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Drug testing the unemployed for God

Liberal Senator Eric Abetz is reported to be in favour of drug testing welfare recipients to ensure they are ‘job ready’. An idea originally raised by the Tasmanian MP Brett Whiteley.

But this is hardly ‘news’. That the slack and feckless amongst us (ie welfare recipients) should be drug tested is an article of faith amongst the far right wing. The idea resurfaces every now and again for just long enough to cheer up the party faithful before once again being ruled out due to commie-pinko-civil-rights.

Last time around the idea was floated by George Christensen, then Abbott. Before being passed on to Kevin Andrews who considered it for a good long time and then ruled it out. Of course Senator Jacqie Lambie also indicated that she also thought it was likely a good idea.

It seems almost churlish to argue with such an illustrious group of moral philosophers.

Predictably Senator Abetz wants to go even further than just drug testing welfare recipients; he recently floated the idea of widespread random drug and alcohol testing on Australian building sites. For the safety of the workers. He was quoted as droning that: “Safety is a paramount consideration on construction sites. It is simply an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of employees and the public to have workers affected by drugs or alcohol on construction sites.”

So why does this dead horse cop such a flogging? Eternally. After all: the Health and Safety advice is that legal recreational and prescription drugs are the ones that are doing all the damage in the workplace, on our roads, and in people’s lives. Every day 15 people die and 430 others are admitted to hospital just due to the abuse of alcohol. When you add to this the people who are dying from tobacco abuse, and from abusing prescription drugs, that accounts for 98% of drug deaths in Australia. When you add up all the columns, for every death due to the use of an illegal drug in Australia there are at least forty-one deaths due to the use of a legal drug. So why the focus on illegal drugs?

One of the bedrock assertions motivating this proposal is the assertion that welfare recipients are morally weak individuals who are therefore more likely to use and abuse illicit substances. How true is this proposition?

The available research comes to the astonishingly logical and obvious conclusion that really poor people don’t actually spend a lot of money. While many of our politicians like to constantly intimate that all the Australian unemployed habitually engage in drink and drug fuelled satanic orgies until late in the night – it appears that this is not the case. Apparently the unemployed simply can’t afford to spend a lot of money. Who could have guessed?

It also seems that in the real world testing welfare recipients for illicit drugs costs a lot of money but does not seem to catch many welfare druggies. In those forward looking and progressive states in the US where the drug testing of welfare recipients has been tried (Arizona, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Florida, and Missouri) it has failed to catch anyone much despite it costing a fortune. After a year of drug testing in Tennessee welfare assistance was denied to around 30 people – out of 28,559 welfare applicants. Last year a report on the website Salon indicated that: ‘Out of 38,970 welfare applicants, 48 people got positive drug tests in Missouri. Utah blew $64,566 to catch 29 people who did illegal drugs. Arizona found 3, and Mississippi just 2.’

So why do people like Abetz, Christensen, Abbott, Andrews, and Lambie seem to remain forever immune to comprehending any of this factual information? Yes everyone agrees that illegal drug use can have deleterious effects. But surely it is impossible to accidentally ignore the actual proportion of welfare recipients who are harmed by illegal drugs, in comparison to those who are harmed by legal drugs as there is a huge avalanche of factual data available?

Unfortunately for all the rest of us the theological argument is undeniable and unequivocal. It makes absolute sense in a superficial and fascicle manner. To the rabidly religious folk in our federal parliament it is apparent that, because those who use illegal drugs are morally decrepit, and those who are on welfare are also morally decrepit, then those who receive welfare must be more likely to use illegal drugs than are ‘normal’ Aussie citizens. It doesn’t matter what the facts might say. This is a religious belief so facts do not matter.

So while the rhetoric of the drug war warriors may sound shrill and largely incoherent to the majority of the population their dedication to their nonsensical arguments is undeniable, as is their air of desperation. This is because currently our drug laws represent the last moral cannon left in the legal armoury of those who deem themselves to be our moral superiors. All the rest of our laws are now designed to stop Aussies from getting harmed. Our drug laws are the last laws left that are based on protecting our moral rather than our physical health. So in the modern age the far right wing are fast running out of moral ‘outrages’ to be outraged about in public. Just about every other ‘moral outrage’ has become legal. Without the ‘drug laws’ the morally superior among us would be largely bereft of a weapon to use to bash the ungodly with. Therefore they clutch at their arguments despite the evidence and regardless of the obvious harm inflicted on individuals and the society at large.

In every other way except for in our drug laws we have largely ditched our victimless ‘crimes’ and excepting for those on the far right we all feel so much better for doing so. In the Australian context it now feels positively vulgar to even think about protesting against providing gays with the same suite of rights as any other member of society. Prostitution has long been decriminalised almost everywhere, and pornography seems not only ubiquitous but even rather passé. Plus virtually everything up to and including Satanism is now recognised as an acceptable lifestyle choice. So unfortunately for those who really want to get outraged; most of the good old legal snubs have slowly ebbed away. The only morality laws left standing are our drug laws.

Criminal laws are crafted to protect people while morality laws are crafted to control them. So of course Abetz, Christensen, Abbott, Andrews, and Lambie all remain immune to any rational scientific evidence regarding drugs. For these individual this is a moral question: not a scientific or social one. The attribute they all share is a belief that they are all duty bound to look after our moral health. They feel they are obliged to outlaw anything that fails to accord with their spiritual beliefs. They also have another thing in common – they have all been failing to keep us ‘pure’. So they continue to fight for their drug laws despite any amount of evidence.

Their sense of desperation can be explained by the growing gap between the opinions of the political class and those of the majority. It’s becoming ever more difficult to deny that the sole reason that illegal recreational drugs remain illegal is because our politicians continue to wilfully refute the evidence in front of their own eyes. So despite all the evidence and against the oft stated wishes of the majority, Queensland is currently doubling down on the drug war by increasing the penalties for using cannabis to the same as those for using heroin. Similarly our federal government is currently in the process of setting up a huge bureaucracy to protect us all against the evils of anyone taking cannabis for recreational rather than medicinal purposes. It would all be laughable if it was not so tragic.

Until we finally confront this ‘third rail’ of Aussie politics nothing will change. Misinformation will continue to be paraded about as apparent fact. Citizens will continue to be demonised and their lives destroyed for no rational reason and for no apparent social benefit.

If we must have fools in our parliament then at least let us have honestly misguided fools rather than the wilfully ignorant. Individuals such as Abetz, Christensen, Abbott, Andrews, and Lambie have every right to preach from any pulpit in the land, but when they do so in our parliaments they do our democracy a gross disservice.

 

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74 comments

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  1. Richard Knowles

    It’ s time to make some of these far right politicians unemployed. Maybe they can undergo drug testing.

  2. paul walter

    He would do better to end 457 visa rorting, so jobs are available. Also tax dodging and the highly suspicious defence spending antics as well as shutting down Nauru, if it isn’t too upsetting for whatever corporation is feeding off that rort.

    The unemployed continue to be the stressed-out victims of a scapegoating exercise not far off that applied to asylum seekers and aborigines.

    For that matter, if they didn’t waste money on this exercise in petty çruelty, maybe they would be able to reopen a few more shelters for domestic violence victims.

    Is there a blood test for sanctimony?

  3. townsvilleblog

    Great idea Richard, I survive on a DSP and I have chronic major depression with associated anxiety disorder, with the addition in recent times with fibromyalgia which actually means 24/7 strong pain to all parts of the body, especially the most used, legs.If Eric Abetz wants to test me, even though it would be a violation of my human rights I’d happily comply, though he would need to go on past blood tests as I can not afford to pay for them, as will be the case on 1st of July.

  4. James Moylan

    Sorry fr stuffing up some of the early hyperlinks (don’t know what happened there?).

    There are also more than a few inelegant sentences and one missing comma and an ‘s’. (sigh)

    Also I have since come across another link (below) that presents a more recent synopsis of the costly mistake of welfare/drug testing in the US.

    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/02/26/3624447/tanf-drug-testing-states/

    My internet and phone are busted and I am relying on an intermittent use of my daughters hotspot for EVERYTHING!

    NBN? I’m not even enjoying the opportunity to be disappointed with a copper connection at the moment.

  5. Ann

    I’m 59 and unemployed. If I have to do a drug test at my age because I can’t get an employer to keep me employed because there is a prettier, slimmer and bubblier person they want to replace me with, then I will not report and will go and live on the street. The most demeaning thing to do to another human being along with those on Manus and Nauru. His German hereditory coming out I could say if I was to lower myself to his standard in life. He has to go.

  6. Stove-pipe

    Just legalise it. All of it.

  7. silkworm

    While the prohibition against recreational use of cannabis is most prevalent in the conservative states, I think it goes deeper than religious or moral outrage. It is difficult to make the distinction between recreational and medicinal cannabis – it is in fact the same substance. The prohibition against so-called “recreational” cannabis is hurting those who use it for medicinal or therapeutic purposes, even if that purpose is for a little stress relief.

    The proposed changes to the laws regarding cannabis use for medical purposes are very restrictive. Cannabis is proving to be a cure for the most difficult cases of cancer, and yet in most states where its use for cancer sufferers is being considered, the politicians are only willing to allow its use for pain relief, when they well know that cannabis is useful in curing the cancer itself. That is the real problem. Our politicians, or rather the pharmaceutical companies that donate to political parties and otherwise bribe our politicians, know that cannabis is a threat to the profits of the pharmatical industry – and not just for cancer, but for so many illnesses, including auto-immune diseases and many mental health disorders, even schizophrenia. While cannabis has long been regarded as inducing schizophrenia (it is the high THC content of street pot that induces temporary psychosis), recently developed strains of cannabis that are high in cannabidiol (CBD) are actually anti-psychotic and can be used to treat schizophrenia safely, with no side effects, unlike conventional treatments. But cheap, effective and safe herbal treatments don’t suit the pharmaceutical companies profiting from their synthetic patentable drugs.

    Changes to the cannabis laws are inevitable, and they are being driven by the science of cannabis, particularly the recent discoveries regarding the human body’s own cannabinoid system. If we study and promote the science of both cannabinoid and endocannabinoid chemistry, as well as follow and promote the amazing cures that cannabis is responsible for, then we will make it all the more likely that prohibition will be lifted, and that lifting will benefit medical and recreational users alike.

  8. stephentardrew

    Fascism brought to you by the privileged for the poor while we have subsidised welfare for the wealthy. What a bunch of vile reprobates wishing to inflict pain upon pain to those in hardship. You nasty little gnome getting kicks out of others suffering. (apologies to gnomes) You Erick are nuts.

  9. Marlin101

    When I was working, I used the illegal and death inducing marijuana on a daily basis. Because I could afford it. Now that I am unemployed, and struggling on the dole (mental and physical issues, so I fall into all the ‘groups to hate’ the govt states), I have not smoked a cone/joint/spliff etc etc for nearly 2 yrs. Unless you are a drug dealer claiming the dole, you just can not afford it. The level of hate and inaccuracy really pisses me off.

  10. Florence nee Fedup

    Like to see all MPs drug/alcohol tested before being allowed to vote on any bill.

  11. Ivo edwards

    My thinking is that drugs and alcohol should be provided free to Newstart claimants. After all, there is no way they can afford to drive and the requirement for spending all day, every day, filling in applications for non-existent jobs, is absurd. Surely they may as well be stoned to relieve the pain of endless mind destroying completion of stupid forms?
    I think a better system would be for all such people to spend just as much time as it takes to check out and apply for the occasional job that suits their qualifications, and to be required to spend the rest of every day digging holes and filling them in again. This would more logically prepare them for a real job because they would be physically tough and lean, would be accustomed to hard work, and would welcome a break that a nice cushy job in the public service could provide!

  12. Jaquix

    I imagine there will be a few ex CSIRO research scientists on welfare soon, and that they will be tested too? I also strongly recommend that the Electoral Act be amended immediately to include mandatory drug and IQ tests for candidates wanting to jump on the gravy train, oops I mean enter parliament.

  13. Kaye Lee

    At the Young Liberals conference in Queensland in July 2013, Young LNP state president Hermann Vorster presented three proposals:

    Reinstate cracker night
    Random illicit drug testing for long term unemployed and welfare recipients
    Remove Australian content quotas for free-to-air television

    In a rare display of common sense (or perhaps political survival), the state LNP party rejected the second two suggestions, but they briefly considered the first. Mr Vorster urged the government to adopt the policy saying

    “I think more than anything this is about sending a message that we don’t necessarily subscribe to the notion of the nanny-state. If something is safe and can be done in a reasonable way and it is in keeping with reasonable expectations, then I guess we ask, as the Young LNP, why not?”

    Someone older must have remembered the maimings associated with firecrackers before sales were banned in the 1970s because that proposal was also eventually defeated.

    But as is the way with the simplistic dinosaurs mentioned in the article, facts will never get in the way of a Young Liberal slogan. They don’t want a nanny state but they want to drug test certain groups of society. Let’s start with the politicians.

    http://resources3.news.com.au/images/2009/03/07/va1237358632618/Abbott-snoozed-through-key-vote-6519467.jpg

  14. silkworm

    Kaye Lee, Jaquix, Florence. Are you all proposing that cannabis remain illegal while we test our politicians for it?

    If you support drug testing for politicians, why don’t you support it for the whole population?

  15. Jaquix

    Dear Silkworm, my comment was made in what is known as “tongue in cheek”.

  16. Kaye Lee

    There are many jobs that currently drug test their employees. It would probably be a good idea to make sure the people making the decisions about whether to bomb a country or not are sober. I am more worried about their alcohol intake.

    On the subject of cannabis, I think it should be legalised.

  17. diannaart

    These sanctimonious gits, simply cannot deal with the idea of someone (whom they regard as inferior) as smiling, laughing or even having fun.

    This does not mean that alcohol, drugs and other forms of entertainment are not without their dark side, but the hysteria wrought by these wowsers is not helping anyone, in fact, causes harm.

    What good does it do a welfare recipient for being found with drugs in their bloodstream? None. Stopping their benefit is vindictive authoritarianism at its worse.

    Where are the effing ‘libertarians’ in government who, one would think, should be taking Abetz et al out for a quiet talk on the facts of life?

  18. Wayne Turner

    Class Warfare Liberal party style.

    If this is good enough for the unemployed,then it certainly must be for the pollies,and big business bosses who’s businesses get tax payers hand outs.

    What a waste of money and time this thoughtless bubble to implement would be.

  19. silkworm

    “Where are the effing ‘libertarians’ in government…” The only Libertarian I know advocating complete legalization is Leyonhjelm. He’s even more liberal then Di Natale, who for some reason opposes “recreational” use.

    There are many politicians of the left, including Shorten, who advocate making it legal for medical purposes, but who still want to restrict it for the fewest of conditions, such as cancer, epilepsy and chronic pain. I think the real problem at the moment is that because of THC’s classification as a poison that it cannot even be scientifically researched in our universities. Only when research is allowed will the full medical benefits become known to the Australian public. The public must push for research to be legalized.

  20. michael lacey

    These cheap Labor conservatives really have contempt for people on the bottom!

  21. Miriam English

    I remember reading about a large numbers of people being fired from their jobs in USA when the puritanical loons were really hot for drug testing employees over there. It turned out that heaps of people were getting fired because they would have a bread roll with poppy seeds on it for lunch. Then, bingo! they test positive for opioids. Heaven knows how many lives and reputations were wrecked before scientists intervened and managed to show what was really happening.

    Don’t these puritanical dickheads ever learn? No. I guess they don’t. Perhaps their brains are too damaged from persistent alcohol abuse… that coupled with low IQs to start with.

    Puritans! Ugh! Where’s a good purge when you need one? [joking]

  22. seawork

    What a fine idea, lets take it one step further and test church goers as well.
    Don’t want them being high as well as the rapture.

  23. David

    This damn Friday is becoming a day of horrors (or a continuation of same). First the saga of what I am firmly coming to the conclusion is ‘the 12 sub saga of deceit’. No design of them just a description of sorts and bingo have a 50 billion contract. The French media are hailing the tender success as the start of employment for some 2000 ‘French workers’. Bet that’s new to the ship builders of Sth Australia and their Union, There will be no signing of the deal until after election, when full details of the deal will be revealed. That’s fraught with interest for starters. is a short mention of the jobs in this clip (video is the second towards end of the page) http://www.france24.com/en/20160426-france-win-40-billion-submarine-contract

    Then the bastard Dutton announces to Ch9 breakfast, oh no sweat he knew all about the Manus announcement a year ago but apparently failed to inform Turnbull, who says he knew nothing perhaps he is lying they both do with regularity, until the announcement by the PNG Govt this week. That’s become par for the course. Here’s Dutton trying to suck back the words
    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/you-cant-answer-the-question-peter-dutton-struggles-to-explain-plans-following-manus-closure-20160427-gogqdh.html?VIA_@theREPORTRS

    Now this atrocious suggestion from Abetz. How how have we sunk to this?

  24. diannaart

    @silkworm

    My mistake – didn’t make myself clear – the big “L” Liberal party claims a percentage of “libertarians” these are people who believe we are completely responsible for anything life throws at us…

    .. I don’t have the time please read following, to understand where I am coming from – I would never expect left leaning libertarians to go within spitting distance of Abetz & Co.

    CHAPTER 1
    THE THEORY AND IDEAS OF LIBERTARIANISM
    Libertarianism has a background which can be traced to diverse origins. In many respects it is derived from the ideas of Classical Liberalism, Individualist Anarchism and Laissez-Faire and is a fellow traveler with modern schools of Public Choice Theory, Economic Rationalism, the Chicago School of Economics, Neo-Conservatism and other theories which are concerned about the role of the state. None-the-less, when compared with these other contemporary developments, libertarianism emerges as a more radical defence of the free-market and limited government. Yet it is more than a radical development of other, more “moderate” ideas. Since libertarian theory can stand on its own as a proponent of its particular concept of liberty. In outlining the important aspects of libertarian thought it will also be necessary to consider the most important criticisms of them. Given the range of ideas and theories which share intellectual ground with libertarianism it is important to establish just what makes an idea or author distinctively libertarian. Libertarian
    influences can be seen in a number of writings, which are by no means libertarian. It is common and quite reasonable to talk of socialist, conservative, or other ideas as being more or less libertarian in inclination. Thus the distinctive elements of libertarianism must be defined. Libertarianism can not readily be classified in terms of a “left-right” political spectrum Hyde (1.) has pointed out the free-marketeers in the French Parliament which gave rise to that classification sat on the left of the house. Despite this however those aspects of libertarianism which support property rights, the market, and oppose state provision of charity, have often been associated with the “right” in contemporary usage. On the other hand libertarians will invariably defend personal
    freedom in areas such as the use of narcotics or the role of the state with respect to choice of lifestyle or private sexual habits, which are more commonly associated with the label “left”. In both situations the libertarian position can be described as “liberal”. Separating libertarian ideas from what has been traditionally known as liberalism is a difficult task.

    http://www.la.org.au/ipaper/260710/libertarianism-australias-new-enlightenment

  25. corvus boreus

    ‘Let’s start with (drug testing) the politicians’ (Kaye Lee, 2:43)

    I totally agree with that idea.

    There should be mandatory broad spectrum drug testing (for both legal and illicit mind-alterants) for all members of parliament (HOR and senate) prior to them entering any session during which votes are likely to be cast, with any who refuse or fail this test being excluded from entry.
    National policy decisions should not be conducted with altered or impaired judgement and perception.

    Politicians should be held to similar standards of sobriety at duty as are suffered by soldiers and police, and there is a hypocritical absurdity in them trying trying to make dole recipients more behaviorally accountable than they are.

    I wish some politician/s (sitting or standing) would have the courage and integrity to publicly table it as a policy proposal.

  26. trix77

    As a currently unemployed person looking for work and not even scraping by on the dole, I have to wonder how people even afford drugs.

  27. Michael Taylor

    Trix, most can’t afford decent housing. This government is mad if they think they thus have money to satisfy drug habits.

  28. Belle

    One it didn’t work in the US. So won’t work here. It cost more money then it saved. They are getting ready to rip the tax payer off by funding more jobs centres and giving them total control. They say it’s about making them job ready. There many who do drugs in high paying jobs. So please stop buying into main stream media rubbish that this has anything to do with being job ready. You think your bosses and do workers are not doing drugs. The unemployed can barely afford to live. The ones who can afford high quality drugs such as speed and a range others designer drugs. So people can get off there moralistic high horses and stop buying the lies. The government make money from all thier buddies at job agencies and among other things that invest in. The rich guy with a finger in the pie is Turnball and his cronies. Welcome to the real world and halfax rip offs

  29. paul walter

    I observe several people have identified the role of Tea Party politics in this sort of dog-whistle politics.

    As with the Qld government nonsenses of a couple of weeks ago, all the persecution of pot smoking and pot smoking unemployed, will do will be to return pot smoking to its former exalted position as an outlaw pastime. It is glamorous to a rebel, for young people.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cartoon/2014/aug/04/dole-dog

  30. olddavey

    ” Kaye Lee
    April 28, 2016 at 2:43 pm
    At the Young Liberals conference in Queensland in July 2013, Young LNP state president Hermann Vorster presented three proposals: ”

    “HERMANN VORSTER”!!
    The name says it all. Is he related to Ecca?
    Maybe a love child of his with one of the Valkyries!

    And in regards to legalising cannabis, as a regular user back in the 70s and 80s I would agree, but some of the strains around nowadays are incredibly powerful, and also it does have adverse psychological affects on quite a few users, so we need to be careful.

    It really is a damned if we do, damned if we don’t dilemma.

  31. paul walter

    olddavey, I commend that.

    Cannabis is typical of real world issues deserving of proper examination on evidence, thwarted by hysteria generated by opportunist tabloid politics and media.

    I agree- from personal experience- that there can be issues when certain circumstances combine.

  32. Kronomex

    I say bring on mandatory drug testing of the poor and unemployed and disabled. After that bring back witch hunting and burning, it’s about time for the return of the Malleus Maleficarum (but don’t mention the Spanish Inquisition if there’s trouble at ‘t mill). Then go after the atheists, free thinkers…heck…get rid of anyone that isn’t a christian.

  33. Matthew Oborne

    The 10 000 maritime workers who they government are trying to push out of work presumably must be drug addicts too, same with Auto workers. It is standard fodder and sick. People who dont have a future also fall into the group that take drugs, use alcohol, but that is a sign of a broken system.

  34. Jexpat

    Yet another expensive (and failed) policy import from the far right in the US.

  35. Johnathan123

    I’ll have $20 worth of what Abetz is on, it must be really good shit…

  36. Miriam English

    Johnathan123, just beware of touching whatever Barnaby Joyce is on. There’s a worrying case of brain damage if ever I saw one.

  37. Asha Durrow

    A great testimony I must share to all cancer patients in the world. My husband was diagnosed with stage 4 primary liver cancer in
    March 2013. The doctor told us there was not much to be done since the tumor was 7 inches covering his lower lobe and also had
    spread to his lymph nodes. We decided to go home and called hospice which gave us morphine for pain. Ed hated the morphine which
    made him vomit and also affected his mind. After one week at home we decided to do what we have done for many years, rely on
    ourselves.We were only in Hospital for 3 days with severe Pain. The cancer had blocked his bile duct, after that we choose a
    Naturopath doctor and have not had conventional treatments. one day i came across the use of cannabis oil for treatment of cancer
    and i saw a post on how a cancer patient was cured with cannabis oil. I urgently needed help and i contacted the email :(phoenixtears47@gmail.com) to get the cannabis oil, i was given instructional guide on how to use it. After taking a gram
    of oil per day. Within a couple of weeks his pain and swollen stomach disappeared and with it came hope and a good quality of
    life. We never saw an ocologist and only have done a blood test after the first diagnose CT scan. His tumor marker went from over
    6000 to normal and he is feeling well. We don’t know how this is going to play out, but enjoy every day and give thanks. As i am
    writing this post, my husband is free from liver cancer and the doctor confirmed that the cancer was cured permanently. For
    immediate assistance on every medical issue you and your family may be experiencing, contact Dr Rick via email: (phoenixtears47@gmail.com) for more information and the delivery process.

  38. Miriam English

    Asha, the fact that your post has obviously been copied and pasted (the extra line ends) and the strong sound of advertising in what you say makes me wonder if you are being paid for this.

    Are you in Australia or do you live in Phoenix, Arizona, USA? Is your husband named Ed, or are you posting someone else’s experience that you are sure is true?

    If advanced liver cancer can be helped by cannabis oil then this is important to know, but the fact that you speak about consulting homeopaths badly damages your testimony. Homeopaths are worse than useless. There is no mention of any changes to diet, cessation of drinking, or anything else that would likely have had great impact so it’s a little hard to see this as much more than an advertising ploy.

    I hope I’m wrong, but something sounds “off” about your comment.

    Hmmm… just visited your facebook page and it is full of advertising for this product. I call scam.

  39. Adrianne Haddow

    And who will administer these drug tests to the unemployed?
    God’s warriors who are now replacing Centrelink staff?

    If it’s ok to test jobseekers and welfare recipients, the testing should extend to government ministers and include alcohol testing before they enter parliament, just to make sure they are job ready.
    Should be interesting because the LNP haven’t appeared to be job ready for the last two and half years.

    Better still close the bars and restaurants in Parliament House during sitting time.
    That way maybe more of them would attend Parliament. Every time I catch Question Time, there only appear to be a quarter of the leaners actually attending their place of work.

  40. silkworm

    Miriam, Asha never mentioned homeopaths, but it sure does look like a cut-and-paste job. This is a pity, because it will put people off and prejudice them against the use of cannabis oil for the treatment of their disease. However, Asha’s post is useless for anyone in Australia, as it is impossible to import cannabis products. Anyone in need of cannabis oil should do their research and locate an Australian supplier.

    It is regrettable that Asha mentioned Rick Simpson as it does indeed smack of commercial promotion.

  41. Jaquix

    Asha’s “Comment” should probably have been stopped by a moderator. She mentioned Naturopath, not Homeopath. Either way, the comment reads like one of those “chain letter” things which circulate round the internet.

  42. diannaart

    Such snake oil cons are despicable, ByB.

    Using a truth – cannabis oil helps relieve pain (for some people, not all), then to imply that a cancerous tumour was somehow cured – none of this was mentioned in such words, merely that the patient was now well.

    Also, does nothing to help the cause of cannabis oil and its part in the array of painkillers to help people with chronic pain who do not respond to other painkillers, such as morphine and its many derivatives – which are implicated in addiction for many people.

    Quite an evil thing these scams.

  43. Miriam English

    Oops — naturopath, you’re right. Same thing.
    Q: What is alternative medicine that is proved to work?
    A: Medicine.

    Asha’s facebook page is just a series of advertisements pasted in multiple times with unconnected photos and news items attached, obviously designed to suck people in. Asha probably doesn’t even exist and “her” story is almost certainly complete bullshit. I’ve reported the account to facebook. Hopefully it’ll be taken down. I hate to think of people refusing genuine medical help for this kind of dishonest advertising.

  44. Miriam English

    silkworm, sorry, but you need to take your own advice. While I am grateful for the link provided, the links in the article definitely do not show that cannabis cures cancer. Read them. Some components of cannabis show some potentially promising leads that might be used to help retard some cancers.

    A lot of poisons can be used to retard cancer cells. Some are used in chemotherapy; some aren’t, because their side-effects can be so counterproductive. Many cannabis products are non-toxic, though that is not true of all of them. Even the non-toxic compounds could become toxic if the amounts needed are too great. (Even drinking too much water can kill you.)

    Perhaps cannabis will turn out to have some anti-cancer uses. It is far from clear yet. Thankfully some researchers are following this up. Certainly we already know about its pain relief effects, and there has been work showing its ability to inhibit secondary cell death following stroke. But it is really too early to tell about much more. It would be great if it was decriminalised so that research could move faster, but over-dramatising the actual case for cannabis doesn’t really help. It stops people from listening to real, less overblown, information.

  45. Miriam English

    I wonder if you noticed this comment to the page you linked:

    jondoeuk

    Yes, there are studies (preclinical) that show that the purified cannabinoids can have an anti-cancer effect. However some of the studies found evidence that cannabinoids, under some circumstances, can actually stimulate cancer cell growth and possibly contribute to tumor progression
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15026328
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9858061
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15749859
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10861074

    Furthermore, cancer cells can develop resistance to cannabinoids and start growing again
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21233844

    In addition to this: ”Due to low bioavailability of oral THC formulations, alternative routes of drug administration, including oromucosal or sublingual dosing, vaporization of product and inhalation, and rectal administration, have been developed to improve the amount of delivered cannabinoids” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2689518/ The oral bioavailability of THC is around 10% and CBD is around 6%.

  46. silkworm

    Miriam, you need to do more research because you are beginning to look like a fool. Your statement that cannabis has any toxic components is seriously flawed and presumptive. Perhaps you are thinking about THC. Seriously, what evidence is there that THC possesses any toxicity?

    You also seem to be unaware of the “entourage effect,” so named by Dr Raphael Mechoulam, the discoverer of both THC and CBD, which describes how the various components of cannabis oil, the cannabinoids and terpenes, work together as a whole to alter the properties of the parts.

    Admittedly street pot that is high in THC and has virtually no CBD has some mild unpleasant side effects for some, such as increased paranoia and anxiety, but for strains of pot that have a reasonable amount of CBD in them, these so-called negative effects of high-THC pot are completely eliminated.

    I urge you all not to submit to the spin being perpetrated by the pharmaceutical companies, a spin that has been around for decades, that cannabis is toxic or lacking in therapeutic value. Don’t you think that the pharmaceutical companies might not have something to lose by admitting to the incredible therapeutic power of this plant, not just in curing cancer, but all manner of illness?

    http://www.encod.org/info/700-MEDICINAL-USES-OF-CANNABIS.html

  47. jimhaz

    I would say Brandis doesn’t like the competition. After all religion is the prime established opiate of the masses and he uses religion as a control tool. He and his type love religion not because of any spiritual hoo-ha, but because it grants them the ability to exercise power over others.

  48. jimhaz

    I have smoked cones with an ex-State Liberal MP on a few occasions. Bit of neo-con but otherwise a likable and nice enough guy, so no name shall ever be mentioned.

    Should this policy ever eventuate, then both alcohol and drug testing should also be applied for every fund raising event that a politician claims a travel allowance for.

    [And in regards to legalising cannabis, as a regular user back in the 70s and 80s I would agree, but some of the strains around nowadays are incredibly powerful, and also it does have adverse psychological affects on quite a few users, so we need to be careful]

    One of the reasons to legalise would be to gradually reduce the potency. With legalisation such things can be controlled. I’ve no doubt that it is the potency that is harming kids these days, though I also question what is used as fertilisers.

  49. Miriam English

    silkworm, your fanaticism for cannabis and tendency to insult anybody who doesn’t exhibit your feverish devotion to it doesn’t look good.

    For my effort of reading the links you sent, thanking you for them, and pointing out that your own suggestion to research stuff should be taken seriously for yourself as well, you basically call me a fool for not swallowing your overstatement whole. This was especially strange since all I suggested was caution because anti-cancer effects of cannabis are far from proved, and I noted research from the same sources you quoted (National Institute of Health in USA) that cannabinoids can also have cancer stimulating effects. I also mentioned that there are proved ways cannabis can be of use.

    I know you really, really want cannabis to be the solution to everything, but seriously, it isn’t. You might try looking into why you need so emphatically to believe that. It is interfering with your ability to balance facts.

  50. Miriam English

    jimhaz, I think you’re right about Brandis, that he uses religion as a tool for control, but at the same time I think he probably really believes it too. He is prone to self delusion. I mean, setting himself up as the final arbiter, above all the laws of the land, on whether a person loses citizenship? Seriously. The guy is deluded.

  51. silkworm

    Only synthetic cannabinoids have cancer stimulating effects. Natural cannabinoids do not.

    “I know you really, really want cannabis to be the solution to everything, but seriously, it isn’t.” I know you do too, Apart from healing scar tissue, cannabis IS the universal cure, so you get your wish.

  52. Miriam English

    I don’t want cannabis to be one way or the other. I don’t have any need for wish-fulfilment. The world is what it is. Cannabis is a mind-altering drug. Using it is mostly a bad idea because it takes your mind out of sync with reality.

    Many plants produce compounds that, quite accidentally, can be exploited for various uses. They are not “designed” by any god or by nature for any human-oriented purpose, they simply interfere in our own chemical machinery. It is pure coincidence.

    Salicylic acid from willow bark, wintergreen, and numerous other plants, is accidentally useful to us because it interferes with the prostaglandin messenger systems in our body. Prostaglandins have a very wide range of functions in the body, but some mediate a very useful signal: pain. Some are also involved in another response to damage: inflammation. Thus it can be used to suppress pain and inflammation in rare situations when those normally useful systems are counterproductive. Unfortunately salicylic acid itself is very caustic, but reacting it with acetic acid (vinegar) makes it much less damaging than the natural form. We call it aspirin. Interestingly, plants use salicylic acid to fight bacterial infection — a completely different purpose than the one we put it to (although some people put an aspirin tablet in the water of a vase of flowers to keep them fresh for longer, and unwittingly use it for the original purpose plants do).

    Cannabinoids, whether synthetic or “natural” are exactly the same chemical. Wishing for one to not be harmful when the other is, just doesn’t work. Cannabis is not some god-given miracle plant. It produces a great mix of chemicals for the plant’s own purposes (not for ours) and almost all of those chemicals will be harmful in some way. We are a remarkably resourceful species however, and we can find ways to selectively interfere with chemical systems in our own bodies to work against other problems. Almost always those chemicals are poisons of some form, but we can sometimes use them to interfere with systems that may have gone out of control. Most of the examples in the articles you cite are in fact examples of cannabinoids doing exactly this. They interfere with cell division, or ability to use oxygen, or some other process. They are poisons, but because cancers are so active they give us the possibility of retarding them more than they retard other cells in the body. Unfortunately brain cells and liver cells are also extremely active, so these cannabinoids need to be very carefully tested to ensure they don’t have excessively bad effects upon those organs too.

    Do you see why letting wish-fulfilment blind you to reality is dangerous?

  53. Backyard Bob

    It’s at least somewhat encouraging to know that research is, in fact, being conducted into the potential use of cannabis in the treatment of various illnesses, including cancer. The science will, of course, lead to whatever is actually true with regard to the proposition, so long as it’s able to proceed unfettered by certain corporate interests.

    In that spirit it would be nice to see greater levels of research into the potential for the ketogenic diet to slow or reduce cancer cell growth. There seems to be tentative evidence that cancer cells cannot derive energy from ketones and require glycogens for that purpose. In consort with other conventional medical interventions there may be significant potential there. Of course, finding funding for such research, which involves more or less “natural” approaches that won’t attract millions of dollars for someone, is, well, classically difficult.

  54. Hempy

    Miriam, enough with the ‘testing’.. Cannabis is considered the most studied plant on the planet, here is something for you to wade through..
    You will soon find, like everything else on the planet, that everything has a ‘companion’, Cannabis is humanity’s ‘companion plant’..
    http://grannystormcrowslist2014.webs.com/

  55. Athena

    “Trix, most can’t afford decent housing. This government is mad if they think they thus have money to satisfy drug habits.”

    Oh I think they know from their college/university days that drug use is far more common among the wealthy. It’s all about demoralising welfare recipients rather than filtering out the drug users. Apathy is a necessary side effect of neo-liberalism. Can’t have that pesky working class fighting for their rights.

  56. Athena

    “Don’t you think that the pharmaceutical companies might not have something to lose by admitting to the incredible therapeutic power of this plant, not just in curing cancer, but all manner of illness?”

    @silkworm

    Absolutely not. On the contrary, since we’ll all get cancer if we live long enough, pharmaceutical companies would dearly love it if cannabis cured cancer. The only cannabis that doctors will be able to prescribe will have to satisfy TGA requirements and be licensed for use. Enter the pharmaceutical companies. There’s extra benefit for curing all manner of illnesses just to keep you alive long enough so that they can cure your cancer as well.

  57. Athena

    “Your statement that cannabis has any toxic components is seriously flawed and presumptive. Perhaps you are thinking about THC. Seriously, what evidence is there that THC possesses any toxicity?”

    @ silkworm

    Acute cannabis toxicity results in difficulty with coordination, decreased muscle strength, decreased hand steadiness, postural hypotension, lethargy, decreased concentration, slowed reaction time, slurred speech, and conjunctival injection. Large doses of THC may produce confusion, amnesia, delusions, hallucinations, anxiety, and agitation, but most episodes remit rapidly. Chronic users may experience paranoia, panic disorder, fear, or dysphoria.

    ““All things are poisons, for there is nothing without poisonous qualities. It is only the dose which makes a thing poison.”
    ― Paracelsus

  58. Miriam English

    Hempy, enough with the mysticism. Cannabis is just a plant. It has no mystical connection to humans. I know you love the drug, but the desire for it and the wish to see it as something more than it is, is distorting your sense of reality.

    I know it sounds comforting to say that everything has a companion, but it just is not true. Why would it be? How could it possibly be? Do you understand how evolution works? You know that cannabis originated in Asia, whereas humans originated in Africa, right? Over millions of years humans evolved to live without cannabis. Dosing a person with cannabis absolutely must push their biochemistry out of kilter.

    Alcohol is the most studied drug on the planet, yet many chronic users still fervently believe that it does them good. There were even some fairly recently misleading “studies” that supposedly showed wine can fix heart problems and hypertension. The whole thing was bullshit, just wishful thinking, and all the people who desperately wanted it to be true are still drinking up in the hope that their preferred drug is doing them good. But it isn’t.

    All drugs are poisons. Some are more damaging than others. Cannabis has relatively low toxicity. Alcohol is extremely toxic. Opiates are fairly non-toxic, though overdose can kill by suppressing the breathing reflex if the person is asleep, and like most mind-altering drugs (cannabis included) their withdrawal can provoke very unhealthy personality changes.

    Now, I know I sound like one of those puritans who wants all drugs banned. But I don’t. I think the anti-drug laws are the most ridiculous and harmful pieces of crap ever forced on a population. I think people should not take drugs, not because of some stupid law, but because they almost always do harm (even drugs as relatively innocuous as cannabis and aspirin). I think we should make genuine information available, not as propaganda to scare people away from drugs, but in the same manner as explaining why mosquito-borne diseases are dangerous.

    And we certainly should not be making up stuff to rationalise using a drug.

  59. silkworm

    ‘Cannabinoids, whether synthetic or “natural” are exactly the same chemical.’

    Sorry, but that is wrong.

    ‘… almost all of those chemicals will be harmful in some way.’

    That is also wrong. There are no recorded deaths due to the consumption of cannabis in all of human history, and we have been consuming it for thousands of years. There are however deaths that have been attributed to synthetic cannabinoids, e.g., Rimonabant.

    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/575640

  60. silkworm

    “There were even some fairly recently misleading “studies” that supposedly showed wine can fix heart problems and hypertension. The whole thing was bullshit…”

    No it wasn’t. It is the resveratrol in wine that gives it therapeutic benefit, while the alcohol in it is toxic.

  61. jimhaz

    Criminalisation of dope makes people mix it with tobacco. That being the case there will be no cancer advantage.

    The problem with dope is that say like philosophy it opens the mind to non linear thinking. It destroys false memes such as religion and the various forms of entrenched systematic insanity we live within. It creates a freer will than pollies, religionists and the power class can tolerate.

    The future of the human race can only really be death or living mostly within a world made interesting by more or less constant drug intake. Disagree ? It is emotions that make “life” for us humans, but if say in 100 years humans end up living 150 years in reasonable health, the boredom of repetition will force the need for drug use. Assuming we survive the next 100 years, if anyone thinks a form of virtual reality, combined with memory cleansing drugs and emotion inducing drugs, is not our future, then you will most certainly be wrong. Quite frankly it would be my desire – emotional fluctuations is the only form of really living once for minds evolve to our extent.

    Robots that can do 80% of the work are not that far away and with population growth and life spans increasing continuing unabated “chemical tank” humans will be the only way we can live with such great numbers.

    Of course the assumption is that we will survive that long. Once robotics is more mature, I find it more likely that the psychosis of the wealthy class, namely a singular desire for competition for power, will destroy us all. They do this already in environmental terms – capitalistic competition is making us frogs in slowly heating water. The more wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, the more likely this will occur as they will desire to knock off those they compete with.

  62. silkworm

    Athena, if you’re so smart, find me one case where cannabis has caused death. Just one.

  63. Miriam English

    I’ll answer that one, silkworm. I have a close friend who died of cancer from years of smoking cannabis.

  64. Miriam English

    jimhaz, while I understand where you are coming from, I disagree. I am far happier now in the decades since I stopped using any drugs than I was in the years I did use them. There really is no comparison.

    Mind altering drugs, from caffeine, through cannabis, opiates, speeds, to alcohol, they all create a “need” through the tolerance/withdrawal effect. They push your nervous system out of whack in a direction you seek, but your body has many self-restoring systems, so your nervous system restores itself to more or less a normal condition despite the drugs. This is tolerance. Then when you don’t have the drug anymore the self-restoring system that compensated for the drug now is forcing your nervous system in the opposite direction to that which you want. This is withdrawal. Your learning systems now begin to associate drug with “good” and absence of drug with “bad”, altering and diminishing your ability to feel independently happy.

    My enjoyment of life is greater than pretty-much all the people I know because their enjoyment is affected by access to one or another drug. People hooked on caffeine feel harried until they are able to have that cuppa; people who drink alcohol find it difficult to truly relax and enjoy life without their drink; people who smoke cannabis are the same, for all their high-sounding words about it releasing their mind, they act increasingly caged by it; it is glaringly obvious with opiate users who have their reward/punishment systems pretty radically altered by the drug so that if scarce, it becomes the motive for much of what they do (another reason the drug laws are stupid).

    The twin advances of artificial intelligences as robotic helpers doing much of the work, and extreme life extension will, I think, make it almost inevitable that we will need to abandon most drugs because they mess so badly with people’s ability to be happy. All mind altering drugs set up a condition that you can only really be happy when intoxicated, and tolerance means it has less of that effect over time. That’s a no-win position. In the end you are taking the drug to merely feel normal. But you can do that perfectly well without the drug.

  65. Athena

    Silkworm, if you bothered to read the article, you will see that cannabis causes chronic health problems which may be documented on the death certificate as cause of death. But the death certificate will not state the underlying cause of those chronic health problems. The same goes for smoking cigarettes. They cause a lot of laryngeal and lung cancer which is fatal, but they are not documented as the cause of death on the death certificate.

  66. Backyard Bob

    AIDS has never killed anyone either, so it must be fine.

  67. silkworm

    “There is currently an overwhelming amount of evidence suggesting that cannabinoids may kill cancer in humans. For the past several years, an increasing number of patients have been reporting that ingesting or applying cannabis-based extracts topically eliminated their cancers.

    Cases of terminal cancer patients going into remission are documented, along with many non-terminal cases. Photographic evidence has shown many skin cancers disappear with topical application as well.

    Moreover, scientific research indicates not only that cannabinoids can kill virtually any kind of cancer cell, but that the human body may be programmed for these compounds to do so….

    All in all, we have dozens of scientific studies indicating THC, CBD, and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids kill cancer cells, and research showing endocannabinoids produced by our own bodies kill cancer cells. Those with stronger endocannabinoid systems have better cancer survival rates.”

    http://pediatriccannabistherapy.com/page/articles.html/_/treatable-conditions/cancer/cannabis-vs-cancer-studies-suggest-cannabinoi-r217

  68. Miriam English

    All I can say is look at the site you are quoting.

    I have seen sites that talk about “proof” that magnets cure exactly the same kind of range of illnesses, other sites that have “proof” that prayer cures exactly the same kind of list of illnesses, others that “activated” water cures just about everything. I have nice but slightly loony friends who genuinely believe that Bowen Therapy heals all sorts of things. And heaps of people still believe chiropracty heals stuff when it has been proved countless times to have zero benefit and genuine risks of paralysis or even death.

    The clue that it’s bullshit is the sweeping claims. The clincher is the unbridled enthusiasm. I’ve seen that enthusiasm before when I attended a sales pitch for a pyramid selling scheme. It was an eye-opener for me and a great education for my bullshit detector.

    The problem is that there may well be real value in cannabis for some specific cancers under certain conditions, but this kind of showy bullshit is likely to get it buried. That would be a real loss. Genuine science will sort out the details if the crazy pro- and anti-cannabis cheerleaders would just give it a rest.

  69. Athena

    ““There is currently an overwhelming amount of evidence suggesting that cannabinoids may kill cancer in humans. ”

    Oh dear. Silkworm, don’t you see a problem with your very first sentence? If the evidence is overwhelming, do cannabinoids kill cancer or not? Have you noticed how old the quoted references are in that article? If cannaboids really did look promising as a cancer cure, there would be an abundance of scientific articles published far more recently.

    Instead, if you look at more recent peer-reviewed medical journals you will find an abundance of papers published on immunotherapies, which are looking very promising for the treatment of some cancers and prevention of others, and hopefully soon scientists will find a way to apply this technology to more types of cancer. As far as cancer is concerned, this is where it’s all happening. There have been some very exciting results with immunotherapies.

    I attended Prof Frazer’s public lecture on Thursday evening. If you want to know more, keep an eye on this page because the podcast will be available soon.
    http://www.unisa.edu.au/Business-community/Hawke-Centre/Events-calendar/25th-Birthday-Iconic-Lecture-with-Professor-Ian-Frazer/

    Here’s another public lecture from last year, from an Adelaide based scientist who has been doing some very exciting work in this field.

    Here’s a rebuttal to all the cannabis cures cancer nonsense. You could do worse than read this site. Hopefully it will provide some clues for recognising the pseudoscience on the sites you accept as gospel.

    Medical marijuana as the new herbalism, part 2: Cannabis does not cure cancer

  70. Denis Bright in Brisbane

    It is surely important to go beyond punitive drug testing as advocated by Abbetz and others. These same conservative leaders want more stressful workplaces, schools and colleges with an emphasis on forging a nation of robots who must conform, obey and fight for the US Alliance when required. A timely article James. Let’s hear more on such topics.

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