocolate could be driven, if chocolate were a state-authorised product not a product that any old company can provide willy nilly. That’s the power of decriminalization of drugs, the state controls supply and marketing.

    And almost invariably, the entire debate is framed around that pretence, which is kinda like tilting at windmills, isn’t it.

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  29. Griff (8,199 comments) says:

    Another case of the blind conservative power welded by total fools
    Cannabis is here to stay and no amount of coercion is going to change that fact
    Its way less harmful than alcohol and kills fewer people than panadol and disprin

    yet alcohol is legal to be advertised and sold
    And no one thinks twice about buying painkillers at the supermarket

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  30. pq (728 comments) says:

    the law came here, and I rolled up a joint in front of them,
    the law was about twenty years of age , and it just went away, it said
    if we see you drive drunk quixote you in big trouble.

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  31. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    The police do not want pot decriminalized. A lot of the bad criminals they deal with also supply. They don’t have as much to convict with (and face a nightmare having people sent off for a few pills that are the tip of an iceberg) if the judge couldn’t accept evidence of cannabis cultivation and supply.
    Presently they can execute routine cannabis searches for the guys who pose a real threat. A habit and antisocial behavior can go hand in hand. The Napier community was lucky Jan Molenaar didn’t go postal prior to the warrant and mow down many more victims. As for the drop in arrests – the police well know that if the teenager they face is already up on 20+ charges (like that charming dog owner BK Graham whose dog bit a man and she took it out on Whaleoil),, then it’s a waste of time booking her on another charge. The judge will just send her to the equivalent of finishing school on account of her being just a baabie

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  32. Griff (8,199 comments) says:

    Wot you are saying is that we make hundreds of thousands oflaw abiding citizens,including possum head who is on record as inhaling
    Criminals

    Just so we can convict real criminals as well with a bogus charge
    FFS

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  33. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    The police do not want pot decriminalized. A lot of the bad criminals they deal with also supply. They don’t have as much to convict with (and face a nightmare having people sent off for a few pills that are the tip of an iceberg) if the judge couldn’t accept evidence of cannabis cultivation and supply.

    Call me old-fashioned if you like, but “the Police find it convenient” doesn’t strike me as a compelling reason for a particular activity to be criminalised.

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  34. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    Decriminalisation by stealth?

    Like electoral offences?

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  35. Put it away (2,880 comments) says:

    Garrett – Eion Scarrow ‘fessed up some years back to starting the hoax about dogs and plastic water bottles, as an april fools gag on his gardening show back in the day. Just randomly came up with it off the top of his head, and 20 years later mongs still take it seriously.

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  36. UrbanNeocolonialist (310 comments) says:

    I agree with decriminalisation, but my parents have had a couple of employees over the years who over time lost the ability to work without constant supervision due to destruction of short term memory with heavy cannabis use. Why should we pay for these drug-fucked arseholes to sit around on sickness benefit or dole? This is rapidly growing problem as increasing automation and off-shoring of labouring jobs means a functioning brain is an absolute necessity for work. There needs to be a way for society to exempt cannabis abusers from qualifying for welfare if they can’t support themselves.

    Along the same lines we should make hard drugs free, provided they are used within a controlled establishment (like a special pub in middle of town). Sign in, take your hit of whatever you like and as much as you want, no medical assistance to be provided. Be confined till effects abate, lose access to free health care for any consequential injury and no dole or sickness benefit for users. Use by carers of children illegal. Use or distribution of hard drugs elsewhere death penalty.

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  37. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    Given that alcohol’s a hard drug, good luck getting that one through Parliament…

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  38. RRM (10,026 comments) says:

    Along the same lines we should make hard drugs free, provided they are used within a controlled establishment (like a special pub in middle of town). Sign in, take your hit of whatever you like and as much as you want, no medical assistance to be provided. Be confined till effects abate, lose access to free health care for any consequential injury and no dole or sickness benefit for users. Use by carers of children illegal. Use or distribution of hard drugs elsewhere death penalty.

    Would you include alcohol in this?

    If not, why not?

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  39. UrbanNeocolonialist (310 comments) says:

    Alcohol is an exceptional drug, for most people not addictive, producing a controllable high and aside from a few small populations most humans have a genetic history that includes evolutionary adaptation to alcohol over thousands of years so that the medical problems associated with anything other than very heavy long term abuse are almost nil. Of course there are problems arising from behaviour while inebriated and for a small proportion Alcoholism, but for most people these are not problematic.

    Contrast that to Cannabis: It is linked to debilitating long term mental health problems in a susceptible proportion of the population (cannabis promoters will claim pre-existing condition + self-medicating), on top of definite deterioration of memory and IQ. There are also the same health issues from smoking as for nicotine though these could be remedied by oral or other delivery methods. But the key thing is that heavy use of cannabis basically renders some proportion of your population unemployable. That does not mean it should be illegal.

    While I am happy to have a welfare system that supports and cover people for the random bad luck of genetics and accidents I don’t think we should pay to support people who choose self-destructive drug abuse (including long term alcoholism).

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  40. Griff (8,199 comments) says:

    Alcohol is an exceptional drug alright
    40% percent of hospital A&Admissions involve alcohol
    this increases to 60% during the weekend
    over half of all violent crime involves alcohol
    This country has a significant problem with fetal alcohol syndrome
    family breakdown mental problems addiction etc etc etc
    Then you can add the deaths due to alcohol both direct by alcohol poisoning corrosives of the liver etc
    and indirect murder car crash suicide stupid accidents etc

    cannabis kills 0 nilch nada none
    is not physically addictive at all
    short term memory impairment and motivation problems dissipate after weeks of non use
    social cost is almost non existents compared to alcohol no one gets stoned and beats the mises !
    If you are going to comment on the comparative t problems of drugs I would suggest reading
    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=nutt%20ralitive%20harm%20of%20drugs&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CDAQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.crimeandjustice.org.uk%2Fopus1714%2FEstimating_drug_harms.pdf&ei=-sidT_6LEcaUiAeY__3VDg&usg=AFQjCNH4P1LYs-paNU5yTcSNJMpLlr6z6Q
    as a starting point

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  41. Weihana (4,606 comments) says:

    UrbanNeocolonialist (13) Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 8:22 am


    Alcohol is an exceptional drug, for most people not addictive…

    Alcohol has a greater potential for dependence than cannabis and many other drugs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rational_scale_to_assess_the_harm_of_drugs_%28mean_physical_harm_and_mean_dependence%29.svg


    …producing a controllable high…

    As is the case with cannabis (any many other drugs). But the fact a high can be controlled doesn’t mean it will be controlled.


    …humans have a genetic history that includes evolutionary adaptation to alcohol over thousands of years so that the medical problems associated with anything other than very heavy long term abuse are almost nil.

    Cannabanoid receptors in the human brain have an evolutionary history of about 500 million years. So what? These drugs still have the potential to cause harm. Both have the potential for dependence and can cause harm, alcohol more so than cannabis.


    Of course there are problems arising from behaviour while inebriated and for a small proportion Alcoholism, but for most people these are not problematic.

    I’m not entirely sure that’s true “for most”. I suspect many users have more of a problem than they care to admit. I would simply conclude that the drug can be used in moderation and many people do. The same is true of Cannabis.


    Contrast that to Cannabis: It is linked to debilitating long term mental health problems in a susceptible proportion of the population (cannabis promoters will claim pre-existing condition + self-medicating), on top of definite deterioration of memory and IQ.

    I agree that long term chronic abuse of cannabis may be correlated with increased risk of mental health issues, as indicated by some studies. The same is true of chronic alcohol abuse. It is interesting that for one drug you differentiate between moderated and chronic abuse yet with the other drug you do not.


    But the key thing is that heavy use of cannabis basically renders some proportion of your population unemployable.

    As it does with alcohol.


    While I am happy to have a welfare system that supports and cover people for the random bad luck of genetics and accidents I don’t think we should pay to support people who choose self-destructive drug abuse (including long term alcoholism).

    Moralizing this discussion in terms of what people “choose” to do is the wrong approach in my view. Understanding why people make the choices they make is a better approach and will enable us to develop systems which create the right incentives and the right responses to people’s behaviour to achieve the most desirable outcomes.

    In terms of drug addiction, sitting at home on welfare with nothing to do is the last thing they need. However, addicts do have a sickness which should motivate us to provide assistance. I would leave the particular form of that assistance to be decided by experts who deal with addiction on a daily basis. But not wanting to spend money because drug abuse is viewed as a moral failure will achieve little and we will simply end up spending more money down the line on other services such as police officers, prison officers and the courts.

    It’s also worth noting that a wide variety of sickness may be due to a choice a person has made. Bad eating habits and a lack of exercise can sometimes make people unfit for work yet these choices, while they carry some stigma, do not carry anywhere near the stigma of drug abuse. I simply do not see the point in taking a holier than thou approach to what is a mental health issue and which should be treated as a genuine illness.

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  42. Weihana (4,606 comments) says:

    Griff,


    cannabis kills 0 nilch nada none

    If we ascribe road deaths to alcohol use then it is fair to consider that being under the influence of marijuana while driving can also be considered a cause of death if an accident ensues.


    is not physically addictive at all

    But it is addictive. People always seem to view addiction as referring to physical withdrawal symptoms, but I believe the psychological aspect of drugs is often a far greater factor in influencing how people behave.

    There are a ton of people who drink much more than they should yet these people do not appear to be consuming enough that they have developed dangerous physical withdrawal symptoms. It would seem to be the psychological reward of consuming alcohol that, in my view, motivates many heavy drinkers rather than any strong physical withdrawal symptoms.

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