Pubdate: Wed, 30 Nov 2005
Source: Jamaica Gleaner, The (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2005 The Gleaner Company Limited
Author: Paul Armentano

Letter of the Day


The Editor, Sir:

CLAIMS THAT ganja use and violence are inherently interconnected
('Ganja to blame for crime', November 25) are unfounded.

No credible research has shown cannabis use to be a causal factor in
violence, aggression or delinquent behaviour, dating back to United
States government's 'First Report of the National Commission on
Marijuana and Drug Abuse' in 1972, which concluded, "In short,
marijuana is not generally viewed by participants in the criminal
justice community as a major contributing influence in the commission
of delinquent or criminal acts."

Aggressive Behaviour

A more recent federal review by the Canadian Senate reaffirmed:
"Cannabis use does not induce users to commit other forms of crime.
Cannabis use does not increase aggressiveness or anti-social
behaviour." In contrast, research has demonstrated that certain legal
drugs, such as alcohol, do induce aggressive behaviour.

"Cannabis differs from alcohol in one major respect. It does not seem
to increase risk-taking behaviour," stated the British Advisory
Council on the Misuse of Drugs in its 2002 report recommending the
depenalisation of marijuana. "This means that cannabis rarely
contributes to violence either to others or to oneself, whereas
alcohol use is a major factor in deliberate self-harm, domestic
accidents and violence."

Not Violence-Related

Most recently, a logistical retrogression analysis of approximately
900 trauma patients published in the Journal of TRAUMA Injury,
Infection, and Critical Care, found that the use of cannabis is not
independently associated with either violent or non-violent injuries
requiring hospitalisation. Alcohol and cocaine use were associated
with violence-related injuries, the study found. Accordingly, fewer
than five per cent of state and local law enforcement agencies in the
United States identify marijuana as a drug that significantly
contributes to violent crime in their areas.

I am, etc.,

Paul Armentano

Washington, D.C.

The author is the senior policy analyst for NORML (National
Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and the NORML
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake