Giving a Damn

(and getting a clue)

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Is, simply, good. Very good, in fact. It is a deep-dive through the superficial fun of a party drug that 1 million Britons take into the brutality beneath. It manages to be compelling, honest and unpreachy, and treats its subject with robust respect. They visit the slums and the tenants they control, meet the children who have an 80% chance of being recruited into the industry, and go out on patrol with the navy to understand the virtual impossibility of breaking the stranglehold of the cartels…PARTY ON!  

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“Legalizing cannabis will reduce crime and raise Tax revenue – All savings will come from reduced policing, lower crime rate, less supply reduction costs, and increased tax-revenue from licensing!”

So pealed the  promises to the unwitting population from the addiction for profit advocates! Well, as the following (and little broadcasted) data reveals, the cannabis chaos continues to unfold in California (and other states). It does not augur well the future of this always clearly ‘bad idea’!  Outside of the emerging ‘medicinal cannabis’ market, Australia currently has one market for marijuana – the illegal market (Black Market). We most definitely do not need this three market ‘circus’ – Legal, Black and Grey Market and the ballooning costs both fiscally and health wise, these will bring.

‘In regards to illegal Cannabis grows, they are getting worse, not better. One of the things I promoted over two years ago, when I got involved with the issue of cannabis policy, was to address the issue as we move from the illegal to a legal market, that we have to hold accountable those that are not participating in the legal market. Particularly those that are continuing to profit of illegal grows now are manifesting they’re getting bigger and becoming more stubborn, more acute. They are not just issues for environment, of an environmental concern, but increasingly of fire safety itself. So, there is a direct correlation again between our fire preparedness and our fire safety, in addition to addressing – mitigating ah [sic], the Cartel activity that persists up north…” (February 11th 2019 Press Conference)

“Stepped-up enforcement comes with a certain measure of irony — legalization was meant to open a new chapter for the state, free from the legacy of heavy policing and incarceration for minor infractions. Instead, there are new calls for a crackdown on illegal selling…But no other state has an illegal market on the scale of California’s, and those illicit sales are cannibalizing the revenue of licensed businesses and in some cases, experts say, forcing them out of business.

‘Getting Worse, Not Better’: Illegal Pot Market Booming in California Despite Legalization (NY Times 27/4/2019)

California Department of Finance – Office of State Audits & Evaluations.

  • Even with a thriving illegal market in California, only 15 enforcement unit staff positions have been filled, though 68 were authorized. "The bureau's ability to process complaints, perform inspections and investigations and review ... testing laboratories is severely impacted," auditors wrote.
  • The three agencies that regulate marijuana need to do a better job communicating. "Enforcement unit staff stated a central contact from the other licensing authorities has not been established," the report found.
  • There's a cash shortage. The primary source of revenue for the agency is from application and license fees. About $200 million was expected to come in through June 30, 2019, but the bureau has collected only $2 million as of January 2019.

California Cannabis Regulators Struggle With Job, Audit Shows

During fiscal years 2016-17 and 2017-18, cannabis program expenditures totalled $6,774,577 and $14,876,055, with revenue received of $0 and $1,092,250, respectively. Due to the program’s infancy and initial establishment of its structural foundation, the Bureau has incurred expenditures higher than revenue.

Bureau of Cannabis Control – California Department of Consumer Affairs Performance Audit

Lissten to Audio File

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But maintaining this difference between a functioning addict and a regular addict can be harmful to a person who truly struggles with a substance addiction. The term can act as a barrier to someone deciding to get help. If my drinking or drug use isn’t causing too much harm, and if we’re all casually joking about it, is it really that big of a problem?

The “functioning addict” idea can indeed fuel a lot of delusion. I used to convince myself opiates were performance enhancing for me to the extent I would look down judgmentally on colleagues who drank alcohol at lunch—“Don’t they consider the impact that will have on their work!?” Meanwhile, I’d just been taking heroin in the toilet.

A substance may be functional at first in the sense that it helps you cope. But the addiction is papering over the problem, which is growing and growing all the while. That’s partly why it can be so terrifying to quit—you are confronted with all the problems you tried to escape in the first place, many magnitudes greater by now, with your self-esteem in tatters. From this stems the belief “I can’t cope without it.”

Finally, all aspects of my life spiraled out of control. My performance plummeted, and progressive dysfunction set in…. Sometimes people cling to a romanticized idea of the functioning addict, the creative genius, etc. But the reality is most people’s output slides in quantity and quality as their addiction progresses.

An addict may be “functioning,” but at what cost? What cost to their physical and mental well-being, to their social and professional life, to the well-being of their family?

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There are real physical, psychological, and social benefits for people in recovery

Exercise reduces the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which has been linked to mental health issues like depression and anxiety, while increasing endorphins and adrenaline. Early animal studies have shown that physical activity can curb dependencies on substances including opioids and cocaine; tests on people addicted to drugs in Denmark found that regular exercise improved energy, body image, and quality of life for most people in the study and, for nearly half of them, helped end or reduce their substance use.

“It helps people fill their time, release endorphins, and feel naturally good instead of the synthetic feeling of using drugs.”

Some experts suggest that it’s the psychological aspect of exercise — especially group activities — that provides the most benefit. An exercise regimen can bring structure to someone’s daily life and help them make connections

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