Over the past decade, drug policy in some foreign countries, particularly those in Europe, has gone through some dramatic changes toward greater liberalization with failed results. Consider the experience of the Netherlands, where the government reconsidered its legalization measures in light of that country’s experience.
Reality (Mayors Back Legalization of Cannabis):
Amsterdam — A majority of the mayors of the 30 largest Dutch cities support the legalisation of cannabis, backing a controversial call from Democratic Reform Minister Alexander Pechtold.
“The number of Americans admitted to hospital emergency wards because of marijuana use has doubled to 120,000 annually in the past five years,” said a recent news story in this newspaper, paraphrasing Mr. Walters at a Washington news conference.
Reality (NORML, via Cannabis News):
Louisville, KY: Use of cannabis is not independently associated with injuries requiring hospitalization, according to clinical data published in the March issue of the Journal of TRAUMA Injury, Infection, and Critical Care.
A research team at SUNY (State University of New York) Buffalo’s Department of Family Medicine conducted a logistical retrogression analysis of approximately 900 trauma patients with positive toxicology screens for drugs and alcohol. Authors found, “Alcohol and cocaine use is independently associated with violence-related injuries, whereas opiate use is independently associated with nonviolent injuries and burns. … Associations of positive toxicology test results for … cannabis … with injury type, injury mechanisms, and outcomes were not statistically significant.”
NORML Senior Policy Analyst Paul Armentano said that the findings countered allegations from the Drug Czar’s office that cannabis use is a leading “factor in emergency room visits.”
Armentano said: “Among trauma patients requiring hospitalization, cannabis is rarely mentioned independent of other drugs. More importantly, cannabis use alone is not associated with the sort of serious or violent injuries that are typically correlated with the use of alcohol and cocaine – two substances that, unlike marijuana, often increase aggressive or risk-taking behavior among users.”