Friday, June 28, 2019

Welcome to a nation of craven dobbers

I picked up this flyer in a Queensland police station. When I went to school, dobbers were about the lowest form of life. Police themselves are very hard on 'dobbers' in their own ranks but they seem to have a different standard when they want the public to do their work for them.

In other news, a reported 60,000 complaints have been received by the Tax Office, dobbing in people for tax-dodging. Now at least tax-dodging, unlike drug use, is an actual crime that hurts others. But I just wonder how many anonymous complaints are tricked up to satisfy a personal grudge or simply used as a bullying tactic?

I very much doubt that any of the authorities involved will publish figures on how many dobs prove baseless.

Dept of Home Affairs supports prohibition failures

Peter Dutton projecting an image of the
inside of his brain. "If they don't live
just like me, go get 'em, boys!"
Credible NSW bodies including the Bar Association are calling for the decriminalisation of drugs including ice, saying that criminalisation of personal users is often more harmful than the drugs themselves.

But Peter Dutton's Home Affairs Department is pushing back, arguing the move would create “uncertainty for law enforcement and at the Australian border”.

Yup. Gotta have "certainty" or the world will collapse. No shades of grey in Peter Dutton's world. Meanwhile the victims of this stupid and ineffective regime can keep clogging up the court system for no good reason and with few good outcomes. That's a certainty! Read more here.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

By Gove, that cocaine sure is dangerous

Michael Gove – addicted to hypocrisy
The blatant hypocrisy of conservative politicians on drug prohibition is on show once more.

British prime-ministerial hopeful Michael Gove is under fire for snorting cocaine in his younger days. He says it was a 'mistake', and reiterates that the drug is 'dangerous'. So dangerous it could put one in reach of the top job, it seems.

But the real hypocrisy is Gove's history of being 'tough on drugs', happy to have people jailed for something he has himself done, in pursuit of power via the votes of ignorants. He denies this is hypocrisy. Sheesh.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Almost 300 children strip-searched in NSW Police State

Police in Kings Cross clearly targeting an Indigenous man
with a sniffer dog, pulling it close to the man by its lead.
The dog made no indication.
NSW is descending further into something resembling a police state, with thousands of citizens being strip-searched in the name of drugs prohibition – a regime with little or no rational justification.

Most people searched are young or Indigenous, according to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald.

"The number of NSW Police searches has increased by almost 50 per cent in the four years from financial year 2014-15 to 2017-18," says the report. Almost 300 children, one as young as 10, were searched.

Two-thirds of the searches turn up nothing, and among the "successful" searches police say they have found items such as vehicle number plates.

I'm pretty sure I would be able to detect number plates on a person without stripping them.

Other searches turned up such deadly items as "art" or "stationery".

The justification for the searches can only be described as dodgy: "Under NSW law a police officer can carry out a strip search if it is necessary for the purposes of the search and if the seriousness and urgency of the circumstances make it necessary," reports the SMH.

I'm not sure how "serious" or "urgent" it is to detect someone carrying an amount of say, cannabis, so small it can't be detected without stripping the citizen. Or stationery for that matter (I'm guessing that may have been a case of shoplifting, another "serious" and "urgent" matter it would seem).

Most of the drugs-related searches are triggered by indications from a sniffer dog. In other words, the search victim had been doing nothing wrong and was apparently no threat to others.

New York cannabis arrests target the usual minorities

An analysis of crime and arrest statistics by the New York Times shows that Black and Hispanic people are arrested for low-level marijuana offences at rates from six to fifteen times that of white people.
This is despite the number of complaints coming from residents of predominantly black or white districts being about the same.
Even as the drug is legalised in other states, and New York courts increasingly dismiss these charges, the court benches each day are filled with mostly young black or Hispanic men facing low level charges such as smoking in a public area.
The original, evidence-free prohibition of Marijuana has often been ascribed to the Establishment's desire to find a way to target minorities (and jazz musicians, purveyors of "the Devil's music"). It seems not much has changed nearly 100 years later.
This gross waste of public funds takes Police attention away from real crimes – those with actual victims – and seriously damages the lives of the arrested victims.
Police plead that many of the arrests happen because some neighbourhoods have higher overall crime rates than others and are therefore more heavily policed. This defence would seem to have some validity. All the more reason to legalise the stuff and stop this nonsense.

Friday, March 02, 2018

President Duterte addicted to Fentanyl

Rodrigo Duterte flaunting his manhood.
It's gobsmacking that President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines admits to being addicted to Fentanyl because it "stops the pain and puts you on cloud nine". At the same time he continues to have suspected drug dealers shot on the street (if they "resist"). Thousands have now been murdered, without trial, for suspected involvement in drugs that are way less harmful than the one he uses.

Donald Trump admires this man and is making noises about imitating his policies, even after recently decrying America's crisis of overdose deaths, mainly from Fentanyl which is said to be far more potent than heroin.

And Trump's Secretary of State Geoff Sessions, decrying the same Fentanyl problem, showed himself to also be a deluded idiot when he added that he had spoken to many police chiefs who assured him that it all starts with marihuana - the old, completely discredited gateway theory here peddled by people propping up their massive War-on-Drugs budgets.

Duterte also recently encouraged police and vigilantes to "shoot women in the vagina so they will be useless afterwards".  And The Phillipines is an overwhelmingly Catholic country which largely supports this monster. Go figure.

Source: ABC Radio National

Friday, January 12, 2018

Police use road tragedy to mislead about drug driving

The sad news that life support is being switched off for Jessica Falkholt (fifth victim of the fatal Boxing Day head-on crash near Bendalong) comes also with the news that the other driver involved (who also died in the crash) had a string of road offences which included jail time, and he was driving home to Ulladulla from a methadone clinic in Nowra. This opens a whole can of worms. A police spokesman immediately launched into the usual spin, saying ob ABC radio that the main causes of crashes were "drugs, speed and fatigue". 
"Drugs" is a conflation Police always use because it politically supports their Roadside Drug testing campaign, which focuses on recreational drugs. It's reasonably sophisticated spin on their part, something their spokespeople have clearly been coached on. The conflation is misleading because it implies that Methadone caused this crash, but of course RDT does not test for Methadone, opioids or Benzos (Xanax etc). Yet these drugs along with alcohol cause far more accidents than cannabis, a primary target of RDT. 
The police never suggest that something should be done about drivers who are under the influence of these legal drugs – that's off limits even as the "War on Drugs" sticks to its well funded agenda. Result: Most of the preventative resources are poured into the least harmful drugs. 
So the Police are not focused on protecting people on the roads, rather prosecuting a political position that attracts major funding to their organisation. It's especially cynical and hypocritical when they exploit tragedies like this crash. Actual statistics about different drugs and crash rates can be seen below here and here:

Monday, October 24, 2016

Big Pharma shells out to block cannabis legalisation

It's always been interesting to see who spends money to fight legalisation - big pharma, the alcohol industry and police and jail unions - all keen on scaring the public to increase their budgets and profits.
Here's the latest in the saga, as Arizona takes the plunge.

"For big pharma, however, an expanding amount of data explains their fears. Opiate overdoses dropped by roughly 25% in states that have legalized medical marijuana"

The company that produces Fentanyl, 100 times stronger than morphine, is paying big bucks to stall cannabis legalisation.

It's interesting to see the copy used in the anti-cannabis ads. They remind me of ads opposing marriage equality they showed on Gruen. We truly live in a post-truth world.

One ad says: "Colorado schools were promised millions in new revenues when the state approved recreational pot use", says the voiceover in one ad. Instead, schoolchildren were plagued by “marijuana edibles that look like candy."

While the candy-like edibles were definitely a regulatory oversight (now rectified I believe), the ads ignore real benefits like this:

"In Colorado alone, marijuana sales reached $996m in 2015 and raked in $135m in tax revenue. Towns have earmarked the money for road improvements, recreation centers and scholarships for low-income students."

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Legal cannabis revenues deliver major economic boost

The Marijuana Policy Project in the USA has been researching legal sales revenues for cannabis.
In the report, Arcview found that the legal marijuana market grew from $4.6 billion in 2014 to $5.7 billion in 2015, while also projecting that the 2016 market will be $7.1 billion. This incredible growth is the result of enacting new state-level marijuana laws, mostly driven by MPP.
These results must cause fiscal conservatives and prohibitionists some discomfort as it becomes more and more obvious that their ideology robs the public purse and makes their beloved tax cuts less feasible. Wedged and on the wrong side of history!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

NSW population study of medicinal cannabis challenges the official program

Further to my previous post, which questioned the approach to medicinal cannabis research being taken by the NSW government, the ABC reported today on a Sydney University study in which parents of epileptic children who are being treated with the illegal substance are being asked to tell their stories.

I had been wondering why the academic conducting the government research, Professor Jennifer Martin from Newcastle University, had published the opinion piece (linked above) years before her research was complete. The piece talked up the risks of the drug and argued for the Big Pharma approach of finding selected molecules from cannabis and offering them as a (presumably) patented medicine. Academics usually go public only when research is complete and has been peer-reviewed.

When I heard today's news a penny dropped. Perhaps the Sydney University study, looking at actual users of the whole oil, might threaten the direction the NSW government and Professor Martin have taken?

Ms Martin claimed:
There seems to be a sudden rush to make it available, as if the world was going to run out, or the evidence to use it was new and overwhelmingly good. Sadly, none of this is a reality. There is no new evidence.
If that's what the professor and her colleagues think, perhaps they are concerned that more such evidence will emerge from the Sydney University study, and that could disrupt and discredit their own line of research?

Such internecine rivalry is not unknown in academia. This might explain the unusual opinion piece with its several questionable arguments - an attempt to sway public opinion to the conservative, Big Pharma prohibitionist side.

Given the wealth of anecdotal evidence about the efficacy of medicinal cannabis, the parents of afflicted children may not agree with Professor Martin and her view that "we already have safe and effective therapies available" and there is no need to hurry with legalisation.

One mother who used cannabis oil to treat her child for severe epilepsy, quoted in the ABC story, reports:
Within a week the seizures had gone from 20 or 30 big ones a day and 100 little ones, to probably four in a week - it was amazing.
Perhaps that mother is lying, but what on earth would she gain from that? She's risking a lot outing herself as a buyer of an illegal substance. If she's not lying, Professor Jennifer Martin's assertions seem both highly contestable and distinctly lacking empathy.

And of course Professor Martin seems to fall into the old prohibitionist fallacy: that cannabis should remain illegal because there is no evidence of its medical benefits, while on the other hand there is little evidence because the substance is illegal and unbiased research on it has been actively suppressed.

Professor Martin falsely conflates medical cannabis - which, properly produced, has little or no psychoactive effect and is usually taken as oil - with smoking marijuana recreationally. Even the picture with her article shows chopped green cannabis, ready to smoke, next to a baby monitor. Scary perhaps but quite misleading.

Monday, August 15, 2016

NSW is legalising medical cannabis - so why is it devolving into a Big Pharma spinfest?

Something very strange is happening in NSW. To the surprise of many, Liberal Premier Mike Baird last year announced he would legalise medical cannabis. He cited the plight of Lucy Haslam from Tamworth whose son had an incurable fatal condition and who received palliation from cannabis oil where normal treatments had failed. Her sterling activism had apparently shifted the mountain, although her son has sadly since passed away.

This seemed strange because Mike Baird appears to be in lockstep with Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, and the police always oppose any moves to legalise cannabis because they garner huge budgets from prohibition. And Big Pharma always opposes it because anyone can grow it and it might threaten sales of their own drugs. In fact that's happening - the use of pharmaceutical painkillers is dropping rapidly in US states which have legalised medical cannabis.

But wait. People in the know tell me that actual cannabis oil will not be legalised - the research ball has been thrown to the pharmaceutical industry to extract relevant molecules from cannabis and produce medicines accordingly.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The real risks of drug driving and drunk driving

With the NSW police tripling their drug-driving tests, especially targeting cannabis, it's worth noting the actual risks involved.

In summary, cannabis increases the risk of a fatal accident: 1.8x

Opioids (which are legal): 3x

Stimulants including meth: 3.7x

Benzos (Valium etc, also legal): 4.8x

Alcohol at .02 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) - which is legal for most drivers: 4x

Alcohol at 0.8 BAC: 13x

Alcohol at 0.16 BAC: 35x

[As an interesting aside, people with Sleep Apnea are 7-8 times more likely to crash a car than people without the condition - As reported on ABC's PM program 4/7/2016]

Full details below courtesy of Paul Dessauer:

Drug use and fatal motor vehicle crashes:
A case-control study.
Guohua Li et al
Accident Analysis and Prevention Sept 2013

<<< ABSTRACT Drugged driving is a serious safety concern, but its role in motor vehicle crashes has not been adequately studied.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Drug testing drivers doesn't work, but Duncan Gay doesn't care

"Evidence-based" seems to be a term not comprehended by some NSW Coalition ministers, especially the National Party's Duncan Gay, Roads Minister.

The decision to drastically ramp up drug testing on NSW drivers, despite the program being almost farcically ineffective, demonstrates again the ideological fairyland inhabited by Gay and his colleagues.

Too bad for the victims of this pogrom.

Greens MLC David Shoebridge has posted a comprehensive rebuttal of the program which should be read by all drivers, especially Duncan Gay.

But it's a cinch the man who just increased penalties for bike-riders by 350% won't bother. After all, those pesky bike-riders all probably smoke dope anyway, right Duncan? And after all, the rash of 4WDs being written off by cyclists just demands action, right?

You're an intellectual giant mate.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Large, long term study shows no health harms from cannabis

I've always said we needed large population studies to properly assess the long-term effects of smoking cannabis. It's too easy to skew small reductive studies, as we have repeatedly seen.

This one is a huge study of 408 males tracked from adolescence into their mid-30s and it found no difference between heavy early-onset smokers and low/non-users:
Findings from latent class growth curve analysis identified 4 distinct subgroups of marijuana users: early onset chronic users, late increasing users, adolescence-limited users, and low/nonusers. Results indicated that the 4 marijuana use trajectory groups were not significantly different in terms of their physical and mental health problems assessed in the mid-30s.
Strangely enough, it doesn't seem to be getting much of a run in the media.

The War on Drugs is unjust nonsense.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Andrew Colvin self-promotes at expense of executed men

AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin thinks the
futile War on Drugs is more important than young lives.
It’s disgusting – these senior police protecting their own pointless jobs by pleading Drug War platitudes. In refusing to apologise for the Indonesian executions, AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin ignored that most heroin casualties occur BECAUSE it is illegal, and ignores the success of supervised injecting centres in preventing overdoses and deaths – a far cheaper option than the ever more privatised drug enforcement and jail industry. And he deflects the question raised by Senator Xenophon – why couldn’t the Bali Nine have been arrested on their return to Australia and these executions prevented?
Typically, Andrew Colvin uses the same dodgy stats that Indonesia's President Widodo used to whip up horror at "the scourge of drugs" - "Families and communities destroyed by drugs" - "4,000 deaths from heroin (and other opiods)" over four years - and they've taken enough heroin off the streets for "eight hits for every man, woman and CHILD in Australia" (neatly keeping the price up so criminals are eternally attracted to the trade and the cops keep their budgets, promotions and jobs) etc etc. He didn't even come up with a new cliché.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Stoned bunnies: More hilarious nonsense from the DEA

Maybe it's already happening? I found this one in Kings Cross.
Prohibitionists are really scraping the bottom of the spin barrel in their desperate campaign to preserve their jobs. If they had any sensible arguments they wouldn't have to plead this tripe.

A Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent seriously told a Utah senate committee that legalising medical marijuana would lead to an epidemic of stoned rabbits. Ignoring of course that legal growers would simply fence off their crops from animals.

Agent Matt Fairbanks also brought up the spectre of illegal pot crops doing environmental damage, which has some truth to it. All the more reason to legalise it, you dolt!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Indonesia's death penalty based on ludicrous evidence

With the 'Bali Two' facing likely execution in Indonesia, a politically threatened government is quoting "50 deaths per day because of drugs" to justify their populist decision to execute all convicted drug dealers including the Australians.

But the "50 deaths per day" is a rubbery extrapolation based, it seems, on only three (3) reports by other people that someone they knew "died because of drugs". This is not evidence in any accepted sense of the word.

Yes we know that drugs can be problematic for a very small minority of users but you will always find that these unfortunate people have other serious problems in their lives, so it's a bit facile to simply blame the drugs. It's also facile to think that prohibition stops the problems - in fact it causes most of them, as per the below billboard erected by former US drug police who have the courage to tell the truth.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Stoned driving not actually dangerous says official US traffic study

"Drivers who use marijuana are at a significantly lower risk of being in a crash than drivers who use alcohol, a new study from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows.

"And after adjusting for age, gender, race and alcohol use, drivers who tested positive for marijuana were no more likely to crash than those who had not used any drugs or alcohol prior to driving, it found."
Still the demonisation continues, with Hunter region police regularly in the media reporting apparently shocking results when they do roadside drug test blitzes - with 30%-40% of drivers showing positive to cannabis. This sort of scare tactic means penalties for drug driving are at least equal to those for drunk driving. Not only is this stupid and unfair but the huge state budget allocated to its enforcement is simply a waste. However this massive budget might provide a clue why police are so keen to continue their scare campaign.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Legal pot is not causing the sky to fall

More early data coming out of Colorado indicates that the legalisation of cannabis has not resulted in more young people consuming it - rather, the trend is in the opposite direction. Sooner or later, I think prohibitionists are going to have to give up one of their central arguments - their claim that legalisation will create "a tsunami of stoned zombies" wandering the streets. It was always a circular argument, based only on the assumption that prohibition prevented use in the first place.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The rich, ugly faces of prohibition again rear their lying heads

Sheldon and Miriam Adelson teamed up with Mel and Betty Sembler on Fred Thompson's
disastrous 2008 presidential campaign, too. Photo via Flickr user freddthompson
As usual when a serious pot law reform emerges, the lid is lifted off a vile, self-interested hypocritical pit of prohibitionists. Cops, the jail industry, the casino industry and people with drug-testing companies spew any lie they can think of to fool the people into voting their way. The most recent example is in Florida and this excellent piece in VICE lifts the lid off the rotten cauldron.
...the Drug Free America Foundation is a legal entity that has existed since the 1970s under the old name STRAIGHT Inc. Under the previous brand, the foundation operated as a drug rehab center that was embroiled in multiple scandals for allegedly torturing children who had been admitted for experimenting with pot.
...When cops bust a marijuana dealing operation, they employ something called asset forfeiture to seize property and auction it off. The process has generated over $1 billion for law enforcement divisions around the country since 2002
Just so you know what's really behind the anti-pot propaganda.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Wizard of Oz and the opium effect

I was kindly given a 50" plasma TV on Saturday. After setting it up - and the set top box - with no manuals the rest of the weekend was a binge. Top pick, The Wizard of Oz. No wonder a whole generation grew up liking psychedelics!
In which Dorothy gets knocked out in an opium poppy field

"There will be no carbon tax in the Land of Oz!"

If only we could so simply escape the craziness.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Police forget to mention .268 blood alcohol in 'stoned driver' crash

Police really don't like it when pot gets legalised. They lose lots of budget, an easy way to boost their arrest statistics disappears and perhaps worst of all, there's all that property they can't confiscate any more.

So it looks as if, at least in one case in Colorado, they will go to any lengths to demonise legalisation. When a young guy crashed into two police cars blocking a freeway exit (with emergency lights flashing), they portrayed him as a stoned driver and forgot to mention his eye-crossing .268 percent blood alcohol content.

So really it was an extremely drunk driver with some cannabis also in his blood. As alcohol is many more times dangerous than cannabis for driving risk, the police story, gleefully amplified right across the media, is pretty close to an outright lie.

Kudos to The Washington Post (link above) for correcting the BS with their story headlined: "Colorado’s poster boy for ‘stoned driving’ was drunk off his gourd".

See my previous post for a rundown on how the prohibitionists are whipping up a scare campaign opposing legalisation in Colorado. The following graph from that Vox link puts things into perspective:

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Prohibitionists try to demonise Colorado legalisation

Prohibitionist Kevin Sabet continues to throw up a moral panic smokescreen about cannabis legalisation in Colorado on behalf of SAM - Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

Sabet's latest portrays a pandemic of children admitted to hospital after ingesting legal cannabis, and more claims suggesting an epidemic of stoned drivers.

And Maureen Dowd, a New York journalist ingested possibly 16 times the recommended dose of cannabis and overdosed, having a pretty bad time which she described in print. Now, for some reason, she's not so keen on legalisation, even though it's equally possible to overdose under prohibition (in which case there's more reason for your paranoia!).

Indeed it seems that recommended doses are not printed on the labels of the cannabis candies, and it seemed Dowd was not advised and indeed didn't ask how much she should have taken - elementary information you gather before taking a couple of Aspirins.

These are good arguments for better regulation, not prohibition.

Luckily some astute writers have taken apart this latest wave of prohibitionist panic, showing that the problems happen to only a tiny minority of users, crime has gone down and even major pot seizures by Police in neighbouring states have plummeted.

Maureen Dowd's column is critiqued here and Kevin Sabet gets a dose of reality here.

Monday, May 05, 2014

A bouncer speaks his mind on the Cross

Chris is a Kings Cross Times reader who decided to throw in his two cents worth - hopefully he'll follow up with some titillating details!

My name is Chris Zlomanczuk. I've been working the doors in Kings Cross for years. I'm 25 born and bred in Sydney, have been been trying to break through as an actor for years and also have various business inspirations.

I've been working the doors since the age of 18 so I see a very different Kings Cross from the sensational headlines - although many of them are true.

There are too many names to recollect and too many faces to remember... I was scampered into strip joint THE LOVE MACHINE at age 15 and have since worked the strip at such places as Springfields bar, The Elk, The Bourbon, Empire, Sugarmill. Kit and Kaboodle, Piano Room, The Vegas, Trademark and Hugos and more. I've dined with legendary actors and business people at the famous Tropicana on Victoria St, the Piccolo on Roslyn, Cafe Hernandez on Kings Cross Rd, Bar Coluzzi on Victoria St. KINGS CROSS is a great place. I feel safer there with a local than anywhere, and it's not boring.

If I get sick of coffee shops I can head to other scenes - to The Stables Theatre for a show, or mixing and mingling with all sorts, sex workers, drug addicts, drug dealers, actors, dancers. singers, artists of all kinds. None of these people match the popular image put on them by the media.

Here, no one should be judged but unfortunately Kings cross will always be judged by the ignorant, including journalists and politicians. I've seen grams of heroin being dealt, heroin shot-up, I've seen and heard gun shots and massive Bikie brawls and still felt safe. It's all personal, and nothing to do with anyone unless you're looking for it....Kings cross is what it is and maybe everyone should lighten up and enjoy the colour!

Shock, horror! Pot causes heart attacks (or does it?)

You may have heard a few stories recently of people keeling over from a heart attack after smoking cannabis. While there is probably some increased risk from indulging for some people, at least one 'study' turns out to be very dodgy. It's been picked apart on the Alternet site:
The impetus for the mainstream media’s most recent fixation with the alleged dangers of pot is a French study, published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Investigators reviewed data collected by the French Addictovigilance Network, a national database of adverse case reports involving psychoactive substances, between the years 2006 to 2010.
Among the 9,936 total drug-related cases in the database, authors identified 35 cases (0.4 percent) in which both cardiovascular complications and cannabis were referenced.
Apart from the fact that 60% of the subjects also smoked tobacco, according to Alternet: is unclear whether these subjects used cannabis in the hours prior to any adverse event. Toxicological analyses identified THC, marijuana’s primary psychoactive compound, in only 13 of the 35 total cases. In the other 22 cases, no toxicology result was available; cannabis was simply referenced in the subjects’ medical file. In all but three cases, marijuana was referenced in conjunction with other substances, some of which are well associated with health risks, such as cocaine, alcohol, tobacco, and opiates.
More detail in the original story (linked above).

Friday, May 02, 2014

Prohibitionists keep flogging evidence-free fearmongering

The increasing legalisation of cannabis in the US is putting prohibitionists further and further onto 'the back foot' as actual data emerge that contradict their fear memes. A chief among these is their claim that moves towards legalisation would "send the wrong message" and increase use among teens. Evidence that it isn't doing so has not stopped them from making the claim, as you can see at the bottom of this email chain (the email on behalf of prohibitionist Gary Christian). One point made is that, under legalisation, advertising and marketing of cannabis should NOT be allowed.

(Email from Paul Desseaur)

Here’s a similar article;

(BTW- Why am I not surprised that Robert DuPont, (who, with his partner Bensinger makes millions per-annum from immunoassay urine screening), is opposed to any legalisation of cannabis use?).

This one sentence underpins the argument of the AACAP statement you have posted;

<<< Legalization of marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes, even if restricted to adults, is likely to be associated with (a) decreased adolescent perceptions of marijuana’s harmful effects, (b) increased marijuana use among parents and caretakers, and (c) increased adolescent access to marijuana, all of which reliably predict increased rates of adolescent marijuana use and associated problems. >>>

Is there any evidentiary basis to these assertions?

The chain of reasoning seems intuitively logical, but what does the published research tell us?

The authors reference two articles to support that sentence, the first is this one;

Legalization of Marijuana: Potential Impact on Youth, Joffe + Yancy, Pediatrics, 2004.

Full text here;

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Watch this space - how long before Greg Hunt deletes this damning info on climate change?

Seems the Federal Government hasn't gotten around to pulling a web page that scientifically debunks global warming denier Ian Plimer's misleading nonsense. Crikey writes:
Plimer’s 2011 book —  How to Get Expelled From School (launched by John Howard and mailed by the IPA to hundreds of schools) — listed 101 questions for sceptical students to ask their “warmist” teachers, i.e. those who respect science. The federal Department of Climate Change (abolished by Abbott) prepared a response that thoroughly debunked his claims in words a child can understand. How long before Environment Minister Greg Hunt is instructed to have this demolition of Plimer taken down?
I've downloaded and saved the PDF but it will be interesting to see how long it takes for the truth to be hidden in the interests of Ian Plimer's fans like Gina Rinehart.

At the time of writing, the PDF is still online here.

I've previously blogged about Ian Plimer's unrepentant deceit here.

PS On 13 August 2014 the PDF is still up there on Greg Hunt's website. Perhaps Greg hasn't actually read it?

PPS today (18/8/16) I again checked the link and wouldn't you know it, it's gone! The department of misinformation has finally caught up. I will contact Crikey and let them know.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The US finances Mexico's biggest drug cartel: 100,000 die

This cash allegedly belonging to El Chapo was found in a car.
At the same time, the US was financing and arming his cartel.  
Well the Yanks certainly haven't changed their spots. Their recent much-publicised arrest of drug cartel supremo 'El Chapo' Guzman hides the fact that:
US agencies had armed and financed El Chapo's Sinaloa criminal empire for at least 12 years. That link has been substantiated by DEA and Justice Department court testimonies, and even US agents confirmed the financing had been approved by high-ranking officials and federal prosecutors. But the American media barely reported how entrenched the American government has become in the Mexican drug trade.
You can read more about it in this report from The Guardian.

Instead we got triumphal pictures of his arrest and a slew of 'gangster porn' - photos of his mansions, gold-plated guns and stacks of cash.

Back in 2012 they arrested El Chapo's son only it turned out they got a humble used car salesman instead. That didn't stop them parading him in front of a salad bar of weapons and cash (see pic below). If it was the wrong guy, where did the loot come from? This is just one of the more blatant examples of the total bullshit fed to us by War on Drugs propagandists. Meanwhile 100,000 people have been killed in the phoney War, many in horrendously brutal circumstances.
As The Guardian asks, "Why aren't we putting US agencies on trial for financing El Chapo's drug war?"
Oops, wrong guy! But if so, where did all the loot
and weaponry come from for this photo op?

Friday, April 04, 2014

Drug 'crimes' fuelling prison growth

I know prohibition doesn't seem to rate as an issue among Australian human rights campaigners, but if you think incarcerating hundreds of thousands of mainly non-white people for a victimless 'crime' is serious, prohibition should be up there with refugees and Indigenous health etc.

This graph from the Pew Research Centre lays it on the table.

This gobsmacking growth in prisoners is happening in the USA, which is on its straps financially, with States and the taxpayer bearing the massive cost of this misconceived blunder.

In Australia, drugs prohibition has brought about prison trends along the same lines while fuelling the daily shootings in "South-Western Sydney", gang crime and the bikie issue. Yet no-one in the government or the media EVER mentions this major root cause of the problems. Would you see an article about Al Capone that doesn't mention prohibition? Never ever. So why the disjunction here and now?
Every time you hear about a shooting in SW Sydney, think "symptom of drug prohibition".

Read all about it here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

This is a landmark in the War against Kings Cross

OK I was wrong. I had predicted that 1.30 lockouts and 3am closing would result in more violence as the Kings Cross crowds battled it out over taxis. But after three weeks of the new regime it seems the crowds have simply stopped coming. It's a landmark in the eternal War against Kings Cross.
Bayswater Road last Saturday night, showing one of several
trailer-mounted signs flashing the new regime.
I took these photos on Saturday night, when the trial closure of Bayswater Road to through traffic was being trialled. The signage flagged a 9pm closure but at 9.30 they didn't seem to be in place and the crowds and traffic were so sparse there didn't seem to be much point.
It looks as if the authorities, too, have been caught offguard at people's desertion of Sydney's late-night entertainment precinct.
It makes sense though - when I pointed out the lack of people at 9.30, a friend said "people will come later". But if there is no "later", why would they come?
People have to eat somewhere, then they have to get into the city, or they go somewhere local for some cheaper drinks before heading in. The crowds used to really hit after midnight. But what's the point of that if you are going to be locked out of all venues at 1.30? It's not worth the trip in from the 'burbs. In today's mobile phone-fuelled, flexible social landscape, people from all over the city move about, change venues and meet their friends anywhere. The 1.30 lockout freezes all that.
These ill-conceived rules were made by old farts who still think in terms of their distant youth, before mobile phones (and before drugs that help people party all night were common currency - you know, the ones that are "controlled" by prohibition). I have heard more than one old killjoy say things like "Why can't these people just go home by midnight".
The baby has truly thrown out with the bathwater and when the data are in, I now predict a sorry tale of  lost jobs, business failure and - if the data are even collected - the displacement of drunken violence to other areas and private homes.
Welcome to the nanny state.

PS I'm told 25 staff have been sacked from the Kings Cross Hotel alone after the lockouts reduced their average 1am crowd from 900 to 200.

Maybe the lockouts have an upside - The Vegas Hotel seems to be getting creative
about pulling customers, with bloke and girly shows. But these sexy boys were finding
it hard to pull girls from nearly non-existent crowds.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lockouts and new anti-alcohol laws simply deny the facts

There was a petition on the bar of my local against the NSW government's recent early lockout laws. I signed it. While I have been railing for years against this moral panic-driven nonsense, this piece by Bernard Keane on Crickey unpicks the hypocrisy of the laws and the media campaign behind it, particularly the shameful behaviour of the formerly trustworthy Sydney Morning Herald.

The piece is less than complimentary about media tart Dr Gordian Fulde from St Vincents Hospital, a doctrinaire prohibitionist who in my view should stick to his doctoring and keep his doctrines out of public commentary.

Writes Keane:
Fulde is insistent that violence is getting worse in Sydney and that alcohol is to blame. It is a claim that the Herald was happy to repeat. It is also a claim that is blatantly false... Last year’s Review of the Liquor Act 2007and Gaming and Liquor Administration Act 2007 showed that violent incidents on licensed premises had fallen 28% from 2007, and alcohol-related assaults had fallen 35% between 2008 and 2012. Assaults across NSW had also fallen significantly, as had hospital presentations for acute alcohol-related problems.
And for those who believe that review was a Big Grog conspiracy, you can go to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research site and look at the data yourself.
Here are the relevant data:

Keane again hits the nail on the head, ascribing the cheap populist campaign run by Sydney's newspapers to their plummetting circulation:
This takes us to the most relevant statistics about this whole sordid affair. The Sydney Morning Herald’s circulation is in freefall — it lost more than 15% of its circulation in the year to September. And in 2013, it fell 7 points in its readers’ trust, according to Essential Research’s trust in media survey, tumbling to 64%. The Telegraph is Australia’s least-trusted metro title — trusted by only 41% of its readers — and its circulation fell by nearly as much as the Herald’s in the year to September. They are two dying newspapers, each desperate to outdo the other.
The lockout laws so-far seem to be killing the Cross, which might please a few local NIMBYs but will cause hardship to all the hospitality workers and entertainers now thrown out of work.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Australia lags as world adapts to new industries

With the very public collapse of manufacturing in Australia you might think the country would nimbly leap to new industrial opportunities. Instead, we are losing them to more progressive nations.

Victoria's Hazelwood open-cut brown coal mine
still burning after some weeks.
Our race to the 19th century in fossil-based energy generation has robbed us of our once world-leading position in clean energy technology. Meanwhile South Korea, for instance, has a 3-month fast-track patent process for local innovations in clean energy, part of a program that devoted 2.7% of GDP to clean energy. By contrast, we have boosted our filthiest fossil fuel source, Victoria's brown coal mines, one of which is ironically now burning out of control after heatwave-induced bushfires. It is expected to burn for another two weeks. [Note: the fire was 'under control' as of 9 March - it burned for a little over four weeks. However there are coal mine fires on every continent except Antarctica including one in Pennsylvania that has burned since 1962.

Note#2: Radio National News reported on 21 March that the fire was officially "out"]

Then there is the Abbott Government's patchwork National Broadband Network. In a country ruled by 'the tyranny of distance', you might think state-of-the-art communications was essential.

The Coalition's internet connection vision.
But no, Malcolm Turnbull's fibre to the node concept will leave my copper connection to the home operating out of this pit just outside my front door (pictured). The cost savings inherent in this second-best model do not take into account the cost of repairing/replacing these copper tangles  left over from 100-year-old telephone technology. Impressive, no?

Now it's industrial hemp, a forest-saving, low irrigation crop with a thousand uses. As it has no intoxicating effects, there was never even any justification for banning it and now even the USA, which invented the ban, is legalising the growing of hemp. But conservative, backward Australia remains in the dark ages as it misses out on yet another opportunity to compete in the 21st century. Once the 'lucky country', should we now be known as the 'dumb country' as we race towards banana republic status?
Just say no - emblematic of Australia's
attitude to everything?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Prohibitionists AGAIN caught out telling porkies

SAM head Kevin Sabet - he doesn't
look stupid, so why is he telling
idiotic porkies?
'It's like saying 10% of people in Australia, Canada and Bolivia scratch their ears before breakfast, therefore 30% of people scratch their ears before breakfast. Duh.'
It must be difficult for prohibitionists now the changing face of history is proving their arguments to be little but hot air and fear mongering. So you can understand why they have to fall back on complete nonsense to keep the uninformed scared. But you'd think they could at least add up, especially if they call their organisation Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM).

Close on the heels of their last misleading factoid, SAM's head Kevin Sabet has tweeted that - wait for it - 39% of HS students in Washington state report using marijuana that came from from a "medical" marijuana dispensary [his quote marks].

Shock, horror! See, they told us so - legalise it and a tsunami of pot smoking will destroy society!

Then Russ Belville from the Huffington Post looked at the source figures Sabet had quoted.  They showed only 14.9% of 12th-grade students said their pot usually came from a medical dispensary. The percentage fell for more junior grades, down to 3.8% for 9th graders.

Seems Sabet had simply added up all the percentages, apparently unaware that each one came from a different sample of people so adding them is nonsensical. It's like saying 10% of people in Australia, Canada and Bolivia scratch their ears before breakfast, therefore 30% of people scratch their ears before breakfast. Duh.

Meanwhile teenage cannabis use seems to have stayed pretty level during the rash of legalisation spreading across US states, so the scariest thing about Sabet's paper tiger is that the same smokers are getting their stuff from a legal rather than illegal source.

Embarrassed into a retreat, Sabet then tweeted implying that the students must be faking back pain or cancer, further spreading the egg over his face because the figures deal with cannabis that CAME FROM a dispensary - with no claim that the students had attended the dispensaries. It's all a bit subtle for a fossilised prohibitionist, I guess.

SAM's "smart" approach [my quote marks] apparently involves diverting cannabis users who are caught into treatment (or else get arrested again).

"The proposal is on par with forcing every alcohol user into treatment at their own cost or at a cost to the state," said Marijuana Policy Project communications director Mason Tvert. "In fact, it would be less logical because the science is clear that marijuana is far less toxic, less addictive, and less likely to be associated with acts of violence."

While Sabet denies that, everything I have previously read about SAM points in that direction.

Oh, Sabet also claims that 10% of cannabis users become addicted. No they don't, Kevin. In fact the commonly quoted figure of 9% is another dodgy bit of bad science from the prohibitionists, as the Huff Post again explains.