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Government Flip-Flop on Cannabis

Enter here to explore ethical issues and discuss the meaning and source of morality.
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Government Flip-Flop on Cannabis

#1 Post by God » July 18th, 2007, 1:51 pm

What about it then? They lowered it down the pecking order a few years ago, now they are planning a review about reversing that decision.

The arguments about dope always seem to me to be vague and unsupported by any real data. No-one ever seems to really know what's going on.

My position is that I think it should have been legalised years ago, and it is largely because it wasn't that the modern super-strains were developed. Legalise it and licence it, like booze, and it immediately gets lifted out of the criminal scene and so quality and distribution control becomes vastly easier.

The law as it is represents a dealer's charter, and shoving it higher up the scale will simply increase its profitability to them.

But that's my simplistic viewpoint, as a former user to whit, so I'm probably - well undeniably in fact - biased. What d'you think?

Should I do a poll? Nah! Someone might want to though.

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#2 Post by Maria Mac » July 18th, 2007, 1:59 pm

I still indulge occasionally and so am also biased.

Reviews are good but I hope they don't reverse the decision. Like any drug, including legal ones, cannabis has its dangers but it's in a different ball park from some of them and shouldn't be lumped in with them.

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#3 Post by God » July 18th, 2007, 2:09 pm

The prohibition of cannabis is immoral in principle and unworkable in practice.

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#4 Post by Lifelinking » July 18th, 2007, 6:16 pm

I reckon the thinking behind the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, where the UK moved from a largely medical model to a criminal / prohibition model, was deeply flawed.

There is a school of thought that the original classification of cannabis was symptomatic of institutionalised racism, as at the time of legislation its use was often connected with particular ethnic groups.

There have been some really cack handed amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act since its inception. For example the quite recent change to make 'magic mushrooms' a Class A drug. Previously the mushroom had to be prepared for use for it to become classified. The change in the law in effect made it more likely for users to use other drugs that are known to be potentially more harmful, but are of a lower classification should they be caught.

I would mention briefly that there are actually some quite detailed studies on the longer term health effects of cannabis. I will be happy to dig out some references if anybody has a real interest. 'Harm free' it ain't, but then again very few things in life are.


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#5 Post by Titanium Wheels » July 18th, 2007, 6:34 pm

Did not the Victorians use various drugs? I'm sure Sherlock had a go with opium with Watson trying to stop him.

Oh, and obviously there is nothing wrong with the present Act as there was nothing wrong with Prohibition. I seem to recall that Prohibition was very good for the 'business' community as the current Drugs Law is also good. heck, even the police employ more people because of it!
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#6 Post by Lifelinking » July 18th, 2007, 7:40 pm

And as in other prohibitions, a violent and nasty criminal sub-culture thrives on the misery of others. There is a great diversity of views as to where we should go now among many groups, including professional police officers http://news.scotsman.com/politics.cfm?id=471052003

You can go back much further than the Victorians of course.

I was struck with the prevalence of drug related deaths among children as the Industrial Revolution developed. In days when both father and mother had to go out to work to survive, and there was no child care provision, parents took to 'sedating' their children with laudanum. Children died as a result of overdose. Terribly sad on a number of different levels.
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#7 Post by God » July 18th, 2007, 9:29 pm

Lifelinking wrote:
There is a school of thought that the original classification of cannabis was symptomatic of institutionalised racism, as at the time of legislation its use was often connected with particular ethnic groups.
My understanding of the way hash originally became criminalised back in the 1920's was that the Western powers (Britain, USA, etc) were not bothered about it, but the main instigator was Egypt, who advanced the notion of "acute hashism". This may have been a political move designed to give their police an easy way to persecute rebels and dissidents, mainly among the lower classes who smoked a lot of weed (still do, I imagine). Whether that's an urban myth I have no idea. I think it came from the Legalise Cannabis Campaign.

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#8 Post by Titanium Wheels » July 19th, 2007, 9:36 am

I suppose that the other drug we commonly take, alcohol, was only restrict just before or during the 2nd World War. Before that it was only the excise men who were interested.
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#9 Post by God » July 19th, 2007, 9:51 am

wheels5894 wrote:I suppose that the other drug we commonly take, alcohol, ...
Coffee? Sugar? Tobacco? ...

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#10 Post by Nick » July 19th, 2007, 12:22 pm

Wheels, I think alcohol was restricted before that. Pub hours were introduced during WW1, to stop the munition workers being so pissed (or so the story goes). The Monster Raving Loony Party are very pleased that one of their earliest policies (that pubs should be open all day) is now law. :thumbsup:

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#11 Post by Moose » July 19th, 2007, 12:49 pm

I only smoke dope once in a blue moon these days but I really think that the government should have better things to do that be upgrading and downgrading a drug which is going to be used whatever category it is. What's the point? Tackle something more important, Monsieur Brown.
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#12 Post by Moonbeam » July 19th, 2007, 12:58 pm

Hear today's news headline: Home Secretary admits she smoked cannabis donkeys' years ago when she was at uni!

:supershock:

Of course, nobody does that, do they? How on earth has she overcome her tragic misspent youth to get where she is today???

:rolleyes:

Of course! She only 'smoked it a few times and didn't much like it'.

:yawn:

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#13 Post by Titanium Wheels » July 19th, 2007, 1:05 pm

Frankly I can't see the problem here. This was donkey's years ago. It doesn't affect her ability to do her job and, more importantly, she might even be harder on drugs just like ex-smokers are more ardent on getting people to stop.

This story is all bout the press having something today.

[OK, I have taken diamorphine too. The effect was wonderful! Oh, I was in ITU at the time so maybe that doesn't count! :grin: ]
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#14 Post by God » July 19th, 2007, 3:11 pm

wheels5894 wrote:Frankly I can't see the problem here. This was donkey's years ago. It doesn't affect her ability to do her job and, more importantly, she might even be harder on drugs just like ex-smokers are more ardent on getting people to stop.
But what business is it of the state to try to prevent people from getting stoned? Particularly as there is no chance of making such a prohibition succeed? The main winners of the prohibition are the dealers. Everyone else loses. Except perhaps a few lawyers.

During my life there have been a whole series of "reasons" for prohibiting cannabis. I probably won't be able to remember them all, but here are those I do, in (as far as I remember) chronological order

It makes you crazy
It causes deformities in babies
It leads to use of other drugs
It causes cancer
It makes you crazy

Ah - full circle!

Point is, it might or might not do any of these things. Fact is, keeping it illegal solves nothing. If it makes you crazy, keeping it illegal doesn't stop that. Same with the deformities thing. As far as leading to other drugs, if it does do that then it can only be because of its legal position, because it is only the prohibition which forces users to mix with crims in order to get hold of it. Cancer, well that's probably the tobacco most people smoke it with. And if it makes you crazy, then adding fear of getting busted to the mix isn't going to help any.

I rather suspect the real reason it's kept illegal is that the illegal dope dealers community pours money into keeping it that way - if dope was ever made legal they'd all be out of work overnight!

But hey! I'm fed up of folk agreeing with me. Who thinks I'm talking out of my backside and that dope users and/or dealers should be sent to jail?

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#15 Post by Moose » July 19th, 2007, 5:02 pm

As far as I know they ARE in some parts of the US aren't they? In his book The Lost Continent - buy it now! - Bill Bryson relates the law in one state, I forget which, in which anyone who is caught selling any amount of dope - ANY amount - within a KM of a school is sent to jail forever. Without parole.

(Anyone in the US know anything about this and can confirm or deny it?).
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#16 Post by Titanium Wheels » July 19th, 2007, 5:12 pm

God, how can we disagree?

More to the point, I cannot think how we can allow tobacco and alcohol and not other drugs. After all, the government would be able to tax the presently illegal substances and make some money whilst not wasting money on chasing dealers. We all win.


Sorry dealers, your days could be opne.
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#17 Post by God » July 19th, 2007, 6:15 pm

wheels5894 wrote:God, how can we disagree?
OK, I'll do it meself then. After all, I have now given up dope, tobacco, and booze* (and limit my gambling to £5 per week max - that's £5 max total in any one week, not an average!). So, I think it should all be made illegal immediately (at least I'd get a bit of a buzz from the illegal gambling - what!).

The really inconvenient thing (for the State) about cannabis sativa is how it provides fantastic networking facilities for revolutionaries and dissidents. Go to any dope dealers' den and you will encounter a complete cross-section of society. Not only that, unlike places like dentists waiting rooms and so on, these people will all talk to you and relate to each other like proper social beings. It's like a kind of unofficial Masonic society. At least, that's how it used to be back in the 70s & 80s. It may have all changed now. Perhaps its all done by delivery services and so on, I did once set up a ... STOP THAT! So anyway, that's one good reason for keeping it illegal - to provide dissident networking services.

Then of course there's the dealers' mutual benefit lobby, who no doubt contribute a fortune to party funds in order to maintain the status quo. It's probably them who's behind the latest bid to upgrade, as the price has probably dropped too low - how much is it now? Last time I was in the market I think around £200 an ounce was the rate. Course it'll be in grams now - approx 28grms to an ounce, now how would I know that? You bet!

When I first started (here we go...) the pricing was really brilliant. An ounce of bog standard Paki Black was £10. A Pound (that's 16 ounces) was £100. A small time dealer could buy an ounce for a tenner, divide it into sixteen quid deals (half the ounce, half that, half that and half again - all done by eye), flog fifteen of the deals - keeping one back for PD - thus making a fiver. That's when the average weekly wage was £20 BTW. The math was so easy. I imagine the principle is much the same today however, although the sums might be a bit trickier. And there's probably more variation, in types and qualities. Or is it all Skunk weed? How do I know all this? Well, obviously, I had lots of dealer friends, yeah! :wink:

So anyway, that's another argument for keeping it illegal. Now comes the bummer.

Keeping dope in the illegal market probably makes it easier for it to be used to fund illegal wars and stuff. Chances are for every tenner someone spends on dope a good chunk goes to the purchase of AK47s and so on. Wouldn't surprise me. Dope dealing must be a fantasically easy way to make illegal and unaccounted money. Legalising it and licensing its production could enable the economics all to be brought under control as well, so no more finance going off to nasty little ventures, which when you think about it must surely be happening now. Selling dope is incredibly easy and basically, if you've got access to the organisation and finance to set it up properly, probably virtually risk free. Provided one is cool about it (and doesn't smoke too much of it!). Most risk is probably from competitors rather than "de fuzz".

Oh dammit - I've switched back again haven't I?! I dunno - I think the law is daft. But if I was still a dope smoker, I'd be glad of that. Until I got busted of course. But even that has its moments. Thinks .... oh yeah! :hilarity:

Think I'd better go do some stuff. C U Later.

___________________________________________________________
*Blimey, I have just re-read that sentence: "I have now given up dope, tobacco, and booze". I cannot think what my self of twenty-odd years ago would say to that - the possibility would never have entered my stoned, nicotine-filled alcohol-dazed brain - let alone the other stuff. I once tried Datura (Jimson Weed) - I believe it was the actual original "loco weed" from South America, although I got it out of (now no more) asthma cigarettes - that was a three or four day trip of complete and total insanity (especially the first day) during which my mentis was totally de-composed. Now that stuff surely could make you crazy. Probably could easily have died on it. Gosh, though, what a buzz. I can still remember the take-off. i was in this room with these other cats and .... NO! Don't let me get started on that... just to say this: I am eternally grateful to JR&E, the folks who gave it me, for the experience and NO WAY would I ever do it again or ever recommend it to anyone else, nevertheless WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!! Enough already.

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#18 Post by Diane » July 20th, 2007, 11:38 am

Moonbeam wrote:Hear today's news headline: Home Secretary admits she smoked cannabis donkeys' years ago when

she was at uni!

Of course, nobody does that, do they? How on earth has she overcome her tragic misspent youth to get

where she is today???

Of course! She only 'smoked it a few times and didn't much like it'.

:yawn:
And before you can say, 'pass the skins', a load more of them are making similar confessions. They all experimented, as young people do, but - funnily enough - none of them enjoyed it, none of them did it more than a few times and now they're saying it was wrong and other young people shouldn't do it.

The don't mention how many times they got paralytic after heavy drinking sessions because that drug was and remains legal and they all still indulge.


:cross:

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#19 Post by Maria Mac » July 20th, 2007, 11:39 am

*Hands Diane spliff*

Chill.

There is the point about the skunk of today being much stronger than the stuff we smoked 25 years ago and being blamed for a rise in mental health disorders.

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#20 Post by God » July 20th, 2007, 12:01 pm

Maria wrote: There is the point about the skunk of today being much stronger than the stuff we smoked 25 years ago and being blamed for a rise in mental health disorders.
Yeah, but like I said before, it's only because it's been illegal that the boffins bothered to develop stronger stuff. If it had been legal and controlled, with defined strength limits, then what'd have been the point? It's like crack - that was only invented as a way of getting more buzz for the dollar - 'cos it's being illegal makes it so expensive. Of course, then, because it is so strong, folk actually want more of it ... and so the spiral grows. If they'd only left well alone in the beginning, or taken to controlling drugs rather than stupidly attempting banning them, then the problem would probably not have grown to the immense dimensions it has. They can never "win" the "drugs war". The best can be done is some damage limitation - but they ain't even trying that. Cos they's all morons and control freaks, is the truth of the matter. Zillions of little Bush's 'n' B.Liars running around everywhere. And now ol' Straight-Laced Brown is in charge, them's gonna have them a field day.

Incidentally, they were going on about so-called mental problems arising from dope when I was still a teenager - it's full circle. They keep bringing out the same tired old stories, every time they think they can get a new angle.

Dope grows, folk blows, and that's the way it always goes.

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