Pubdate: Wed, 31 Jul 2002
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 Times Colonist
Author: Matthew M. Elrod


Drug doomsayer Ken Lane should get in the game ("Facts show marijuana far 
from harmless," Jun 27). Wrote Lane, "There are over 10,000 studies on the 
harmful effects of marijuana at the University of Mississippi alone."

The "10,000 studies" myth was first trotted out in 1996 by the California 
Narcotics Officers' Association. In response to an inquiry from Harvard 
Prof. Lester Grinspoon, U of M Research Associate Beverly Urbanek explained 
that the university is "totally in the dark as to where the statement that 
there are 10,000 studies showing the negative impact of marijuana could 
have originated."

Urbanek conceded that the Research Institute has a bibliography of over 
12,000 citations to marijuana, but she noted that the total number includes 
"papers on the chemistry and botany of the cannabis plant, cultivation, 
epidemiological surveys, legal aspects, eradication studies, detection, 
storage, economic aspects and a whole spectrum of others that do not 
mention positive or negative effects."

Lane is also mistaken about the public reaction to the British experiment 
with decriminalization in Lambeth, England. Two studies were released last 
May on the success of the pilot program.

One, from the Metropolitan Police Service, estimated that more than 1,300 
hours of police time were saved during the first six months of the program. 
The second was a report of the results of a survey by the Police Foundation 
of Lambeth residents which showed strong public support for the cannabis 
policing scheme.

Honestly, us "legalizers" are finding worthy opponents increasingly scarce. 
The least Lane could do is stay abreast of the latest drug war propaganda.

Matthew M. Elrod,

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