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HMSC 19/06/2012 "Decriminalisation of Drugs in the UK" - Prof Nutt

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    Afternoon all,

    Thought I would post a thread regarding a Select Committee meeting held today in Westminster, chaired by Keith Vaz, discussing current UK drug legislation and relevant data from the science world.

    The first two and most famous guests were Prof Nutt, controversially sacked under the Brown administration for stating that ecstasy less harmful than horse riding, and Dr Les King.

    I watched the hearing live in the Parliament website (it might be still up).

    A relevant article from Politics http://www.politics.co.uk/news/2012/...riminalisation

    A lot of promising evidence was given from mainly Prof Nutt and then validated by Dr King.

    The MP's, including Nicola Blackwood (Conservative for Oxford West *I believe) rather feebly stated to Prof Nutt "So, you'd rather people get lung cancer than liver cancer" when discussing the relevant harm of cannabis in relation to alcohol. Sadly, alcohol kills 2 million people per year, cannabis overdoses are 0. Also, Nicola Blackwood ignorantly doesn't acknowledge there are other ways to consume cannabis that don't cause lung cancer, such as eating food.

    Prof Nutt held up very well to criticism and clearly stated his points, visibly he was frustrated at the MPs constantly not relating their claims to scientific data. The 2006 Tashkin report, conducted by UCLA, Berkley medical school, researched the link between lung cancer and smoking cannabis (with no tobacco), the study concluded there is no sufficient evidence to suggest that lung cancer and cannabis smoking are linked.

    Any way - this is on HMSC record for the future.

    Just didn't want supporters of decriminalisation to miss out.

    M1
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    Interesting, thanks.

    Link to video: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Pl...meetingId=1098
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    The government, by virtue of its policy, would seemingly "rather people get" liver cancer than, well, er.....see people make full use of a plant with virtually no adverse health effects. This is confirmed by Nutt's other observation that the opening of cannabis coffeeshops in the UK would reduce alcohol consumption by 25%. Ah, lo and behold! Reduction of alcohol consumption by 25%? Who would be opposed to that? It's simply too obvious. These MPs and other politicians drink booze every day in the Commons Bar, sometimes with the CEOs of big alcohol and tobacco companies. Clientelism and cronyism guide government policy on this matter (as does the opinion of the most reactionary, conservative elements of society, represented by the verminous columns of the Daily Mail). It's well known that legalization of marijuana would massively undercut the alcohol monopoly - health and safety doesn't come into it. If politicians really cared about protecting people then they'd also ban skydiving, Formula 1, 60mph speed limits, airbags, bleach, rat poison, antifreeze, and many other activities and substances which pose a significant risk. Furthermore, they don't even care about the potential economic benefits of it; the fact that taxation of a regulated recreational drug market would be hugely beneficial for the State. If they're not even concerned about boosting government coffers then why on earth would they care about the wellbeing of citizens, which would - as it happens - be improved considerably by an end to prohibition?
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    Sadly, there is little point in presenting evidence to a committee chaired by Keith Vaz. This is a man who believes in homeopathy (despite all the available scientific evidence being that it is a hoax) and is partly responsible for the continued waste of taxpayer's money on it through the NHS. I doubt scientific evidence will be enough to sway his or the committee's views on this issue either.

    On a related note I would call on Labour voters in Leicester east to boycott Labour until Vaz is replaced with a rational person, while encouraging conservative voters in Bosworth to boycott Treddenick. Those two make me ashamed to come from Leicester.
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    (Original post by Suetonius)
    The government, by virtue of its policy, would seemingly "rather people get" liver cancer than, well, er.....see people make full use of a plant with virtually no adverse health effects. This is confirmed by Nutt's other observation that the opening of cannabis coffeeshops in the UK would reduce alcohol consumption by 25%. Ah, lo and behold! Reduction of alcohol consumption by 25%? Who would be opposed to that? It's simply too obvious. These MPs and other politicians drink booze every day in the Commons Bar, sometimes with the CEOs of big alcohol and tobacco companies. Clientelism and cronyism guide government policy on this matter (as does the opinion of the most reactionary, conservative elements of society, represented by the verminous columns of the Daily Mail). The government doesn't even care about economic benefits, or the fact that taxation of a regulated recreational drug market would be hugely beneficial for the State. If they're not even concerned about themselves, why would they care about the wellbeing of citizens, which would be improved considerably by an end of drug prohibition?
    The government cares about the people who fund them more than the general population. Even Einstein believed they would.

    (Original post by Einstein)
    Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights."

    Evidence that suggest he was spot on:
    http://www.businessinsider.com/dear-...ts-2012-6?op=1

    I know this doesn't seem relevant to drug policy, but pharma, alcohol, and tobacco companies would want drugs illegal since they would all lose alot of money.

    Remember those private 'dinner parties' to people who donated to him? Obviously they would get preferred treatment when it comes to any policy changes, instead of the public who they should be taking care of. As the government is ideally a representative of the people, and each person is equal with 1 vote each.

    Unemployment is as high as ever, and businesses are as profitable as ever. There's already been riots in many countries recently (England, America, Canada, Europe, Middle east). The unemployed will riot in the next few years, and that's when extreme parties will start to gain power as many people will want big changes and they will offer radical changes. Those extreme parties will cause people to become extreme in their views for or against them, and I think there will be mass civil wars in Europe mainly.

    Capitalism will be over and hopefully socialism will take over. Then drugs won't be illegal.
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    Unfortunately they could be presented with all the scientific evidence in the world and it wont make one blind bit of difference. Our drug policy is based entirely on politics and not on science or health.
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    Nothing to worry about here the lovely Theresa May came out within two hours to make it clear that she was not interested in such an approach. "I have a very tough view on drugs. That view is informed by people I speak to who have seen the damage the drugs have done to people in their family,". Shes clearly a very intelligent person we obviously need to follow a few bits of anecdotal evidence from her hysterical friends over the overwhelming evidence to the contrary provided by the top experts in the area.

    Gets my vote for best Home Secretary ever.

    :shh: She might be listening.
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    I don't expect the government to change, they won't. The Lib Dems may consider decriminalising drugs (or at least LSD, E and Cannabis) as a massive vote winner to the younger generations, personally I'd vote for them (since I don't really care for politics any more) if this was their policy. Would I expect them to deliver? Probably not but worth a punt.

    The fact remains for the future, the meeting yesterday is on record. Should one government choose to decriminalise, Brown admitted @ Leveson his dodgy story on cannabis, should a government (e.g. the Dems) decriminalise and it go wrong, they could merely blame Brown and his desperate relationship with the Murdoch empire, thus using him as a scapegoat.
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    The government isn't there to repeal all laws that shouldn't be there. The government is made out of people like you and me. People have opinions. It makes much more sense to merely believe that most people in the government, don't support legalization due to their (mis)conceptions instead of some mass conspiracy against marijuana. This especially applies to the older members of parli

    If people want marijuana to be legalized, you'll first have to have proper public backing (not some close-call **** like 52% for, 48% against). Then, organized mass-protesting in favor of legalization. Get some funding for some companies, there are plenty of organizations that would benefit from having marijuana legalized e.g. tabacoo companies who are losing money.

    Stop blaming the government and start blaming the people.
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    (Original post by Annoying-Mouse)
    The government isn't there to repeal all laws that shouldn't be there. The government is made out of people like you and me. People have opinions. It makes much more sense to merely believe that most people in the government, don't support legalization due to their (mis)conceptions instead of some mass conspiracy against marijuana. This especially applies to the older members of parli

    If people want marijuana to be legalized, you'll first have to have proper public backing (not some close-call **** like 52% for, 48% against). Then, organized mass-protesting in favor of legalization. Get some funding for some companies, there are plenty of organizations that would benefit from having marijuana legalized e.g. tabacoo companies who are losing money.

    Stop blaming the government and start blaming the people.
    If its purely down to personal opinion then its amazing how many come out in favour of legalisation after leaving the job.

    GWPharma seem to be doing a good job of making money from cannabis right now, they can only do this because they have been granted a monopoly by the government. The government and ACMD are currently desperately trying to find a way to reschedule cannabis to allow for Sativex while maintaining the line that cannabis has no medical value.

    There are surely far more companies that would suffer from cannabis being legalised than would benefit and I doubt the tobacco industry would benefit greatly either. Its never going to as profitable as tobacco and i'm not sure they are the best placed to take advantage of a change of law.

    Is running to tobacco industry going to benefit the cause? Is it helpful to have such a despised industry on your side? Do cannabis users want to buy from them? In order to make it at all worth while they will need to ensure legislation is in their favour, which is unlikely to be favourable to cannabis users that could and do in increasing numbers just grow their own.

    The best mass protest is for cannabis users to grow their own and force a change as has already happened to a degree with the new sentencing guidelines.
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    (Original post by Annoying-Mouse)
    The government isn't there to repeal all laws that shouldn't be there. The government is made out of people like you and me. People have opinions. It makes much more sense to merely believe that most people in the government, don't support legalization due to their (mis)conceptions instead of some mass conspiracy against marijuana. This especially applies to the older members of parli

    If people want marijuana to be legalized, you'll first have to have proper public backing (not some close-call **** like 52% for, 48% against). Then, organized mass-protesting in favor of legalization. Get some funding for some companies, there are plenty of organizations that would benefit from having marijuana legalized e.g. tabacoo companies who are losing money.

    Stop blaming the government and start blaming the people.




    Protest don't work.
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    (Original post by n00)
    If its purely down to personal opinion then its amazing how many come out in favour of legalisation after leaving the job.

    GWPharma seem to be doing a good job of making money from cannabis right now, they can only do this because they have been granted a monopoly by the government. The government and ACMD are currently desperately trying to find a way to reschedule cannabis to allow for Sativex while maintaining the line that cannabis has no medical value.

    There are surely far more companies that would suffer from cannabis being legalised than would benefit and I doubt the tobacco industry would benefit greatly either. Its never going to as profitable as tobacco and i'm not sure they are the best placed to take advantage of a change of law.

    Is running to tobacco industry going to benefit the cause? Is it helpful to have such a despised industry on your side? Do cannabis users want to buy from them? In order to make it at all worth while they will need to ensure legislation is in their favour, which is unlikely to be favourable to cannabis users that could and do in increasing numbers just grow their own.

    The best mass protest is for cannabis users to grow their own and force a change as has already happened to a degree with the new sentencing guidelines.
    Have you done an analysis of members of parliaments opinion on weed before and after they leave the house? If not, then don't make statements like that they don't help the cause by using intellectually dishonest arguments.

    It doesn't really matter what companies will suffer. As long as you can get the message out there and the evidence is on your side. Look at the Tobacco industry and their declining influences. As long as a company will offer and help you lobby, that's all you really need.

    They were just an example. How many foods can be homegrown but aren't? As long as it's cheap, it's much easier to buy than grow.

    (Original post by DaveSmith99)
    Protest don't work.
    Intellectual dishonest argument. Do you realize I could just show you a picture of a protest that has worked and proclaim "protests work"? Did you not see the part where I specified it's necessary for public opinion to be on your favor before protesting occurs? The majority supported the war when it started.
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    (Original post by Annoying-Mouse)
    It doesn't really matter what companies will suffer. As long as you can get the message out there and the evidence is on your side. Look at the Tobacco industry and their declining influences. As long as a company will offer and help you lobby, that's all you really need.
    Even if they will undoubtedly screw you over the second they have the governments ear?

    (Original post by Annoying-Mouse)
    They were just an example. How many foods can be homegrown but aren't? As long as it's cheap, it's much easier to buy than grow.
    Exactly, as long as it's cheap.
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    (Original post by n00)
    Even if they will undoubtedly screw you over the second they have the governments ear?


    Exactly, as long as it's cheap.
    You're using the word undoubtedly. You're being no better than politicians by using biased language. As long as it's fully legalized then they can't screw you over. And if they do, you simply repeat the process and find a company that won't.

    We live in a market economy, price will be set by supply and demand. It's ultimately on the people. If it's too high then people won't buy thus they'll have to reduce the price. If it's high and people buy, what's wrong?
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    (Original post by Annoying-Mouse)
    You're using the word undoubtedly. You're being no better than politicians by using biased language.
    :rofl:

    (Original post by Annoying-Mouse)
    As long as it's fully legalized then they can't screw you over. And if they do, you simply repeat the process and find a company that won't. We live in a market economy, price will be set by supply and demand. It's ultimately on the people. If it's too high then people won't buy thus they'll have to reduce the price. If it's high and people buy, what's wrong?
    Yes as long as its fully legalised. This is never going to happen by chasing big money they will want to impose restrictions on home growing, strains, chemical makeup....... If we find ourselves in that position it wont be as simple as going to the next company, it will have just become even harder to change.
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    (Original post by n00)
    :rofl:

    Yes as long as its fully legalised. This is never going to happen by chasing big money they will want to impose restrictions on home growing, strains, chemical makeup....... If we find ourselves in that position it wont be as simple as going to the next company, it will have just become even harder to change.
    There you go again using biased words like 'never'. Is there any point in continuing this argument if you're cynicism is going to blind you?

    Important lesson of the day: as you demonstrated here, politicians aren't intellectually dishonest because they're being told to be rather their personal beliefs are shaping their viewpoints. If you yourself can't show restraint and constantly use intellectually dishonest arguments to help your viewpoint, how can you expect politicians to not do the same? Don't put them on a pedestal.
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    (Original post by Annoying-Mouse)
    There you go again using biased words like 'never'. Is there any point in continuing this argument if you're cynicism is going to blind you?
    Yeah, i guess theres always a chance turkeys could vote for Christmas you never know.
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    Nutt seems quite level-headed.

    But then you read that he also thinks that all vehicles should be fitted with breathalysers that prevent the engine from starting if you blow over the limit (or, of course, if the system ****s up).

    Then you realise, actually, the man's a bit of a ****.
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    (Original post by AnythingButChardonnay)
    Nutt seems quite level-headed.

    But then you read that he also thinks that all vehicles should be fitted with breathalysers that prevent the engine from starting if you blow over the limit (or, of course, if the system ****s up).

    Then you realise, actually, the man's a bit of a ****.
    No denying, though, he is highly informed and probably best able to accurately describe the true harms of drugs.
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    This whole argument is an excellent reminder of why we don't allow scientists to decide public policy. Supporters of decrminalisation who base their arguments on the absence of any principle for deciding which drugs should be legal rooted firmly in medical evidence miss the point entirely. No sane country would allow experts on drugs to decide its drug policy any more than it would allow doctors to decide its health policy or teachers to decide its education policy. In reducing the issue to one of technocratic expertise, we are wilfully ignoring the intricate way in which drugs and the law regarding them are bound up in our culture, an issue on which scientists have nothing of value to say whatsoever.

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