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The Drugs Problem (cont.)
By Gregory Sams

Cannabis is a drug and use can turn to abuse and lead to reduced focus and motivation; this is a risk that is easier for a pot user to deal with when it occurs than it is for an alcohol user. And when it does occur, it is usually when cannabis is taken in combination with the addictive drug, tobacco. You are more likely to hear pure smokers talk about getting high, and tobacco mixers about getting stoned.

From The Lancet Editorial Nov 11, 1995

All leading independent research has come to the same general conclusion that Cannabis
"...in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man" - Findings of Senior USA DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young.
Also from the 1989 BMA report findings "...there are no known cases of death in humans from Cannabis..." (The Pharmaceutical Journal Vol 254 No.6843 pp772). In comparison Tobacco is attributed to over 100,000 deaths each year in the UK. Alcohol, which is responsible for over 30,000 deaths each year is also implicated in 60-70% of homicides, 75% of stabbings and 50% of domestic assaults."

Cannabis smoking was never perceived as a major threat to society, or associated with crime, until the 1930's when fanatical and ambitious Harry J. Anslinger became Americaís first drug tzar. He made it his major mission to stamp out smoking of the evil drug 'marihuana', and the hemp plant on which it flowers. He had the backing and support of publishing baron William Randolph Hearst, and his timber-owning buddies, in whose interest it was to wipe out hemp cultivation. It was the threat of hempís competition with timber, as the raw material for paper, that motivated the press magnate[4] to give his considerable media backing to Anslinger. America's thousands of hemp farmers would soon have to change crops or go bust.

It has even been suggested that drug czar Anslinger and the timber lords were involved with promoting the Ďcultí movie REEFER MADNESS, a bizarre piece of anti-cannabis propaganda made in 1936. My father graphically remembers being shown it aged fourteen, and had the impression that it was screened to teachers and students throughout the USA. Its hysterical attitude certainly defined Americaís attitude to pot smoking for many years to come. Those who profit from potís continued illegality have more sophisticated techniques today, and are still winning the propaganda wars. This continues, notwithstanding the fact that nearly all of the official reports commissioned by governments, here and abroad, have come out in favour of legalization.

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  1. The cannabis plant, hemp, can produce up to four times as much paper per acre as trees, and was the first US agricultural product ever referred to as a “billion dollar” crop - in a 1938 Popular Mechanics article, which read: “...a machine has been invented which solves a problem more than 6000 years old. The machine is designed for removing the fibre-bearing cortex from the rest of the stalk, making hemp fibre available for use without a prohibitive amount of human labour. Hemp is the standard fibre of the world...and can be used to produce more than 25,000 products ranging from dynamite to cellophane.” The fictitious dangers of cannabis smoking were used as the excuse to virtually destroy the hemp industry and stave off the threat to the paper mills Hearst and his friends owned. At the same time DuPont and the nylon industry were ready to launch their alternative synthetic ropes and fibres. Hemp was the world's largest agricultural crop from 1000 BC until 1883 AD and made our earliest example of woven fabric (8000-7000BC). It has a long history of effective use in medicine. Getting safely “high” is just a minor fringe benefit that this wonderfully useful plant offers our culture. (from Herer's book The Emperor Wears No Clothes). [back to text]

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