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February 2004



The new legalization tactics in Nevada

Despite a staggering loss in the last attempt in Nevada to legalize marijuana, a new attempt is being made (this is legalization, not decrmininalization or medical use). As the Las Vegas Review Journal notes in this article, the organizers have learned from the last attempt.

You could be excused for thinking that the Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana was formed only to “establish a comprehensive system of strict regulation to reduce or eliminate teenage access to marijuana, driving under the influence of marijuana, and the smoking of marijuana in public places.” After all, it sounds strict.

But read further, and you’ll get to the heart of the matter: If the committee’s proposed state constitutional amendment passes, those age 21 or older will be allowed to toke up, so long as they do it in private, buy the drug only at an authorized retailer and don’t drive under the influence.

The new approaches have been designed to address every objection (real or imagined) brought up during the last campaign (and there were some ugly challenges). But they’ll still have a battle:

And two, if the prohibitionists were willing to stretch the truth to their own ends last time, they’re not suddenly going to play fair this time. There will still be lies, exaggerations and the inevitable visit of drug czar John Walters, campaigning at taxpayer expense. But the Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana still has the right idea, no matter the changes made to persuade voters that prohibition doesn’t work.

Maybe this time, the voters will see that.

Sorting fact from bad science and government propaganda

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a good overview article on Ricaurte’s false ecstasy studies.

The fallout from the mistake has brought not only Dr. Ricaurte’s reputation into question, but also that of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which has supported his research for years. “It kind of gives science a black eye […]

Teachers: Not In Our Joint

The education system in England seems a bit more skeptical of climbing in bed with the drug warriors based on some of these reactions in Monday’s Sun:

RADICAL plans for random drug-testing in schools triggered a furious backlash from teachers last night.

Premier Tony Blair has urged heads to put pupils through urine tests and to allow sniffer dogs to patrol corridors.

But teachers’ leaders believe the controversial move is doomed to fail. They said staff should not be saddled with the task of rooting out drug takers. And they fear it could lead to teachers being sued by parents over human rights abuses.

Meanwhile experts warned testing could backfire — by driving drug use among youngsters underground.

But while the teachers in England have some sense, The Sun has shown its stupidity by actually believing the lies of our drug warriors:

Figures from America show testing there has dramatically slashed drug abuse by pupils.

President Bush claimed drug users had been cut by 400,000 in a pilot scheme across 1,000 schools.

Oh, give me a break. Considering the only reputable study has actually shown no difference between those who tested and those who don’t, I have no clue where The Sun, or John Walters’ boss, got those completely fabricated numbers.