Friday, March 28, 2008

4:20 News

Image from Scoop

NZ soldiers face court martial over alleged hashish use. So much for when in Rome... And I dispute the statistic at the bottom of the article, which says "The NZDF has a low level of drug abuse. Only one percent test positive in random drug tests." Can't find a link, but a Victoria University thesis last year put the Defence Force's illicit drug use as much higher than one percent.

In that bastion of liberal drug laws, Texas, a defendant has successfully argued that smoking pot is a medical necessity: "[B]reaking the law was necessary to prevent a harm worse than the one the law is aimed at preventing."

After accusations that the Executive Director of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs was treating Civil Society with tokenism, the man has since stated that the international drug control system is not ‘fit for purpose:’

“Looking back over the last century, we can see that the control system and its application have had several unintended consequences - they may or may not have been unexpected but they were certainly unintended.” (p.10)

“The first unintended consequence is a huge criminal black market that thrives in order to get prohibited substances from producers to consumers, whether driven by a 'supply push’ or a 'demand pull', the financial incentives to enter this market are enormous. There is no shortage of criminals competing to claw out a share of a market in which hundred fold increases in price from production to retail are not uncommon”. (p.10)

“The second unintended consequence is what one night call policy displacement. Public health, which is clearly the first principle of drug control…was displaced into the background”. (p.10)

“The third unintended consequence is geographical displacement. lt is often called the balloon effect because squeezing (by tighter controls) one place produces a swelling (namely an increase)in another place…” (p.10)

“A system appears to have been created in which those who fall into the web of addiction find themselves excluded and marginalized from the social mainstream, tainted with a moral stigma, and often unable to find treatment even when they may be motivated to want it.” (p.11)

“The concept of harm reduction is often made into an unnecessarily controversial issue as if there were a contradiction between (i) prevention and treatment on one hand and (ii) reducing the adverse health and social consequences of drug use on the other hand. This is a false dichotomy. These policies are complementary. (p.18)

“It stands to reason, then, that drug control, and the implementation of the drug Conventions, must proceed with due regard to health and human rights.” (p.19)

Better late than never, eh.