General Article The sloppy journalism that misrepresents cannabis use

Topic Selected: Cannabis
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The following headlines splashed across The Mail: ‘The price of going soft on cannabis: Labour’s experiment “pushed up hard drug use and crime”’, and The Telegraph: ‘Cannabis use soared by a quarter after Class C downgrade, study finds’, and ‘‘Softly softly” cannabis scheme drove up hospital admissions for hard drugs, study’.

Yet if you scratch below the surface of these articles – and make the effort to read the research being reported – it quickly becomes clear that the debate is being dramatically distorted by a perfect storm of shaky or incomplete research, and sensationalist reporting.

The rebuttal of ‘Cannabis use soared by a quarter’ is a simple one. The study which led to this misunderstanding looked at the result of the downgrading of cannabis from Class B to Class C, investigating whether there were changes in cannabis consumption as a result, and whether cannabis use was associated with other criminality and use of other drugs. One of the paper’s authors, Dr. Nils Braak...

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