Wednesday, April 08, 2009

4:20 News

Harry Potter actor arrested for bedroom cannabis farm.

10-month old accidentally swallows a capsule of cannabis oil. After falling into a very deep sleep and becoming very flushed, he was taken to hospital. About ten hours later he regained consciousness, presumably well rested and wanting a Happy Meal. While not condoning the accident in any manner, it goes to show that a cap of oil may do less harm to a toddler than some of the prescription meds in some nana's home.

A report released in the UK this week concluded that the legalisation of drugs could save the country 14 billion pounds a year:

For many years the government has been under pressure to conduct an objective cost-benefit analysis of the current drugs policy, but has failed to do so despite calls from MPs. Now the drugs reform charity, Transform, has commissioned its own report, examining all aspects of prohibition from the costs of policing and investigating drugs users and dealers to processing them through the courts and their eventual incarceration.

As well as such savings is the likely taxation revenue in a regulated market. However, there are also the potential costs of increased drug treatment, education and public information campaigns about the risks and dangers of drugs, similar to those for tobacco and alcohol, and the costs of running a regulated system.

Speaking of cost effectiveness, the new US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan has called the war on opium a huge waste of time:

"The United States alone is spending over $US800 million [$1.17 billion] a year on counter-narcotics. We have gotten nothing out of it, nothing," Richard Holbrooke told senior world politicians and experts on Saturday.

"It is the most wasteful and ineffective program I have seen in 40 years in and out of the government," the new US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan told the Brussels Forum conference.

"We are going to try to reprogram that money. About $US160 million of it is for alternative livelihoods, and we would like to increase that. We want to re-examine it top to bottom."

And on the subject of opium, Russia is finally admitting that it has a rather large heroin problem:

"The Russian strategy is to stifle serious debate about the problem and demonise drug users," said Dasha Ocheret, of the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network in Moscow. "The goal is not to help people suffering with addiction but to identify them, and then punish them. No country in the world has ever been able to deal with its drug problems in this way."

Any addict who seeks medical help for his or her addiction is immediately put on the state "narcological register". This information is available to police, who can have the drug user arrested and put in prison, and causes huge problems for people if they kick their habit and want to reintegrate into society.

Marginalising drug users? That'll fix the problem. Works really well with that P thing in NZ too.

And finally, the rather excellent 2007 documentary The Union: The Business Behind Getting High: