Newsbrief: British Doctors Don't Say Legalize It 7/11/03

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The British Medical Association, the largest physicians' organization in the United Kingdom, rejected a motion calling for the legalization of cannabis and other recreational drugs at its annual conference in Torquay on July 1. The motion was introduced on behalf of Cornwall physicians by retired surgeon Dr. Connie Brizzard, who told the BBC she hoped it would spark more debate on the topic.

"The government has a responsibility to the public to reduce crime," she told BBC News Online. "Prohibition does not work. Just look at the experience of the United States when they tried to ban alcohol. What arose out of that was Al Capone and armed gangs, and that is what is happening now in this country. This is also about the nanny state," she said. "Consenting adults should be allowed to do what they like. We want the BMA to debate this; we want the public to debate this."

The BMA did debate, and the good doctors were not persuaded, but that is nothing new. The BMA advised against the legalization of cannabis when it testified before Home Affairs Select Committee last year. That committee and Home Minister David Blunkett eventually called for rescheduling of cannabis from a class B to class C drug -- a move that has now been put off until year's end at the earliest.

According to the BBC, doctors voted on the motion after hearing a report from Professor Robin Murray of the Institute of Psychiatry, who told them that cannabis use increases the risk of schizophrenia.

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Issue #295, 7/11/03 Editorial: More Than One Kind of Pain | Alaska Court Rules Marijuana Possession Okay -- Judicial Day of Reckoning Coming | Doctors' Group Advises Physicians to Avoid Treating Pain with Opiates, Cites Persecution of Pain Doctors -- Tucson Case Illustrates Point | DRCNet Interview: Brazilian Antiprohibitionists Luiz Paulo Guanabara of Psicotropicus and Cecilia Szterenfeld of the Integrated Programs on Marginality | Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced in Argentina | In Memoriam: Don Topping, Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii | Newsbrief: Feds Appeal Ed Rosenthal Sentence | Newsbrief: Ruling Expected "Soon" in Santa Cruz Medical Marijuana Suit | Ashcroft Seeks Supreme Court Permission to Overturn Free Speech Ruling on Physician-Patient Discussion of Medical Marijuana | Newsbrief: Oregon Appeals Court Overturns Asset Forfeiture Reform | Newsbrief: Canadian Government to Distribute Medical Marijuana | Newsbrief: New DEA Administrator Karen Tandy Approved by Senate Judiciary Committee Following Medical Marijuana Controversy | Newsbrief: Former Scottish High Court Judge Says Legalize It | Newsbrief: British Doctors Don't Say Legalize It | The Reformer's Calendar

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