Monday, April 27, 2009

A lesson in spin

A press release about how cannabis-based ointments MAY help control those horrible staph-type infections people get in hospitals was qualified by the following cautionary statement about the language in the media release. Prohibitionists, researchers and journalists seeking dramatic headlines with shock-horror stories about drugs would do well to be so honest.

Forward-Looking Statements 
This Press Release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Act of 1934. A statement containing works such as “anticipate,” “seek,” intend,” “believe,” “plan,” “estimate,” “expect,” "project," "plan," or similar phrases may be deemed "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Some or all of the events or results anticipated by these forward-looking statements may not occur. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include the future U.S. and global economies, the impact of competition, and the Company’s reliance on existing regulations regarding the use and development of cannabis-based drugs. Cannabis Science, Inc. does not undertake any duty nor does it intend to update the results of these forward-looking statements. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Living without gravity

I thought I had seen everything young heroes could do on a bike, but this guy takes the cake:

Monday, April 06, 2009

Portugal teaches the world a lesson about decriminalisation

The prohibition debate really is over. A comprehensive report from the Cato Institute examines the results of Portugal’s 2001 decriminalisation of all drugs (including all the ‘hard’ ones).

None of the dire warnings of right-wing panic merchants have eventuated. To the contrary, drug use has remained stable or even reduced, particularly among school-aged people. The adverse health consequences of drug abuse including overdoses and sexually transmitted diseases have also reduced significantly. HIV/AIDS rates among drug users have been slashed. Deaths from opiates have dropped by more than half.

Resources have been shifted from policing drugs to education and prevention programs. That's ironic as ‘prevention’ is the current buzzword of the prohibitionists.

PS 29/April/09: Well, the debate is never really over because some people simply believe in prohibition regardless of the facts.  The Wall Street Journal has run a debate, To Legalize or not. The pro-legalisation piece (rather, pro-decriminalisation as it turns out), runs what to me looks like a solid, logical line, briefly noting Portugal’s experience after decriminalisation. 

For balance, the WSJ also ran an anti-legalisation essay but it collapses in the second paragraph with the statement “What would America look like with twice or three times as many drug users and addicts?”. It argues that law enforcement had reduced crack and meth use by 60%, ignoring swathes of statistics that show drug use and the number of addicts has not changed much in decades. It also ignores worldwide comparisons that generally show drug use to be on the high end in the prohibitionist countries. It's clever but it’s still tripe.

Even if the number of addicts did increase under decriminalisation, it wouldn't look so bad as the criminal element would have been eliminated from the equation. Prohibitionists however, with their black-and-white viewpoint, can't imagine such a complex scenario.