A stimulating and explosive point-counterpoint at CBS between retired Superior Court Justice (and LEAP member) James P. Gray, and Drug Free America Foundation’s David Evans (who looks like, if he could loosen up a little, the father on That 70’s Show).
Gray has the patience of a saint in dealing with Evans. Evans avoids all the tough questions, keeps going back to his talking points without responding to Gray’s rebuttals, and then, when backed into a corner, accuses Gray of not documenting his assertions.
Ben Goldacre has a scathing critique of the UK government’s position that science can only go so far in crafting drug policy, and then it has to be simply a political decision (regarding the Nutt sacking).
He points out a list of ways public policy science can analyze drug policy to make informed decisions â€” as opposed to the government’s apparent ‘pull it out of their ass’ approach.
If you wish to justify a policy that will plainly increase the harms associated with each individual act of drug use, by creating violent criminal gangs as distributors, driving the sale of contaminated black market drugs, blighting the careers of users caught by the police, criminalising three million people, and so on, then people will reasonably expect, as a trade-off, that you will also provide good quality evidence showing that your policy achieves its stated aim of reducing the overall numbers of people using drugs.
Marijuana may be able to help with bi-polar disorder.
Somewhat frustrating article by John Cloud in Time: Is Pot Good For You?. It’s well researched, and has a lot of excellent information. It’s not taken directly from prohibitionist’s talking points, and it gets a lot of information from drug policy reformers.
But it continually takes the “on the one side/on the other side” approach even when not warranted. Sort of like saying “The round-earthers show pictures and evidence to support their view, while the flat earthers counter with tales of ships never heard from again that must have fallen off the edge. Clearly more evidence will be needed to resolve those differences.”
Here’s a frustrating example:
Data on cancer also generate mixed conclusions. A 1999 study of 173 patients with head and neck cancers found that pot smoking elevated the risk of such cancers. (Smokers of anything should also worry about lung cancer.) But it’s not clear that THC is carcinogenic. The latest research suggests that THC may have a dual effect, promoting tumors by increasing free radicals and simultaneously protecting against tumors by playing a beneficial role in a process known as programmed cell DEAth.
OK, a relatively good ending. But why specifically cite a 1999 study of 173 patients, without specifically citing the much more definitive study of thousands of patients in 2006?
Or take this analysis of the supposed lack of medical science supporting medical marijuana:
The A.M.A. issued a report last year summarizing the body of knowledge about medical marijuana. It’s shockingly slim. […]
The A.M.A. concludes that the lack of “high-quality clinical research …continues to hamper development of rational public policy” on medical marijuana. Which raises the question, Why, after five millenniums, doesn’t such research exist? Two possible answers: First, the government may have rejected cannabis studies to avoid any challenge to its view that pot is dangerous and medically useless. Second, pot may just be dangerous and medically useless.
Jay Ambrose has a particularly unintelligent OpEd for Scripps Howard News Service: Believe it or not, there are drawbacks to legalizing drugs. You know this is going nowhere when the two people Ambrose turns to for support are James Q. Wilson and John Walters.
With more drug use, Wilson says, will come more people on welfare, more traffic deaths and more ruined marriages.
Thatâ€™s just the beginning. Because they so decisively unravel our self-control, drugs can render us more likely to do all kinds of things we wouldnâ€™t otherwise do.
Half of all those arrested for committing violent crimes were under the influence of drugs, says John Walters, former director of the Office of National Drug Policy.
He cites this startling statistic: 80 percent of all child abuse cases are drug-related. So this is the great libertarian cause â€” increase child abuse in America? The obvious fact is that use of illegal drugs does more than harm just the user.
That’s just embarrassing.
I love the conclusion.
And Mexico? Walters observes that decriminalizing marijuana there has hardly put the violent drug gangs out of business.
Wow. First of all, it’s been, what, a couple of months? And anyway, decriminalization wouldn’t put the violent drug gangs out of business. Nobody has said it would. What it would take is legalization (not decriminalization) in the U.S. (not Mexico) to make a serious dent in the violent drug gangs’ financial support.