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 UK Drug Legislation - A Proposal 
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Joined: June 15th, 2011, 10:22 pm
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So the story goes as thus. I had long since harboured a gut feeling that marijuana should be a legal drug and I knew that the vast majority of people within my demographic felt the same. But I realised that the arguments used to legalise or illegalise one drug must also apply to any other. So the collective end product of my thoughts on the subject produced the following post, a new proposal for classifying the legality of drugs.

To begin with, a simple statement: “A person should be free to do what they will to themselves, providing it does not harm others.” I’ll refer to this as the Golden Rule. It’s something I think gives the right to a person’s freedom whilst protecting the right to a person’s safety. In essence, it’s the one rule to live by and translates into the very familiar “Do not to others, what you would not wish others to do to you.” At first glance this seems to yield the conclusion that the use of all drugs should be legalised. You take a drug at your own risk and responsibility. But are there any valid arguments for the illegalisation of certain drugs?

First, one could argue that so much crime (such as burglary) is committed by addicts attempting to secure money to fund their next high. But wouldn’t a ban on a substance because of this be missing the point? The addict is responsible for his addiction from the very first hit he took. Thus, any crimes he commits to feed this self-inflicted addiction are his responsibility. The drug did not cause any crime. Rather, it was the addict’s use of the drug that caused the crime. The drug is not the problem here, the addict is. So simply banning the drug from the whole public is – as I said – missing the point.

But are there situations where some responsibility of addiction could be alleviated from the addict? Well this is where my proposed classification scheme comes into play. Let us distinguish between dangerously addictive drugs and those which are not. Call the dangerously addictive drugs the ‘higher drugs’ and the rest the ‘lower drugs’. By ‘dangerously addictive’, I mean drugs which are likely to cause addiction from a mere first try. Consider the situation of someone being offered a drug, which that someone then accepts – experimentation in other words – which then subsequently leads to an addiction. In this case there is an argument that mere human curiosity, peer pressure or even some form of deception on the part of the dealer alleviates at least some of the addict’s responsibility for addiction. For these reasons, the higher drugs can rightfully be outlawed. They are so addictive that they are dangerous to an unwitting experimenter. Therefore it is in the public interest to ban such drugs to prevent public temptation.

How would the illegalisation of higher drugs protect the public from them and in what way? I think the key point is that trade of the drug should be outlawed, rather than its consumption. Now one could argue that if the consumer is willing to pay a high enough price, then the risk of trading higher drugs illegally is made worthwhile for the trader and so availability would persist. So we still need to deal with the consumers of the higher drugs. But importantly, this should be done by way of rehabilitation not punishment. Locking someone up from being taken up into addiction by a higher drug is incredibly unjust. It’s a sweep under the carpet rather than treating the source of the problem.

So what of the lower drugs? In contrast with the higher drugs these can be used in continuous moderation without risk of addiction, or at least there is no danger of a near-instant addiction. By my standards they therefore they have no reason to be outlawed. Alcohol is the main example of this, but the main point of this post is that marijuana also falls into this category. If we argue – as my classification does – that alcohol should be legal, then so should marijuana. Unless of course you want to argue that there is some difference between them. The only difference that could be cited by such an opposition is that of health impacts. Alcohol can be used in continuous moderation without addiction and without long term health impacts. However, the latter cannot be claimed for marijuana, the use of which exposes the user to several health risks. But why should this be such a problem? There are risks of harm involved in so many other activities which we accept are the responsibilities of those which undertake them. So why should the smoking of marijuana be any different? “But,” I hear you cry, “how do you ensure the user has knowledge of the risk?!” Well this can be easily resolved without having to resort to an outright ban on the activity. In fact I would argue that in this country we take the worrying of risks far too seriously… I was amused when I first saw packets of smoked salmon with the words: “Warning: contains fish.” Frankly anyone who misses this deserves every inch of allergic swelling they get. Remember that once you legalise a commodity's trade, it's trade can be policed. The current problems with diluted or 'weighed up' drugs, often created using harmful substances unbeknownst to the user, would be removed.

And now tobacco, a grey area in the eyes of my classification. It’s addictive, and quite possibly dangerously so but the idea of it’s banning seems absurd. However, consider the effect of the laws that we grow up with on our opinions. It seems absurd to illegalise tobacco because we’ve always known the opposite. Likewise, it seems absurd to the conservative viewpoint that marijuana should be legalised, because we’ve always known the opposite. We need to challenge our previous convictions. Whatever the consensus on tobacco, it is deeply interesting to see how tobacco is the difficult area in my classification whereas marijuana and alcohol are not. The current system has it a completely different way around, the reason for which is obviously political. There all sorts of commercial reasons for the government’s support on tobacco. Tax marijuana for all I care, just don’t deprive the right to use it when it a) abides my original Golden Rule and b) is also not dangerously addicitve, thus classifying it (by my standards) as a lower drug.

Finally, a brief note on public drug taking. I have no problem with this, assuming that – as my golden rule states – no harm to others is caused. Therefore, I support the banning of smoking any drug in the presence of those which do not consent, particularly children (where a child is defined as a person below the age at which he/she could legally buy the drug).

Share your thoughts comrades!


June 16th, 2011, 10:29 pm
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It bemuses me that I can't grow a plant (marijuana) Which is a plant I like for it's aesthetic appeal, yet I can and do grow opium poppies,

I asked a policeman why that was and he had no answer,

I can also grow "magic mushrooms" if I want to, they are only illegal when dried.

One of my brothers has been smoking pot since 1968 and it's probably the legalized whisky that is causing him more harm.

The drug laws are a joke but not funny.

IMHO the two most dangerous/damaging drugs, are the two that are already legal; tobacco and alcohol. (I partake of both) :innocence:

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June 16th, 2011, 11:16 pm
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I have never tried pot or anything else I drink and that is enough for me. I used to think all illegal drugs are evil. Now I do not know.I know people who ocasionaly take drugs and they seem ok genarely I have also seen the damage that addiction causes but then again so can alcholol adiction and even gambling. One thing I am certain of is that the laws on drugs are a mess. As to legalisation I dont think that will get rid of the damage that adiction causes to lives and families. Legalisation may turn smuglers into legal supliers. I do think there is a lot of conflicting information about the effects both social and medical.


June 17th, 2011, 11:01 am
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As far as I can tell, people in the UK who want to take illegal drugs do so. The existence of laws do not prevent this. It seems to me, then, that the existing drug laws are a waste of time in that they do not noticeably contribute to public health. They do, however, create a class of criminals who may otherwise be law-abiding. By making drug-taking a criminal activity, these laws create an association of drugs and the people who use them with organised crime, money-laundering and other properly criminal behaviour.

In my opinion, then, dealing with the effects of drugs is properly a public health issue, not a criminal issue. If it was removed from the criminal arena, those who currently police it would have time released that could be spent on dealing with things that are properly criminal.

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June 17th, 2011, 11:31 am
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I am, somewhat tentatively, in favour of the legalisation and strict regulation of all drugs. I was persuaded of this, many years ago, by Judge James Pickles (whom, I hasten to add, I did not generally admire). Lord McCluskey has more recently called for the legalisation of drugs, specifically mentioning heroin. This is not something I've thought about for a while, but I shall try to get around to reading the full version of Transform Drug Policy Foundation's "After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation" sometime soon. I've read the executive summary and I'd certainly recommend your reading that. It does seem to be well thought out (pdf files of full and summary versions downloadable here).
AlexVocat wrote:
First, one could argue that so much crime (such as burglary) is committed by addicts attempting to secure money to fund their next high. But wouldn’t a ban on a substance because of this be missing the point? The addict is responsible for his addiction from the very first hit he took. Thus, any crimes he commits to feed this self-inflicted addiction are his responsibility. The drug did not cause any crime. Rather, it was the addict’s use of the drug that caused the crime. The drug is not the problem here, the addict is. So simply banning the drug from the whole public is – as I said – missing the point.
I'm a little uncomfortable with this argument, possibly because it sounds very much like the argument against gun control in the US: "Guns don't kill people; people kill people." I do think, though, that there are strong arguments in favour of decriminalising drugs based on the effects on crime. Drug-related crime is not just crime committed by addicts trying to fund their addiction — although there's a fair bit of that, and no convincing evidence that drugs laws are helping to reduce it. There is also the problem of large-scale organised crime, where drug dealing is linked to other crimes such as prostitution and trafficking and firearms dealing and gang violence and even child pornography (see, for example, "Drugs fuel rise in organised crime", Observer, 30 July 2006). If we decriminalise and control drugs like heroin, we would be significantly reducing an important source of funding for criminal gangs.
AlexVocat wrote:
But are there situations where some responsibility of addiction could be alleviated from the addict? Well this is where my proposed classification scheme comes into play. Let us distinguish between dangerously addictive drugs and those which are not. Call the dangerously addictive drugs the ‘higher drugs’ and the rest the ‘lower drugs’. By ‘dangerously addictive’, I mean drugs which are likely to cause addiction from a mere first try. Consider the situation of someone being offered a drug, which that someone then accepts – experimentation in other words – which then subsequently leads to an addiction. In this case there is an argument that mere human curiosity, peer pressure or even some form of deception on the part of the dealer alleviates at least some of the addict’s responsibility for addiction. For these reasons, the higher drugs can rightfully be outlawed. They are so addictive that they are dangerous to an unwitting experimenter.
I think that the dangerousness of drugs is a much more complex thing to measure and rank than you're suggesting. You seem to be looking at one aspect only. I found some rankings that used five different criteria: (1) withdrawal — the severity of withdrawal symptoms produced by stopping the use of the drug; (2) reinforcement — the drug's tendency to induce users to take it again and again; (3) tolerance — the user's need to have ever-increasing doses to get the same effect; (4) dependence — the difficulty in quitting, or staying off the drug, the number of users who eventually become dependent; (5) intoxication — the degree of intoxication produced by the drug in typical use. It strikes me that all those things are important in assessing a drug's dangerousness. Rated on dependence alone, nicotine ranks at the top, compared to heroin, cocaine, marijuana, alcohol and caffeine. Rated on withdrawal and intoxication, alcohol is at the top. Rated on reinforcement, cocaine is at the top. And rated on tolerance, heroin is at the top. But even experts in these matters can't agree on exact rankings (see "Which drugs are the most addictive?", Schaffer Library of Drug Policy). And these criteria don't even touch upon broader social issues or other health issues.
AlexVocat wrote:
Therefore it is in the public interest to ban such drugs to prevent public temptation.
And how successful has the banning of such drugs been so far? What evidence do we really have that it has been in the public interest? Prohibition of alcohol was an acknowledged failure in the United States in the 1920s. Maybe we've reached the point where we can conclude the same as far as other drugs are concerned.
AlexVocat wrote:
How would the illegalisation of higher drugs protect the public from them and in what way? I think the key point is that trade of the drug should be outlawed, rather than its consumption. Now one could argue that if the consumer is willing to pay a high enough price, then the risk of trading higher drugs illegally is made worthwhile for the trader and so availability would persist. So we still need to deal with the consumers of the higher drugs. But importantly, this should be done by way of rehabilitation not punishment. Locking someone up from being taken up into addiction by a higher drug is incredibly unjust. It’s a sweep under the carpet rather than treating the source of the problem.
I agree that punishment is unjust. But I suspect that drug rehabilitation programmes would be much more effective if the drugs were available legally, in a controlled medical setting, in a pure form.
AlexVocat wrote:
So what of the lower drugs? In contrast with the higher drugs these can be used in continuous moderation without risk of addiction, or at least there is no danger of a near-instant addiction.
Which drugs are you referring to when you talk of "near-instant addiction"?
AlexVocat wrote:
By my standards they therefore they have no reason to be outlawed. Alcohol is the main example of this, but the main point of this post is that marijuana also falls into this category. If we argue – as my classification does – that alcohol should be legal, then so should marijuana. Unless of course you want to argue that there is some difference between them.
I think there's a huge difference between them.
AlexVocal wrote:
The only difference that could be cited by such an opposition is that of health impacts.
No, not the only difference, surely. We need to look at the impacts on society as a whole. Alcohol use is a cause (not the cause) of a vast amount of violent crime, more than any other drug, legal or illegal, I understand. I think it's highly unlikely that marijuana use is a significant cause of any violent crime. I think marijuana is, on the whole, a much less dangerous drug, to individuals and to society, than alcohol. That's not to say it doesn't have its dangers.
AlexVocal wrote:
Alcohol can be used in continuous moderation without addiction and without long term health impacts. However, the latter cannot be claimed for marijuana, the use of which exposes the user to several health risks. But why should this be such a problem? There are risks of harm involved in so many other activities which we accept are the responsibilities of those which undertake them. So why should the smoking of marijuana be any different? “But,” I hear you cry, “how do you ensure the user has knowledge of the risk?!” Well this can be easily resolved without having to resort to an outright ban on the activity.
Well, I wouldn't say that it's easily resolved. I think that a lot of people still don't understand the health risks associated with alcohol misuse, and there are many of them. And alcohol is very easily misused.
AlexVocal wrote:
Remember that once you legalise a commodity's trade, it's trade can be policed. The current problems with diluted or 'weighed up' drugs, often created using harmful substances unbeknownst to the user, would be removed.
I think this latter point is extremely important, not just with marijuana but also with heroin and cocaine and ecstasy and others.
AlexVocat wrote:
And now tobacco, a grey area in the eyes of my classification. It’s addictive, and quite possibly dangerously so but the idea of it’s banning seems absurd. However, consider the effect of the laws that we grow up with on our opinions. It seems absurd to illegalise tobacco because we’ve always known the opposite. Likewise, it seems absurd to the conservative viewpoint that marijuana should be legalised, because we’ve always known the opposite. We need to challenge our previous convictions. Whatever the consensus on tobacco, it is deeply interesting to see how tobacco is the difficult area in my classification whereas marijuana and alcohol are not.
I think that's because you are focusing on dependence, and you need to look at the wider problems of the use of those drugs. If I'm walking home late at night, I'd rather meet a chain smoker than a drunk.
AlexVocal wrote:
The current system has it a completely different way around, the reason for which is obviously political. There all sorts of commercial reasons for the government’s support on tobacco. Tax marijuana for all I care, just don’t deprive the right to use it when it a) abides my original Golden Rule and b) is also not dangerously addicitve, thus classifying it (by my standards) as a lower drug.
And if marijuana were legalised, that would also make it easier to conduct research into its effects and publicise the findings. I think there are significant problems associated with its use, and I think a lot of people are ignorant of them.
AlexVocal wrote:
Finally, a brief note on public drug taking. I have no problem with this, assuming that – as my golden rule states – no harm to others is caused. Therefore, I support the banning of smoking any drug in the presence of those which do not consent, particularly children (where a child is defined as a person below the age at which he/she could legally buy the drug).
Just smoking, or injecting, eating and drinking it, too? In particular, what about drinking alcohol in public?

Emma


June 17th, 2011, 11:36 am
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Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
I am, somewhat tentatively, in favour of the legalisation and strict regulation of all drugs. I was persuaded of this, many years ago, by Judge James Pickles (whom, I hasten to add, I did not generally admire). Emma


Took me back a bit, Emma. I had this letter published in the Huddersfield Examiner (19.6.91)

Dear Editor,
Judge James Pickles' programme on decriminalising drugs (BBC1 11.6.91) was balanced, calmly argued and convincing. I agree with what he says and believe he has done great service to common sense with this programme - not that I agree with everything Judge Pickles says and does. I don't.

In a complex, modern society, government has responsibility for control of substances which if misused could be harmful (including tobacco and alcohol). Control means regulating production, quality and distribution (ie where, when and who to ?). Simply making something illegal is actually a dereliction of duty - look at prohibition in the States.

Someone asked me who would produce and sell the cannabis. I don't know - but I bet you the tobacco companies would be in there as quickly as anyone. They have almost certainly got their plans well laid already - they are not so commercially naive as to let the grass grow under their feet !
I have some experience of counselling in the field of substance abuse and I believe that alcohol (which I use myself) is by far the most harmful drug and especially dangerous for our young people. I have yet to meet anyone who has become violent after using cannabis, caused a major road accident or gone home and beaten up his wife and children.

Finally, it should be of major concern, that cannabis - which is used by thousands of people in all walks of life (including parliament, the police force, education, the medical profession and of course the media) - brings the ordinary citizen, and particularly the young, into close and potentially dangerous contact with the criminal.


June 17th, 2011, 12:41 pm
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This feedback is brilliant, particularly yours Emma. Very interesting, so I'd like to take the time to reply to some of your points.

You said "I think that the dangerousness of drugs is a much more complex thing to measure and rank than you're suggesting." Of course it is, but I made the point of ranking how dangerously addictive a drug was. The reasons for focussing on this was because it has a direct effect on the degree of responsibility an addict has for his actions. Thus an unwitting (or fully witting even) experimenter can find one hit throwing him into addiction. This is what I meant by 'near-instant addiction'. It's exaggerated of course but it gets over the point that some drugs can grip a person for themselves, and others do not (what I called the lower drugs). This means that someone taking a lower drug can be considered responsible for his addiction and crimes committed after that. Even in this case, and indeed in any other criminal case, the state should look to rehabilitate or correct, not purely punish.

In terms of the effectiveness in banning the higher drugs, does it work? No, not presently, and this is a solid argument to see the legalisation of all drugs. So this changes my mind slightly. What I would say, and you made this point yourself, is that if the police didn't have to wastetheir time on
- arresting users of lower drugs or
- simply punishing rather than correcting for crimes committed by addicts,
then a much greater focus could be placed on the real problem of higher drugs. Cameron goes on about waste and this is an example of monumental waste. Every police program I see shows that the police force largely agree with this.

A very good point on the effects on society of different drugs, particularly alcohol, tobacco and marijuana. You're right that you'd rather meet a stoner or smoker than a drunk. Fair point. I think the main crux of this is that marijuana is the least addictive, dangerous and intoxicating of all three and that the reason for the laws being completely the wrong way around is political, a commercial situation since tobacco was first introduced. Also, I agree with your point of public drinking, injecting etc. Smoking was just an example but I meant all cases of public drug taking. We already have a law against drunk and disorderly behaviour. Maybe this could be mirrored for other drugs?

Finally a point on healthcare. I'm waiting for someone to bring up the drain on resources that drug takers cause. To this I would say that we already rank chain-smokers down a list on transplants etc. This could be mirrored in the case of other drugs. I've been watching 24 Hours in A&E on Channel 4. It's crazy some of the things that staff have to deal with when a much more important situation needs tending to. We need lower tolerance of people who do not respect the NHS such as those who walk in drunk and expect to be dealt with. I'm not saying leave them on the street to bleed but I am saying that priorities need to be sorted out and staff need the freedom to make these priorities in the quick-decision time scales they are faced with. There's so much guideline bureaucracy that staff are scared for their jobs to do the right thing. If a drunk walks in and starts shouting A&E down I would have him out straight away. Like I said though, it all comes down to responsibility. So health problems in the case of lower drugs are down to the individual responsibility. There is one big problem with this though. Different people have different effects to drugs, due largely to genetics. So assessing the risks that a person is putting them-self at is difficult. A smoker may be pushed down a list for organ transplant but his failing lungs may have little or nothing to do with his smoking, but he is still penalised. But then again the smoker is just as unaware of how susceptible to a drug he is as the NHS so he has no right to claim it being unfair. No-one yet knows. Until a proper risk assessment (through future genetics) can be given, such a system cannot take this into account.

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June 17th, 2011, 1:51 pm
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Gosh, was it really twenty years ago? So pleased you kept a copy of that letter, jaywhat. Your views and your reaction to Pickles's programme were evidently very similar to mine. (Apparently, it was called: "Byline: A Futile War". Pity it's not available to watch again.)

Did you get any responses to your letter?

Emma


June 17th, 2011, 1:54 pm
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And Jaywhat that letter has some of the best points which I hadn't even thought of. General users in association with criminals, a dereliction of duty (or sweep under the carpet as I've used) and the completely wrong way around of the current laws. Thanks for the copy.

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June 17th, 2011, 1:57 pm
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AlexVocat wrote:
You said "I think that the dangerousness of drugs is a much more complex thing to measure and rank than you're suggesting." Of course it is, but I made the point of ranking how dangerously addictive a drug was. The reasons for focussing on this was because it has a direct effect on the degree of responsibility an addict has for his actions. Thus an unwitting (or fully witting even) experimenter can find one hit throwing him into addiction. This is what I meant by 'near-instant addiction'. It's exaggerated of course but it gets over the point that some drugs can grip a person for themselves, and others do not (what I called the lower drugs).
Yes, I understand what you're getting at here, but I don't think it quite works. You seem to be suggesting that someone who has one snort of cocaine (say) and is instantly addicted (if that were possible), and so felt compelled to keep on snorting, has less responsibility for his/her actions than someone who is addicted to alcohol, say, having started with regular modest use, and continued to use just because he/she liked its taste, but then increasing its use very gradually, so that the addiction sort of crept up on him/her without his/her noticing. Why is the first person less responsible for his/her addiction than the second? (Assuming both were aware of the risk of addiction when first using the drug.) Also, I think the dangerousness of a drug more generally is still relevant, because it is not the addictiveness of a thing per se that's the problem. (If it were, we'd be outlawing potato crisps, chocolate, television, sex, eBay ... :wink: ) And in any case, even drugs that are considered to be highly addictive, like cocaine, are not "instantly" addictive. Wikipedia's article on cocaine dependence, citing an article in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology (2005), tells us:
Quote:
According to a study of 1081 US residents aged over 11 years who had used cocaine for the first time within 24 months prior to assessment, the risk of becoming cocaine-dependent within 2 years of first use (recent-onset) is 5-6%; after 10 years, it increases to 15-16%. These are the aggregate rates for all types of use considered, i.e., smoking, snorting, injecting.
Hardly instant addiction, then, or even near-instant. And even if it were, what would it matter if the cocaine addict wasn't doing anyone any harm? There are plenty of people who use cocaine without directly harming either themselves or other people. I gather that it is also possible to live a relatively "normal" life as a heroin user, with controlled intake of the substance — holding down a job, bringing up a child, being a responsible member of society. If no great harm is being done (and I think much less harm would be done if control of the drugs were taken out of criminal hands), then why is it any of our business whether someone is addicted to a particular substance?

Emma


June 17th, 2011, 3:08 pm
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Not quite to point but pot is so much stronger these days than it used to be. It seems to be difficult to get hold of the stuff that gave a nice relaxed high, and I gave up trying years ago after some bad experiences with this new material. Even the weakest smoke is much stronger than it used to be. Its much more likely to induce anxiety states. Shame that.

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June 17th, 2011, 4:24 pm
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Emma I think you've change my mind quite considerably there. You're right that the effects are different for different people and it's the effects which are the problem. Why should a good citizen be penalised for his drug addiction and if so what of food etc? You are so right there so I update my thoughts to consider the legalisation of all drugs albeit with the relevant control.

This strikes similarities with my euthanasia/assisted dying topic. Why is there an argument to ban something, just because the legislation for its legalisation may be difficult and complicated. For me, if an outright ban is denying a fundamental right to the good people of this country (which it is), it doesn't matter how tricky the alternative might be, we must develop that alternative.

I think I was being victim to my own 'imprinting'. Cocaine and other such drugs seemed too far fetched to be legalised and so I developed a system whereby they would remain banned. I just can't stress enough how we are debating these higher drugs, yet something like marijuana is STILL banned. They are in a different league yet we are seriously debating about the higher of the two being legalised in a society where the lowest of low is still illegal.


June 17th, 2011, 5:05 pm
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anaconda wrote:
Not quite to point but pot is so much stronger these days than it used to be.


To my mind this is because it's illegal. It easy enough, if you can hide from prying eyes, to grow cannabis. But if you want to make loads of money from selling it - because its illegal - you need the USP. Hence clever folk developed strains which maximise the THD (psychotropically active ingredient) to be able to get the best return on their investment. To my knowledge this is only applicable to greenery, which can be produced in the UK.

We don't have to look far back to see that, say morphine, addiction had been recognised as a medical rather than social problem. Indeed, I had an elderly client who was addicted to morphine through over zealous use of painkillers in the 1950s who had prescribed stabilising pharmaceutical morphine for the rest of his long, and happy, life. Had he have had to resort to street heroin I would never have met him...

Criminalisation has made drug addiction a severe health and social issue. As others have said, drugs include caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. All of which are available in our local shop. I did have an interesting discussion with a Drugs Squad chappie many years ago where he said 'If only people would have a joint instead of a pint then police resources would be far better targeted.'
Wise words.


June 17th, 2011, 8:51 pm
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A program on the BBC a while back featured a man in his sixties or seventees who grew his own and smoked his own. He also knew everything there was to know about the stuff, including the dangers of current production. He showed tiny shards of glass used to weigh up a particular sample of the plant that they had come across. But this guy had been arrested and convicted several times. Dealing is obviously tax-free so currently it may be in the government's interest to prevent this. There would be no problem with this if it was legalised but even worse: what was the problem with the aformentioned grower? I would feel sick to be the member of police that had to (by law) arrest the man.

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June 17th, 2011, 9:02 pm
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anaconda wrote:
Not quite to point but pot is so much stronger these days than it used to be. It seems to be difficult to get hold of the stuff that gave a nice relaxed high, and I gave up trying years ago after some bad experiences with this new material. Even the weakest smoke is much stronger than it used to be. Its much more likely to induce anxiety states. Shame that.
I don't think that's quite right. As I understand it, skunk varieties have increased in strength, but the more usual varieties have not. I can't immediately find anything more recent, but this is from the Guardian in 2007 (although I think David Nutt said much the same to us last year):

Quote:
The parallel study by researchers at Kings College, London, analysed skunk samples seized by police in Derbyshire, Kent, London, Sussex and Merseyside. This study found that far from a new strain of 30% plus "superskunk" dominating the market only 4% of the cannabis seized had a higher potency level than 20%, with the strongest sample containing 24% THC.

The Kings College researchers found that the more traditional non-skunk strains of herbal cannabis on sale in England seized by the police contained only 3% to 4% THC - unchanged from a decade ago.

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June 18th, 2011, 12:22 am
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http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/aae86202-8e10 ... z1QDSeLyv6

here is a piece from the fairly conservative FT which seems to support what you all seem to be saying. As everyone is calling for "regulation" of drugs rather than criminalisation, how do you see this working? I assume that the virtually unregulated adult market for tobacco and alcohol would continue as it is now? Presumably growing your own pot would not be part of the new dispensation?

You may have to get this article by googling author and title: Martin Wolf: "We should declare an end to our disastrous war on drugs"


June 24th, 2011, 6:54 pm
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Joined: October 6th, 2007, 10:56 pm
Posts: 749
Off topic but I think of interest with regard to Judge Pickles. When I was in his court, usually acting as guardian ad litem to a child in adoption procedures, he used to pretend to confuse me with the parent of the child. It was his way of telling me I looked scruffy compared to the 'client'.


June 24th, 2011, 8:09 pm
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