NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - September 27, 2007

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - September 27, 2007
Posted by CN Staff on September 27, 2007 at 11:10:26 PT
Weekly Press Release 
Source: NORML
Idaho: City To Vote On Multiple Pot MeasuresSeptember 27, 2007 - Hailey, ID, USAHailey, ID: Municipal voters in Hailey, Idaho will vote this November on a series of local initiatives seeking to liberalize marijuana penalties.
Four separate ballot questions will appear on the November 6 ballot, including language that calls upon local police to make marijuana law enforcement their lowest law enforcement priority. In recent years, voters in various cities nationwide – including Seattle, Washington and Columbia, Missouri – have enacted similar measures.Separate ballot questions will address the use of medical cannabis and industrial hemp, as well as the regulation of marijuana for personal use. Last year, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that citizens can vote on the issue of legalizing marijuana – even if the proposed initiative conflicts with state and federal laws. The sponsor of the initiatives, the Liberty Lobby of Idaho, is also seeking to place marijuana-law reform questions on the ballots in Ketchum and Sun Valley.For more information on these and other pending ballot measures, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.DL: Penalties, Youth Drug Prevention Programs Don’t Influence Drug-Making Decisions, Study Says - Impact of drug education programs like DARE is “minimal”September 27, 2007 - Norman, OK, USANorman, OK: Americans’ decisions whether or not to use marijuana or other illicit drugs evolve over time and are only nominally influenced by criminal prohibition or youth education programs such as DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), according to survey data published in the journal Substance Abuse & Misuse.Investigators at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Central Oklahoma surveyed 51 current and ex-users of marijuana over a two-year period. Respondents were asked about their decisions to use, continue to use, and/or cease using marijuana and other illicit substances. All of the subjects in the study were described as being employed, enrolled in school, or acting as the head of their household. Subjects said that past exposure to youth drug education programs that focused on abstinence did not dissuade them from trying marijuana. "While a number of individuals were exposed to drug education and prevention programs in school, the influence of these programs were viewed by respondents as minimal in retrospect," authors wrote. "None of these respondents described these programs as having any long-term influence on their abstinence from drug use."Subjects also said that they did not make determinations regarding the health effects or safety of drugs based on their legal or illegal status. "Individuals who stated they differentiated between legal and illegal drugs [when they were younger] discussed this distinction predominantly in terms of the availability and acceptability of legal substances versus illegal ones," authors wrote. "During the later stages of drug involvement, the distinction between legal and illegal substances [became] a less important basis for differentiating between different types of drugs than the specific benefits and risks of different types of drugs."Investigators reported that most cannabis users initiated their use based on a "general curiosity about drugs" rather than because of "a desire to achieve a specific drug-related effect." Users decisions to either continue or discontinue their use, particularly as they grew older, were based on "incrementally … more complex" factors, such as "cost, method of use, potential health risks, and length of high," as well as other so-called "life factors," such as becoming a parent."After individuals begin to experiment with and use legal and illegal drugs, their sources of information about drugs shift from external sources … to knowledge that is more directly acquired," authors conclude. "[These] findings provide further support for the need to understand and examine drug use from the perspective of drug users."Commenting on the study, NORML Senior Policy Analyst Paul Armentano said: "It is telling, though hardly surprising, that adult marijuana users share more in common with ‘conventional,’ non-illicit drug using citizens than they do with the federal government’s image of the stereotypical pot smoker. Further, this study reinforces the notion that adults base their decisions to use or not use cannabis on a set of sophisticated criterion and cost/benefit analyses. When the consumer has determined that the cost of continuing their cannabis use outweighs its potential rewards, they voluntarily cease their use accordingly. He continued: "Fear-mongering disguised as drug education and the enforcement of harsh criminal penalties factor little into Americans’ decision-making process regarding whether or not to experiment with cannabis – even in Oklahoma, the state with arguably the harshest pot penalties in the nation. It’s time for the federal government to cease playing to inaccurate stereotypes, and abandon its current heavy-handed criminal justice policies that waste billions of taxpayers’ dollars, but have little influence upon Americans’ decisions to use or not use illicit drugs." For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at: paul norml.orgFull text of the study, "Investigating how decisions to use marijuana change over time," appears in the journal Substance Use & Misuse. DL: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: September 27, 2007Copyright: 2007 NORML Contact: norml Website: NORML Archives 
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