NORML UK call on the British government to introduce a regulated cannabis market, following a New Zealand study which found that young people who smoke cannabis risk a significant and irreversible reduction in IQ.
An international team found that those who started using cannabis heavily below the age of 18 – while their brains were still developing – suffered a drop in IQ. NORML UK cautiously welcome the report, as it provides further evidence that prohibition has failed to protect the most vulnerable members of society.
NORML UK spokesman, Sanj Chowdary said:
“The report also concluded that adults over 18 are not at risk. Therefore it is of vital importance for the British government to take the cannabis trade out of the black market and introduce carefully devised regulation that reduces the likelihood of children obtaining cannabis.
“Countries like Portugal have taken bold steps toward drug law reform and have been rewarded with lower teen drug use. Effective social policy starts with sound evidence, and the evidence demonstrates that regulation and decriminalisation are the way forward.
“It is high time to regulate cannabis, as is the case with alcohol and tobacco, that also pose potential threats to young people’s development. The study’s author confirms that adult use of cannabis is safe. Another study out of the University of Colorado shows that well regulated dispensaries, which allow adults safe access to medicinal cannabis, do not increase teen drug use. These studies clearly show the necessity of proactive cannabis regulation,” concluded Mr Chowdhary.
A federally funded study at UCLA found that well regulated dispensaries are not associated with an increase in local crime:
“There were no observed cross-sectional associations between the density of medical marijuana dispensaries and either violent or property crime rates in this study. These results suggest that the density of medical marijuana dispensaries may not be associated with crime rates or that other factors, such as measures dispensaries take to reduce crime (i.e., doormen, video cameras), may increase guardianship such that it deters possible motivated offenders.”
NORML US Deputy Director Paul Armentano wrote in June:
“Authors acknowledged that their findings ‘run contrary to public perceptions’ and that they conflict with public statements made by the California Police Chief’s Association, which had previously claimed, ‘Drug dealing, sales to minors, loitering, heavy vehicle and foot traffic in retail areas, increased noise, and robberies of customers just outside dispensaries are … common ancillary by-products of (medicinal cannabis) operations.'”
Prohibition fails to protect young people at great expense to the tax payer, the unwell, and vulnerable segments of society. A new approach to drug policy is long overdue.
NORML UK is the British Chapter of NORML, the oldest and largest cannabis campaigning group in the world.