Drug War News Round-up
“Decriminalizing Pot a Good First Step” is an outstanding OpEd by Barney Sneiderman in today’s Winnipeg Free Press:
When the state resolves to prohibit any conduct, it should have the burden of proving why the heavy hand of the criminal law is called for.æ Surely it cannot be up to the individual to prove why the conduct in question should not be criminalized….…the use of drugs for recreational purposes is so widespread across cultures that the very notion of a War on Drugs is a war upon human nature.æ We would do well to pay heed to the Dutch policy on drugs — the pillar of which is called “harm reduction.” Although as in Canada, the Dutch Penal Code bans drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, they do not enforce the provision against possession for personal use.æ The rationale is as follows.æ If anyone’s use of an illicit drug is not harmful, there is no reason for state intervention.æ If the drug is being abused, the arm of the state to invoke is not law enforcement, but rather public health.æ Moreover, the Dutch understand that they will sooner get abusers into treatment programs if they treat them as patients.æ In short, their policy is designed to reduce harm by adopting a health approach as opposed to compounding the harm of drug abuse itself by branding the drug taker as a criminal.
“Your Brain on Bad Science” — More on how science is perverted by the government in its effort to prove its case, in a follow-up today in the LA Weekly on the ecstasy research scandal.
According to some scientists, Ricaurte, who gets substantial grant money from the National Institute on Drug Abuse ( NIDA ), has often omitted data that might undermine his case that even low or occasional doses of MDMA can cause brain damage — an argument that has been used to halt potentially significant research into MDMA’s therapeutic applications.
“Two Suits Filed Over Police No-Knock Raids at Wrong Homes” in yesterday’s New York Times.
“I really thought that I would die that day,” Ms. Rogers said…“…the lawyer who filed both suits yesterday, Norman Siegel, said that in recent years the department has increasingly relied on the no-knock warrants that permit the surprise entries. He said police data showed that officers search more than 460 addresses every month in the city, and that the vast majority of those searches were conducted under warrants that permitted the no-knock entries.
“Bush Administration Should Stop Picking on the Terminally Ill” by law professor Phyllis Coleman (yesterday, AScribe Newswire)
…Now back to why the federal government wants it this way.1. They claim no proof exists that marijuana is beneficial. It’s true there isn’t much data. Know why? The only legal use of Schedule I drugs is federally approved research. But the federal government won’t approve such experiments. Makes you understand how Alice felt gazing up from that rabbit hole.2. Another argument is that marijuana is illegal, even for medicinal purposes. Whose fault is that? Remember, the Controlled Substance Act was passed to prevent drug abuse and trafficking. But if physicians prescribe marijuana, they will limit its use. And if restrictions on obtaining it are removed, trafficking should not be a problem.3. There is also the claim that marijuana is not safe. Consider who is eligible for such prescriptions. The primary group is those with end-stage cancer. Chemotherapy, the usual treatment, is poison. Other beneficiaries would be HIV/AIDS patients for whom commonly ordered drugs also are toxic. Notably, neither Mr. Bush nor Mr. Ashcroft appear to object to these drugs.4. Finally, some argue marijuana doesn’t make sick people better. Neither does morphine. They both make patients feel better rather than cure them.Thus, again the question of why the Bush administration is taking on the terminally ill.Kind of makes you wonder what they’ve been smoking.
This week’s “Drug War Chronicle” has even more excellent information on the ecstasy study controversy, and “Drug Sense Weekly” has a recap of the week’s drug war news.
Update: Reader Jay Allen has more on the ecstasy study on his site.