Home | Community | Message Board

Avalon Magic Plants
Please support our sponsors.

Feedback and Administration >> Growery News Service

Welcome to the Growery Message Board! You are experiencing a small sample of what the site has to offer. Please login or register to post messages and view our exclusive members-only content. You'll gain access to additional forums, file attachments, board customizations, encrypted private messages, and much more!

Amazon Shop for: Scales

Jump to first unread post. Pages: 1

Registered: 07/06/10
Posts: 3,372
Last seen: 4 years, 8 months
UK's dopey drug laws let us all down
    #513401 - 01/13/11 05:17 PM (5 years, 9 months ago)

Hamish Birrell

The Oxford Student

Thursday 13 Jan 2011
The Misuse of Drugs Act turns forty this year, yet there is little to celebrate. In its short lifetime Doherty has injected, Deayton snorted, and Bill definitely did not inhale. More significantly, it has created perpetual low-level chaos; supply is controlled by the criminal underworld, demand remains uninfluenced by illegality, and the police spend millions every year on an impossible 'war on drugs'.

Yet the status quo is rarely challenged. Only politicians at the beginning or end of their careers speak out. Bob Ainsworth is the most recent example of a politician, removed from the grip of careerism, speaking sense on the issue. Others, such as the current Prime Minister, who once called upon the UN to consider legalising drugs, move in the opposite direction – pulled towards our confused consensus as they progress up the political ladder.

This desperate situation is made even more bizarre by the fact that politicians don’t represent public opinion. Depending on the precise wording of the poll, up to 70 percent of the public support some softening of drug laws, whilst 81 percent of the public believe it doesn't matter that David Cameron has smoked cannabis. Drugs are not a big issue to the public.

So what has created this toxic atmosphere? Misinformation plays a part – Gordon Brown once claimed that cannabis was potentially lethal. Yet it would be naïve to assume that this was the sole cause. More pertinent is the moralistic fervour generated by the tabloid press, who obfuscate, presenting their crusade as a public health or crime issue, terrifying politicians and limiting any form of debate. At no point was this clearer than during the storm created by Professor Nutt's announcement that taking ecstasy was as safe as horse riding, which led to him losing his job as the government’s main drug adviser. Although statistically correct, the statement undermined the widely accepted argument that drug policy is purely about health and crime, not morality, and thus incurred the wrath of the tabloids – "Drug advisor on wacky baccy?!". As predictable as the headlines was the reactions of government ministers; a succession lined up to attack Professor Nutt, fatally undermining his position.

Despite the stagnant situation in Britain, there is growing worldwide momentum for reconsideration of archaic drug laws. Pragmatic politicians from southern Europe, South America and a number of US states represent a rational vanguard leading the charge.

Portugal was at the forefront of this recent charge, decriminalising possession of almost all drugs in 2001. Decriminalisation is not perfect – it keeps the supply of drugs in criminals' hands – yet it has resulted in a striking decrease in HIV rates, deaths as a result of addiction and petty crime by drug addicts. It has not created anarchy. Vast waves of people have not turned on, tuned in, dropped out. Instead it has instigated a more peaceful, more stable society, in which addicts are not criminalised but helped, and in which people are allowed a greater freedom to judge risks for themselves.

In America, it is, perhaps inevitably, the economic argument that is proving the most persuasive. The recession has squeezed law enforcement budgets and caused states to seek out fresh income sources. In November 2010 Arizona became the sixteenth state to legalise medical marijuana, whilst California almost became the first to completely legalise marijuana. Proposition 19's defeat was, however, explicable. Just weeks before the referendum Governor Schwarzenegger signed a law making possession of marijuana less than a misdemeanour; pot was just too easy to get "non-traditional" voters away from the bong and to the polling station.

But it is in South America where the most radical, widespread reforms are being made. Although unsurprising – it is a continent scathed by the 'war on drugs' – the scale and speed of reforms are impressive. Mexico and Argentina have both effectively decriminalised certain quantities of certain drugs, thus marking a green light for wider reform, whilst momentum is growing for further decriminalisation across the continent, with past Presidents of Colombia, Brazil and Mexico urging this process on.

Then there's the Netherlands, which may not be an anomaly for much longer. Although decriminalisation doesn't inevitably proceed to legalisation, it is a step in the right direction. It is possible that Britain will follow the trend; our officials, journalists and public health specialists make regular trips to Portugal. Just maybe, a few broadsheets will campaign for the voice of reason. Just maybe, public opinion will become too loud to be ignored. Just maybe, our politicians will respond. We can but hope.





Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
Jump to top. Pages: 1

Amazon Shop for: Scales

Feedback and Administration >> Growery News Service

Similar ThreadsPosterViewsRepliesLast post
* Cannabis clubs plug a gap in Spanish drugs laws Shaggy420 953 1 12/29/10 06:49 PM
by StickyIcky
* Pot advocates puff en masse to protest against drug laws SpaceMonkey 777 0 04/20/10 08:02 PM
by SpaceMonkey
* Doctors, Drug Companies, Politicians & Corruptions Shaggy420 993 2 08/23/10 05:02 PM
by FarBeyondDriven
* UK: New Drug Classification System Ranks Alcohol above Heroin Shaggy420 604 0 11/01/10 08:10 AM
by Shaggy420
* UK: Home Office wrongly allowed import of medicinal cannabis Shaggy420 906 0 10/29/10 09:23 PM
by Shaggy420
* UK: Calling a truce in the war on drugs? Shaggy420 799 0 08/27/10 12:28 PM
by Shaggy420
* UK: Drugs policy: The 'British system' Shaggy420 769 0 08/24/10 09:26 AM
by Shaggy420
* UK: Legalise heroin and cocaine to cut crime and improve health, top doctor says Shaggy420 513 0 08/17/10 12:07 PM
by Shaggy420

Extra information
You cannot start new topics / You cannot reply to topics
HTML is disabled / BBCode is enabled
Moderator: geokills
797 topic views. 0 members, 0 guests and 0 web crawlers are browsing this forum.
[ Toggle Favorite | Print Topic | Stats ]
Search this thread:

Please support our sponsors.

Copyright 1997-2016 Mind Media. Some rights reserved.

Generated in 0.046 seconds spending 0.003 seconds on 13 queries.