Disillusioned Discordian

Uk Drug laws put me on a downer
February 7, 2008, 1:25 pm
Filed under: Current Affairs, Political

The past couple of days have seen a renewed interest in the examination of the UK’s Drug Laws. This has been precipitated in part, because the government has ordered the advisory council on the misuse of drugs (ACMD) to report on the issue. As with most independent reports, the government has already publicly stated it’s intentions before the report has been published. To re-grade Cannabis to a class B, only a few years after they down graded it to class C. New evidence that supposedly links the drug to mental health problems is cited as one of the reasons (see my previous post). However since cannabis has been re-classed as class C it’s use has continued to decline,  with just 21% of  16-24 year olds using it compared to 28% a decade ago. As such it could well be argued that down grading the drug has been a success because of the overall fall in people using it. Of course there could well be other factors, but the point is that it has risen, so down grading the drug is unlikely to have resulted in a rise of it’s use.

The other reason is the notion that Cannabis is a lot stronger these days. It is true that certain hybridized strains are more potent. However due to the illegality of the trade there is no authority to enforce the strength of the drug. If the cannabis trade was decimalized in this country it might allow people to grow weaker strains of the drug at home rather than relying on their dealer who will be supplying stronger strains. These stronger strains produce a higher yield of THC which makes growing them more profitable for the illegal dealers. Decriminalization and regulation of the drug trade is something that is needed now more than ever. Unfortunately the government seems to be taking a step backwards in pursuing the already failed method of prohibition. I wonder if it ever occurs to them that it’s prohabition that can lead to strong and dangerous drugs being produced and alduterated supplies that can kill people.

Spot on with it’s timing the BBC aired a Horizon on Tuesday night, in which a group of experts had set about grading twenty of the most popular drugs in their scales of harm. Perhaps unsurprising for those with experience in taking drugs, knowing drug users or working in rehab, many of the illegal drugs were lower on the scale of harm than the legal ones. What the program highlighted was how out of date our drugs law’s are in the UK. These laws have often developed in previous reactionary periods, where a fear over the cultural and political movements associated with drug use has lead to a moral panic amongst the conservative aspects of society. Again I get the feeling that the current climate of fear and the desire for a sense of security will allow these conservative forces to once again try and renew their efforts of prohibition.



6 Comments so far
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I just wanted to add that I think any move to de-criminalize drugs without tackling the criminal gangs that control the market is doomed to fail. You need a two pronged approach in bringing the market out of the criminal underworld, where it supports organized crime and terrorism. We have the power to turn drugs into an accountable product with proper regulations; if the government was serious about harm reduction then it would take this brave step.

Comment by moon23

‘If the cannabis trade was decimalized in this country’

Seriously (well, a little tongue in cheek, perhaps), not being a partaker myself, is cannabis produced and sold in some sort of £.s.d proportionalised measure?

Or is it just that ‘decriminalised’ or even ‘decimated’ might fit better?

I agree about the general growth of conservative prohibition. Funny thing, that I never thought I would see in my lifetime, is that it is a Labour administration that is leading the charge. Just shows how fragile is the notion that current proposals for civil liberties restrictions will see these remain in safe hands in the future

Comment by Ho Hum

Damn this cursed dyslexia…. 🙂
I must say I don’t take cannabis anymore, ironically because it is harder to find weaker weed and I find the stunk to strong! It also makes my short term memory behave as if I’m hung-over which isn’t conclusive do doing other things I enjoy. It’s a shame I can’t legally grow my own plant, as I’d enjoy the occasional smoke of weaker weed.

From what I remember cannabis has always been sold in imperial measures of tenths, eighths and quarters of a pound. This has always been a point of confusion for dope smokers going to Amsterdam when then have to buy in amounts of 10g etc. If it was decriminalized then the EU would probably try and standardize this.

Comment by moon23

Thanks. Never knew that.

Insofar as it affects your STM, and you can’t really remember what it is sold in in the UK, I presume the last puff must have been recent? 😛

Have fun…lol

Comment by Ho Hum

lol, not it’s been quite a while actually. That’s why I said insofar as I can remember. One thing they never mention in the press is that the weaker ‘hashish’ that used to be sold more often contained things like petrochemicals, battery acid etc. I once remember buying some that had a plastic bag encased in the middle of it. Another problem with the trade being illegal is you get adulterated supplies.

Comment by moon23

Ho Hum, check your junk inbox within the next 12hrs.

Comment by moon23

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