Monday, 25 June 2007

It's Weekly Poll Time Again...

It's Monday night and I know you've all been waiting patiently.
I know you all want to know the results of last weeks's poll.

Well it seems that traditionalists amongst you predominate.

We had fourteen votes for the idea that marriage still had some relevance, with ten thinking it was time to say goodbye to it.

It would be interesting to know the male/female breakdown on that, but unfortunately, I don't have that information.

Food for thought.

This week's issue is an issue which will divide, I'm sure. I think it's an issue on which everyone has an opinion, and I think there will be strong views on either side.

There does seem to be an increasing amount of hostility to legalising the 'holy herb', a variety of medical/social factors being brought into play by the nay-sayers.
I had hoped that after his cannabis smoking admission, Cameron would show some signs of at least looking at the possibility of sensible policies on the subject.

But the argument that 'It might possibly, we don't really know, but it MIGHT harm someone, somehow' is ridiculous, when White Cider is available at two litres for two pounds in most off-licences.

I have yet to see cannabis causing the total devastation of Broad Street on a Friday Night.

I'll admit in advance, I'm partial to a joint or two myself from time to time. I think the majority of people under forty in the western world have smoked it, and many do so throughout their lives.

It is estimated that there are two and a half million regular cannabis smokers in the UK, most of them otherwise law abiding people.
Far more smoke it on an occasional basis.

Cigarette smokers are now coming under the same mindless persecution.

Personally, I think all drug prohibition causes more harm than good in a social sense, but in the case of this 'drug', the cogent arguments for its criminal status seem minimal.
Partly they date back from the time when ill informed US Prohbitionists confused it with Opium.

I'm not for one moment saying smoking cannabis is good for you, or has health benefits, but then, nor does tea or chocolate.

I've not heard of anyone die from a Pot overdose.

Anyway, I'll be interested to see how you all vote on this one.
For once, I'll actually vote first, to get you all started.

Have your say.


Anonymous said...

I am torn with that...I am in favor (mostly) of legalizing, but that would put a lot of dealers out of business and therefore increase the unemployment that I have to pay into each month...fuck that!

Anonymous said...

Cannibis is illegal? Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? I'm going back to where I came from....

Anonymous said...

Weed clearly does have some nasty side effects ranging from making smokers stupid to making some psychotic. But dope smokers already know that - it's not as if it's a big secret.

There is no point in it being illegal when it's so easy to get hold of and already tolerated by pretty much everyone.

Having said that there would be an almighty free-for-all if it was legalised!

Anonymous said...

Adults should be free to choose for themselves what they do... I do realise there is a giant argument raging since forever about the effect we have on others - but hey fuck that!

Anonymous said...

I know drink is bad if misused. But canabis is not harmless either - I know two regular users in middle age whose brains are addled with it and who have become dependant on their spouses.

Anonymous said...

I say legalise it. If people want to get high they should be able to. They also know that it could be harmful and it's none of society's business what people do to their own bodies as long as you are willing to pay for your own healthcare.

Anonymous said...

People under 40? I think you need to add 2 decades to that, Crushed. I'm with you: it is ridiculous to go on about the weed when far more lethal substances are available and cannabis has known pain-relieving qualities. Given that young people often have to get the stuff from a pusher, it follows that they will then socialise in a milieu where they can get harder drugs as well from the same person and therein lies the problem. OK, I shouldn't have said "have to" as they are not forced to want / buy it. I'm going off my own argument now but there do seem to be a lot of deaths of people from my own generation in their early or mid 50s - could it be related? - Possibly, because the drug culture scene at the time of our youth was also a hard-drinking, hard-consuming-of-everything-else-bad-for-you time.

Anonymous said...

Jenny- You wouldn't. The goverment would have increased revenue through taxing it. Less police resources would be wasted in preventing it's trade and use.

The economy would be better off, including you.

JJ- Nobody told you? Someone needs to sit you down and have a nice long chat about a few things...

Ed- The Psychosis is usually caused by Skunk which, contrary to Media hype is not smoked by that many smokers, only the ones who live in squats.
It is easier for society to control and monitor what is bought and smoked, if it is done openly through licensed outlets.

Mutley- It goes completely against the ethos of a free society too prohibit people from an activity which if it harms anyone, only harms themselves.

E-K- Cannabis use does not necessarily mean misuse. Same as with alcohol. I never said it had no side effects. But adults should be allowed to weigh up the risks themselves, not have the nice men in Whitehall do it for them.

YDKM- I agree. I would legalise the lot, in principle, because;
a. People in a free society should make their own choices.
b. It's better for the economy.
c. Looking around the world, drug crime and drug addiction are usually highest in the countries with the strictest drug laws.

Anonymous said...

Welshcakes- I think part of the problem is that so many kids smoke cannabis and realise it doesn't turn them into crazy drug fiends.

They then try heroin, which does.

If we had been honest with them in the first place, they wouldn't have fallen prey to the allure of genuinely evil substances.

Anonymous said...

We have enough crutches in this world, we don't need another one. Getting high on life and love without artificial sweeteners, colors or additives is what life's all about.

I guess I am the odd one out on this one, but that's okay.

Anonymous said...

'I've not heard of anyone die from a Pot overdose.'

Crushed, that's a surprisingly glib and foolish comment. I get your point, so there's no need to explain why it's almost impossible to O/D on dope.
However, try addressing the issue of pot creeping up on a victim and essentially boring them to death.

And I think we all know that although there's no direct chemical linkage between pot and harder drugs, regular recreational users of all drugs recognize there is a familiarity which may eventually breed the fatal contempt.

Say no to drugs...under $200 a gram...

Anonymous said...

I've never tried cannabis, but you do make it sound like cigarettes. Am wondering if the ill-effects on health are as bad as that of cigarettes, then. If they are, I'd vote to ban it, but only if they also ban cigarettes (this is based on the 'I'm doing this for your own good' line of thought). Possibly, though, if I had a chance to try it (and if it's as great as you say), I'd be all in favour of legalizing it ;-)

Anonymous said...

This is a very interesting post. Inuni when I was studying law this was discussed as Lowrey's theory of victimless crimes , which basically stated that anything that only harmed the user should be decriminalized as it was up to the one being harmed to decide what he would and would not do to his body.
I do not use drugs but I would have to agree that we have a right to do what we want with our bodies without it being a crime.
We have enought legislation in our lives by people who push the legislation while contravening it themselves.

Anonymous said...

I'm against drugs as a principle.

The shades of gray, though (and what would life be without those?) make me think that people that benefit from it medically - glaukoma patients, terminal cancer patients etc, where there's a scientifically proven positive outcome of cannabis use, shouldn't be held in contempt of law. If it's right to use morphine, another very strong (strongER) drug is allowed for medical purposes, then why not cannabis?

Having that said - I'm not pro self-medication...

Draw a conclusion from that, if you can! ;)

Anonymous said...

Ego: I was also a poxy law student, as well as a keen drug user in my day. Lowery's Theory is a bowl of nail-clippings. The victims of drugs are not simply the end-users. There's the people robbed for the money to buy drugs, the people exploited in the production of drugs, people killed protecting the drug supply lines.
You know the drill as well as I do.
Now, hand me the large fishbowl and a $50 note...

Anonymous said...

Fingers-Then you should know that Lowrey's Theory of Dicriminalization of Victimless Crimes talks about how by decriminalzing certain drugs you do reduce the number of victims of drug crime once it has been taken off the street and government regulated.
The majority of crime associated with drugs is due to the unregulated black market.
I thinkone can incorporate prostitution in his theory too which has worked in Holland.I would like to point out that since studying law, Lowrey's theory has now gone into practice regarding many victimless crimes.

Anonymous said...

Why not just legalise all crimes and solve the entire problem ??
That would leave more time for serious issues, such as our crappy national anthem...

Anonymous said...

Sorry, cheap shot.
And glib too.
I will be formulating a thoughtful response as soon as I finish getting Goldman Sachs HKG's dick out of my ass here...

Anonymous said...

Alexys- I'm not promting it. I'm simply saying that to criminalise it is wrong.

Fingers- People commit crimes to support heroin habits. Pot is not the same. If cannabis was legal, it would not be part of the 'drug' supply lines.
The only linkage between pot and heroin is the lumping them together as 'drugs' in the first place by legislators.
This causes the unwise to treat them with similar lack of respect.

Eve- Society has the right to ban things for the good of all, not the individual. I would even legalise heroin though CERTAINLY not recommend it- because it would make it easier to treat addiction, easier to control it's sale and easier to give addicts access without forcing them to crime.

Ego- drug related crime is caused largely by the criminality of drugs. Remove the criminal status and then we simply have a number of recreational habits, some of which create social problems, we'd better equipped to deal with, others which would simply generate revenue for the government.

The concept of a victimless crime brings the law into disrepute, as it so obviously flies in the face of the social contract

Fingers- your later points simply reinforce mine. In a social sense, the prohibition causes more harm than good, exactly as prohibition did in twenties America.

Heart- Another example of the crazy unthinking logic applied to this topic.
As I say, I'm not recommending it's use here, merely arguing againist its prohibition, which ultimately harms, rather than supports society, as it brings the law into disrepute.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to disagree there Crushed.
Sadly, I don't type quickly enough to generate the volume of words required to discuss my theories on drug linkages, so I will just say, 'Smoke my bat'...

Anonymous said...

I've heard that heroin doesn't actually do much harm to the body, but its addiction clearly drives people to take more and get money to take more - if it was legalised not only would its quality be controlled thereby reducing the danger of "soiled" drugs, but it would be cheaper than sugar!

Anonymous said...

I am the fence sitter on this one. I'm not a big pot smoker. I am a drinker and don't really want to sully my outrageous alcohol intakes with anything else. I'm ok with it being legalized. for all of the reasons ed listed. But I think if it does it needs to be controlled the same way that cigarettes are. By which I mean, they should say that it is only available to people of x years, and it should have very tight restrictions on where it can be smoked. I want to be exposed to it only by choice.

But then who would grow it, would they need a license? Who will sell it? Should it be sold at your local supermarket or from a vending machine like ciggies are? Are they going to enforce 'dope driving' laws? Because people who drive while stoned are a damned menace. What are they going to do with the people who will invariably have mental changes? And don't tell me that they're a myth. I know they're not.

Answer these questions and I'll get off the fence.

I do have to point out though - once your body has absorbed enough alcohol toxins for it to be poisonous, it does toss the origin of them out of the body (i.e you vomit). I've never gotten that stoned, so someone please tell me if your body has that kind of protection method.

Anonymous said...

CB. I'm with you here.

There are indeed several issues with drugs being illegal. In almost random order.

1) The price is higher so people are forced to go to dealers who can give them free samples of worse things. Just try it.

2) The drug itself only harms the user. No different from cigs and booze. A true victimless crime.

3) The link to stealing would go. If you could just walk into Tescos and get it for a reasonableprice you wouldn't have to steal. Few people steal to get a six pack of beer.

4) As you say kids try or watch others try the simple stuff and see it causes no immediate harm. Despite the medias dire warnings. They then ignore the more accurate warnings about the harder stuff. No different to us ignoring slow down signs on motorways that lead to nothing.

There is no chance of our current bunch of stalinist leaders making it legal. Don't forget we are looking at making smoking and drinking illegal now. Won't belong before you have to go to your local drug dealer for a carton of cigs and a bottle of whisky.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't cannabis use cause some form of brain damage? Is it something you could recommend in moderation like cigaretttes or alcohol? Does it depend on the quality of what you smoke? As you can tell, I am not a specialist in this subect.

Anonymous said...

Bag - the drug doesn't just affect the user. It has smoke which is inhaled passively and affects those nearby. It also can (in a small percentage of users, usually those predisposed) cause mental shifts which don't return to normal EVER. This affects the families and carers of these people.

Anonymous said...

Fingers- Your argument would only make sense if you advocated banning alcohol and tobacco.
Which would be an appaling idea, and contrary to a freee society.

Phish- It would boost third world economies and would be sold, like tobacco is now to over eighteens in licensed outlets. The same laws regarding operating vehicles or machinery would apply to it as apply to alcohol.
The effects of ordinary weed on the body are less marked, but more pleasant ans social than alcohol.
Smoking too much in an evening will make you feel fuzzy in the morning.
Long term use can a slow reaction times in some cases.
It has negative points, but much less than alcohol.

Bag- Nothing I can add to any of that :)
A voice of reason in my comment box.

Ellee- If you sit and smoke cannabis 24/7 for years, then yes, it's not good for you at all.
If you sit and drink whisky 24/7 for years it's not good for you.
Just because a small amount of people ABuse something, doesn't mean that the negative results will apply to the many other moderate users.
I'm sure you like a glass of wine Elle, but you're far from being Father Jack.

People have died from caffeine poisoning you know...
Of course quality matters. A lot of kids buy dirty resin, mixed in with rubber tyres, sellotape, etc. Inhaling this is NOT good for you.

Another reason to legalise.

Anonymous said...

Psish- I refer you to my comments to Ellee.
USE and ABUSE are not the same.
A small minority will abuse anything, but they will wherher or not it's legal.

Why should the rest of society be criminalised because thet prefer a joint to a sherry when they get in from a hard days work?

Anonymous said...

Playing the devil's advocate, huh? I love that myself! :)

You're only G-rated? With all your talk about drugs? Damn, I must be really racy! LOL

Anonymous said...

Sweet, make that shit legal then!

Anonymous said...

smoking [whatever] is bad for you, but that's our choice to do so. marijuana has been ousted since the early 20th century due to it's false labeling as a narcotic (as you mentioned). that's like calling methamphetamine a narcotic. it's wrong. there are legitimate uses for cannabis and they should be accepted and legalized for such purposes. however, drug enforcement makes way too much money by keeping it illegal. don't see any changes soon.

Anonymous said...

as a nurse I can honestly say I have never encountered anyone who had a medical problem associated with pot or pot smoking. I havwe however seen the needle and the damage done as well as the bottle being the result of many a broken body. I say legalize it. Did you know that before it was criminalized they used to use it in tea form for colicky babies? i have never seen anyone psychotic as ed would have us believe either. (18 plus years in the trauma unit)Gateway drug? no more so than booze or cigarettes.I for one feel if everyone stuck on the road at 5pm would just sit back and toke up no one would be angry at the fact that everyone including them is going 20 miles per hour! I know for a fact it helps a lot with pain and with the nausea associated with chemotherapy in cancer pts. not to mention it's curative effects on glaucoma.

Anonymous said...

Heart- I think you'll find its computerised, it doesn't look at context.

Jenny- Far be it from to advocate it, but I tend to prefer a smoking to drinking as a form of relaxtion. You get more interesting conversation.

Raffi- Current US drug 'enforcement' helps keep latin American countries as US satellites.
Legalising the drugs trade would aid the economies of places like Colomia and raise living standards there. Then they would be able to stand up to US economic imperialism. Thats the reality, I'm afraid.

Poody- Thanks for that. I felt I was banging my head against a brick wall here. You're right. informed medical opinion does not support the horror stories.

Anonymous said...

I'm a big late for your poll, I realize.

Still going to weigh in anyway...

This is an area of expertise for me, I suppose. You probably already know something about my background and where I grew up. Illegal drugs have been readily available all around me since I was very small. I don't know what you call it in the UK, but in the U.S. "slanging" is a much easier way to make money than legitimate work. It's been pretty prevalent in every urban place I've lived.

And I'm willing to admit there was a time when I smoked weed every day. This was pre-Little C. I didn't think it was harmless then, and I don't now. When I quit, there was a marked change in the way the world looked. My mind was sharper. I didn't realize what I was missing until I got it back. Does that make any sense?

I understand the appeal of weed (better than most people, I suspect), but it's a temporary relief, with lasting consequences. My short-term memory is totally shot (this isn't entirely due to the marijuana, but nonetheless I'm sure it's a factor). The smoke is potent and unfiltered, unlike cigarette smoke, which means it's significantly worse for your lungs than cigarettes.

And I know this argument has been made before, but an openness to experimentation with marijuana DOES often serve as a gateway to other drug use. Harder drugs, like cocaine or meth. Or more commonly, designer drugs like E or special K. This has been documented clearly and it's well-known, but it's been my experience that most people who smoke weed are totally unreceptive to this argument, even though it's true. I used to be unreceptive to it too, until I realized I was being an idiot.

Arguments for legalizing it "because alcohol and cigarettes are already legal" are absurd. Why make it worse? How far should this argument go? Where does it stop?

I think it's perfectly correct for marijuana to be illegal-- and this is coming from someone who knows how enjoyable it can be. It's not harmless. It does have addictive qualities. It also can affect people in vastly differing ways-- some people are capable of driving or working high, but most are impaired in some capacity. I do NOT want to be on the road in the car with my toddler encountering drivers who have been smoking weed. It's bad enough when I encounter drivers who have obviously been drinking.

Anonymous said...

Ruthie- The short answer to your question 'where does it stop?', to my mind, is it goes all the way. Legalise the lot.
That's my position.

We should let informed adults make their own life choices.

Drink driving is illegal. Drinking isn't. See my point on that one?

We don't actually judge these things on the basis of actual harm.

Spirits are as bad as most 'hard' drugs.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps I'm getting old (actually, I know I am) but I can't condone the legalization of an act that is inherently immoral. I believe recreational drug use (as opposed to necessary or medical drug use) to be inherently immoral.

I'm not putting abortion in the same category, not by a long shot, but the reasons that I don't agree with the legalization of convenience abortions are somewhat similar to the reasons that I wouldn't support the legalization of say, cocaine use. I believe both acts are inherently immoral. Giving them a sort of moral stamp of approval by legalizing them gives the message that they're acceptable lifestyle choices, and in my mind, they're not.

Anonymous said...

Abortion is wrong whether you're religous or not, simply because it is destroying a life that happens to have been given a shot. Even an Atheist should see that.

God knows why they can't
It's murder regardless.

Why's smoking Pot immoral?
Why more so than drinking Whisky?

I think you mean socially unacceptable.

I'd legalise Cocaine. And the answer to the question in your head is yes.
But only occasionally.

Does that invalidate my argument?

I'd legalise heroin, though I regard it as a nasty pernicious symptom of our social breakdown that people make that choice, simply because it would make moitoring the problem easier.

We permit the BNP. That doesn't mean we condone it.

There is a sea of grey between condemning and condoning.

that grey should be 'Tolerated, not promoted.'

Like Tobacco.

Anonymous said...

"Abortion is wrong whether you're religous or not, simply because it is destroying a life that happens to have been given a shot. Even an Atheist should see that."

Many atheists (and religious people, for that matter) totally disagree on this point. It just goes to show how different opinions of perceived inherent immorality can be.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree, CBI.

And btw, re: cocaine, I wish you wouldn't. I've seen it destroy more lives than I can count, including my son's father.

Anonymous said...

Ruthie- :) Seems so on this one. My morality is related to causing harm. I think yours is too, because I don't think we actually have differing moral values, just different perspectives on it.

As regards your btw, I did say only very occasionally- more and more rarely these days in fact.
Maybe I'm getting old...