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Bob McCoskrie

Bob McCoskrie: Stop playing Russian roulette with drugs

Family First Comment: If we take the justification for pill testing to its logical conclusion, should we also be testing the safety of illegal guns belonging to the gangs, set up a DOC testing programme to ensure that kereru illegally caught are safe to eat, help homebased P-labs operators meet their IRD tax requirements, and offer free Warrant of Fitness checks for getaway vehicles involved in aggravated robberies?
….Pill testing sounds well-intentioned, but behind the smokescreen is simply another ‘facilitated’ ill-informed decision to consume illicit drugs. Festival goers should enjoy the music and stop playing Russian roulette with drugs and with their lives.

If we take the justification for pill testing to its logical conclusion (“When it comes to NZ drugs, better safe than sorry” Dr Siouxsie Wiles – Dominion Post, 14 Oct 2019), should we also be testing the safety of illegal guns belonging to the gangs, set up a DOC testing programme to ensure that kereru illegally caught are safe to eat, help homebased P-labs operators meet their IRD tax requirements, and offer free Warrant of Fitness checks for getaway vehicles involved in aggravated robberies?

Better safe than sorry is the mantra, isn’t it? Haven’t we lost ‘the war’ on these illegal activities? People are still doing them.

The psychiatrist, writer and retired prison doctor Theodore Dalrymple says that the ‘war on drugs is lost’ mantra is an unimaginative and fundamentally stupid metaphor – “If the war against drugs is lost, then so are the wars against theft, speeding, incest, fraud, rape, murder, arson, and illegal parking. Few, if any, such wars are winnable.”

We are not engaged in a war on drugs. We are defending our minds, our health and safety. The end goal of the anti-smoking campaign has not been ‘slow down’ or ‘moderate’ but ‘quit’, with numerous strategies and support agencies assisting on the journey. The numbers overwhelmingly suggest that it is working.

Lobbying to allow drug use and drug testing at music festivals is flawed and dangerous. It’s being used by drug-friendly groups as a wedge to normalise drug use.

At the same time as we encourage and adopt alcohol-free and smoke-free public events, having drug-free music festivals is a health and safety approach based on best practice.

Drug overdoses are a huge concern, and testing won’t protect users because there is no such thing as a safe drug.

Pill testing will be seen by many younger people especially as a clear endorsement of drug use. It sends a message that illicit drugs are acceptable and can be ‘safe’, and will worsen harmful drug use, so that more lives will be put at risk with the belief that the drug they are taking is somehow ‘safe’.

Pill testing also does not – and cannot – guarantee that the drug being taken will not cause any physical or mental harm or death to the individual consumer. It also cannot account for the individual’s physiological response to each drug.

Drug-Free Australia has provided research showing that according to the medical literature the accelerating number of Australian deaths from ecstasy are mostly not from overdosing, nor, according to coroners’ reports, are they due to impurities in party pills – but rather from individual reactions to drugs. A group of friends can all ingest the same amount but only one might die.

Pill testing cannot test for use of other drugs. Pill testing cannot test for individual allergic-like reactions. Pill testing onsite cannot test for dose. Pill testing is incapable of preventing home deaths.

If pill testing is pursued with government approval, the inevitable result will be more people willing to use the substance on the false assumption that they are now safe and publicly acceptable.

As Australian Toxicologist Andrew Leibie, said in late-2017, “Public statements made by politicians that the trial would help ‘keep people safe’ were potentially misleading. MDMA is not a safe drug… The whole concept is based on the false assumption that if you do know what you’re taking, it is safe – something that is absolutely untrue.”

A recent study by Western Australia’s Edith Cowan University found that while first time users at festival might be more cautious, prior ecstasy users were only more likely to reduce their harm intentions if the ecstasy contained a toxic contaminant, not if the test revealed a high dose or an inconclusive result. The researchers said that this finding is important because some of the recent ecstasy-related deaths at festivals in Australia which have been linked to high doses of ecstasy. Additionally, if the participant was a prior ecstasy user who was also high in sensation seeking, then they were at the greatest risk of harm, even after participating in the pill test.

Melvin Benn, Festival Republic’s managing director, UK’s largest festival organiser which organises Reading and Leeds Festivals, among others, said “Determining to a punter that a drug is in the ‘normal boundaries of what a drug should be’ takes no account of how many he or she will take, whether the person will mix it with other drugs or alcohol and nor does it give you any indicator of the receptiveness of a person’s body to that drug… There are no safe illegal drugs.”

Pill testing sounds well-intentioned, but behind the smokescreen is simply another ‘facilitated’ ill-informed decision to consume illicit drugs.

Festival goers should enjoy the music and stop playing Russian roulette with drugs and with their lives.

 

 

Reasons Marijuana Legalization Seems To Be Failing

Forbes.com 5 November 2019
Family First Comment: Reasons marijuana legalisation seems to be failing:
– Black market operates in plain sight, killing legal marijuana companies
– Marijuana tax revenues are missing expectations
– Marijuana arrests are actually increasing, despite

When it was first proposed, the concept of marijuana legalization seemed solid enough. Take the world’s most popular illicit substance, establish a taxed and regulated marketplace and watch all of the evil associated with the herb – the criminal activity, the youth consumption –fade away into a footnote of American history. And by all accounts, it was a plan that should have worked. After all, we weren’t dealing with a new idea or anything. It was one that advocates borrowed from a time when alcohol was once prohibited across the United States, causing an uprising in crime, death and a vast array of other debaucherous behavior that could only be tamed in a legal regime. So rather than reinvent the wheel, the cannabis community forged ahead along the same path. Only, things are not exactly shaking out the same way they did for booze. It could even be said that, at some level, marijuana legalization in its present form is failing.

One of the biggest arguments made by cannabis advocates when trying to sell their spiel to politicians and voters was that legal weed would eliminate the black market. This, they said, would make it more difficult for children to get their hands on pot than in decades past while also generating significant tax revenue for the states. But the underground pot trade hasn’t really gone anywhere. In fact, it is only growing stronger now that criminal organizations have the luxury of being domestically based instead of running distribution from Mexico.

All one needs to do is take a look at California, which legalized the leaf a couple of years ago, to see that this is true.

While the Golden State was predicted to rake in $643 million in pot taxes in the first year, it only collected right around half of that. This is because the black market continues to dominate leaps and bounds over the legal sector. High taxes (the highest in the nation) and licensing issues are said to be the cause of this mess. A recent forecast from BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research suggests that it could take five years before the legal market begins to outsell the underground.

That’s a huge fail.
READ MORE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeadams/2019/11/05/reasons-marijuana-legalization-seems-to-be-failing/#3734e1587eba
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US man ‘high as a kite’ after claiming he was served marijuana-laced cup of McDonald’s tea

TVNZ One News 8 November 2019
Family First Comment: Legalisation of drugs permeates every aspect of society. Even family restaurants.
#saynopetodope

A South Carolina man who went to McDonald’s for a sweet tea says he received a little extra herbal substance on the side.

The Island Packet reports Parrish Brown went to a McDonald’s on Hilton Head Island and asked for a sweet tea with light ice and extra lemon.

Brown now believes “extra lemon” was code for marijuana, since he found three bags of weed in his cup. He says he only realised it once he was “high as a kite.”

Brown says he’d never had marijuana, so he didn’t recognise the taste. He says he paid regular price for the items.

Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Major Bob Bromage says an investigation is ongoing. He didn’t specify which McDonald’s Brown had gone to.

McDonald’s didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/world/us-man-high-kite-after-claiming-he-served-marijuana-laced-cup-mcdonalds-tea
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Critical measures needed to fight drug abuse & misinformation about cannabis (Singapore)

The Straits Times 6 November 2019
Family First Comment: “Mr Bob McCoskrie, one of the speakers at the conference, said cannabis-infused candies, nasal sprays, mineral water and vape liquids are prevalent, as well as petrol stations called “gas and grass” that sell marijuana. He is the director of Family First New Zealand, which is campaigning towards a 2020 referendum to prevent the legalisation of cannabis in New Zealand.”

The fight against drug abuse and the need to counter the proliferation of misinformation surrounding cannabis are critical measures that must be taken today, said Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs.

Mrs Teo, who was speaking at the Asia-Pacific Forum Against Drugs on Thursday morning (Nov 7), said that behind the misinformation and overseas campaign for the legalisation of cannabis are big corporations with the spending power to push for their agenda.

“If they succeed, the drug situation could become even more grim,” she said at the conference co-organised by World Federation Against Drugs and the National Council Against Drug Abuse (NCADA).

According to the 2019 World Drug Report, one in every 18 people in the world had used drugs at least once in the previous year, which is a more than 30 per cent increase, compared to a decade ago.

She said: “Already, almost 12 million, or more than a third of young Americans, reported cannabis abuse in 2018. This is the highest level of cannabis use since 2002. With legalisation, these numbers will rise.”

A concern among law enforcement, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and anti-drug lobbyists is impressionable youths.

Mr Bob McCoskrie, one of the speakers at the conference, said cannabis-infused candies, nasal sprays, mineral water and vape liquids are prevalent, as well as petrol stations called “gas and grass” that sell marijuana.

He is the director of Family First New Zealand, which is campaigning towards a 2020 referendum to prevent the legalisation of cannabis in New Zealand.

He said big corporations know that if they get young people addicted to cannabis, “you’ll get clients for life”.

The danger of today’s commercial cannabis is its purity.

“We’re not talking about Woodstock weed,” said Mr McCoskrie, who pointed out that THC or tetrahydrocannabinol levels in cannabis found today are more potent than previously.
READ MORE: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/critical-measures-needed-to-fight-drug-abuse-and-misinformation-about-cannabis

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Global trend of legalising cannabis a worrying development (Singapore)

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo has emphasised the importance of the community in countering a “wave of misinformation campaigns” sponsored by the commercial cannabis industry. She said the rising global trend of legalising cannabis is worrying. Robert Bruce McCoskrie, National Director at Family First NZ, and Dr Chew Tuan Chiong, Vice-Chairman at the National Council Against Drug Abuse, were in the studio to discuss this issue.

Oregon cop warns Florida lawmakers about dangers of legal marijuana

Orlando Sentinel 5 November 2019
Family First Comment: “He listed a litany of problems that followed, including an increase in positive drug tests in the workforce, legal marijuana being siphoned into the black markets of other states and a spike in the use of other, still illegal drugs.”
Don’t believe the Green Party hype 
#saynopetodope

Recreational marijuana has brought trouble to Oregon, a law officer said Tuesday, as Florida lawmakers prepared to deal with the chance that Sunshine State voters could legalize pot next year.

The House Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony from Chris Gibson, a narcotics officer in Oregon, where marijuana was legalized in 2015.

He listed a litany of problems that followed, including an increase in positive drug tests in the workforce, legal marijuana being siphoned into the black markets of other states and a spike in the use of other, still illegal drugs.

Gibson stopped short of calling marijuana legalization a “gateway” to other drugs, as Rep. Mel Ponder, R-Destin, suggested, but said, “we have seen reported drug use in Oregon increase across the board … we’re seeing users that are using everything all together.”

The presentation was the latest in a string of speakers planned by committee chairman Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero.

A Harvard medical school professor spoke of the medical dangers of marijuana last month, and Rodrigues says he plans to have other law enforcement officials from Colorado, another state where marijuana is legal.

Rodrigues says he wants lawmakers to be prepared in case one of the two proposed constitutional amendments gets on the ballot and wins approval by voters in 2020. Rodrigues is term-limited, but the Legislature would have to pass a bill setting up parameters for a newly legal marijuana industry, just as it has for medical marijuana.
READ MORE: https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/florida-marijuana/os-ne-house-legal-marijuana-florida-oregon-20191105-5thqbahtnzditmqpfzwbwm6v6q-story.html

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U.S. vaping-related deaths rise to 37, cases of illness to 1,888

Reuters 1 November 2019
Family First Comment: Big Marijuana loves vaping products. Don’t legalise.
#saynopetodope

U.S. health officials on Thursday reported 1,888 confirmed and probable cases and 3 more deaths from a mysterious respiratory illness tied to vaping, taking the total death toll to 37.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 1,604 cases and 34 deaths from the illness and said the number of reported cases in the epidemic appears to be leveling off or declining.

However, the CDC said last week it was too early to say whether the outbreak had peaked.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-vaping-cdc/u-s-vaping-related-deaths-rise-to-37-cases-of-illness-to-1888-idUSKBN1XA2BG

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Drug Foundation’s ‘Taking Control’ Model For Legal Weed Is ‘Out Of Control’

The Drug Foundation has recently released a model for regulation entitled “Taking control of cannabis – a model for responsible regulation“.

If anything, the model is out of control. Here’s some key problems:

1. It will be legal to grow cannabis for personal use

The Drug Foundation wants to allow ‘small-scale growers‘ to allow for ‘community development‘ (!!) and to ‘redress the harm caused by prohibition‘.  They also want to ‘allow people to grow plants at home as proposed, and share with friends.‘ Yeah – let’s get the whole neighbourhood high!

The problem with private homes being used as ‘grows’ is that dope dealers will simply stay under the radar with multi-location grows, and children will be exposed to the industry – right in their backyard.

Home grows are simply a form of black market. They avoid any regulation. Who is going to monitor what a local drug dealer is growing in their backyards?

The Drug Foundation makes a shocking and insulting assertion about our Police, saying that ‘a key goal should be to prevent cannabis offences being used as ‘convenience charges’ to target vulnerable populations.’ Apparently the aim of the Police is simply to find any excuse they can to charge ‘vulnerable populations‘.

2. No age restriction on use

While the Drug Foundation agrees with a legal purchase age of 20, they ‘caution around setting a legal use age as this could result in further penalising vulnerable communities with negligible impact on use.’ They argue that teenagers can then take advantage of ‘allowing them access to products that carry health warnings and potency controls‘.

Apparently, a 12, 13 or 14 year old (or even younger) using drugs is not the issue. It’s whether they have good product, and don’t get penalised.

So in effect it will be totally legal for a 12 year old to be carrying and smoking / consuming cannabis – as long as they persuaded a 20 year old ‘big brother’ to buy it for them. They argue that it’s to help vulnerable communities, but increasing access will simply add to the vulnerability and harm.

3. Online sales

The Drug Foundation wants to increase the availability of drugs by allowing ‘online sales through a single website‘ and to ‘ensure strict requirements for age checking at point of purchase and delivery.’ This is both flawed – and naive.

Online age checking has proved generally to be a farce and very difficult to monitor. And once again, the cost of providing this level of regulation and enforcement will be very costly – yet they want the online sales to be ‘non-profit‘. But hang on – isn’t the taxes on cannabis going to pay for all the new schools, hospitals, roads, and every other great cause we can think of?

They then argue that ‘it could be run similarly to TradeMe, with licensed retailers able to offer products in a controlled way‘. Apparently nobody is on TradeMe for the purposes of making a quick buck with dodgy products. They also argue that ‘small-scale growers who are currently operating illegally‘ (like the gangs and your local drug dealers standing outside schools) ‘to become part of the mainstream economy‘.

4. SmokeFree – but a joint, edible or dab in the home is fine

In an incredible display of confused thinking, they want to ‘avoid the proliferation of other licensed premises such as cannabis cafés, as these may encourage and normalise cannabis use‘.

Yet in the same policy, they want to ‘allow for the consumption of cannabis in homes‘. The reason? ‘Otherwise people will break the law and continue to be targeted‘.

Imagine what example this sets to young people and children about drug use. And of course, as mentioned above, the whole neighbourhood can join in the party.

5. ‘Gummy bear heaven’ – all the products that Big Marijuana wants

Despite correctly saying that ‘there are good public health arguments for keeping the range of products available in NZ to an absolute minimum so as not to encourage new cannabis users and increase overall demand‘, they recommend vaping (despite ALL the problems happening in the US at the moment with THC-vaping), high potency concentrates (because, apparently,  people want them) and edibles (‘proceed with caution‘).

Dear Drug Foundation – the cannabis industry ‘don’t do caution’. They want consumers – young and addicted. Lifelong customers.

And every other jurisdiction has been engulfed – either through the legal market (Colorado, California), or through the black market (Uruguay, Canada) – with edibles. The market share of bud has fallen and the market share of THC-infused edibles and THC concentrates continues to rise.

Interestingly, they say that ‘concentrates should be stored out of sight behind the counter and labelled high risk and unsuitable for inexperienced users‘.

But still legal, eh.

6. Stoned drivers won’t affect our roads

It is highly unlikely that legalisation of cannabis will cause a big upswing in fatal accidents on our roads.

We’ll just leave these here…

7. Research that fits the narrative

Most people are concerned about the effect on young people with any legalisation of cannabis. So this graphic they use suggests that we have should have no concerns. The study – published in JAMA Pediatrics – purports to show the legalisation of marijuana leads to a reduction in teen use of the substance.

Here’s the problem. This study, funded in part by the pro-drug legalisation Charles Koch Foundation, is flawed for several reasons:

  • It is based on the CDC YRBS, which completely omits Oregon and Washington – two large legal states – in 2017
  • It also excludes young people who are not in school, such as dropouts
  • According to the most comprehensive survey on drug use, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health — which includes all young people in households, not just those who gave permission to take a school survey — youth use of the drug is on the rise in legal states while declining in states that have not legalized the substance
  • The study was partially funded by the Charles Koch Foundation, which is partially dedicated to legalizing marijuana (like Koch Industries)

“To put it simply, this study is awash with problems,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration. “The data here runs counter to what we see from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health: youth use is on the rise in ‘legal’ states while declining elsewhere.”

According to NSDUH data, the percentage of youth aged 12-17 using marijuana is declining faster in states where marijuana is not “legal,” and overall use is high in legal states while declining in non-legal states. Further, the percentage of youth in this age range using the drug in “legal” states was 7.7% versus 6.2% in non-legal states.

And just to confirm how questionable this study was as stand-alone proof, even the CNN coverage of the report noted concerns:

The paper had some limitations, including that only an association was found in the study — not a causal relationship — and more research is needed to determine why this association exists. “Because many recreational marijuana laws have been passed so recently, we do observe limited post-treatment data for some of these states,” Anderson said…

The CNN report then went on to show how inconsistent it was with other research

For instance, a 2018 report from the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice Office of Research and Statistics found that the proportion of high school students in the state who said they used marijuana ever in their lifetime or in the past 30 days remained statistically unchanged from 2005 to 2017. Meanwhile on the national front, the overall prevalence of marijuana-only use among youth in the United States since the early 1990s increased from 0.6% in 1991 to 6.3% in 2017, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health on Wednesday.

Summary

New Zealanders should be very concerned that a government-funded charity is pushing so strongly for legalisation of recreational cannabis. Their evidence simply doesn’t stack up. The policy recommendations are flawed and dangerous.

Poor evidence cannabis improves mental health: study

Yahoo News 29 October 2019
Family First Comment: The authors found little evidence that the products were safe and effective in treating six common disorders: depression, anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Tourette syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychosis.

People with psychiatric disorders may want to pass on the joint — at least until further research is done, a new Australian study suggests.

The paper, published Monday in The Lancet Psychiatry, looked at 83 previous studies conducted over almost four decades on medical cannabinoids, including products from the cannabis plant, such as leaves, buds and oils.

The authors found little evidence that the products were safe and effective in treating six common disorders: depression, anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Tourette syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychosis.

Cannabis and cannabinoids are increasingly being made available for medicinal use in North America, Britain and Australia without undergoing standard testing, lead author Louisa Degenhardt told AFP.

“One of the most striking things about the spread of legislation in multiple countries permitting cannabis/cannabinoids for medicinal purposes is that this is in many instances happening outside of the regulatory frameworks that medicine development typically occurs within,” said Degenhardt, from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

The study found that after chronic non-cancer pain, mental health is one of the most common reasons for using medicinal cannabinoids.
READ MORE: https://news.yahoo.com/poor-evidence-cannabis-improves-mental-health-study-223208216.html
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Funeral in Germany ends on a high as hash cake accidentally served

The Guardian 29 October 2019
Family First Comment:“..after eating the cake, 13 people experienced nausea and dizziness and needed medical treatment.”

Investigation reveals restaurant employee’s teenage daughter baked cannabis sweet for separate occasion.

Police say a funeral in eastern Germany ended on an involuntary drug high when mourners were accidentally served hash cake.

Rostock police said on Tuesday that after the burial in Wiethagen, the funeral party had gone to a restaurant for coffee and cake, as is customary in Germany. But after eating the cake, 13 people experienced nausea and dizziness and needed medical treatment.

A police investigation revealed that the restaurant employee in charge of the cakes had asked her 18-year-old daughter to bake them.

However, the mother accidentally took the wrong cake from the freezer to the funeral. She took a hash cake that the teenager had made for a different occasion.

Police said the 18-year-old was under investigation.

The incident happened in August but was not made public earlier out of respect for the mourners.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/29/funeral-germany-hash-cake-cannabis-accidentally-served

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