NORML Canada: October 2014 Newsletter
Greetings Cannabis Law Reform Community
In this month’s newsletter:
Alaska, Washington, DC, and Oregon have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Colorado and the state of Washington this November 4th.
In what seemed too good to be true just two years ago, citizens in Alaska, Washington, DC, and Oregon will also now have the opportunity to legalize marijuana by voting Yes in their local state initiatives. It is evident that more and more states in the U.S. are willing to challenge unjust laws, and to work to change those laws at the state level. Here is a short breakdown of each of the initiatives:
Initiative Measure 2 in Alaska Proposes:
Initiative Measure 91 in Oregon Proposes:
The Centre For Addiction and Mental Health, the largest treatment and research clinic in Canada, has called for the legalization of cannabis here in Canada. Jurgen Rehm, the director of social and epidemiological research at CAMH came out this month stating that the current system of cannabis control in Canada has failed to prevent harms associated with its use. Furthermore, Rehm claims that strict regulation, through a government-controlled monopoly similar to that which regulates liquor stores, is the most effective way to reduce associated harms. Despite being illegal, the rate of cannabis use in Canada is amongst the highest in the world with roughly 40% of Canadians having used it at least once in their lifetime. Ian Culbert, the executive director for the Canadian Public Health Association came out in agreement with CAMH, emphasizing the need for a new approach to cannabis regulation in Canada, particularly one which focuses on the issue from a public health perspective. Needless to say, this is a huge step forward for the legalization movement here in Canada. With an official statement in direct opposition of prohibition, from the largest centre for mental health and addiction research in Canada, it is unlikely that politicians will be able to brush this issue off as they have done in the past. The position taken by CAMH starkly opposes the current Conservative approach to cannabis regulation; how this issue will be resolved amongst Conservatives, as well as whether or not the Liberals or NDP will choose to capitalize on this claim has yet to be seen, but is greatly anticipated.
Sensible B.C. has released a newsletter with tips for engaging municipal government representatives on the issue of cannabis policy. While the newsletter was written for B.C. residents, the question posed in the newsletter ñ ìwhere does your mayor stand?î ñ is one that all Canadian supporters of cannabis law reform should be asking.
Check them out right here: http://sensiblebc.ca/
This month, the Federal government began a new anti-drug marketing campaign with the aim of equipping parents with the information and tools to talk to their children about marijuana and prescription drugs. The seven-week campaign, totalling seven million dollars to execute, will include TV, web, and social media advertisements warning of the harmful effects of prescription drugs and marijuana on developing brains. The proposed campaign followed shortly after several Conservative Cabinet ministers, including Peter MacKay and Julian Fantino, publicly criticized Justin Trudeauís support for legalizing marijuana. The Conservative government also approached three Canadian medical groups, the Canadian Medical Association, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, requesting that they sign on in support. All three groups declined stating that the campaign was purely political. A thirty-second television advertisement displays glass tubes, in the shape of a brain, being filled with smoke. Ominous white writing appears on the screen with words like, ìLoss of Memory,î ìDecreased IQ,î and ìLearning Problems.î A womanís voice decries that the strength of marijuana is 300-400% greater than it was in the 1970ís. Without a doubt, it is clear to see that the Conservative government has pulled deep into the bag of War on Drugs rhetoric. Hopefully this time around Canadians are wise enough to look past it and realize the lack of leadership the Conservative government has on this issue. Check out the clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEuCvUdHDNA
This is an exciting time in the world of marijuana. There are more resources than ever available to help people to learn more about cannabis, and to help clear the smoke surrounding cannabis prohibition. The latest documentary to add to these resources was released on October 17, 2014 to online audiences in Canada and the U.S.
The makers of the ìThe Union: The Business Behind Getting High,î Brett Harvey and Adam Scorgie, bring us ìThe Culture High,î an exploration into how key economical, political, and social issues in North America have been responsible for the continuous prohibition of cannabis.
While its predecessor ìThe Unionî offered a remarkable look at the history of the plant, as well as credibly debunking the most common myths surrounding marijuana, from the loss of brain cells to claims the plant does not have any medicinal value, ìThe Culture Highî takes a slightly different approach.
ìThe Culture Highî navigates the present landscape in which marijuana is still illegal but manages to provoke a discussion about the likely benefactors of the status quo, including the pharmaceutical industry, the privatized prison industry, and the mutual benefits enjoyed by both drug dealers in the form of untaxed revenues and law enforcement agencies in the form of inflated financial budgets to fight crime, all while being key proponents of the prohibition.
The cast of interviews is also excellent and it includes Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard, Professor David Nutt, British Psychiatrist and Neuropsycho-pharmacologist, and media personalities such as Richard Branson, and Cenk Uygur and Anna Kasparian of ëThe Young Turks.í
The Culture High is available to rent or for sale on demand here: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/culturehigh/107305488
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