Pubdate: Fri, 05 Jun 1998
Source: The Dominion (Wellington, NZ)

I was surprised and disappointed by the journalistic standard displayed in
your feature "Cannabis more dangerous than suspected" (May 26).  I had
thought the The Dominion, perhaps alone among New Zealand newspapers,
understood the importance of accurate and balanced reporting on drug issues.

The story was based on an article written by two individuals with neither
medical nor pharmacological expertise for a magazine which, unmentioned in
your article, is basically a propaganda vehicle for the Lyndon LaRouche empire.

LaRouche is a well-known American right-wing extremist and frequent fringe
presidential candidate who is much enamoured with cold fusion and other
aspects of junk science.

Even had the article in question been published in a respectable journal,
your report should have placed this study in the context of international
research, which shows quite clearly that the effects of cannabis on
cognitive and brain function are less severe than many other commonly
available drugs, including alcohol.

The obligation of journalists to do more than simply accept at face value
stories purporting to provide facts relevant to important public policy
debates is perhaps especially important when the subject is about to be
studied by a parliamentary select committee, the Cannabis and Mental Health

In effect, The Dominion made an informal submission to this committee with
publication of the article occurring just three days before the deadline for


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Checked-by: Melodi Cornett