Mulqueen dismissive of cannabis study

Despite new research finding smoking just one "joint" is the equivalent of smoking a full pack of cigarettes, a controversial Waimate councillor says she intends to continue her efforts to legalise cannabis.

The British Lung Foundation last week reported results of a survey which showed cannabis users had a 20% greater chance of developing lung cancer than cigarette smokers.

However, Cr Sandy Mulqueen, who recently failed in a bid to get the Waimate District Council to back her "We Desire Change" project to legalise the drug, said there were several studies that contradicted the British one.

"It is hard to reconcile the conflicting medical reports about the harmfulness or otherwise of cannabis.

"It appears that the main concern is the amount of smoke taken in and the depth of the inhale.

These are both dealt with in the guidelines about smoking cannabis safely, promoted by Norml and other such organisations.

"There have also been studies claiming that cannabis shrinks lung cancer tumours." The British Lung Foundation said the study was the most comprehensive review of research data conducted to date.

It found "strong associations" between smoking the drug and a range of health problems, including tuberculosis, lung cancer and acute bronchitis.

Foundation chief executive Dame Helen Shovleton was reported as saying the findings should quash the myth that cannabis was a "safe drug".

"It is alarming that, while new research continues to reveal the multiple health consequences of smoking cannabis, there is still a dangerous lack of public awareness of quite how harmful this drug can be.

"Young people, in particular are smoking cannabis unaware that, for instance, each cannabis cigarette they smoke could increase their chances of developing lung cancer by as much as an entire packet of 20 tobacco cigarettes."

However, Cr Mulqueen said she was now attempting to bring together the "disparate" groups campaigning for the legalisation of the drug, to present a united front with which to lobby the Government for a law change.

She added that she also wanted relaxation on restrictions controlling the growing of hemp.

"I'm going to be focusing on the hemp aspect of it," she said.

"We need to stop thinking of it as a smoking for recreation situation.

It is produced around the world, but in nowhere near the amount it used to be.

"It is not illegal to grow, but it is very difficult to get a licence.

"I work in the knitwear industry but, to use hemp, which is reportedly far superior to cotton, we have to import it from China. We don't want to do that."



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