Talk:New South Wales set to adopt harsher anti-cannabis laws

Active discussions

To Mr M - Which "usage of slang terms should be abolished." Please define the ones you mean? Please be specific when ordering people around. --elliot_k 05:08, 3 February 2006 (UTC)


Copied from redirected page by --Chiacomo (talk)

Seems that most of them have already been caught, and changed. Thanks. --MrMiscellanious (talk) – 20:30, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Bias problems with this articleEdit

There are a few problems with the factual foundations of this article,

  • Although the perceived relationship between hydroponics and potency is a motivation for the legislation, there actually is no such relationship, and should be rebutted. Sources abound, please consult w:Cannabis (drug) cultivation for a primer and links to various sites. Potency, BTW, is a function of genetics, nutrition and lighting. The notion that hydroponically growing cannabis... can be five to seven times stronger than conventional cannabis is entirely without foundation (what exactly is conventional cannabis?), though it is a staple of prohibitionist propaganda and should be presented in context.
  • Although the perceived relationship between cannabis and mental illness is a motivation for the legislation (and should be described), the population at risk is limited to early adolescents with a certain genetic profile. Otherwise, the presumption is without foundation. For a survey of the relevant literature, consult w:Health issues and the effects of cannabis#Co-occurrence of mental illness.
  • Describing the laws as hard may-or-may-not be POV, but a comparison with other Western countries should be made. These laws are (relatively) draconian. Also, describe laws in terms of degree of change from old laws.

Also, this has been a conservative political issue in Austalia for some time now, and more on the political context should be added. No opposition to the laws are cited, which should be fixed. Likelihood of legislative passage should also be cited.

StrangerInParadise 04:54, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

I will look into this tomorrow when I have the time, although it gives me something to think about tonight. The problem with the media in Australia and using them as the basis of articles is that they are very bias towards certain things and given that this isn't something I know a hell of alot about (although did find interesting from a legal point of view) it would have been hard for me to write it up with the other side of the argument in mind. Thankyou for your links, they will help greatly.
It is interesting that the ALP is the party which relaxed anti-cannabis laws yet is now pushing their so-called "hard-line" laws - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 10:17, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

A tidbit I thought I should put somewhere,

"The research and evidence is that there is a direct link between the potent form of cannabis, hydroponically-grown cannabis, to the development of severe mental illnesses," Mr Iemma told reporters.



The Minister for Mental Health Issues, Cherie Burton, said one smoke of the hydroponic cannabis could bring on a mental illness.

But those claims were rejected by Sydney drug expert Paul Dillon, of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Council, who said the perception indoor-grown cannabis was a "super weed" was largely a myth.

Mr Dillon says the evidence suggests cannabis today is only about four per cent stronger than 30 years ago.

"What we do know is that the cannabis that is grown in controlled environments appears to have much more flowering head content which is the stronger part of the plant," he said. more...

This is precisely what I said in the Hydroponics section, but didn't find the 4% number before publication.

StrangerInParadise 16:40, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Can someone check this nowEdit

I have added as much further information as I can find. Now for a POV warning - I found that there are quite serious flaws on both sides of the argument. The anti-cannabis camp are relying on studies which could well have been tainted by the fact that the disorders they were to investigate have 'addiction' as a symptom in itself making it hard to tell if the person had the illness before using cannabis or if cannabis use was the cause. The pro-cannabis camp seem to narrow mental illness down to psychotic illnesses where it was found that only predisposed individuals are at risk - they completely ignore other mental health issues - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 21:30, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for looking into it, here is my feedback so far,
You say, The pro-cannabis camp seem to narrow mental illness down to psychotic illnesses where it was found that only predisposed individuals are at risk - they completely ignore other mental health issues. A pox on both our houses? Two points,
  1. What other mental health issues is the government using in justifying this draconian push?
  2. What other mental health issues is the "pro-cannabis camp" ignoring?
The issue being ignored here is that the schizophrenia risk is limited to early adolescents bearing the COMT-gene variant, but the government expands this without foundation to everyone. Study after study fails to show this expansion justified.
The correlation versus causality argument you are making doesn't quite frame the matter. Again, see w:Health issues and the effects of cannabis#Co-occurrence of mental illness. It is not about addiction.
BTW, cannabis addiction is a myth, full stop. It is less addictive that caffeine. [1] Further, if you consult the DSM-IV criteria for substance abuse, on their face, they don't seem unreasonable. Consider this, however, in the Orwellian context of cannabis prohibition. Each of these criteria is hair-trigger exacerbated by prohibition's many devices, i.e. you can be expelled, fired, pulled over (did you smoke last week and drive today?), arrested, and/or find yourself in dutch with the missus over all this trouble simply for persisting in responsibly using cannabis. Also, the person applying the criteria might be doing so at the direction of the court, to help the court decide whether to incarcerate you, or sent you to substance abuse counselling, where you are to be purged of your deviant tendancies. In the US, it is estimated that less than 3% of admissions for treatment of cannabis abuse are voluntary. Consider this story, and ask, how did they determine who would "benefit from treatment"?
Also, no comment yet on that hydoponics do not equate to potency, or that the rise in potency is grossly exagerated.
StrangerInParadise 23:21, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks alot for your help. It has helped alot and enabled me to understand it from a totally different perspective. Now I will try to answer above.
---
You say, The pro-cannabis camp seem to narrow mental illness down to psychotic illnesses where it was found that only predisposed individuals are at risk - they completely ignore other mental health issues. A pox on both our houses? Two points,
  1. What other mental health issues is the government using in justifying this draconian push?
  2. What other mental health issues is the "pro-cannabis camp" ignoring?
The issue being ignored here is that the schizophrenia risk is limited to early adolescents bearing the COMT-gene variant, but the government expands this without foundation to everyone. Study after study fails to show this expansion justified.
---
The pro-cannabis camp seems to keep referring to the studies done on psychotic illnesses and the link to cannabis. As we know (and agree upon) only those with the COMT-gene variant are affected. The pro-cannabis side seems to ignore that there is some evidence that cannabis use could cause depression and anxiety disorders. The anti-cannabis camp are saying that cannabis causes depression and anxiety and that this study proves it. The problem is that those who suffer from anxiety and depression have addictive personalities, making it more likely they will "misuse" drugs. The studies seem to neglect that fact.
Cannabis might not be addictive but people who have an illness which lists "addiction" as a symptom are likely to use drugs - that's a fact. I know from my experience with my illness (OCD mixed with Panic Disorder) and others with the same disorders run the risk of drug abuse/dependance, alcohol abuse/dependence and even gambling addiction. It is a fact of life and part of the disorder.
Now, what the studies into cannabis and the link to depression and the anxiety disorders failed to look at appropriately was what proportion of anxiety and depression sufferers use cannabis. I think one would find that it would be a higher percentage than the general population because of the above. On that side, the studies that found the link are comical - it claimed that those who use cannabis weekly twice as likely to suffer from depression and/or anxiety [2]. Doesnt it make sense that if those with depressive and anxiety related illnesses are more likely to abuse drugs that studies into the use of cannabis and those illnesses are going to show a high proportion of those sufferers. The assumption that cannabis use caused the illness is laughable.
There again I bet that the studies being used by the anti-cannabis camp didn't look at those with anxiety disorders in particular using cannabis "medically" for their condition. If I remember correctly, cannabis has similar properties to benzos like Valium and Xanax yet has far fewer side-effects. Doesn't this make sense that those who suffer from anxiety disorders who dislike the side-effects from their benzo medication (and from my experience, the side effects are worse and longer lasting than the attacks) could use cannabis as a means of relief from their disorder? Short of going and trying it and comparing it to my Valium (which is not a very scientific method, but would help me understand this additional element of the argument) I can not really comment on that.
I really appreciate your assistance, the more I can understand about the issue the better I can report on it - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 00:31, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I did forget something. I havent been able to find any evidence for or against the notion that hydro cannabis is stronger - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 00:41, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Glad to help. First, have a look at w:Cannabis (drug) cultivation. You'll see that potency is qualitatively a function of genetics and quantitatively a function of lighting. A female cannabis plant grows in size during the vegetative phase (18+ hrs a day of light), then is forced to flower as it senses winter coming (12 hrs a day), so that (in nature) she may seed, ere she die. This flowering produces seeds and trichromes, the latter of which contain THC and other cannabinoids. The material used for seeds in unpollenated plants is diverted to trichrome production, hence sinsemilla, "without seeds". Precision control of light creates potency. Good nutrition may be delivered by both soil and hydroponic means, but has more to do with taste and health of the plant over its lifetime. Experts may be found at cannabisworld.com, overgrow.com, cannabisculture.com, and many other places. It is more likely the "experts" consulted by the government are just cops.
WOW!!!!!!!! Cannabisworld.com and Overgrow.com Seized By Police! This has, I think, to do with seed businesses. Hello, Steven Harper. =( I saw the outages earlier, and several people on-line were like, "what's up with this?". Now we know. If we write a story here titled, "Global darkness descends", do you think someone will bitch about it being too POV?
As to depression, ocd, bipolar, etc, they come under the general concept of affective spectrum disorders. Cannabis has been shown to be efficacious in treating the symptoms of them, and there is no proof that cannabis causes them. In the case of bipolar, cannabis is particularly efficacious in managing depressive-manic-normal bipolar conditions. Cannabis is often used to manage anxiety, but indicas are said to be better than sativas (same with managing schizophrenia, actually).
So you haven't smoked before? Plenty of user experiences at the proper forums on cannabisculture.com. I'd look into to it. It absolutely can't hurt you (asuming you're not a COMT-charmed adolescent with a developing brain), though if you have no experience with it, you should choose a comfortable place, smoke rather than eat (easier to manage the dose, self-titration is the principle), and smoke with someone you trust who has smoked before and can provide it (manages any initial uncertainty).
Thanks again for your input. It is valuable. I think I may have stated the link between "affective disorders" and cannabis use incorrectly. The government is relying upon a study conducted in 2002 which found there was a significant risk for those who use cannabis to develop these disorders. The point I was trying to make is that the results of this study are tainted because they do not consider that people with those disorders are more likely to use drugs to begin with. I find that a glaring omission from the study and in my belief enough to discredit it's results. If the percentage of affective disorders who use cannabis is high then wouldn't the percentage of cannabis users with these disorders also be high?.
As for smoking, I dont think there is anyone who I know that smokes that I would trust. Everyone I know who smokes also deals and the idea of being around a pusher isn't for me - they of course are going to have their own hidden agenda. As for being COMT-disposed I do not know, but I am not an adolescent (although as with most other sufferers my disorders came to light during late adolescence). The interesting thing with me is that drugs seem to have little "uplifting" effect on me. Pethedine, morphine, valium, xananx and even alcohol (in large amounts) all seem to do little to "intoxicate" me as such - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 07:13, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Hidden agenda? It's seldom like that with cannabis. The things you list are all downers (don't know Xanax), so uplift is unlikely. See this list of cannabis effects
I was told that cannabis was similar in action to benzos such as Valium and Xanax. I have friends who are also on them and they get an obvious high when they take the meds. As for hidden agendas, pot dealings are actually quite a big deal where I live, you'd be surprised how many people take it more seriously than even the heavier stuff - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 09:18, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Check out Psychoactive drug chart. As for cannabis versus Valium, I would say cannabis is much more cerebral. StrangerInParadise 09:42, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Thankyou - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 09:50, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Another point on cannabis and incidence of mental illnessEdit

Global rates of schizophrenia remain more-or-less constant, they do not vary with rates of either cannabis use or cannabis potency. There is no rate-of-change correlation. As for, "we are seeing increasing evidence of whatever", they do not have the data. StrangerInParadise 09:04, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

I noticed you crossed this out but the study which has been cited by many claims that those with the COMT gene variant who smoke cannabis during adolescence have a 15% chance of becoming schizophrenic - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 10:19, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Separate matter, too many short paragraphsEdit

Please consolidate, it would make the article much more readable. StrangerInParadise 23:21, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

I consolidated several quotes with four dots (....), but this might be wrong if,

  1. The quote is actually contiguous
  2. The quote is from two separate instances altogether

Please let me know if I have erred here. StrangerInParadise 09:36, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

It looks better, thanks Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 09:49, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Needs contrast with old penaltiesEdit

Also, title should say "sharply harsher penalties", not simply "new penalties".

Actually, it is new penalties in some cases. Perviously there was no difference between hydro and normal pot - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 09:20, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Collectively, harsher is correct. Are you OK with it? StrangerInParadise 09:37, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

The new title fits perfectly - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 09:49, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

How does NSW compare with other states in Aus? I remember a few regions being very pro-cannabis. Also, who are the principle political parties there? StrangerInParadise 08:48, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

I always thought SA was pro-cannabis in a big way but it isnt really. I have added significant comparisions. The main political parties in Australia are w:Australian Labor Party (govern all states), w:Liberal Party of Australia and w:National Party of Australia (who govern as a coalition federally). All are anti-drug - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 10:18, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, I assumed Iemma was Tory until I read his Wikipedia article. The background looks good. StrangerInParadise 17:36, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

PublishedEdit

It seems fine now, I think. Neutralizer 14:18, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Eeek! Not quite ready yet. Need (partial list),
  1. Description of current penalties, contrast with rest of Aus
  2. Better survey of studies on the topic (current comments without support)
  3. More background on political context (governing party's positions, comparison with UK, etc)
BTW, isn't there some protocol about authors choosing when to publish. Is there some additional "hold" template, or something?
StrangerInParadise 18:57, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
This is a collaborative project. Noone "owns" or has control over an article. Any contributor or non-contributor can move the article to "publish" or "un-publish". The article has a life of its own, in other words, and this article is ready to go,imo. Neutralizer 13:02, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
With all do respect to your opnion, this article is not ready to go. While, true, no one owns this article, there are two of us who have been working very hard on it to get it right, and are not ready to have it published. I explicitly placed a hold on it for the avoidance of doubt. Your removal of it without consensus was against policy (or so Amgine tells me). Worse, you didn't even see all the working mark-up in the article. That was very uncool, please don't do that again. StrangerInParadise 17:23, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Ok, if you feel so strongly about it; I will completely leave the article alone; although I definitely think it is not appropriate to be using tags for intentional delaying purposes; however, having said that, perhaps I did not behave collaboratively enough. So now I'd like to know exactly when and under what conditions the other editors,including yourself, will feel the "news" article will be ready for publishing? Neutralizer 17:44, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Dude, you're harshing my mellowEdit

What is with the title? "harsher" is clearly a value judgement. - Amgine | talk en.WN 07:02, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

I don't think so. A penalty is punitive, it punishes more-or-less harshly. It is certainly harsher than before by any objective measure. To describe ten years inprisonment, do you really think harsh is inappropriate, whatever the crime. Is harsh that much more judgemental than severe? MrM's original point that hard cannabis laws is judgemental is correct in a vacuum, but harder is indisputable.
Turning it around, should we pretend that this is not a dramatic increase in penalties, or would you prefer a headline like, NSW set to enhance anti-cannabis laws with new anti-hydroponics features? For the communities at which these measures are targeted, they are shocking, are we somehow obliged to overlook this? Does it somehow seem to you that harsher even misrepresents the NSW government's intent?
StrangerInParadise 08:25, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
I have to agree with Stranger on this (even though I have been against drugs, although after looking at it and what I take legally from a doctor that is beginning to change) - the penalties are harder than they were before so in essence they are harsher - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 10:22, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
New South Wales could soon have the harshest cannabis laws in the country. ABC New South Wales
Feel better? StrangerInParadise 10:05, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

"This statement runs contrary to most of the studies done on the subject."Edit

Says who? Remember, we are not writing an article on Cannabis, or on Cannabis laws - we are writing an article on an event: the NSW government announcing that they are going to make changes to cannabis legislation. We report on what the government says about it, what health professionals say about it, what members of the community say about it, etc. In my opinion it is not for us to provide analysis of past Cannabis studies. If you want to quote from the conclusions of some studies, fine, but a broad generalisation such as this should be directly sourced - in other words, we should be stating who thinks that the "statement runs contrary to most of the studies done on the subject." - Borofkin 22:32, 5 February 2006 (UTC)


Says the authors of the studies upon which they rely. Are you really reminding us of what we are writing about? We are writing an article on that,

  • the NSW government is announcing drastically harsher laws, in contrast with both the past and elsewhere in Aus and the West
  • the government is grossly exagerating- where not outright manufacturing- the intellectual capital with which they are justifying their actions
  • there is a political context to this which extends beyond Aus
  • there is opposition to these actions
  • there are human consequences to these actions

We agree that broad statements like that should be carefully sourced, and we intend to quote from the studies themselves (some of which are peer-reviewed surveys of the relevant literature). Bear in mind we are still in development. I do see your point about we should be stating who thinks that the "statement runs contrary to most of the studies done on the subject." The statement however is true. See Wikipedia, Health issues and the effects of cannabis.

StrangerInParadise 23:04, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Aren't the studies stated below? - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 00:07, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Not as many as we will need, there are a few missing. What is here are some press accounts of the research, all of which I haven't read. Borofkin is right, not all the dots are quite sufficiently connected to make statements as broad as are in the current draft. One key thing is that the proported psychosis link is big in the UK following the cannabis rescheduling, and Aus is following suit. It drastically overstates the conclusions of the studies. StrangerInParadise 00:24, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
"the government is grossly exagerating- where not outright manufacturing- the intellectual capital with which they are justifying their actions" - this may be your point of view, but this isn't what the article is about. - Borofkin 02:04, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

This isn't what the article is about? Says who? (dead useful question, that!) This exageration is demonstrable (see below), not just my "POV" (that bloody term again). Are you suggesting we should disregard it? That said, I appreciate the possibility of mission-creep with something like this, and am looking to wrap it up.

A year in prison if cannabis is found in one's house?! Bear in mind that this affects the sort of people I count among my friends, not just "criminals". Simply regurgitating corporate press coverage doesn't seem responsible here. Consider as well the requirement to attend counselling to "understand the link between cannabis use and mental illness". Scientists don't claim to understand or agree on what that link is, but here is the government effectively forcing thousands of its citizens into "reeducation camp". Doesn't it bother you that so many mainstream papers cite the government's thinking on this, as if it is reasonable and uncontested?

StrangerInParadise 07:54, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

In certain schools in NSW this is already drummed into you in any case. Cannabis is illegal, cannabis does this, hell I remember one of my drug prevention classes in Year 3 with "Harold the happy healthy girafe" who got stoned and wasn't so happy and healthy anymore LOL - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 00:19, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Problem with "15 percent chance of developing psychosis later in life"Edit

I noticed this comment this is flatly not so: "those who smoke cannabis how often?" and "15% greater than what?". I feel this is probably the only section that is preventing this article being published. This information comes from here which states that 15% of those with the COMT-gene variant who smoked cannabis in adolescence developed psychotic illnesses later in life - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 06:15, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

I just re-read that section and rewrote parts to make it clearer - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 06:19, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
The text in our article was way too garbled, talking by turns about a study, some studies, all studies, and what is predicted. Not ready for prime time. I am responsible for a bit of the garbling. I'll clean it up, but we need more on what the government is claiming, since most of what I have seen is drastically overstated. I've gone into a bit of detail below. StrangerInParadise 12:35, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

The Dunedin Studies and the Times articleEdit

I've been talking about two separate studies, and confusing them in my own mind. I've reread them, and comment below.

The study most often cited in regarding early-adolescent cannabis use is Cannabis use in adolescence and risk for adult psychosis: longitudinal prospective study [2002], based on the Dunedin Cohort Study. The so-afflicted adolescents in the study amounted to 3 people, 3/29 experimental and 22/730 control. Yes, this makes the margin of error huge.

Although most young people use cannabis in adolescence without harm, a vulnerable minority experience harmful outcomes. A tenth of the cannabis users by age 15 in our sample (3/29) developed schizophreniform disorder by age 26 compared with 3% of the remaining cohort (22/730). Our findings suggest that cannabis use among psychologically vulnerable adolescents should be strongly discouraged by parents, teachers, and health practitioners. Policy makers and law makers should concentrate on delaying onset of cannabis use.[3]

Also,

Our findings now require replication in large population studies with detailed measures of cannabis use and schizophrenia.

Has this happened yet? No, it hasn't. But let's lock'em up, just in case. It is, after all, about protecting the children.

The controls for preexisting psychotic tendencies were, per many professional opinions, woefully inadequate (confusing the correlation versus causation question). It is the most substantial study on this to date, and the one most relied on, though politicians tend to leave it at, increasingly, scientific evidence shows that..., without citation of specific studies.

The real story here is why politicians and the press are so very far in front of tentative science on this, and willing to incarcerate tens-of-thousands more, but on medical cannabis issues, well, the research just isn't there yet.

OK, here is the COMT study, Moderation of the Effect of Adolescent-Onset Cannabis Use on Adult Psychosis by a Functional Polymorphism in the catechol-O-Methyltransferase Gene:Longitudinal Evidence of a Gene X Environment Interaction [2005]. Here, some of the authors of the first study now look into the COMT link. Note that this study is slightly smaller in size than the last (a smaller slice of the Dunedin Cohort Study). This study, therefore, crosses the cannabis and psycological data in the last study against genetic data (in other words, all the data was gathered previously, and the two studies do regression analyses on controlled models of the data).

Now, let's look at the Times article. I am certain that the following is nonsense,

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity Sane, said that it was becoming clear that cannabis placed millions of users at risk of lasting mental illness. About fifteen million Britons have tried cannabis, and between two million and five million are regular users, according to the Home Office British Crime Survey. The research suggests that a quarter could be at risk.(Henderson, The Times)

Compare that to this,

Previous research suggests that adult-onset users might be less vulnerable than adolescents to the potential psychotogenic effect of cannabis (Arseneault et al 2004). Consistent with this hypothesis, we found that, unlike adolescent-onset cannabis users, adult-onset cannabis users were not at increased risk of psychosis, whether measured as schizophreniform disorder, self-reports of psychotic symptoms, hallucinatory experiences, or informant reports of psychotic symptoms. Moreover, there were no significant interactions between adult-onset cannabis use and COMT in predicting psychosis outcomes [4]

Here is your Times quote,

The increased risk applies to people who inherit variants of a gene named COMT who also smoked cannabis as teenagers. About a quarter of the population have this genetic make-up, and up to 15 per cent of the group are likely to develop psychotic conditions if exposed to the drug early in life....Neither the drug nor the gene raises the risk of psychosis by itself.

I found a graph (figure 1A, page 7 of the study), which may be their 15%, but looks more like 13%. Notice the headline: One-in-four at risk of psychosis, then consider that taken at face value (15% of 25%) it really amounts to 3.25% of a small group (those who smoke regularly in adolescence, from age 15, median 25 days per year by age 18, not those merely exposed to the drug early in life). Also, psychotic conditions in the study were a fairly broad set of often sub-clinical phenomena, not ongoing conditions.

The Times, in a word, exagerates, as do most of the advocacy groups. The Times is alarmist on this because the Tories are alarmist on this. The Tories are alarmist on this because Labour is vulnerable on it (not that anti-cannabis feeling doesn't find a natural home in the Tory heart). The science is tentative science showing promising directions for further study, the politics are a pseudo-scientific fad.

Another point the Times ignored: the 25% occurence for Val/Val COMT cited is for the Dunedin cohort's caucasian population. Specifically, the gene variant is in that prevalence in northern European populations. An alternate formulation: the COMT variant occurs in much greater frequency in people of northern European ancestry, incarceration, however, does not.

These two studies are the core of what the US, UK and Aus governments rely upon in all the various press mentions you've gathered, except the conclusions drawn are often diametrically opposed to those of the studies themselves, and echoed over and over again in the press. The researchers are candid about limitations, alternate theories, and divergent results. The politicians are not. The press oftentimes don't understand what they are writing about.

You've put a lot of work in to this, and I am sure you are anxious to publish. It has not been my intention to turn this little article into a comprehensive indictment of cannabis prohibition. I'd like to find some statement of what science NSW Gov't are citing, and to show how far in front of it the policy-makers have gone. Also, I'd like to show what the actual change in psychosis rates have been (hint: they are largely unchanged over the last several decades). I need to find the sources again.

StrangerInParadise 12:33, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Cannabis and DepressionEdit

BTW, here is a good study on cannabis and depression.

StrangerInParadise 12:33, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Added more on depressionEdit

Can you check our article and see if it is ready for publication? I rewrote the section about the "link" between cannabis and depression to include the findings of the American study.

As for the section on psychosis, I think it summarises the results of the COMT studies. I didn't write that 25% of the population are at risk, I wrote that 25% have the COMT-gene variant and of those 15% who used cannabis developed psychotic illness later in life. Despite it coming from the times I didnt cite their claims but used the facts from the research - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 00:47, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Wikinews is not an encyclpedia.Edit

I am about to remove the extensive arguments within this article which are not directly related to the news event of NSW's adoption of new anti-annabis laws. See WN:NOT for why. - Amgine | talk en.WN 19:01, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

This does not justfy your blanket overwrite of my edits. I note that you have thrown the major edit flag in the middle of my edits. That is not allowed, I am reverting. Please make you edits (many are good) to the latest version.
Also, notice that your comment Wikinews is not an encyclpedia does not justify stripping this story of context.
StrangerInParadise 19:27, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree that Wikinews is not an encyclopedia but given that the government is carrying on about the link between cannabis use and mental illness a little bit of background is appropriate - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 23:47, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Invalid sourceEdit

This

Cannot be used as it requires a fee to read the entire report and verify the accuracy of the abstract. --Brian McNeil / talk 22:03, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Should the abstract be fine to be used as it is an abstract of the total article on a reputable site? - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 23:48, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
First off, I'd rather see it discussed here than taken out and reinserted as part of an edit war. I don't know if it is a reputable site, but even if it is, I'd expect the abstract to be spun to sell subscriptions. Then there's the date applied to this use of a source. Supposedly today. Yet the abstract states, "Available online 20 June 2005.". --Brian McNeil / talk 00:09, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
I do not want to see an edit war hence the reason I have remarked the article develop so the issues can be discussed. With the disputes going on it is not worth publishing until they are sorted out. I obviously stuffed the dates up when I added the source. In the articles current form, there is no need for the source anyway - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 00:23, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

would like to point out that science direct is a "reputable" source. it offers online access to scientific journals, (so the reliability of content in science direct is simply the reliability of content of the journal in question, in this case, Addictive Behavior[5]). the article in question is tagged as "in press" which means it has already undergone review (including peer review) by the journal's editors. the abstract, as it stands, must be regarded as published(the journal sees fit to put out the abstract), and can be used as a source.

while material from the full text of the article cannot be used as it is unavailable (fee & forthcoming), those objections dont apply to the abstract, which, of course, is freely available now. as far as verifying the accuracy of the abstract is concerned,i dont see any issue as it has undergone editorial scrutiny of an established peer-reviewed journal. Doldrums 13:08, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

The study is available here and includes the acknowledgment that it was supported by a grant from the Marijuana Policy Project. --Deprifry|+T+ 13:21, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Not sourcedEdit

I have added comments to each "Not sourced" remark in the article. In some cases I added sources as needed or referred that particular editor to the article in which it is sourced - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 00:25, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Much appreciated. The "common fact" that western countries are relaxing cannabis laws is not born out by research on Wikipedia and elsewhere; legally at the national level there is discussion of relaxing the laws, but only Canada has actually introduced legislation (failed) to do so. (The USA in 1994 has a death penalty sentence guideline for 60,000 marijuana plants (or seedlings) or 60,000 kilograms or more than $20 million in proceeds in one year.) The UN last revisement concerning Cannabis toughened international law in 1988, with no relaxations since.
I'd really like to see the section about *in Australia* legal comparisons expanded, but there aren't any sources I could find which pointed to the laws of the Australian jurisdictions to compare and contrast them. I really was impressed by the Australian law references (incidentally, this research clearly marks this article as original reporting.) Since the article is about NSW, I'd expect the Australian section to be larger and more sourced than the one about western nations. - unsigned comment by Amgine
I am not sure who posted the above (I havent looked at the history before posting) but cannabis enforcement has been relaxed in some US states, the UK, the Netherlands and Cannabis.
As for the Australian states section, I shall take a second look at this and expand it. It is my fault that I forgot to add the sources for other Australian juristictions :)
Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 21:41, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Moved back to developEdit

I was going to put a flag on the main page, but am unable to locate a suitable one. In any case I have moved the article to develop (yet again) so that the issues can be thrashed out - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 00:29, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Moved back to publishEdit

This is not a post-grad course in herbology. Neutralizer 23:21, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Nobody said it was but while the article is in dispute it should not be published - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 01:44, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Move back to developEdit

This article should not be published until consensus has been reached. Neutralizer, again, I am going to ask you not unilaterally publish this.

StrangerInParadise 00:08, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Why did you put this back to develop? There is no reason fopr it to be. It NEEDS ro be published. Jason Safoutin 00:11, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Remember, Wikinews is not an encyclopedia. Quoting specifically from that policy page: "Just because something is a true fact doesn't mean it is suitable for inclusion here". Our job is not to write an article about the truth of cannabis use, it's effects, etc. Our job is to report on the events surrounding the NSW governments announcement, which now occured over five days ago. The focus of the article is the event, not cannabis usage. - Borofkin 00:16, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

You are all invited to weigh in, but, unfortunately, I have been unable to participate until now, through no fault of my own. cartman02au and I have concerns which have not been addressed. I'll remind you that we two were until yesterday virtually the only contributors, and had worked for several days on this. With all due respect, we should have some say in what the article is about and whether it is ready to be published, don't you think?

I should also point out that this is the third time Neutralizer has unilaterally published, once over my explicit request, once here now over cartman02au's. Is this normal?

StrangerInParadise 00:29, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

I think you should have as much say in the article as any other contributor. You'll note that I haven't edited the article myself, I've just been making observations on the talk page. I appreciate the large amount of work that you and Cartman have put into this article, I'm just pointing out that it has deviated somewhat from reporting of the actual event. For example, I think that the sections "Anti-Cannabis laws in other Australian juristictions" and "Cannabis policy/legislation in other Western countries" could be removed entirely without harming the neutrality of the article. As background information I don't think they do any harm, but I don't think we should be spending five days bickering over them. If people want to know about Cannabis policy or legislation in places other than NSW, they can go to Wikipedia. - Borofkin 00:40, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
Whats not normal as I have seen you continuously put this article back to develop and continuously tagged it day after day. I am sick and tired of seeing articles get delayed, intentionally. You need to presnet a reason as to why this article nedds to stay in develop. Or I will publish it. I see NO actionable objections here. I see NO reason why it should be DELAYED any further. Jason Safoutin 00:42, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
Let me catch you up on current events, Jason. Cartman and I did publish, then Amgine made some edits, which I then edited a bit to cartman's and my satisfaction. Before hooking up with Amgine again to make sure he was still on board, MrM came along and, in several gorgeous breeches of policy, reverted my edits and blocked me. Since you're counting, I pulled it back to develop twice (after Neutralizer published), as I knew it did not yet meet WN:Source, WN:NPOV and had editorial mark-up in line (consult the edit log). Cartman pulled it to develop (after he and I published) after MrM reverted my edits, as it was clearly in dispute, and I have done so just now, as Neutralizer has disregarded that dispute.
StrangerInParadise 01:01, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

My suggestion for a compromiseEdit

The article needs to be published, that is not in dispute. What is in dispute is in what form should the article be published.

My argument

In my view (which I did not do originally when creating the article) both sides of the debate should be included. The fact of the matter is that the information the NSW Government is using is not entirely accurate. In the interests of NPOV this should be explored.

The background information contrasting the proposal to laws elsewhere adds value to the article. Given that Iemma himself has stated it is "the first of it's kind in Australia" (false, see WA, SA, ACT) and that the mainstream media calls the changes "the toughest in the country, hard, etc" a contrast should be made. Even Amgine has said he would like to see the Australian comparison extended.

The next is the violation of policy by certain administrators. This is something that needs to be looked at in detail.

While the article is being disputed (and the original dispute was about there being too much POV - that is it was pro-cannabis) it should be developing. At the same time policy wasn't followed in that regard - I never saw a dispute tag referring to neutrality placed on the article.

My proposal

  1. Add a short statement about the results of research which contradict the government's stance (that is the government say this study proves it while other studies do not). At present the article is the opposite of it was before. It is from an anti-cannabis POV. This statement is not to be as long as before - it would mention the COMT studies and the studies on mood disorders (the mood disorders would be both negative and positive).
  2. Expand the comparision between Australian juristictions (further adding to the original reporting of the article).
  3. Look at trimming the international comparision (so long as that trimming does not make the section unreadable)
  4. Once the above is complete publish and move on

Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 01:43, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

I concur, and will update the cleanup flag accordingly. StrangerInParadise 11:16, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
Compromise edit complete, some work may need to be done to tidy it up, but I feel it is ready for publication and should keep all parties happy - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 23:11, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Request for commentsEdit

There are several threads below. I've asked that no aggressive edits occur prior to discussions, and that no publication occur prior to consensus. Note also that I have placed the cleanup flag, and haven't given my chop to remove it. StrangerInParadise 07:13, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Not NewsEdit

I am increasingly concerned about the never-ending encyclopedic development of this "news" article...especially without a broad concensus to continue the esoteric(imo) discussion. I understand artists' obsessions with getting something "just right", but this is not a studio; it's a news room. I am considering placing a "not news" flag (if there was a "no longer news" flag I would use that.) Please get this missle off the launching pad asap. Neutralizer 21:11, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Article should be listed for deletion if consensus to publish cannot be reached. --Chiacomo (talk) 21:53, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
Chiacomo , are you suggesting deletion? If not, what do you suggest..if anything? Neutralizer 23:10, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting deletion... Just noting the process if the article is not to be published. --Chiacomo (talk) 04:07, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Hopefully your fears are allayed with the current version of the article. I only wish that you would have had your 2 cents worth in the comments above - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 23:12, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

It's a great article; congratulations; I felt unqualified to discuss the details of the story, but I felt qualified to express some impatience, hope noone minds that too much. Neutralizer 23:18, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

No problems, I too became impatient, but I feel the quality of the article is worth it in the end. Thanks to StrangerInParadise for his unique perspective on the issue at hand :) - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 00:48, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm curious as to the basis of people's great confidence that they know what the story is, and what it is not. Why is that? Why do we need a broad concensus even to discuss it? Funny little news culture y'all got round here, Neutralizer.
Who, Chiacomo, decides as to how timely news must be and when it must be fed down the memory hole? Don't you think you are being a bit, um, eager? If this comes out three weeks from now, with an analysis of the new laws, the government's reasoning, the nature of the targeted offence, the vast array of science contradicting it, and its political opposition- why again, exactly, is this not news? Not that anyone should wait three weeks, of course: it did go out 2 days ago.
The community decides how timely news must be. I'm not eager to do anything. --Chiacomo (talk) 04:07, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
The delete comment seemed... precipitous, if not actually eager. StrangerInParadise 05:16, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Not exactly precipitous -- I did think for a moment about the correct procedure Neutralizer should follow if he felt the article wasn't going anywhere. Listing for deletion is the correct procedure. If I felt the article should be deleted, I would list it myself. :D --Chiacomo (talk) 05:21, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Neutralizer, why do you speak of university theses and herbology, as if it is too esoteric to explain to the general newsreading public about this thing hydroponics (Whatever that is! Crikey! Must be bad!) for which their leaders will put one's uncle, or daughter, or neighbor, or caregiver, or yes maybe the gardener in cages for several years? What is this hydroponics thing about which they are willing to whip up a frenzied demand for even more prisoners and prisons to put them in? Why are they that afraid? I think it is worth examining.
StrangerInParadise 03:17, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Split article into two?Edit

Perhaps it needs to be split into two articles: New South Wales set to adopt harsher anti-cannabis laws, and NSW government accused of using faulty science or somesuch. - Borofkin 03:56, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

I think that Borofkin's idea is quite interesting. It gives a little more room to move on the issues surrounding the event. Even more interesting, it comes at a time when COAG is going to be debating a mental health package with the PM telling them they need to toughen up cannabis laws. The investigation into both sides of the article could be well worthwhile and worthy of it's own story - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 04:13, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
The new article could be based around the statement by Doctor Alex Wodak: "I think many people, not just me, see this as more motivated by concern about the March 2007 elections than any public health measure.", and we could simplify the existing article so it only reports on the governments announcement, with perhaps one paragraph about opposition. The existing article would be published immediately. - Borofkin 05:22, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

I see the logic in it, but I'd like to see this story out the gate with enough context so as not to be yet another government press release. StrangerInParadise 06:45, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Original ReportingEdit

The original reporting in this article refers to the investigation of Australian laws surrounding cannabis in Australia - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 23:10, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

How is this OR? It's in the legal codes and published (I trust) proposal.
Also, penalties, generally.
StrangerInParadise 10:10, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Because it isn't published in a news release or on another news site. Some investigation was involved therefore it qualifies as original - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 21:33, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Revised section on other countriesEdit

Mostly fixing the factual basis, and also adding some insight into major forces at work. Could make it longer or shorter, but would like to see comments first. StrangerInParadise 06:22, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

The issue with allowing regulated cultivation in the Netherlands and the Vancouver plan also has to do with the hazards of unregulated Grow-ops (power theft, electrical fire, chemicals, mold), and an attempt to mitigate them by normalization (allowing the activity in safe spaces). Again, the Wikipedia article needs updating to show this (the only dangers discussed are the police), it suffers from bias by neglect. StrangerInParadise 08:04, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

I think to make people happy the international section needs to be culled slightly. Amgine made a fair point when he said that it should be shorter than the comparison between Australian juristictions - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 21:40, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Restored section on hydroponicsEdit

Please comment here.

My primary interest in this section is explaining the connection between potency and hydroponics. This also points out, implicitly, that potency rates did not suddenly spike last year, nor are hydroponics uniquely the reason for high-potency cannabis (sinsemilla is). The Wikipedia cultivation article has a good working knowledge of the mechanics of the issue, should the reader want to understand better.

Could make it longer or shorter, but would like to see comments first.

StrangerInParadise 07:42, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Revised Penalty SystemEdit

I've made a minor edit to this, but feel some elaboration of the ramifications of these penalties is in order. In particular, the reasoning behind the child endangerment law could be to do with certain environmental hazards in unregulated grow-ops, not just moral corruption. Again, soil grow-ops are also hazardous in this fashion. I need to update the Wikipedia article on Grow-ops, as these hazards aren't really discussed, but once done, I'll link to it.

StrangerInParadise 07:55, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately the government hasn't given a solid reason behind the child endangerment provisions. There could be a number of reasons before it but without the facts in front of us there isn't much we can do to expand it. We can't speculate - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 21:38, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

What mental-health crisis?Edit

What documentation is there that there is a "mental-health crisis". The governments of both the UK and Australia speak of it as an accepted fact. Is it quantified anywhere? This goes back to the notion that I see no evidence of a "rise", an "increase", or any other sort of recent change. Sources, anyone? My understanding is that, across the board, rates of incidence of mental illness are steady. Please show me where this is incorrect.

StrangerInParadise 09:40, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

The mental health crisis referred to in Australia is caused by people not having access to proper treatment. There was a huge move towards de-institutionalisation in the 80s and 90s but nothing was done to replace the role the institutions played. People shouldn't be locked away for mental illnesses which can be controlled with the right support and treatment. Quoting the Australian governments to meet for first COAG meeting of 2006 today article -
The Mental Health Council of Australia has warned the government of over-estimating the role of cannabis in mental health. John Mendozza told ABC "I don't think we should overstate the role of cannabis in the nation's mental health crisis. It is a factor, but it is not the reason that we now face a mental health crisis."
"The real reason is that governments collectively have under-funded the investment in community services for well over a decade and hence we have a large unmet need in the community." said Mr Mendozza.
Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 21:44, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

A phenomenon well-known to Americans under the Reagan Administration. There was a flood of street-people (as we call them), when the state mental hospitals were converted to out-patient clinics. Arrest, drug, release. Cops would tell me of disruptive schizophrenics they commit for psych-eval, they'll be doped up and back on the street before we finish the paperwork. Prisons, however, boomed.

So, the rates are the same, it is just more visible.

StrangerInParadise 22:56, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Critisism of the 2002 Australian studyEdit

I notice This particular study has been criticised for failing to look at the possibility that people with those disorders may turn to cannabis for relief of their symptoms. has been struck out. This has been stated by the Anxiety Disorders Association of Victoria as well as in the BBC article. Why is it not required? The government is using the 2002 studies to provide evidence to support their claims. If it has been critised it should be reported as such. By the way - some absolutely brilliant edits overnight :) - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 21:46, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Why, thank you! =) First, a hurried explanation: my strike-out was to highlight it for attention, not to say that something is superfluous or should be struck per se. Anything of which the sourcing is unclear (to me), I do that. Apologies for the blunt appearance of it.

In the case of this, it was unclear to me where the criticism came from, though I was familiar with the concept. The BBC article raised the criticism not against the study conclusion, but against the generalisation. In the case of the ADAVIC comment, the author misgeneralized the result, the criticized it. The study predicted later depressive outcomes. Was going to read the study again- hey, where is it?

As for brilliant edits, I've also lifted from your COAG article without shame. =)

StrangerInParadise 22:44, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for making that clearer. I will have to troll through the history to find the link. It was there but is now gone - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 06:01, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Latest Austalian position on CannabisEdit

Herewith the National Drug Strategy Monograph Series No. 25 - The health and psychological consequences of cannabis use. It's quite late, will read tomorrow. This is the lastest statement of faith from AusGov re cannabis, last updated 25 January 2006. The NSW health department site only had cartoonish "How to keep young people off of cannabis" page, the usual factsheet, and the new law. Interestingly, in a time where there is a mental health crisis caused by cannabis, none of the NSW Chief Health Officer's alerts mention it.

The Drug strategy monograph is interesting, I have read a little of it but given that the commonwealth health department is presided over by a conservative (Tony Abbott, the same man who refused RU486) it is hardly surprising. It is interesting to have a view of Australian politics when reading things published by the governments. What has me interested is (apart from the bribery that if the states dont toughen their pot laws we will pull funding) why NSW is going down that road. NSW is governed by a left-leaning government (The ALP is socialist) yet it is going more and more to the right every day - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 06:06, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

publishEdit

Article edits have dried up. Hopefully it can be published now? If not,pardon my attempt,please. Neutralizer 12:28, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

On segments and simplificationEdit

On the matter of the arrangement of the article, it seems to me that in particular the section “Revised Penalty System” would be more appropriate closer to the beginning of the article after a short introduction on the basic information of how the change in the law occurred and other information to follow from there. The segment currently titled “Cannabis use and mental health,” might be better retitled to "Support" or similar to be more direct paired with the segment ”Opposition,” however both labels might be simply removed to reduce focus on conflict that could later obscure focus on the change in the laws.

Additionally, the segment “Hydroponic Cultivation” seems overly distinguished. Might it be made simpler, perhaps linking instead to respective studies in-line with necessary qualifications or to any appropriate Wikipedia articles instead of detailed descriptions provided currently, and combined as a brief bit only to describe the basis of its item in the "Revised Penalty System" segment? These changes I believe will change the nature of the article more to that of a news article rather than one in an encyclopedia. I will attempt the movement of the "Revised Penalty System" segment into the introductory segment. Opalus 02:33, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

A measure for publishing, for article archival at leastEdit

What of making a truce for publication and adopting something like an agreement that: If any objections remain, and the offending section can not be reformed to eliminate objections simply, let the objected content be removed? This is a bit fatalistic perhaps but it is likely the only way to publish this article for any use except to be in the archives. If it is not possible to settle matters soon, even publishing late after objections are settled is worth not deleting the article so that it can then be in the archives. Opalus 03:25, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Removed cleanup tagEdit

I have removed the cleanup tag from this article because in my opinion it is neutral, comprehensive, well presented and worded, and not in need of cleanup in any way. Furthermore, there have been no significant edits to the article for 48 hours, and very little discussion on the talk page. I see no reason why this article should not be published. Indeed, this article demands to be published, such that as many people as possible may read it and be truly informed. - Borofkin 06:46, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks, I haven't had much of a chance to spend time on WN over the past few days as I have had things to do over on meta. I agree that the article is brilliant and should be published - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 02:05, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

TypoEdit

{{editprotected}}
"licencing" => "licensing" (in BE the verb is "to license" and the noun is "a licence") Van der Hoorn (talk) 23:55, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

  Done Tempo di Valse ♪ 22:07, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
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