Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Mary Jew Anna

Just finished reading a book I picked up from the library called “Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts: A Review of the Scientific Evidence” by Lynn Zimmer and John P Morgan.

These two American scientists wrote the book in 1997 and it tackles many key areas in which the debate about marijuana rages: science, medicine, addiction, gateway to hard drugs, law and punishment, the Dutch experience, impact to the brain, motivation and performance, memory and cognition, psychology and insanity, deviance and crime, sex, pregnancy, the immune system, the lungs, persistence in the body, driving, hospital emergencies and potency and prevention.

In each of these areas, the authors methodically refute the conventional wisdom of the drug’s dangers. They cite the evidence is at worst inconclusive and at best proof that marijuana is mostly harmless.

Their conclusion is marijuana law is the problem not marijuana itself. The fact it puts a large proportion of otherwise law-abiding people outside the law presents overwhelming problems to the judicial systems and to the law itself. They point out that time after time, commissions put in place by unsympathetic governments all recommend the decriminalisation of cannabis.

This includes Nixon’s Shafer commission of 1972, the British Wooten report of 1969, the Canadian La Dam report 1970, the Australian government report 1994 and the Dutch government report 1995. Their view is that the legal controls cause far more social damage than the use of the drug. Governments, fearful of conservative voter backlash, have been slow to respond to these commission results.

It is hard to escape the conclusion prohibition is based on moral not scientific or social grounds. Recent studies (postdating this book) are now suggesting that there is a link between heavy marijuana use and deterioration in mental health – but that evidence needs to be studied closely.

‘Marijuana Myths’ says research results have often been skewed to support political ends. There remains strong and powerful opposition to any kind of decriminalisation dating from the days of Harry Anslinger. Anslinger was the US drugs tsar of the 1930s who made cannabis illegal (and called it by the pejorative Mexican name of 'marihuana' to make it seem unamerican) at the behest of paper manufacturers Du Pont who were worried that the hemp industry might eat into their profits.

Ode for Brisbane Public Transport
Waiting for brains movable and fast.
Triarche immobile in perfidious Albion.
Lost camion in the helmet of happy heads.
Reasonableness and indefatigable apples that peer out once a day.
There’ll always be another you but there may not be another train.
The monarch of self defence, a vast difference from the blue.
Last from the lino through hospital sward
a pennant yawn perspective in the redness of dresses.
Turn handle to open
overpass intercontinental ballistic measles.
Divine electrolysis cuts through bridges.
Sombre muse.
Rhenish wine released by men in orange coats,
barenecked crosswords, the Messiah one across.
Telephone down through the wires and the shadows.
Hills and couriers in the Queen’s Regiment.
Cloudlands disappeared.
Budget street blues in Braunschweig
left by the lemons of East Germany on the other side of common
Bingo hall carousels disastrous in brightness.
Concession tickets available.
Emergency Passenger attraction.
All things turn towards the centre.
Fugue and force.
Cleveland Ohio, buy and bio.
Includes Bus and Rail.
Functions not as an enema but keep away from children.
Clickety-click, clickety-click burgeons and burdens.
Here we are.
Its time to get off.
On the spot.
Fine and later
A curious laminate of pink flesh by the shrine of memories.
Lamplighters beaten by their queen give obeisance in strange bequest.
They spew out of the tunnel, endless clowns in diddy cars.
Redshirts smoking as the greenery is put under lock and key.
A figure eight dancing in the glassy remains of faraway nature.
Cartons and cantons.
Baobab flags flutter quietly in the windless jug of Summer.
Glorybirds feistyfight tremendous terrace cheque boots leading the blindleg.
Purse-pink piglets portly in the rotunda.
The fire is doused.
Tapers hapless inklings of an imperfect past.
Present arms.

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