Cannabis users are more likely to commit violent crime pioneering research by five researchers from institutes based in Montreal, Canada has shown. The project is the first to demonstrate that cannabis is not only linked with violent crime but is the cause. They found no evidence that the link is the other way round – i.e. that violent people are more likely to use cannabis. Violent incidents monitored by the study based on the lives of more than 1,100 American psychiatric patients included assaults, attacks with weapons and rapes. There was no support, they added, for theories put forward by campaigners anxious to free the drug from the taint of links with crime. The study comes after a series of American states have decriminalised cannabis – despite it being stronger and more potent than the hash smoked by hippies in the sixties – or made it available for medical use. The team, led by Dr Jules R Dugre, said existing evidence on the links between cannabis and violence was ‘limited’ but their project had ‘clinical and violence risk management implications’. Kathy Gyngell, a fellow of the Centre for Policy Studies think-tank, welcomed the ‘definitive study’ and called for official action. ‘Government has been seriously negligent,’ she said. More than 20 US states have in recent year’s legalised cannabis for medical purposes. Four states, Colorado, Alaska, Oregon and Washington have allowed its recreational use. Source
Portugal, the iconic example of drug liberalization that is quoted over and over, had a rough landing with the release of country’s latest drug statistics revealing much of this closely-watched human experiment. According to the 4th National Survey on the Use of Psychoactive Substances in the General Population, Portugal 2016/17, there has been a rise in the prevalence of alcohol and tobacco consumption and of every illicit psychoactive substance (essentially affected by the weight of cannabis use in the population aged 15-74) between 2012 and 2016/17. The number of people using cannabis has gone up by more than 40 per cent in the years since Portugal made using drugs a ‘health problem rather than a crime’ in 2001. Some 15 years after Portuguese drug law ‘reforms’, almost 15 percent of the country’s young people have used cannabis, according to the figures collected by the Intervention Service for Addictive Behaviors and Dependencies (SICAD) agency, a level that is up from 12.4 percent. The study also saw an increase from 8.3% in 2012, to 10.2% in 2016/17, in the prevalence of illegal psychoactive substance use. “These are the trends found for cannabis,” the most popular illegal substance, according to the provisional results of the study. Source
We, the children of South Africa, bemoan the sad fact that while we eagerly wait for our long-promised textbooks to be delivered on time, we have been kidnapped!We already find large fingers covering our mouths, forcing us to be quiet. We are being side-tracked from promising futures by people who act as though they care for us and our learning of maths, science and all languages. HELP!
New proposed legislation seeks to make us slaves of the state; stolen from our parents and communities. Public schools will soon be captured and turned into State schools. Why does the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill belittle our parents, communities and community leaders by taking away their voice — is this democracy?
This new onslaught comes from those who should be the strongest custodians of our future. The centralists want absolute control of all, even our school governing bodies and the appointment of new teachers (according to the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill).
Our resources, which could have secured a bright future, have been looted and squandered.
We witness a chaotic parliament calling each other names, making cat calls while others speak. Is this then the type of classroom environment in which they would like us to learn our maths, science and languages when they are in control?
They are attempting to steal us from our parents' homes, and to organise us into a one-shoe-fits-all education system. We are heading again towards apartheid, where the government of the time forced Afrikaans on us. Are they so determined to force their own ideology on us? Why all this haste? The rural communities have once again been marginalised. Community leaders disowned of their rights! These amendments are only available in Afrikaans and English! Shouldn't these proposed amendments first have been published in all our official languages? Indeed, our democracy is dying
Who is the author of this new policy? A centralist in disguise with ulterior motives? Why are they rushing this bill past us? Our futures and studies hang in balance! Will our future study of history consist of lessons on corruption since that is all that seems to be happening in the current corridors of power? We oppose these amendments that strip the SGBs of power. We propose that the Government gets its act together and educate the nation. The Department of Basic Education has not yet demonstrated its capacity to provide relevant and meaningful education, because it is playing a neverending game with laws and curricula.
Through it all, we South Africa's children and youth have become another lost generation.
Arkansas, Tennessee, South Dakota, and Utah have formally recognized the public health harms of pornography and Florida is soon to follow. According to bill H.R. 157 that Republican Ross Spano filed, pornography is “contributing to the hyper sexualisation” of adolescents and claims that kids who view adult content are at a higher risk of developing low self-esteem, eating disorders and a desire to engage in dangerous sexual behavior. The bill therefore orders the state to also create “recovery programs” for porn-addicts and said there is a need for education, prevention, research and policy change to protect the citizens of the state. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, the country’s leading anti-pornography organization applauds Rep. Ross Spano for this proposal
The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) and the American Association of Prolife Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) applaud our 150,000 colleagues in the American College of Physicians (ACP) for boldly opposing the contradictory practice of physician-assisted suicide in their recently released position statement, Ethics and the Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide. Assisting in or directly causing the death of our patients violates the long standing medical ethics principle of “first do no harm.” Killing is diametrically opposed to the given role of physicians as healers. Disguised as promoting “patient autonomy,” these laws permit physicians a very active role in ending lives.
Assisted suicide laws presume the novel possibility of a benevolent role for physicians in “carrying out a patient’s wishes” to be killed. Physicians are not mere vending machines or indentured servants obligated to provide whatever is requested regardless of the ethics involved. Doctors are obligated to make an independent judgment of the propriety of their every act. Only a very twisted form of logic would argue that physicians’ duty of beneficence makes them appropriate agents of suicide. Dr. Donna Harrison, Executive Director of AAPLOG noted that physician-assisted suicide fractures the trust between a doctor and her patient, and facilitates the exploitation of our most vulnerable patients. “When the physician tasked with healing also carries a license to kill, how can any patient trust her physician to place her health and best interests first?” She continued, “Also, the potential for abuse of our elderly and disabled patients increases since assisted suicide laws allow abusive caregivers to legally obtain lethal drugs.”
Physicians recognize that every attempted suicide is a desperate cry for help. Depression, even suicidal depression, is eminently treatable. Depression in the context of terminal illness is likewise treatable. It is absurd to carve out “terminal” as a special class for which physicians must suspend their ethical standards of medical care.
Dr. Cretella, President of ACPeds stated, “As physicians, we are privileged to accompany our patients through joyful times of vigorous health, as well as times of sorrow and illness. We cure sometimes, but provide care and comfort always. Physicians are healers not killers.” The physicians of the ACPeds, AAPLOG, and the ACP stand firmly united in opposition to the practice of physician-assisted suicide.
Uganda has one of the strictest anti-pornography laws in Africa and has set up a nine-member pornography control committee to wage war on the spread of pornographic material in the country, which has been blamed for the spread of HIV and a high dropout rate for girls in school. The committee will not only raise awareness about the dangers of pornography but it will also set about destroying adult material and apprehending anybody in possession of pornography, which could be met with a jail sentence of up to 10 years. The legislation covers a range of issues like child pornography, pornographic publications and even suggestive music videos and revealing clothing.
The Constitution of South Africa has until now protected our fundamental human rights. These basic rights included the freedom of expression and the freedom to practice a religion of your choice. In October 2016, without warning or public consultation, government announced plans to implement new legislation in the form of the “Hate Speech” and “Commercialization of Religion” bills, which will severely restrict the very freedoms that we as South African citizens have always enjoyed.These bills are now being fast-tracked and the public was given only one month to respond!
What do these bills mean for us as South African citizens and what agenda lies behind the rush to have these laws put in place?
The “Commercialization of Religion” bill will result in a body being set up to monitor and regulate all religious practices in the country. All churches and religious groups will be forced to register with this committee. This panel will then decide who can and cannot practice which religion and when and where they will be allowed to do so – and how they will do so. Any religious groups wishing to retain their independence rather than adhere to a “state religion,” may be forced to cease their religious practices by being threatened with legal action.
Should a religious group speak out against unjust laws or immoral practices, it may be decided that their form of religion is “illegal,” and they may be ordered to cease to express such opinions or face prosecution and a lengthy prison sentence.
The “Hate Speech” bill is so loosely defined that almost any personal opinion an individual expresses could classed as “hate speech.” Should there be a need to silence an individual or a group of people who were not in agreement with decisions made by those in power, all that would be needed is for someone to make an accusation against the person(s) concerned. Should they be found guilty (which it is very likely they would be), they would face a prison sentence of up to 3 years! If a person persisted in speaking out, a second conviction would result in a 10-year sentence for a second “offence”!
Not only does the “Hate Speech” bill restrict verbal communication, but the bill also makes mention of all written and electronic material that would be deemed as “unsuitable” by those in control. Unbiased journalism and news reports would be a thing of the past, as state censorship would ensure that only “news” okayed by the “powers that be” would be released for public consumption.
With elections not far away, the public could be forgiven for assuming that those in power are doing all they can to ensure that any competition to their retention of power is removed prior to a free and fair election process taking place. We as South African now find ourselves walking the narrow line between democracy and dictatorship.
The undeniable trend towards socialistic policies on the part of the government, which we as South Africans are currently witnessing, is the cause of great fear, uncertainty and unrest amongst citizens at grassroots levels. We question whether those making decisions on our behalf still serve the people who elected them in order that they would serve our best interests.
We, the youth of South Africa are so fed up with the power that be. Our future is dark.
Most Governments protect their citizen’s right to freedom of speech and the freedom to practise the religion of their choice by means of the Constitution. In South Africa, new laws will pave the way for an era of oppression and persecution because of the whims of our dictators.
As the majority of South African youth wait for the delivery of promises for better housing, improved health care, affordable and accessible education our Government is playing games and preoccupied with drafting new bills. It’s a matter of Rome is burning while the bosses braai.
The proposed Hate Speech Bill is designed to criminalise everything, from actual hate speech to harmless comments or comic cartoons, in newspapers and on social media. Any communication which is considered "abusive or insulting", any act of "contempt or ridicule" of a person, or ‘group of persons’ could be punished with a 10 year prison sentence.
The majority of the people of South Africa have not been consulted. We have no say. Our poor and rural communities have once again been marginalised and are forced to read these laws in English and Afrikaans.
We might soon find only one party in the ruling benches in parliament while the rest are handed prison sentences if they dare to debate the issues of the day, or speak on behalf of the people, which might ‘offend’ the speaker of the house.
We find these bills offensive.
1) The Hate Speech Bill will make ordinary human expression (verbal, gestures, displays, expressions, illustrations etc. which also includes the use of e-mail and social media) punishable for up to three years in prison.
2) The Bill assaults freedom of expression and muzzles the media into pleasing the ‘powers that be’. There will only be one voice, the voice of the one in power.
3) Not only is it a threat to freedom of speech and thought, but also to religious freedom.
4) This proposed legalisation would give the ruling party more power to jail and silence any opposition whatsoever.
5) The Commercialisation of Religion Bill will allow the ruling party to dictate all forms of religious expression and beliefs.
6) These Bills are setting the stage for political and religious persecution, especially if it criminalises healthy debate about religion and politics.
7) According to this legislation, whistle-blowing corrupt activities could be construed to be hate speech.
Indeed, freedom of speech and religious freedom will become reasons for state capture.
The agenda behind these bills is obvious to us. The next General Election is very soon. Is the ruling party fast tracking their agenda to silence the opposition, the people and eradicate democracy, while trying to escape corruption and criminal investigations by the ICC?
Will South Africa become the latest pawn in a battle between dictatorship and democracy, freedom and oppression?
CYPSA Spokes person: Bongiwe Mhlongo
Currently there is a drive towards cannabis decriminalisation in South Africa. Proposed legislation is moving towards the legalisation of cannabis for medical and/or recreational purposes. The term ‘medicinal use’ is currently misunderstood by the public, including learners. There are more than 60 different cannabinoids with THC being the most toxic component. The potency of THC has escalated during the past few years, with especially high concentrations found in South Africa. Moreover, numerous adverse effects of cannabis use amongst adolescents and young adults have been well documented. CYPSA outlines some of these effects that cannabis has on the adolescent (such as short term memory, judgement impairments and longer-term risks of altered brain development, lowered IQ, cognitive impairments, psychiatric symptoms, psychosis and substance addiction).
Preliminary results on drug use amongst over 4 000 South African adolescents and young male adult drug users suggest an overwhelming majority (approximately 98%) start-off with cannabis and then a move to other illicit drugs, which is often followed with crime. The largest cohort of first users of cannabis was found within school going age. The main reason for cannabis use was peer pressure. This cohort is especially vulnerable to detrimental neurological impacts, lasting for life.
We argue that the harmful effects of cannabis on the adolescent and young adult might impact the Educational system on a national scale. Cannabis legislation/decriminalisation might therefore become a major concern in education within a few years. It is imperative that the implications of cannabis legislation amendments should be discussed, in particular the use of cannabis on school grounds, opposite the school gates and at school functions. The competing rights of learners should be recognised and weighed up, for example the right to freedom of choice and the right to personal security, the right to education and a safe environment, the best interests of the child and the right of access to health care services. The amendments not only have serious social implications, but also legal implications.
These should be addressed timeously.
Young children in Colorado are winding up in the emergency room after ingesting pot-laced goodies left out by adults, doctor’s report. Children have needed to be put on a ventilator and admitted to the ICU. It sedates them so much that it interferes with their ability to breathe. Serving sizes are also misleading, both for adults and children. Full-size cookies and candy bars are sold loaded with THC, the intoxicating chemical in marijuana. Customers are advised to break them up into a number of smaller servings to prevent overdose. People have become more careless in how they store their marijuana following legalization of recreational use. The findings were published online in Journal of the American medical Association Paediatrics.