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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Frankincense.... of CRANKincense?

I thought this was a little far-fetched:
Church incense could become illegal [in the United Kingdom] as an “unintended consequence” of the new Psychoactive Substances Bill, which aims to outlaw all forms of “legal highs”. 
The Bill, which will make it a criminal offence to sell “any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect”, has attracted considerable criticism. One problem, according to Professor Les Iversen, chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, is the inability to prove psychoactivity in a court of law, “which is pretty fundamental to a Bill that seeks to ban psychoactive substances”.
Two ecclesiastical bodies have expressed concern “that use of incense in worship would be an unwitting casualty of the new legislation”. The Association of English Cathedrals said last week “that the term ‘psychoactive substances’ in the Psychoactive Substances Bill can be interpreted so broadly that it risks criminalising the use of incense in cathedrals, churches and other places of worship as, we assume, an unintended consequence of the Bill’s drafting”.
I thought someone was really makin' a stretch, no one, (at least, no one who isn't already stoned,) is gonna claim incense get you high....
Image result for incense vatican
But not so, according to no less an authority than Scientific American.
Burning incense has accompanied religious ceremonies since ancient times. Its fragrant presence may be more than symbolic, however—a May 20 study in the FASEB journal suggests that a chemical commonly found in incense may elevate mood.
Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and his col­leagues injected mice with incensole acetate, a component of the resin of the Boswellia plant. This resin, better known as frankincense, is an ingredient in Middle Eastern incense. The chemical reduced anxiety and depressive symptoms in the mice. In the anxiety test, for example, injected animals were less fearful of open spaces as compared with mice that were given a placebo.
And we know that if a law can be interpreted stupidly, it's pretty much guaranteed that it will be.

Which is why, if you are going to make a law, or change a law or tell someone about a law... for pete's sake do it right? word it with some precision?
Not namin' any names, Uncle George....

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