MercatorNet 13 November 2014For decades, popular media has excelled in reporting the harms of tobacco use, and generated significant positive peer pressure to break and/or avoid the habit among adults and youth alike. As a result, Big Tobacco has been almost irredeemably demonized. Popular media’s treatment of marijuana, in contrast, is often characterized by sloppy reporting, and increasingly appears to have pot fast-tracked for canonization as the panacea to all medical, economic and social ills.Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some form. Midterm referenda earlier this month resulted in the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Washington DC, Oregon and Alaska, which joined the states of Washington and Colorado. This has been hailed by proponents of repealing the federal ban as a triumph in the march against the failed draconian policy of prohibition.Curiously, a few days later, the sleepy little town of Westminster, Massachusetts received kudos in the media for potentially becoming the first municipality in America to ban the sale of all tobacco products. Exactly why is this “Prohibition” being championed as “progressive” rather than disparaged as “draconian?” According to the article it is because this prohibition will prevent tobacco from impairing and/or shortening the lives of 5.6 million children. While I applaud this focus on children’s well-being, I sorely wish children’s health were the focus of a battle against an enemy with far more dire consequences to children than tobacco : Big Marijuana.Even medical marijuana alone, which remains scientifically problematic as explained in a previous MercatorNet article, increases the availability of pot among adolescents. A 2014 survey of Colorado teens in substance abuse treatment centers found that 74 percent obtained their pot from a medical marijuana patient. A recent multi-state study, involving thousands of high school seniors, found that 10 percent of non-users would try marijuana if it were legal in their state. Among those seniors in the study who already used marijuana, 18 percent said they would smoke more if it were legal. Already, by 2011, more kids were smoking marijuana than were smoking cigarettes. It seems kids, like their parents and many American adults, view marijuana as less harmful than tobacco. This is a myth with potentially grave consequences.http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/a_win_for_big_marijuana_is_a_major_loss_for_children
The former Foxes striker is available after leaving Newcastle Jets in the Australian A-League. Nigel Pearson’s side have not scored in 500 minutes and have slipped into the bottom three of the Barclays Premier League. Press Association Emile Heskey has revealed he would be keen on a Leicester comeback to help ease their goal woes. Heskey made his name with Leicester, winning the League Cup twice, before making an £11million move to Liverpool in 2000. He already has an ambassadorial role with the club but would rejoin the strugglers as a player if they asked. “It goes without saying, I’d love to come,” said Heskey, who scored 46 goals in 198 appearances for Leicester. “It is a great club that allowed me to get to the platform that I got to. “I was an England international when I was with Leicester so that was a great achievement.” The Foxes go to fellow strugglers QPR on Saturday winless in their last seven games and former England international Heskey, 36, insisted they can turn their form around. “They have got a decent squad there, they just need that little pick me up, a little confidence,” he told BBC Radio Leicester. “It could be anything, just a spark to get going on a run to get out of it.”
Murray cut a frustrated figure as he battled his way past Illya Marchenko in straight sets, shouting up to his box on numerous occasions, but he never looked like missing the opportunity to progress.The world number one had to contend with very troublesome conditions as the sun blazed down on Rod Laver Arena, but he found just enough class to come through the tricky opening encounter – all while his wife Kim Sears battled away with the ‘player box’ cam.Venus, meanwhile, was on very fine form as she overcame Kateryna Kozlova, playing some superb tennis before producing one of the most memorable post-match interviews at Melbourne Park.Venus was in no mood to let interviewer Sam Smith get away with joking about her age, firing back in humorous and pretty cutting fashion.Sadly for Simona Halep, she was not in as high spirits as Venus as she trudged away in heartbreaking fashion after suffering a first-round exit to world number 52 Shelby Rogers.It was hard to watch Halep walk off court with a hood over her head, and then to have to walk down a tunnel with the faces of past winners plastered all over the walls. With Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, controversy’s Nick Kyrgios and defending champion Angelique Kerber still to come, the opening day in Melbourne is just getting started.Monday’s highlightsAndy Murray secures his place in the second round after a straight sets victory over Illya Marcheko in searing Melbourne heat.Venus Williams survives a rocky start to reach the second round of her 17th Australian Open, beating Kateryna Kozlova 7-6 7-5Seventh seed Garbine Muguruza battles through an injury to overcome Marina Erakovic 7-5 6-4.Fourth seed Simona Halep suffers a shock defeat to world number 52 Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-1. Olympic champion Monica Puig hammers Patricia Tig 6-0 6-1 for the first completed match of this year’s tournament.American Varvara Lepchenko produces an upset over last year’s French Open semi-finalist Kiki Bertens, beating the Belgian 19th seed 7-5 7-6(5).Britain’s Aljaz Bedene loses 7-6 7-5 0-6 6-3 to world number 103 Victor Estrella Burgos to exit in the first round.Kei Nishikori is forced to dig deep with the world number five taken the distance by Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov before eking out a 5-7 6-1 6-4 6-7(6) 6-2 win.Coco Vandeweghe collapses to the ground after sealing her place in the second round of the Australian Open having battled an illness, 6-1 7-6 over Roberta Vinci. BritwatchAljaz Bedene suffered a very disappointing four-set defeat to world number 103 Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic.Bedene had been tipped to make a surprise run in Melbourne but, as Eurosport commentator Simon Reed reflected, he “made way too many mistakes” when it really mattered.It is the fifth time in a row Bedene has lost in Melbourne in the opening round while world number 103 Estrella Burgos goes through to face Australian Bernard Tomic.Meanwhile, as mentioned above, Andy Murray made it through in straight sets with victory over Illya Marchenko in very tough conditions. The heat proved a real issue throughout the match, but Murray battled his way through to a second-round clash with qualifier, Russia’s Andrey Rublev.Daniel Evans is also in action against Facundo Bagnis, seeking to secure his place in the second round.Stat of the dayPoor Simona Halep – this stat really puts the enormity of her shock first-round defeat in context:RespectCoco Vandeweghe collapsed to the ground after sealing her place in the second round of the Australian Open having battled an illness.It was a highly emotional moment as Vandeweghe was helped at her chair by medical staff and the crowd gave her their full support. The image of the player shaking on the ground having secured victory over Roberta Vinci of Italy was a very powerful one.