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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Heroin, yes; marijuana, no

Interesting story from Switzerland:

Swiss voters have backed a change in health policy that would provide prescription heroin to addicts.

Final results from the national referendum showed 68% of voters supported the plan.


The policy is described as one of last resort - prescribing addicts with the very drug that caused their problems in the first place - but supporters say it works, and Swiss voters appear to have agreed, the BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Berne says.

At the same time, Swiss voters rejected a plan to decriminalize marijuana.

Recent studies suggesting that long-term use of the drug may be more harmful than previously thought looked likely to encourage a "No" to decriminalisation.

Early results showed only 36.8% of those voting supported decriminalising cannabis, the Associated Press (AP) news agency said.

If only marijuana was as addictive as heroin!

No, not really.

Posted by Terrence Watson on November 30, 2008 in Marijuana reform | Permalink


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If only Canadian "conservatives" were as smart as the Swiss for rejecting legalization. Drug dealers belong in jail or clearing garbage from roads, not being allowed to peddle their poison.

Switzerland: where they can vote, have guns, and throw druggies in jail. It's paradise! :)

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-11-30 2:52:47 PM

I dunno, Zeb.

From the article, it looks like Swiss cops don't really enforce the anti-marijuana laws anyway. In that regard, perhaps the country differs little from Canada.

Besides, heroin addicts in Switzerland now have the right to use heroin. Some might consider that a paradise, but not many conservatives.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-11-30 3:31:13 PM

The Heroin prescription plan will allow addicts to shoot up under medical supervision in a clinical setting and is aimed at getting hard-core users off the streets. The heroin program, started in 1994, is offered in 23 centers across Switzerland. It has helped eliminate scenes of large groups of drug users shooting up openly in parks that marred Swiss cities in the 1980s and 1990s and is credited with reducing crime and improving the health and daily lives of addicts. The United States and the U.N. narcotics board have criticized the program as potentially fueling drug abuse, but it has attracted attention from governments as far away as Australia and Canada, which in recent years have started or are considering their own programs modeled on the system. The Netherlands started a smaller program in 2006, and it serves nearly 600 patients. Britain has allowed individual doctors to prescribe heroin since the 1920s, but it has been running trials similar to the Swiss approach in recent years. Belgium, Germany, Spain and Canada have been running trial programs too. Crime by heroin addicts has fallen 60 per cent since the initiative to allow health clinics to administer controlled doses of the drug began 14 years ago, according to the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. While the Swiss Government backed the heroin initiative, it opposed the call for marijuana legalisation because it feared that it could cause drugs tourism to Switzerland of the kind that is causing public disorder problems in border towns in the Netherlands. Oswald Sigg, a government spokesman, said: “This could lead to a situation where you have some sort of cannabis tourism in Switzerland because something that is illegal in the EU would be legal in Switzerland. Switzerland has recorded the highest level of cannabis use in Europe, according to a study last July. The Swiss police and public are very tolerant of low level cannabis use.

So, it's obvious that the Swiss are for 'Harm Reduction' when it comes to Heroin. It's good to see that Zebulon Pike is in favor of the Swiss heroin policy. Even when the U.S. and U.N. are mistakenly against it. It's also well known that the Swiss police do not bother with low level cannabis use. That the Government and voters will be favorable to legalising cannabis when it is more broadly legalised. Like, by the European Union. Leglaization must be widespread in order to prevent the concentration of cannabis tourism. So, it's more of a national appearance issue than a drug safety issue. The Swiss tolerance of cannabis use is why we do not see their prisons overflowing with non-violent cannabis possessors like in the U.S. Thank you Zebulon Pike for supporting the actual issues behind the voting. We can only hope to see the U.S. Government support the Swiss Plan for treating heroin addiction, too. Also, when all nations legalise and regulate cannabis like alcohol and tobacco, then there will not be the focusing of cannabis users in only one country. But, the Swiss are allowed to vote on national referendums. Since U.S. voters are not allowed this right it may take a while for this to come about.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-30 5:42:04 PM

The most important thing here is that the Swiss people made the decision and it was not something imposed by their government. You may agree or disagree with the decision, but you should admire their system of giving the people the right to decide.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-11-30 5:56:20 PM

so the Swiss people have spoken through their votes, and its the same message as the majority of common people of Canada has been saying all along.. and that is, no thanks to lifting pot prohibition at this time..Of course we don't count cheezy web surveys or sketchy telephone surveys- but consider this: maybe this isn;t creeping jackboots as much as it is common sence..

Posted by: 419 | 2008-11-30 8:57:34 PM

419, you are incorrect for the people of Canada have never been allowed to vote on this issue, just as they have been denied the right to vote on the death penalty, abortion, SSM and any other major issue.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-12-01 11:58:40 AM

The common people of Canada speak through their elected repsentatives: we project our will by raising up elected officials who are acutely aware that the common people of Canada do _not want a Funhouse Doptopia installed.

No- our system is not the same as the Swiss where the individual there votes for each legal clause- no, we elect representatives who take the will of the voters of their jurisdiction to the foundry in Ottawa and hammer it out.. Thats how we do it here and thats why lifting drug prohibition is not gonna fly .. because the common people of Canada don;'t want it..
Maybe read some of the brochures about how Canadian government works at a library, there are even charts and 800 numbers if you get the urge to become an MPP yourself so you can render our vote against the death penalty, abortion and SSM They have a swell dental plan

Posted by: 419 | 2008-12-02 9:36:34 AM

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