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The Truth About Marijuana Use in the UK

As Phil notes below, there's a new wave of reefer madness taking hold in England. The Independent's reporting is hysterical in both senses of the word, so much so that the ONDCP blog wasted no time in picking up the story.

We're told that marijuana addiction among teenagers has skyrocketed, that marijuana is 25 times stronger than it was generation ago, and that marijuana just might cause schizophrenia. And the underlying implication of all this is that the effort to legalize marijuana, culminating in the UK's 2004 reclassification decriminalizing simple possession, has somehow caused all of these horrible problems.

Interestingly, The Independent's multiple articles yesterday reached their conclusions without mentioning usage rates. Here's why: marijuana use in the UK is going down. From The Observer in October, 2006:
According to a report by the Central Narcotics Office, after more than a decade of rapid growth, seizures of cannabis resin in Europe dropped by a fifth last year, to 831 tonnes.

The apparent trend is reinforced by British figures which show that the popularity of cannabis in the UK has plummeted, with 600,000 fewer people smoking or eating marijuana than three years ago.
The failure to address this relevant, yet contradictory fact is a hallmark of alarmist pseudo-scientific drug war reporting. Instead we get this:
Today record numbers of young people are in treatment programmes for skunk [high-grade marijuana] abuse and hospital admissions due to the drug are at their highest ever.
We know that rumors of more potent pot are both wildly exaggerated and largely irrelevant since users adjust their doses to achieve the desired effect regardless of potency. We also know that potency has increased notably (3-4 times, not 25) and that increased potency has much to do with prohibition, which creates a financial incentive for growers to maximize their risk/reward ratio since punishment is determined by weight rather than THC content.

So if it isn't the potency, then what's driving the spike in marijuana treatment in the UK? I think the answer is that reduced stigma and a new policy of not arresting casual users have resulted in more people seeking help. It makes vastly more sense than arguing that marijuana suddenly turned into crack laced with heroin the moment they decriminalized it.

I can't prove my theory anymore than addiction "experts" can prove that marijuana had almost no THC in the '60's. But it makes intuitive sense. Wouldn't you expect more people to seek treatment once the risk of arrest is removed?

After decriminalizing marijuana, the British are seeing lower usage rates and more people seeking treatment. Let's talk about that.

United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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what is going to happen

many people do not relize that by british law enforcement removing marijauna from the market they are just going to cause people to look for a new "High". Therfore promoting drug use of many other deadly subcences, that are not as easaly detected. The ripple effect could turn a whole generation into tweak slaming junkies, VS. your local cheeto factoy's main buyer your local pot head.
the green snipe

Marijuana Addiction

Here's a website you may find useful. is a site for friends, families, and those who suffer from various addictions.

Adicted crave to stop.

This morning is my fourth web page I read, regarding my very old friend mary-jane, what I like to share is that my brain constantly think or make me believe I should stop, well why that doesn't work, and my wife now she tell me to go smoke one when I'm to cranky,
Thanks you for giving all this advice.
I've been smoking since the age 12, cigarette and mary-jane the government in US and Canada really force the tobacco companies to show on tv how bad smoking was to your health, I also use mary-jane with moderation and lots of pleasure but I was able to stop cigarette cold turkey when my first child was born 9years ago (motivation) and now I read something that made to much sense and will help me before I get some kind of cancer. How can I seek for help if I'm going to get in to a lots of trouble and problems with my life, it not legal.

I guess all I need is motivation and using mari-jane make it worse and so far most web site they want money so they can tell you the pin point of the trigger but you get privacy, I guess I rather get couth since I wrote this reply.
I will keep reading!!!
Good luck to every one who want to stop or gain better control like I bellive I had.

That's stupid, I'm sorry

You're saying because penalties for marijuana were reduced, that induced people to go to harder drugs. Sorry, that's just a dumbass statement. Many studies, as well as common sense, show that the legality or illegality of a drug has little to do with rates of use or abuse, so long as the drug is commonly available on the black market, as mj certainly is.

And what's with thowing a bunch of stupid made up anecdotal stereotypes like "your local cheeto factoy's main buyer (sic)". What the hell does that mean, you dumbass? Have you even been to England?

The Truth About Marijuana Use in the UK

Scott Morgan has got his facts wrong. Firstly cannabis use in the UK is not "decriminalised", if he cannot get that basic fact right why should anyone listen to him on anything else? As for cannabis use going down, that also is very doubtful. What has happenned is that cannabis use has widened and deepened. Kids use cannabis earlier (age of first use) and many users who would typically at one time have been profield to stop using in their twenties are using for longer. Cannabis use is not just indicated by resin seizures either (another thing Scott wrong!). Europe particularly the Netherlands and the UKindustry have a "home grown" boom with numerous factories having sprung up. this is partly areaction to more enforcement in Morocco, partly a reaction to poor quality moroccan "soap bar", partly a reaction to the better quality possible from the home grow factories. Scott also gets his theory wrong on why more people are in treatment for cannabis addiction. The cause is simple, early "first use" has been combined with much more regular use, some kids in their very vulnerable early teens are using cannabis on the way TO school, AT school on the way home and in their home. Their brains are permanently scrambled, they have become Britain's "feral youth".In this pattern of use, the users do not titrate their usage. They are permanently doped (and pot is not also called "dope" for nothing). To be blunt, Scott's use of the word "Truth" is ridiculous.

The Truth About The Truth About Marijuana Use In the UK

The fact that marijuana use in the UK is going down comes from the British Government. (follow my link above)

That's why it's so surprising to hear no mention of these stats in an article about marijuana use in the UK. My guess is that the author did look up the numbers, but left them out of the article because of what they showed. The decline in marijuana use in the UK is a fact, and you must engage this fact in order to have a productive discussion of the issue.

Where does your information come from?

cannabis use has widened and deepened

You criticize Scott for making a hypothesis, which he clearly states he's not certain about, but you make unsubstantiated claims stated as fact.

Has cannabis use has widened and deepened? How about some evidence? Do you have any evidence that pot is now "scrambling brains" and creating "feral youth?"

You say, "Cannabis use is not just indicated by resin seizures either (another thing Scott wrong!)" Did you read Scott's next sentence? "The apparent trend is reinforced by British figures which show that the popularity of cannabis in the UK has plummeted, with 600,000 fewer people smoking or eating marijuana than three years ago."

mr "anonymous" spouting about the "truth"

looks like he's making the rounds. he's been spewing the same core crap for years. his name is david raynes -- a former customs official in the UK.

you may come across his anally-extracted "expertise" on the usenet group uk.politics.drugs where he posts under the pseudonym "claude"

the fact that he bothered to comment here may indicate the level of "threat" to his nonsense posed by those of us on this side of the pond, and the synergy being developed by reformers on both sides working together.

if he posts anywhere else i can probably sniff him out quite readily.

brian bennett

Marijuana Addiction

Here's a website you may find useful. is a site for friends, families, and those who suffer from various addictions.



kelli and jade

hi ppl hw is everyone

from keli n jade

Legalise It!

In my opinion the war on drugs has gone way too far. i agree on the harder drugs such as heroin and cocaine for example to be illegal, but weed? is it really necessary? i smoke weed all the time, im only 15 i have been doing so for over a year now, my grades have gone up my life is great and the fact that i smoke weed doesn't make my life any worse. i think that the best way to tackle the problem with marijuana would be legalization and to have retailers, or coffee shops for example to sell the weed. the government could treat the marijuana as they do with tobacco or alcohol and bring in taxation to tackle the problem. i don't think that marijuana its self is a problem, but these days the terms in getting to marijuana are difficult and along the way if your buying through dealers, then you are 9 times out of 10 offered to buy harder drugs. with legalization i think they should have an age limit on buying, although giving marijuana under safe and clean environments to people over the age of 16 would suit me perfect. thanks for reading if you did.

Dan Jones from Anglesey

the wars on people

I've recovered from a 35+ year drug addiction and write about life after addiction. The so called war on drugs has nothing to do with drugs and everything to do with profit and marginalizing an unwanted, not needed, part of the population. Drug addicts and career criminals are two different animals.

That aside, like all state run wars, this is all about profit. Wars in every country the government can get in to - profitable. War on small businesses and individuals - profitable. War on real food and clean water - big profits. Homelessness - profitable. Right on down the list of everything that goes on in the US - if it's going on it's profitable for someone controlling it.

Death by prescription drugs is up to one an hour or so - but it's hugely profitable.

It's easy to understand what's going on and why - follow the money. The biggest, most successful, criminals aren't languishing in prisons, they're making decisions at the highest levels and they don't care about you or me or who has to die.

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