Four Men Quizzed After Drug Raids
Four men are being questioned after detectives smashed a suspected cannabis-growing operation. Nearly half a million euro-worth of the drug was seized during a raid on a "grow house" in Baltinglass, Co Wicklow, and a follow-up search in Dublin. Two men, aged 23 and 30, were arrested when gardai uncovered the makeshift cannabis factory and plants with an estimated street value of 144,000 euro around noon on Thursday.
In follow-up searches, another two men, aged 25 and 36, were detained in Wicklow and west Dublin. More herbal cannabis, believed to have a street value of 312,000 euro, was also seized. All four men are being held at Garda stations in Baltinglass, Carlow, and Kevin Street, Dublin. They are being questioned under section two of the Drug Trafficking Act.
The raids were carried out by gardai in Baltinglass, the Tallaght Drugs Unit and the Kevin Street Drugs Unit, as part of Operation Nitrogen. The Garda National Drugs Unit is co-ordinating the operation. The cannabis has been sent for forensic analysis.
Drug User Andrew Thomson Grew His Own Cannabis
A self-sufficient Pitlochry man who decided to branch out from growing his own vegetables to cultivating cannabis plants was fined £250 at Perth Sheriff Court. Bottom of Form Andrew Thomson's stash was uncovered during a search on his Fincastle property by police. They found 92.8 grammes of the drug, which had a street value of around £400. Depute fiscal Stuart Richardson told the court that while there was no charge of producing cannabis on the complaint, it was "perfectly plain" to see where the drug came from as the 42-year-old's house had a room "littered" with equipment.
Defence agent Rosie Scott admitted her client had been growing his own plants as he is a regular user of cannabis. "He tries to be self-sufficient from the point of view of growing vegetables and other produce," she said. "He had originally been growing plants in a spare room but decided to grow cannabis. "He planted two and was fortunate that both cannabis plants grew and he simply used them over a period, as he felt they would last him for some time."
Ms Scott said Thomson "fully accepted" he grew the plants for his own personal use and had planned to grow more when he needed to. "He felt it was better to grow his own than go out and try to buy some." Thomson, of Woodend, admitted that on November 6, at his home address, he was in possession of cannabis.
Dutch council rejects 'marijuana pass'
The city council of Eindhoven in the south of the Netherlands has rejected the idea of a pass system for buyers of marijuana. Local politicians in nearby Den Bosch and Maastricht have already come out against introducing ‘weed-passes’, the aim of which would be to bar the sale of cannabis to other than Dutch residents.
In the Netherlands, outlets called ‘coffeeshops’ can be licensed to sell small amounts of marijuana. In recent years, ‘drugs tourists’ from across the border in Belgium and Germany have caused increasing trouble in southern Dutch towns where they come to buy pot.
More recently still, towns including Eindhoven have been hit by a wave of violent crime connected to the supply of cannabis to the outlets. While the sale of marijuana is permitted, the supply of the soft drugs to licensed coffeeshops remains illegal and is controlled by criminal networks.
Under the pass system being proposed by the government, coffeeshops would become clubs with membership only open to local people. Eindhoven Mayor Rob van Gijzel is not convinced, arguing the government should get tough with the criminals involved in the supply of cannabis, and not penalise the customers.
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.
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