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The campaign against cannabis is dangerous and dishonest

In recent weeks, we have been subjected to a slew of new headlines announcing the alleged dangers of cannabis. But this is just blatant scare-mongering...

Eamonn McCann, 14 Aug 2007

What are these anti-cannabis people on that distorts their perception of reality?

“Smoking just one cannabis joint raises danger of mental illness by 40 percent,” screeches the Daily Mail.

The Independent on Sunday apologises for having previously advocated decriminalisation, gasping that, “Record numbers of teenagers are requiring drug treatment as a result of smoking skunk, the highly potent cannabis strain that is 25 times stronger than resin sold a decade ago.”

The stories are supposedly based on a report in the medical journal The Lancet.

Meanwhile, the Irish edition of the Mirror frets about a New Zealand study which it claimed has proven that “A single cannabis joint causes as much damage to the lungs as smoking five cigarettes.”

These reports are part of a campaign to keep the ban on cannabis and, in Britain, to force its reclassification from a Class C to a Class B drug.

There is no truth in any of these yarns.  

The propaganda campaign has coincided with the shock-horror revelation that new British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith once sampled the weed. “I think it was wrong that I smoked it. I have not done it for 25 years,” she whinged.

But there is evidence that maybe she still skins up. Asked by the Times whether a woman who’d smoked a joint was a suitable head of the ministry responsible for drugs policy, she replied: “On the whole, I think a human being should do this job.” As opposed to an aardvark, presumably.

Six other members of Gordon Brown’s government then ‘fessed up, each lying that they hadn’t enjoyed it.

The British Tories are the most honest party in these islands about cannabis. Back in 2000, after mad bat Ann Widdecombe proposed on-the-spot fines for possession of even the tiniest amount, eight members of the shadow cabinet recalled putting one together. Seven confessed to having enjoyed it. Said Tim Yeo: “A much more pleasant experience than having too much to drink. I found it agreeable.”

Of course he did. Why else would people have used cannabis for millennia?

Cleopatra and Mark Anthony were accurately depicted in the recent BBC/HBO production Rome stoned out of their skulls as they plotted Octavian’s comeuppance.

OK, that one didn’t work out too well. But it wasn’t the fault of the dope.

The Bible, which a remarkable number of citizens say they believe is the word of God, declares: “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth... And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” (Gen. 1:29-31)

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