Toronto Judge Rejects Pot Smoking As A Religious Right
A religious group has lost its bid to be exempted from Canada's marijuana laws. The Church of the Universe uses the drug as a sacrament and argues the law infringes on their freedom of religion rights under the charter. Prosecutors had told a Toronto judge that allowing the church's application would effectively legalize marijuana, as others would claim a religious right as well. Justice Thea Herman ruled against the church today.
The constitutional challenge came in the case of two church members charged with trafficking marijuana. Peter Styrsky and Shahrooz Kharaghani allegedly sold pot to undercover officers in 2006, and their case is back in court Feb. 21. Last year, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an application from church founders Walter Tucker and Michael Baldasaro for leave to appeal their 2007 marijuana trafficking convictions.
The men sold small amounts of pot to an undercover police officer who posed as a new church member. On its website, the church refers to marijuana as God's "Tree of Life" and that God's children have a right to use it as a sacrament in "their lives and worship." "Church members are encouraged to surround themselves with the holy Tree of Life, not just inhaling it, but wearing it, growing it, writing on it, eating it, etc.," the site reads. "They decide for themselves ways and times to use God's Tree of Life."
A false link between marijuana and mental illness
However, although the article implies some sort of cause and effect, that conclusion has no scientific basis. In fact, the authors of the study don't even bother investigating whether marijuana use causes mental illness or if people with mental illness have a higher rate of smoking marijuana than the general public.
If marijuana caused mental illness, then cultures that have a higher rate of marijuana smoking than the U.S. should have a higher rate of mental illness. But in fact, the opposite is true. Cultures with higher rates of marijuana consumption have lower rates of mental illness than the United States. This would indicate that rather than marijuana causing mental illness, as your article implies, it is people with mental illness who are self medicating with marijuana in order to alleviate their symptoms.
This (more correct) reading of the data, however, does not fit the narrative being presented by the politicians who are making their careers by "getting tough" on marijuana smokers, nor does it fit the narrative of the manufacturers of the currently legal psychotropic drugs, like Prozac and Zoloft, who stand to lose billions of dollars ifmedical marijuana is legalized, and who funnel millions of dollars to those politicians who present their dubious science as fact.
Analysis Finds Link Between Marijuana Use, Earlier Onset of Psychosis
The use of marijuana is associated with an earlier onset of psychosis, and that association might be causal, a meta-analysis published Feb. 7 online in Archives of General Psychiatry has shown. "This study lends weight to the view that cannabis use precipitates schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, perhaps by an interaction between genetic and environmental factors ... or by disrupting brain development, especially during the important neurological maturation that takes place during adolescence," said Dr. Matthew Large of Prince of Wales Hospital and the University of New South Wales, Sydney, and his associates. Further, the study findings raise "important questions of whether cannabis ... can trigger psychosis by direct neurotoxic effects, by alterations in dopamine activity, or by other changes in neurotransmission and the extent to which any adverse effects on the brain are reversible." Future research should focus on finding "the mechanisms by which cannabis use triggers or brings forward psychotic illness," the investigators added.
They performed a meta-analysis of 83 studies that reported age at onset of psychotic disorders in cohorts of patients in which the use of psychoactive substances also was recorded. These included 8,167 patients who reported that they used substances and 14,352 who reported that they did not. Overall, the mean age of psychosis onset in patients who used substances was about 2 years younger than the age of psychosis onset in patients who did not.
In a further analysis, study samples of patients who used cannabis in particular showed an onset of psychosis that was nearly 3 years earlier than in study samples of patients who did not use cannabis. Similarly, the onset of psychosis was 2 years earlier in samples of patients who used unspecified psychoactive substances than in samples of those who did not. In contrast, the use of alcohol alone was not significantly associated with a younger age of onset of psychosis.
Four Arrested After Illawarra Drug Raids
Cannabis plants, weapons and stolen goods have been seized by police during raids south of Sydney. Three men and a woman remain in custody after simultaneous raids on six properties in Unanderra and Berkeley, in the Illawarra region, at 8am on Tuesday.
Police allegedly seized three cannabis plants, 2.5kg of cannabis leaf, a quantity of methylamphetamine, a replica firearm, ammunition, a stun gun, cash and a stolen motorcycle.
The men, aged 31, 38 and 41 and the 38-year-old woman are expected to be charged with various drug supply and property offences. Police said the operation was part of a three-month ongoing investigation into the cultivation and supply of cannabis in the area.
Marijuana vs. Religion
This is a strange case; First one of its kind. There shall be a hearing in the court of Canada, to decide whether The "Church of the Universe" would be allowed to grow and distribute Marijuana as a part of its religious proceedings. It is strange case in which there are two Reverends held as accused for the distribution of Marijuana despite the laws of the country.
It depends on Madam Justice Thea Hurman what turn this battle may take in the days to come. "It would effectively legalize marijuana because every pot smoker would find a new religion," argued Nick Devlin and Donna Polgar, of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, who are in opposition of the case.
They were of the view that just because Marijuana is something that makes people go on a trip and enjoy, it does not mean that it should be made constitutionally right as well. The laws of the nation are for the protection of the citizens and this shall hamper it in all possible ways. Making Marijuana legal to be marketed could be a step too large towards the end of days. The seriousness of the issue is realized by a few and they have to stand up for the betterment of the country, of the world All eyes await the decision that could change a lot for the entire human race.
Cannabis Worth 110,000 Seized
Cannabis resin with an estimated street value of £110,000 has been seized by police. Officers stopped a car in Incle Street, Paisley, on Saturday night and found around 100kg of the drug in the vehicle. Strathclyde Police said a 27-year-old man was arrested in connection with the discovery and is currently being held in police custody. He is expected to appear at Paisley Sheriff Court on Monday. A report will be sent to the procurator fiscal.
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