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January 2004
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Drug Warriors in the UK running scared

With just a few days until marijuana is downgraded from class B to class C in England, the attempts to scare people can get downright silly.
Yesterday as I reported, various papers covered the suddenly revealed inquest results (from over a month ago) that claimed to have found the first death from marijuana overdose (extremely unlikely).
Today, BBC News reports on a group calling for health warnings to be issued regarding schizophrenia, and other forms of psychosis, from cannabis use!
The Telegraph came out yesterday with How dangerous is Dope?, which included this ridiculous story:

The inquest last week into the death of Robert Dickinson, who shot dead his neighbour in a dispute over a garden hedge and then committed suicide in prison, heard that he had been “drunk and drugged” and had smoked “up to five cannabis cigarettes a day”.

The coroner told jurors: “I would want to stress… that cannabis is not a harmless drug and this case demonstrates how devastating its effects can be.” Outside the court, Det Insp Peter Bray, of Lincolnshire Police, said: “It does nobody any good to use cannabis and can lead to these sorts of things.”

Oh my God, cannabis causes garden hedge disputes!
This was the same media source that back in November ran CANNABIS USE CAUSES ‘HUNDREDS OF DEATHS A YEAR’, CORONER WARNS with the amazing:

Cannabis also contributed to the death of Dragan Radoslavjevic, 42, from Paignton, Devon. He died earlier this year after using a power tool to drill a hole in his head. An inquest in Torquay heard that he suffered from depression and relied on drugs such as cannabis and heroin.

[I’ve got to go to the UK and attend some inquests — they sound like a lot of fun.]
In yesterday’s article, however, the Telegraph provided some balance by quoting Dr Zerrin Atakan of the National Psychosis Unit, who rebutted the assertions in the BBC report with:

Cannabis psychosis is a very vague term. If we ever use the phrase, it is only to describe very short-term effects immediately following smoking, and it certainly doesn’t refer to users having a psychotic disorder. People may feel frightened or paranoid, but these feelings pass in a matter of hours or, more rarely, days, and practically never require treatment.”

and added this positive thought:

Children need to be taught the hazards at an early age, and it needs to be regulated so people know what they are getting. This can only happen through legalisation.”

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