4 horsemen of drug apocalyse at it again -- not satisfied with first disaster

(This letter appeared in the Letter section of a newspaper):
National Post · Dec. 21, 2011
The former mayors of Vancouver advocating for decriminalizing the gateway drug cannabis is ludicrous. It was largely because of their permissiveness and leniency that Vancouver's Downtown Eastside turned into the nightmare that it is today. Continuing down this path would be asinine.

Seattle, a city comparable in weather and socio-economic climate, does not have the same problem with open drug use simply because it is not tolerated. New York cleaned up its decaying core in the 1980s by cracking down on drug use, not by some hare-brained scheme of decriminalization.

The constant reference to "the war on drugs" is also getting tiresome. The struggle to keep drugs off the streets is more like a constant battle, similar to those society wages with any other illegal, undesirable activity.

Jeffrey Hay, Ladner, B.C.


Dutch gov't cracks down on pot

Dutch pot sales to foreigners go up in smoke
AMSTERDAM | Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:31pm EST
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The reputation of the Netherlands as the go-to country for a legal joint will begin to vanish like a puff of smoke next year as sales to foreigners of cannabis and hashish in coffee shops are banned.

The Dutch government has been clamping down on the sale of soft drugs since 2007 because of gang-related crime and concern about the risk to health, particularly as stronger forms of cannabis have been introduced.


4 has-been former mayors want to export drug miseries to other cities

The push for legalized pot just dopey
Brian Hutchinson, National Post · Dec. 7, 2011

What is it about Vancouver and its determination to make pot smoking a regular activity, like drinking coffee? This is a city where construction workers are occasionally seen standing in circles, sharing a morning toke. Nothing like getting ripped before setting to work on a dangerous building site. Such as the one two blocks from the office tower where I work. But hey, it's just grass.


Neuroscientist strongly against pot; lost three colleagues to it

(A letter in The Province, Nov. 29, 2011 • Section: Opinion)
The pot pushing club of Vancouver mayors has now reached four. British Columbians should firmly reject their entreaties to legalize marijuana.

They wish to enhance its availability on the grounds that it will bring revenue to the city and is harmless. Just say no. It is not a harmless agent. Our brain research laboratory at UBC published a series of papers in the 1970s specifically demonstrating brain damage from cannabis. I was invited to testify before a U.S. congressional committee on our findings. Three of my scientists ignored those findings. As marijuana users, they became incapable of designing and executing experiments. They were the only three I have lost in more than 50 years of managing young neuroscientists.

I have never been able to understand why anybody would be so foolish as to monkey with the biochemistry of their most precious organ, their brain.

Drug addiction is contagious. One user seduces another. As Vancouver mayors have found, Vancouver has a terrible problem dealing with the wasted lives of the addicted community. But that problem will soon spread to drug-free communities in this province and across Canada if the mayors’ advice is followed.

Criminals make money by addicting the foolish. It may be too late for the older generation who think exposure to marijuana is fine, but the younger generation could eliminate the problem.

Just say no to marijuana and no to being surrounded by users. They create nothing but problems for themselves and others.

Dr. Patrick McGeer, University of B.C.


Teens who smoke pot at risk for psychosis

By Marilyn Linton, QMI Agency, October 24, 2011
With names like Panama red, stink, and bhang, it's not just new words that today's parents may need to learn when talking to their kids about marijuana. It's also about what's in today's pot.

For while many adults remember (some more fondly than others) the highs of their own youth, today's marijuana is not what it used to be. Not only are we learning that what our kids are smoking may be particularly potent, but doctors are also warning that marijuana can trigger psychosis in vulnerable young people.

Medical marijuana house up in smoke

A two-alarm fire on Wednesday ripped through a tidy two-storey East Vancouver duplex that housed a sanctioned marijuana grow operation, unbeknownst to the fire department.

No one was injured.

The fire on the 2800 block of St. George Street appeared to be accidental in nature, apparently caused by an electrical malfunction in the wiring in the wall, Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services said.


Dutch gov't regrets pot liberalism

Dutch classify high-potency marijuana as hard drug
The Associated Press, Oct. 07, 2011
The Dutch government said Friday it would move to classify high-potency marijuana alongside hard drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy, the latest step in the country's ongoing reversal of its famed tolerance policies.

The decision means most of the cannabis now sold in the Netherlands' weed cafes would have to be replaced by milder variants. But skeptics said the move would be difficult to enforce, and that it could simply lead many users to smoke more of the less potent weed.

Possession of marijuana is technically illegal in the Netherlands, but police do not prosecute people for possession of small amounts, and it is sold openly in designated cafes. Growers are routinely prosecuted if caught.

Economic Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen said weed containing more than 15 per cent of its main active chemical, THC, is so much stronger than what was common a generation ago that it should be considered a different drug entirely.

The high potency weed has “played a role in increasing public health damage,” he said at a press conference in The Hague.

Legalizing delusions

Pot: Why not legalize it?
by MARGARET WENTE, Globe and Mail, July 24, 2008 
We Canadians love our bud. We lead the Western world in marijuana use. More than 10 million of us have inhaled at some time or other, and nearly 17 per cent of us partook in the past year. In B.C. — where entire towns have turned to cultivating cannabis — the economy would suffer without it. Among all illicit drugs, it is by far the most benign. It wrecks far fewer lives than alcohol, and medical marijuana may do some good.

So why not just go ahead and make it legal?

More than half of all Canadians think we should. "Legalize, then tax the hell out of it," says Senator Larry Campbell.

Sounds swell — until you think about it. Then the problems start. Here's one. What about the kids? Do we really want a lot more 15-year-olds getting stoned? Okay, we could prohibit pot for minors. Can you explain why that would work any better than it does with booze and cigarettes?


TTC Driver Charged in Fatal Bus Crash

By Hamutal Dotan, Torontoist, October 12, 2011
At the end of August a TTC bus was involved in a fatal crash, in which one woman, Jadranka Petrova, died, and approximately a dozen more were injured. Today, police charged 51-year-old driver William Ainsworth with criminal negligence causing death, as well as marijuana possession. Ainsworth has been suspended from duty by the TTC, and Petrova’s family is pressing charges against the TTC.


Marijuana Use Increases Risk of Motor Vehicle Accidents

Emaxhealth, Submitted by Jennifer Williams on 2011-10-07
Marijuana use and safety is hotly debated as a focus of government and policy attention on medical marijuana and potential legalization. Researchers know that when people use mind-altering drugs and medications and then get behind the wheel, they have an increased likelihood of involvement in motor vehicle accidents, but few studies have analyzed the relationship between marijuana use and car crashes.

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health analyzed nine studies that evaluated the link between marijuana use and the risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash. They discovered that individuals who use marijuana and then drive within three hours of use experience motor vehicle accidents twice as often as drivers who do not use marijuana. Individuals who test positive for marijuana with higher concentrations of the drug in their systems are at an increased risk of becoming involved in automotive accidents than those who have lower levels of marijuana concentrations.

Cellphone, marijuana use preceded CPR train crash: report

Engineer consumed 10 litres of water in attempt to flush away traces of drug, federal safety board reveals
By Larry Pynn, Vancouver Sun, October 8, 2011
The crew of a Canadian Pacific Railway train failed to obey a stop signal and crashed into another train near Golden after making "numerous" cellphone communications, the federal Transportation Safety Board has found.

The last cellphone communication occurred about one minute before a safety-related radio message that preceded the March 2010 crash, the board's report revealed.

Shortly after the crash, the locomotive engineer consumed about 10 litres of water in an attempt to flush away evidence of marijuana from his system, the report noted.


Marijuana has no place in society: doctor

National Post, Letter section · Sept. 30, 2011
Re: A Misguided Sense Of Justice, letter to the editor, Sept. 28; Pot Growers Face More Jail Than Rapists, Sept. 23.

Two letters criticize the government's plan to increase the punishment for marijuana growers. As a psychiatrist who has been practising for more than 30 years, I have seen the extensive harm smoking pot has done in terms of mental well-being for countless people and their families. Many small marijuana growers share or sell their crop with others, whose brains became poisoned, resulting in paranoia, psychotic behaviour, amotivation and many of these damages become chronic and long lasting, contrary to what most people may think.

Some of their presentations are indistinguishable from long-term psychosis. Comparing the punishment for marijuana growers with sexual predators is like comparing apples with oranges. They are both unacceptable and should not be tolerated in our society.

Dr. Henry T. Chuang, Calgary


Poisoned brownies in office turn out to be pot brownies

Postmedia, September 2, 2011
Coffee break brought on more than a caffeine buzz for some Victoria office workers who unwittingly nibbled marijuana-laden brownies this week.

Victoria police received a call Monday of a possible poisoning at a downtown office building on Vancouver Street. Three employees, all at once, had been taken to hospital with similar symptoms, including lightheadedness, numbness in the limbs and disorientation.

Investigations led to the office refrigerator and some brownies which, it turned out, had been baked with marijuana. The brownies had been brought in by a woman who had discovered them in her freezer at home. Her son had baked the chocolate treats.
© Copyright (c) The Province


Second-hand smoke tied to children's behavior problems

(All smokes from  fire are toxic fumes---whether from tobacco, pot, or whatever; makes no difference. They are all toxic and harmful---no such thing as "harmless" fume)

NEW YORK, July 14 (Reuters Life!) - Children exposed to secondhand smoke at home may be more likely to have learning and behavioral problems, according to a U.S. study.

Of more than 55,000 U.S. children younger than 12 years, 6 percent lived with a smoker -- and those children were more likely to have ADHD compared to children in smoke-free homes, the study, published in Pediatrics, found.

Even after accounting for a number of possible explanations, such as parents' income and education levels, secondhand smoke was still tied to a higher risk of behavioral problems, said Hillel Alpert at the Harvard School of Public Health, one of the researchers.


Pot brownies send seven to hospital

Posted: June 17, 2011, Toronto Sun (Source: QMI Agency)
WOODSTOCK, Ont. -- Seven people were sent to hospital after eating marijuana-laced brownies at a golf course.

Police said an employee of the golf course brought brownies made with marijuana to work Thursday and shared the batch with co-workers, who didn't know the brownies were laced.

The golf course was shut down after seven employees were taken to Woodstock General Hospital following complaints of feeling dizzy and disoriented. The employees were treated and released.

A 19-year-old Woodstock man is charged with administering a noxious substance, possession of a controlled substance and breach of probation.


Smokers more likely to suffer “aggressive” kidney cancer

(ALL types of smokes (pot included) are toxic and harmful--zero proof to the contrary)
Smokers who quit have less aggressive kidney cancer
By Frederik Joelving Frederik Joelving – Tue Apr 19,
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Researchers have found that kidney cancer is not only more common among heavy smokers, it also appears to be more aggressive.

According to a study out Monday, more than one in four smokers undergoing kidney cancer surgery had advanced stages of the disease, compared to only one in five patients who didn't light up.

Researchers say about 70 percent of people with early-stage tumors survive at least five years, whereas that number plummets to just eight percent after the cancer has begun spreading.

About one in 70 Americans, most of them elderly, develop kidney cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

But the findings aren't all bad news. Indeed, former smokers who'd kicked the habit had a smaller chance of turning up with advanced cancer.


More proof: "harmless pot" a fantasy

Marijuana may help MS pain, but could hurt brain
Multiple sclerosis patients who regularly smoke pot to relieve pain and spastic muscles could be putting their brain function in peril, say researchers, who found that marijuana can further reduce cognitive abilities often already impaired by the disease.

In a study in this week's issue of the journal Neurology, researchers found that MS patients who had engaged in long-term pot-smoking were twice as likely as non-weed users to have diminished cognitive abilities overall.

“Prolonged inhaled or ingested (street) cannabis use is shown to significantly worsen one's attention span, speed of thinking and processing information, working memory, executive functions and visuospatial skills,” said lead investigator Anthony Feinstein, a neuropsychiatrist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.


"Medical marijuana" may well be just "placebo effect"

How a simple sugar pill from the doctor may not be a thing of the past
The placebo effect is so powerful that doctors want to make more use of our ability to 'trick ourselves better’, says Liz Bestic
By Liz Bestic 7:00AM GMT 14 Mar 2011

Not so long ago, it wasn’t unusual for your friendly GP to have at hand a bottle of sugar pills for patients’ minor aches and pains. While sugar pills are no longer on offer, a report out last week revealed that half of all German doctors are happily dishing out placebos to their patients for ailments such as stomach upset and low mood.

The study, published by the German Medical Association, said that placebos – here defined as sham treatments without any active constituents – from vitamin pills to homeopathic remedies and even surgery, can prove effective as treatments for minor problems and are completely without side effects.


Legal / illegal pot attracts crimes like corpses attract flies

Mayors want end to medical marijuana growing
By Matthew Claxton, Vancouver Sun, March 12, 2011
The mayors of Langley Township and the City of Langley are calling on the federal government to cancel licences for medical marijuana growing operations.

Legal marijuana is proving a major crime headache for the Langleys, which saw another violent attack on a legal growing operation last weekend. On Sunday morning, a medicinal marijuana growing operation in Brookswood was raided by armed thieves, the RCMP say.

"We believe that the time for consultation is over and that action needs to be taken," a letter sent to the federal government by City Mayor Peter Fassbender and Township Mayor Rick Green said.


Marijuana 'inextricably tied' to violence, says Mounties

By Sam Cooper, The Province March 8, 2011
A man is found in a vehicle bound hand and foot with a bag over his head. His brain is bleeding and his left eye is crushed beyond repair.

The gory aftermath of a brutal grow rip should prove to B.C. marijuana aficionados that pot is a blood-soaked commodity rather than a harmless product, North Vancouver RCMP say.

Cpl. Peter DeVries made the point while announcing recommendations of four charges against two men in an alleged attack on a 67-year-old Surrey man.

The man was found in a vehicle by Vancouver police in Sept. 2009, with lacerations to his scalp and face, severe trauma to both of his eyes, multiple broken ribs, a collapsed lung and bleeding in the brain.

“He’s very lucky he didn’t die,” DeVries said.

Police say the alleged assault happened in Norgate, a residential area of North Vancouver. An investigation showed the incident “surrounded a syndicate of marijuana grow operators, and that the assault was related to the drug trade,” DeVries said.

Crown counsel is reviewing charge recommendations, including aggravated assault and forcible confinement against 49-year-old Squamish resident Paul Defaveri, and forcible confinement and attempted murder against 40-year-old Robin Pryce from Surrey.

Both men have prior drug crime convictions. Neither have known gang affiliations, DeVries said.

DeVries said the alleged assault is a “stark example” that “because of its monetary value as a commodity, marijuana is inextricably tied to serious acts of violence.”

“When you smoke a joint there is a strong likelihood that aside from it being grown illegally, it is connected to crimes like assaults, frauds, thefts and burglaries,” DeVries said.

Defaveri and Pryce were arrested on March 4 and both have been remanded in custody until their next court appearance on March 15.


Legal medical marijuana operations are candy stores to criminals

Thieves targeting legal medical marijuana operations
By Cassidy Olivier, The Province, March 9, 2011
Some Langley residents who are legally licensed to grow marijuana for medicinal purposes are being ripped off by thieves.

Three medicinal marijuana grow ops have been robbed within the past six months, although RCMP say there is no way to tell if the facilities are being specifically targeted because they are a medicinal operation, or just because they have pot.

The latest incident happened Sunday at 3:30 a.m. when two men, armed with a rifle and a knife, forced their way into a home in the Brookswood neighbourhood.

They overpowered the victim and tied him up, covering his eyes. They ransacked the house and made off with the pot plants the victim was licensed to grow.


Marijuana Use Linked to Psychotic Disorders

By Neha Prakash, Mar 2nd 2011 2:18PM
A new study has found that the use of marijuana at a young age will dramatically increase the chance of psychotic disorders later in life, Reuters reports.

Continued use of marijuana doubles the risk of psychotic episodes, hallucinations or delusions, researchers said.

"This study adds a further brick to the wall of evidence showing that use of traditional cannabis is a contributory cause of psychoses like schizophrenia," said Robin Murray of the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London, who was not involved in the research.

The findings may have a dramatic effect on the ongoing pursuit for legalization of marijuana both for medical and recreational use in various states.

Authorities should take "a cautious and thoughtful approach to cannabis legislation," said Peter Kinderman, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Liverpool.

"It's important to remember that psychosis is a very complex bio-psycho-social phenomenon...but this important paper certainly reminds us that there's a strong link to the use of cannabis," he said.

In previous studies, a causation between marijuana and psychosis could not be established as it was difficult to establish which came first -- marijuana use or mental illness. Over the course of this most recent study, however, researchers say they were able to show that the marijuana use did precede the incidence of psychotic disorders in users. The study lasted for 10 years and looked at 1,923 adolescents and young adults aged 14 to 24 years old.

The study was published in the British Medical Journal.

More related news:
Long-Time Marijuana Use Linked to Psychosis in Young Adults


Pro-pot forces want more smokes in air and lungs

Once again, more (endless) bad news about the destructive effects of smoking (any kind). As said in previous posts, all smokes (fumes from fire) are harmful and toxic---there's no such thing as "harmless" smoke, whether it's from tobacco, pot, banana leaf, etc. Don't agree? Then let your children smoke pot everyday.
Tobacco Smoke Causes Immediate Damage To Cells And Tissue, US Surgeon General

Even One Cigarette Can Prove Lethal, U.S. Surgeon General Says

Secondhand Smoke May Put Kids at Risk for Diseases

Smoking causes gene damage in minutes   Jan 15, 2011
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Those first few puffs on a cigarette can within minutes cause genetic damage linked to cancer, US scientists said in a study released.

In fact, researchers said the "effect is so fast that it's equivalent to injecting the substance directly into the bloodstream," in findings described as a "stark warning" to those who smoke...