Issue #26 August 2023
A classic stereotype of drug users is that they use drugs as an escape from the stresses and hardships of life. Entertainers Robin Williams, Lily Tomlin and Tom Waits have all satirized this notion. Williams is probably the most often cited with his quip…
“Reality is just a crutch for people who can’t handle drugs.”
Issue #25 July 2023
Statistics on the prevalence of drug use are just that – reflecting only use and not necessarily harm. At an individual level, most people who use drugs do not experience serious harm. However, at the population level, the prevalence of drug use is often directly correlated with the prevalence of drug problems.
Issue #24 June 2023
So, here’s the thing – people want to use drugs, and they take their drugs seriously. Some people’s quality of life, and even their lives, depend upon specific drug products from pharmaceutical companies. The recreational use of legal drugs, such as…
Issue #23 May 2023
In the previous issue of this newsletter, I talked about how drug companies don’t usually call their products “drugs” or even refer to the type of drug they produce or sell. Alcohol and tobacco companies emphasize…
Issue #22 April 2023
[This is a modified excerpt from “Buzz Kill: The Corporatization of Cannabis”.
“I am, by calling, a dealer in words; and words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
– Rudyard Kipling
Issue # 21 March 2023
Black Rose Books has announced that my book Buzz Kill: The Corporatization of Cannabis will be part of its spring release. I appreciate that those of you who pre-ordered it have been waiting patiently. As an expression of gratitude, I am using this issue of Drug Policy Alternatives to leak a sample of the book’s content.
Issue #20 February 2023
Perhaps hoping for some lingering love from Valentine’s Day, the beleaguered cannabis industry once again took its case to a public forum. In a February 15th presser, its latest appeal focuses on the inability of industry to make a profit under the yoke of taxation and its frustration in competing with the illegal market.
Includes excerpts from
Buzz Kill: The Corporatization of Cannabis
Issue #19 January 2023
This issue of Drug Policy Alternatives addresses the currently heightened attention to the risks of alcohol consumption. The attention has arisen from the release of revised low risk drinking guidelines from the Canadian Centre for Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA).
Buzz Kill: The Corporatization of Cannabis
Issue #18 December 2022
Legal industries for alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceutical products are older than any of us. We have known them only as mature, adult industries and must read about their birth and early development. The legalization of cannabis—the creation of a new legal drug industry—is an unprecedented experience for Canadians, and increasingly, for the people of other nations.
Issue #17 October 2022
At long last, my book is on the home stretch and available for pre-order from Black Rose Books (Montreal) and University of Chicago Press.
Buzz Kill: The Corporatization of Cannabis is the story of one of Canada’s least understood drug policy failures that quietly unfolded beneath the cover of two loud and calamitous pandemics of drug overdoses and COVID-19.
Issue #16 September 2022
I will start by reframing the title of this issue: What does more harm – cannabis or corporations? This is a critical question in the current world-wide interest in cannabis law reform. To address this question, we must look further than just the cannabis industry.
Issue #15 June 2022
While it appears that the stresses of COVID did not induce more students to seek solace in recreational drug use, it appears that they may have sought such consolation through electronic indulgences such as playing video games and online gambling.
Issue #14 March 2022
Longitudinal patterns of drug use and harm, if they change at all, tend to change gradually over several years, especially for the adult population. Sudden, dramatic changes are relatively rare. The breadth and degree of the changes…between 2019 and 2020, are unprecedented.
Issue #13 December 2021
When the government announced the establishment of its Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation in 2016, a response to a journalist’s question was surprisingly candid and stark: ”…decriminalization does not meet any of our objectives.”
Issue #12 September 2021
As we approach the third anniversary of cannabis legalization for recreational use in Canada, I thought it would be interesting to reach into the vault and see what I had to say about it on the road there. What I’ve reprinted below was written almost five years ago as I was working on my contrarian report: Cannabis Law Reform in Canada: Pretense and Perils .
Issue #11 June 2021
In my previous post (The Pharmaceutical Industry: Bad Apples and Blights – March 2020), I referred to a book “Pharmaceuticals, Corporate Crime, and Public Health” by Dukes, Braithwaite, and Moloney.
Issue #10 March 2021
One year ago, in March 2020, my Drug Policy Alternatives post was titled “Three Legal Drug Industries: Three Public Health Crises”. It was a reference to the alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceutical industries and their international, multi-decade onslaught on the public’s health amidst their unruly campaigns of profiteering.
Issue #9 December 2020
You may remember television ads in 2010 for Guelph Ontario brewer, Sleeman. (The brewer has been owned by Japanese brewer Sapporo since 2006.) The theme of the Sleeman ads featured the brewer’s “notorious” activity during alcohol prohibition in Canada and hinted at clandestine collaboration with infamous gangster Al Capone.
Issue #8 September 2020
It is – a disturbing title. It creates a queasy feeling in the gut, perhaps more than a bit of resistance in the mind, and a wariness to proceed. But I hope you will. Because it is important. I have often written and have often said, “We have three long-lived legal, revenue-driven, government-regulated drug industries, and we have three international public health crises.”
Issue #7 June 2020
Even a short post about any aspect of drug policy does not exactly write itself while the world’s attention is focused on the COVID19 pandemic and the protests on the systemic racism that plagues our society. On those matters I will defer to others who are better qualified to comment on, and more profoundly impacted by, these monumental events.