We Must Face The Fact That The Drugs War is Lost

Discussion in 'General' started by Superjoint, Mar 17, 2002.


Do you think the changes in Europe will affect the U.S.?

  1. No, the US will never admit to being wrong

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  2. No, Corporate America would stand to lose too much

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  3. Yes, they won't be able to deny the obvious

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  4. Yes, but it will take a lot of time

    0 vote(s)
  5. Um, what is changing in Europe?

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  6. The US will bomb europe for supporting terrorists

    0 vote(s)
  1. By Colin Blakemore
    Source: Independent UK

    Just to get this out of the way: I am not one of those people who is soft on drugs. I believe that the rise of illegal drug use is one of the most corrosive changes in our society during my lifetime.
    In many developing countries, ruthless drug cartels control agriculture, the economy and politics. Drug supply is a major criminal activity in the developed world, while the demand for drugs fuels much of our lower-level crime.

    The full cost of drug use in Britain, in terms of policing, crime, health care, and social impact, is incalculable. We all grieve for the young lives that have been ruined or lost because of illegal drugs.

    Nevertheless, as one of the first signatories of the Independent on Sunday decriminalise cannabis campaign, I applaud the courage of David Blunkett for moving towards reclassification of the drug, and for lifting the taboo on debate about the drug problem. I hope that this debate will now become broader, and will consider the possibility of a radically different approach to the use of mind-altering substances of all kinds.

    Over the past 40 years or so, national governments and international agencies have poured enormous resources into efforts to stem the production of drugs, their distribution and supply. That battle has not been successful. Judging by the availability, the quality and the price of street drugs, as well as by the large fraction of the population using them, draconian policing has failed.

    Opposed to this gloomy picture of a world overwhelmed by drug use is the fact that virtually all human societies live with (and always have lived with) their own socially accepted drugs. There is no convincing rationale, and certainly no consistent scientific basis, for the choice of drugs that are considered mere social lubricants and those that are outlawed.

    Most developed countries tolerate alcohol and nicotine, both of which are powerfully addictive. Much domestic violence and violent crime is alcohol-related. Chronic alcohol abuse has well-documented health risks, including liver disease, and severe brain damage leading to dementia. And, as the labels say, smoking kills. It is indubitably linked to cancer, heart disease, emphysema and a host of other serious conditions. On the basis of current medical knowledge, out of the social drugs used around the world, it would be hard to choose two more dangerous than alcohol and tobacco.

    So, we cannot argue that our current classification of drugs, and the social and legal attitudes towards them, are entirely rationally based. Many of those who vociferously condemn the use of other (illegal) intoxicants and stimulants happily indulge in alcohol or tobacco, and defend their right to do so. Can we cut through such hypocrisy and move towards a strategy that will recognise personal freedoms, cope with medical and scientific knowledge, protect people from real dangers and even eliminate the despicable criminal infrastructure of drug supply? I believe that, with political will and public support, that might now be possible.

    It is illuminating to consider why attitudes towards cannabis have shifted, not only here but in many parts of the world. The first reason is surely a recognition of realities. In Britain and many other developed countries, recent surveys show that about half of all school-leavers have tried soft illegal drugs – most commonly in this country cannabis and ecstasy. Most of those young people would never touch heroin or crack cocaine. Many go on to higher education. The vast majority get jobs, set up homes and become entirely responsible citizens. Most give up illegal drugs by the age of 30.

    Our schoolchildren are faced with contradictory evidence. On the one hand, the adult establishment (drinking and smoking, and often even confessing their own indulgence in soft drugs in their misspent youth) tell them that using street drugs is wrong, that it will rot their brains and destroy their lives. But children see their own peers using drugs and yet moving on to live decent, successful lives. It's easy to see why so many flout the law, and, in doing so, lose their respect for it.

    Against this background of widespread disregard for the law, it's not surprising that public opinion on cannabis has shifted, nor that many of the new advocates of change are middle-class, conservative (with a small c) parents, who know or suspect that their children experiment with drugs and trust them to grow out it, but who live in fear of them acquiring the stigma of a criminal record. Remember that it was Peter Lilley, a Conservative (with a very large C), who moved forward the debate with his proposal that cannabis should be not just decriminalised but legalised. And senior police officers are also increasingly counselling that the fight against cannabis is simply not worth the cost of the effort.

    The response to this argument is that it is morally defeatist to abandon laws just because they are disobeyed. Many drivers regularly exceed speed limits, but that's no reason to abolish them. I agree, but only if the law is rationally based. Speed limits are enforced for the good of the whole of society, in particular to protect people other than the speeding driver. But drug laws are largely aimed at protecting people from their own inclinations. They criminalise victims.

    In his essay On Liberty, John Stuart Mill writes that "the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number is self-protection". I wouldn't go quite that far. The law has a responsibility to protect people from doing serious harm to themselves, if only because the health service has to deal with the consequences.

    That's another reason why attention has focused on cannabis. Despite alarmist comment in some newspapers, the balance of medical and scientific opinion suggests that cannabis is not a highly dangerous drug – certainly less so than alcohol and tobacco. Report after report from panels of experts, reviewing the whole range of evidence, has come to this conclusion. The latest, crucial report came last week from the Government's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. It concluded that cannabis "is not associated with major health problems for the individual or society".

    There is no doubt that the campaign for a change in the law on cannabis has also been propelled by the growing evidence that it can actually be beneficial in certain medical conditions – multiple sclerosis, cancer pain, Aids. But the medicinal value of drugs should, in my opinion, not be confused with discussion about their recreational use. After all, opiate drugs (especially morphine) are widely prescribed to treat pain, but that should not influence directly any decision about the classification of heroin.

    It now seems very likely that cannabis will be reclassified. That is a sensible step, but it will still leave supply in the hands of criminals; it also offers no special protection for young people and no new approaches to education. I hope that reclassification of cannabis will be the thin end of a wedge of rationality. The debate should be extended to other drugs, to the serious assessment of their harm and to the free supply of drugs (so as to eradicate illegal supply). We will need new international agreements based on proper appraisal of the experiments with cannabis law that are now happening in many countries. Those who wish to keep or even strengthen the current policy on drugs must explain what features of the present situation they are trying to preserve. Their efforts have not been a success. It is time to try a different way.

    Colin Blakemore is director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Oxford

    Note: Once cannabis is reclassified, we must have a proper debate on all intoxicants.

    Complete Title: Colin Blakemore: We Must Face The Fact That The Drugs War is Lost

    Source: Independent (UK)
    Author: Colin Blakemore
    Published: March 17, 2002
    Copyright: 2002 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
    Contact: letters@independent.co.uk
    Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/
  2. And what about how much of America's tax $$$$'s they spend enforcing the law. It's ludicrus.

    We really should try and think of an organized plan to change the law. Some way to communicate this stuff to the general public.

  3. Given time hopefully things can be remedied. The Us will at least get to the legallity state of Canada. this is a smoker can hope for.

  4. Lets wait and see how things go here in the UK first.. I'd like to see a relaxing of the growing laws, mb something along the lines of you can grow up to 10 plants for personal use mb? Hmmmm... Now I'm dreaming I think..
  5. It's all about distribution......in the end..

    IMO..It's Who does it, How,and who profits from it's distribution,,,once they can make more money from total legalization,,,as opposed to money made from it's criminality.

    Everyone must get off their butts,stop talking about it,and not doing anything to stop it..Taking the time to Flood Congress as well as state governments,,with rational e-mail,and letters....No more silence....

    I do it weekly.....for years...I will not stop

  6. that basically sums everything up. but the article is kinda old. and not much progress has been made yet. sure hope we get a liberal US government back though, or this thing will take a very long time.
  7. I think by other countries doing it and showing positive results will force the U.S. to change. It's worked in amsterdam, canada, and now in the U.K.

    They'll change eventually, Just vote for kerry in this election. I'f bush gets into the office for another term were all doomed. I'f he does get reelected i am moving to Cananda. Fuck Bush, don't even get me started.

    But hopefully the'll make a law were all you do is have to buy i growing permit and you could grow as much as you want. That would be great!! They could have two kinds a commercial growing liscence and a personal use liscence. So that it would be affordable for ppl to get there own liscence.

  8. Word

    I wish I could believe that. But we're a bunch of pompous pricks, I dont think anythings going to change in our generation.

    Word. That or Canada ;)

    Or Holland for that matter.
  9. No way, man...we got enough lunatics over here already!!!!!

    lol ok, one more can't hurt
  10. lol i hear ya bout bush, im going to vote jus because i cant have him in office a second term. by far the worse US president in history, but thats my opinion. excellent article, but i think nothing will ever come of it in this country. you see, we are all about money over here. if you cant make money off it, it aint worth it. decriminlizing or even legalizing mj will put such a huge strain on the govt. it shouldnt, but they will find a way. if they want to tax it, fine, ill pay it, provided it isnt something ridiculous. they want me to buy a license and register to grow a certain amount of plants, i may go that far depending on what im registering for. there's all kinds of ways to meet halfway here. but, the heads up the ass and always has been.
  11. We wont be any closer to legalization with kerry then we were with clinton. Neither rep or dem is going to legalize it. It is going to take a 3rd party from the far right or left to do it. The libertarian party has a very good plan on legalizing drugs. They claim drugs are the rot of alot of crime, violence, gangs, etc, and think legalizing drugs will end this black market. We would make billions, we wouldnt need to raise taxes, and prices would drop while quality would rise. It is too bad noone in the big 2 partys realize it. There are more importent issues to me than pot, but neither candidate this year will bring us any closer to legalization.

    Kerrys says he will call for a scientific review of pot though, but that is nothing new to democratic candidates and past dem. have not done much in that direction.

    http://www.lp.org/issues/relegalize.html for details on where the libertarians stand on the issue.

  12. since this article Cannabis has been downgraded to class C.........it still means that you can be charged with possession, but only if you have more than what's deemed for personal use........like if you had say 2 oz on you, they would take a note of it, take the drugs, and a slap on the wrist.........

    if your holding 4 x 9bars........ie 36 oz of hash, they'll jail you for dealing........

    take this for example of how it's changed in my hometown, one of my friends recently got arrested for an assault (provoked)........the other guy got done too........but he asked the cops while on the way to the station, what the score with hash was, the conversation wen't something like this.........


    "Excuse me officer, what will happen if i go to the station and empty my pockets ad there's a 1/2oz in there"

    COP......."Well we'd have to confiscate it, and send you a letter to tell you not to carry it in public"

    "I wasn't sure how it all worked with the reclassification"

    COP......."Best thing to do mate, i'll slow down, you throw it out the window, watch where it goes, and pick it up later"

    "nice one officer, thanks a lot"


    now why aren't all cops like that??..........lol.........he would only have got a warning, but he would have lost his weed........understanding cops, now that's what we need.........big change from what it used to be like.........Peace out..........Sid
  13. In our lifetime I dont see it happening. I personally think the goverment wont legalize it becuase they wont make money off using your drugs you have to use "theyre" drugs. its 3 am right now and im watching this infomercial and they are offering a pill that will do some of the same things weed will do. Its so they can control us. They are always gonna do this because its the rich getting richer. Its a joke what they call "democracy" its hypocrasy. They say that drugs are bad for us and are illegal for our health, people wake up the goverment doesnt give a fuck about you, all they want is theyre money. So I think that the US will never legalize drugs personally. I mean I remain hopeful but I dont see it happening. I mean think about it if the goverment could effectivly control weed and made it legal they would make money but they cant control it. I mean I would love to see instead of starbucks on every corner WeedBucks Weedonalds.

    im on rant mode because its 3 am I am out of my sleeping pills and totally dry
  14. I voted that the U.S. will bomb europe for supporting terrorism...because after all, if you smoke mary jane your aiding international terrorism...I wonder if I can write that off on my tax's this year..

    I don't think I would feel comfortable BUYING a licence to grow a plant...i think growing and smoking a plant is and should be an unalienable right, and you should never have to pay for those..

    Ndica had a comment about distribution..but from what I've heard distribution hasn't completely been settled in holland..I mean I know you can get it at a coffee shop, but some friends of mine that live in holland said there is no real rules regulating how the coffee shops get their weed..maybe super joint can clear this up...i guess he lives there too.
  15. What's America's history of surrendering a war?

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