Friday, July 27, 2007

New Study - Prohibition makes you stupid

By Libby
Updated below

That would be my own officially unsanctioned survey wherein I prove my thesis with the following evidence. Exhibit one: This piece, touted under the alarming headline Reefer Madness is Real. This sounds pretty awful doesn't it?

LONDON - Using marijuana seems to increase the chance of becoming psychotic, researchers report in an analysis of past research that reignites the issue of whether pot is dangerous.
The new review suggests that even infrequent use could raise the small but real risk of this serious mental illness by 40 percent. [...]

“The available evidence now suggests that cannabis is not as harmless as many people think,” said Dr. Stanley Zammit, one of the study’s authors and a lecturer in the department of psychological medicine at Cardiff University.

They don't get to the scientific conclusion for a few more paragraphs.
The researchers said they couldn’t prove that marijuana use itself increases the risk of psychosis, a category of several disorders with schizophrenia being the most commonly known.

There could be something else about marijuana users, “like their tendency to use other drugs or certain personality traits, that could be causing the psychoses,” Zammit said.

Duh. I've been saying this for years. Marijuana use is a symptom, not a cause. Many mentally disordered individuals self-medicate with cannabis. Sometimes it helps. Speaking from personal experience, the only time my psychotic ex-husband didn't beat me up was when he was sufficiently stoned on grass to be too mellow to feel up to it. It didn't stop him from eventually having a complete breakdown but it certainly helped quell his demons and spared me some pain.

Exhibit two.
TAMPA - Mark O'Hara left jail without handcuffs Wednesday, two years after he went to prison and one week since an appeals court ordered him a new trial. He was serving a 25-year sentence for having 58 Vicodin pills in his bread truck.

Jurors weren't told that it is legal to possess the drug with a prescription, which he had.
The prosecutor contended Florida law prevents the "prescripton defense" and anyone who possesses over a certain amount of prescribed drugs is an automatic trafficker.

One can't fail to notice that O'Hara turned down a plea deal (because he wasn't guilty), before the state threw the book at him. The Appeals court that freed him was appalled. They should be. It's an appalling abuse of process to have pursued this case. And as James Joyner notes, the state that also still incarcerates Richard Paey under similar circumstances, has become the new official home of stupid.

Exhibit three. The latest Hinchey amendment regarding medical marijuana was defeated in Congress again. Those who opposed the amendment mouthed the usual prohibitionist tripe about the need to be tough on "teh drug problem." As Nick Rivera notes:
[T]his piece of legislation doesn’t legalize medical marijuana. It merely defunds the arm of the Justice Department that goes after medical marijuana users in states in which medical marijuana is legal. This amendment would have no legal impact upon states in which medical marijuana remains illegal. In voting against this piece of legislation, he has defied the voters of his own state, who voted in favor of legalizing medical marijuana in a statewide initiative in 1996.
If that's not stupid, what is? I rest my case. The Lancet will not be publishing my findings.

Update: I knew somebody would come up with a prohib connection to the "scientists" that conducted the study. Sully discovers, "Two of the authors of the study were invited experts on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs Cannabis Review in 2005. Several authors reported being paid to attend drug company-sponsored meetings related to marijuana, and one received consulting fees from companies that make antipsychotic medications."

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