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LCA message about the weeks reefer medness stories

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Joined: 14 Dec 2003
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Location: Brighton

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2004 3:53 pm    Post subject: LCA message about the weeks reefer medness stories Reply with quote


A full-blown outbreak of Reefer Madness has occurred in Great Britain in
the last couple of weeks as segments of British society react hysterically
to impending changes in that country's cannabis laws. Under an
already-approved reclassification scheme that will go into effect January
29, cannabis will be downgraded from a Class B to a Class C drug. Changes
in daily practice are expected to be minimal, with the primary difference
being that police will generally no longer make arrests for simple cannabis
possession. They will instead issue tickets.

In some aggravated cases -- public disorder, smoking near schools or around
kids, repeat offenders -- police will make arrests.

But to read the British tabloid press and the pronouncements of some
"experts," one would be forgiven for mistakenly believing that the British
government was about to embark on a program of mandatory daily cannabis
injections for all citizens and the fate of civilization rested in the
balance. In the past few days, the tabloids have been full of half-baked
reports linking cannabis to madness and mayhem:

"Hedge-Feud Coroner Warns About Dangers of Cannabis" (Daily Telegraph,
January 16). The warning came in the case of a pot-smoking man who killed
his neighbor after a simmering, years-long feud boiled over. Coroner Roger
Atkinson called it "undoubtedly the worst case I've come across of somebody
under the influence of cannabis." He added: "I have stressed that cannabis
is not a harmless drug, and this demonstrates, if nothing else, how
devastating its effects can be."

"Hedge Fracas Death Fuelled by Cannabis" (The Independent, January 16).
Same incident, additional quote.

Detective Inspector Peter Bray of Lincolnshire Police told reporters
outside the court: "It does nobody any good to use cannabis and can lead to
these sorts of things." The Independent article, however, contained
critical information not apparent from the headline: The shooter was drunk.

"Why I Ditched My Liberal Views on Dope" (The Observer, January 18 ). Here
essayist Sue Arnold, who credits cannabis with saving her eyesight,
explains that she changed her view after her college-age son "had what
psychiatrists call 'a psychotic episode,' triggered by cannabis." Arnold is
unclear about whether the diagnosis was made by a Cuban psychiatrist (her
son was in Cuba) or from afar. "To cut a long, long story short, my son
came home heavily sedated, spent six months in hospital in an intermediate
care unit (ICU). He was prescribed different drugs and, after a series of
events which are too difficult and painful to describe, has just resumed
his final year at university. He's still on medication and will probably
have to take it for ever. It goes without saying that if he ever smokes
another spliff he will have a relapse."

"Ban Tobacco, Legalize Cannabis -- Are We Barmy?" (Daily Telegraph, January
19). Here the essayist, WF Deeves, explores the contradictions between the
two policies, and even concedes that limited marijuana use isn't so bad.
"In the days when I knew something about dangerous drugs, sat on government
committees dealing with them and talked to schools about them, I learnt a
bit about cannabis.

In truth the occasional spliff does most people no more harm than the
occasional cigarette or cigar." But then he goes on to note that cannabis
is stronger now and reports ill-effects, the most serious of which he
mentions is that "some of the girls we interviewed mentioned that relations
with the boyfriend had become eerily estranged since he took it up." Eerie
or barmy?

You decide.

"Cannabis Law is 'Threat to Health'" (Peterborough Evening Telegraph,
January 20). Cannabis reclassification is a "mental health time bomb"
waiting to go off, warned Verina McEwen, the Peterborough Drug Action Team
coordinator, adding that pot-smoking was a factor in 80% of inner-city
mental health cases. "My fear is young people will be confused about the
health risks," she said. "We know cannabis can be linked to confusion, both
short-term and long-term, depression, and trigger more serious problems,
such as paranoia."

"Doctors Support Drive Against Cannabis" (Times of London, January 20). The
Times is no tabloid, but here the British medical establishment contributes
to the climate of fear. Dr. Peter Maguire, deputy chairman of the British
Medical Association's board of science, said: "The public must be made
aware of the harmful effects that we know result from smoking this drug.
The BMA is extremely concerned that the public might think that
reclassification equals 'safe.' It does not. We are very worried about the
negative health effects of smoking cannabis and want the Government to fund
more research on this issue."

But none of those stories, as frighteningly dramatic as they are designed
to be, can hold a candle to one that hit the British press on Sunday. In a
shocking coincidence, just days before cannabis reclassification is
scheduled to go into effect in Britain, the first purported cannabis
overdose fatality was reported -- in Britain, no less! "Man Killed By
23,000 Spliffs!" roared the Daily Record. "Cannabis Blamed as Cause of
Man's Death," chimed in the Daily Telegraph. A real shocker, if true.

The story, however, appears to be a combination of a coroner's stab in the
dark and the tabloids' insatiable appetite for titillation. Lee John
Maisey, 36, died in August of unknown causes.

Those causes are still unknown, despite the coroner's verdict that "cause
of death was probable cannabis toxicity." That verdict appears to be based
solely on the fact that he had cannabinoids in his system and the coroner
could find no other cause.

According to the Pembrokeshire Coroner's Office: "An inquest was held on
18th December 2003 into the death of Lee John Maisey, who had died on 24th
August 2003. A full autopsy had been carried out which had failed to reveal
a cause of death.

A histological examination also failed to establish a cause of death and,
in consequence, a toxicological examination on blood samples obtained was
carried out by Forensic Alliance. The samples showed a high concentration
of Carboxy-THC, consistent with heavy cannabis usage. There were also
traces of cannabidiol, indicating that cannabis and/or cannabis resin was
used within a few hours of death.

In the view of the pathologist, and in the absence of any other significant
abnormality in spite of exhaustive investigation, it was likely that death
occurred as a manifestation of cannabis toxicity.

The coroner recorded a verdict of death by misadventure and that the cause
of death was probable cannabis toxicity.

"They've proven nothing. We're still at zero fatalities," said a leading
marijuana researcher who asked to remain unidentified for employment
reasons. "They have no more proved he died from cannabis toxicity than he
died from Mad Cow Disease from drinking orange juice," he said. "If you
read carefully, you see it wasn't even a firm diagnosis. This does not
constitute proof, either medical or legal." When asked for an alternative
explanation, he pointed to heart disease. "Most often, when someone of that
age dies suddenly, it is from cardiac arrhythmia," he speculated. "This is

Of course, such considerations did not stop a steady stream of British
"drug experts" from confirming the fatal danger of cannabis.

Nor did it stop the Daily Telegraph from printing those ill-informed
pronouncements. "This type of death is extremely rare," said Prof. John
Henry, a toxicologist at Imperial College, London. "I have not seen
anything like this before. It corrects the argument that cannabis cannot
kill anybody."

Dr Philip Guy, a lecturer in addictions at the University of Hull, said:
"Cannabis is not the nice hippy drug it used to be. It has been
experimented with to produce stronger varieties." Guy guessed that Maisey
had eaten himself to death on pot brownies. "I would not be surprised if in
this case the deceased had ingested a fatal amount of cannabis."

And Tory shadow home secretary David Davis was all aflutter, using the
alleged news to jab at the Labor government. "This highlights what we have
been saying about the effects of cannabis all along. When will people wake
up to the fact that cannabis can be a harmful drug? By reclassifying the
drug David Blunkett has shown he has lost the war on drugs. In my eyes,
it's nothing more than an admission of failure."

So did Tristan Millington-Drake, the chief executive of the Chemical
Dependency Centre. "We have always taken the view that cannabis is an
addictive drug, unlike the pedlars who try to persuade us that it is
harmless," he said. "The government's decision to reclassify cannabis is a

"All this was to be expected, the backlash is always waiting to pounce,"
said Danny Kushlick of the Transform Drug Policy Institute
( As for the amazing coincidence related to the
alleged cannabis fatality, Kushlick pronounced himself boggled. "That's
quite something, isn't it?" he laughed wearily. "They've done the same
thing with this mental health stuff. They find some sort of correlation,
but the causality gets very spurious when you look at it closely, and the
correlation turns out to be extremely tiny."

"We are witnessing the dying gasp of prohibition there" said the anonymous
marijuana expert. "Now we see a whole spate of articles about
schizophrenia. That argument has been around forever; it's been studied for
115 years, ever since the Indian Hemp Commission in 1894, and the answer is
always the same. The fact is, yeah, some people smoke and seem to go nuts
for awhile, but it is self-limiting, and there is no evidence whatsoever
that you can create schizophrenia with cannabis. People who are susceptible
to schizophrenia could have problems, but at the same time, there are many
schizophrenics who find it helps their symptomology."

And all of this over a simple rescheduling of cannabis. "The change is
really minimal," said Kushlick. "For the police, they have to rely on their
arrest guidelines, not the reclassification, to get that presumption
against arrest. Ultimately, this should lead to fewer arrests for
possession. The fact is, for the amount of furor around this, the
government could have made a much bolder move."

To read the coroner's report in the "marijuana overdose death," visit online.

And that's the day I knew there was this entire life behind things, and... this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video's a poor excuse. But it helps me remember... and I need to remember... Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in.
American Beauty.
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mc nick-grassmoke
senior member
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Joined: 27 Dec 2003
Posts: 176
Location: Philadelphia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 2:51 pm    Post subject: they know Reply with quote

Everyone in the whole world knows it aint bad for you. I dont know why there is such a problem. They just want $. thats whats its all about.
you know what though, I'll be ssmoking til the day i die, no matter how many times they arrest me. Every year we're getting closer, maybe my grandkids can get baked in peace someday.
Liscensed Herbillest. Contact for Perscriptions.
HERB HipHop branded! LEGALIZE IT!
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Rev. Bob
Cannabis Sacrament Minister
Cannabis Sacrament Minister

Joined: 15 Dec 2003
Posts: 307
Location: SE Ireland

PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ya its good that Britan is changing abit,
The fact is, for the amount of furor around this, the
government could have made a much bolder move."

still.. Cool
Rev. Bob

Use the Cannabis as a Sacrament ;
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