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Drugs policy: The 'British system'

Mark Easton | 16:07 UK time, Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Sir Ian Gilmore's valedictory e-mail to colleagues at the Royal College of Physicians calling for laws to be "reconsidered with a view to decriminalising illicit drugs use" fits squarely in a British tradition which stretches back a century and more.

Writing in the Sun newspaper, Sir Ian said that:

"there will always be hard drug users but instead of treating them as criminals, we should treat them as patients".
 
"Heroin addiction is an illness and we should treat it as such, instead of acting on a knee-jerk reaction and putting people in prison."

This argument has been put forward by doctors ever since American campaigners started urging the UK government to ban recreational drugs at the beginning of the last century. Under increasing diplomatic pressure from the United States to honour various treaty obligations and toughen up our drug laws, in 1924 the UK government finally did what it usually does in such circumstances. It called in Sir Humphry.

Man holding syringe with heroinThe Rolleston Committee was set up under the chairmanship of Sir Humphry Rolleston, an eminent physician renowned for his book, Disease of the Liver, Gall-Bladder and Bile Ducts. The medical men around the table took a very medical view of the drugs problem, concluding after two years deliberation that addiction was a disease and an addict was ill.

The US saw drug abuse as a sin; the UK had decided it was a sickness. This therapeutic approach was seen as a direct challenge to the prohibitionists on the other side of the Atlantic, but it was also seen as a very British response to the problem.

In this country we are reluctant to ban things and the Rolleston doctrine became known internationally as the "British system". What it meant was that, while some patients were put on a withdrawal programmes in institutions, others were prescribed doses of pure heroin. It was a matter for doctors, not the police.

This philosophy shaped British drugs policy for 40 years until, in the mid-1960s, it was discovered that a handful of doctors were abusing the system. Well, not so much a handful as one doctor - Lady Isabella Frankau, wife of the venerated consultant surgeon Sir Claude, is said to have almost single-handedly sparked the 60s heroin epidemic. Records confirm that in 1962 alone she prescribed more than 600,000 heroin tablets to hundreds of users who flocked to her Wimpole Street consulting rooms.

Her patient list read like a Who's Who of 60s bohemian cool. Poets, actors, musicians, writers and refugees from the strict drug laws in the US and Canada knew that Lady F would not ask too many questions and, if you were a bit short of readies, might even waive her consultancy fee. American jazz trumpeter Chet Baker turned up at her door and has related how "she simply asked my name, my address and how much cocaine and heroin I wanted per day".

Lady Frankau's motivation was to heal, but what was later described as her "lunatic generosity", saw the end of the British system. As prescribing rules were tightened up, black-market Chinese heroin and other narcotics flooded in. Our relationship with drugs would never be the same again.

Between 1964 and 1968 the number of known teenage heroin addicts in Britain rose from 40 to 785. Criminal gangs had moved in to supply all manner of new substances to young thrill-seekers with money in their pockets.

The Home Secretary, James Callaghan, told Parliament how Britain faced a "pharmaceutical revolution" which presented such dangers that if the country was "supine in the face of them" it would quickly lead to "grave dangers to the whole structure of our society".

It was the beginning of the global "war on drugs". In 1971, US President Richard Nixon described drug abuse as "public enemy number one" as the United Nations passed a new convention on "psychotropic substances" which widened international controls to almost any mind-altering substance imaginable.

The same year, the British Parliament passed the Misuse of Drugs Act giving the home secretary direct authority to ban new drugs and increase the penalties associated with them. Political debate about the wisdom of prohibition was effectively closed down, the medical profession was side-lined and the criminal justice system became the main tool to fight drug abuse.

Forty years later and there are the first signs that the discussion is being re-opened. Even within the staunchly prohibitionist micro-climate of the United Nations, the weather is changing.

At the UN offices in Vienna last year, a meeting of academics and government representatives met ostensibly to discuss the relative merits of compulsory and voluntary drug treatment. What emerged was a discussion paper that recast the international debate along the lines of the long-forgotten British system [350KB PDF]. It stated:

"Drug dependence is a health disorder (a disease) that arises from the exposure to drugs in persons with these pre-existing psycho-biological vulnerabilities."
 
"Such an understanding of drug dependence, suggests that punishment is not the appropriate response to persons who are dependent on drugs. Indeed, imprisonment can be counterproductive."

With a foreword from the previously hawkish UN drugs chief Antonio Maria Costa, the paper proposes "moving from a sanction-oriented approach to a health-oriented one", reflecting how many countries were "looking for alternatives" to the expensive and ineffective criminal justice approach.

In Britain, the chairman of the UK Bar Council, Nicholas Green QC recently wrote in a report that "decriminalising personal use can have positive consequences; it can free up huge amounts of police resources, reduce crime and recidivism and improve public health".

There have been a number of reports from respected think tanks saying similar things and now we have Sir Ian Gilmore's intervention.

The Home Office has made it clear ministers remain opposed to such ideas.

"The government does not believe that decriminalisation is the right approach. Our priorities are clear; we want to reduce drug use, crack down on drug-related crime and disorder and help addicts come off drugs for good."

The British public is also largely unconvinced, although a poll conducted by Liberal Democrats for Drug Policy Reform recently tried to test the strength of feeling when offered a range of options. According to the survey, there was 70% support for legal regulation of cannabis and with magic mushrooms, amphetamines, and mephedrone there was a majority in favour of legalisation and regulation. Roughly three in 10 people said they would prefer the state to regulate rather than prohibit heroin supply.

It does seem that the assurance of the prohibitionists in Britain and across Europe, at the United Nations and even in the United States is under pressure. It may be that the British system is being slipped onto the table once again.

Comments

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  • 1. At 4:30pm on 18 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Another voice of reason aired.

    I have to say as a community leader that the problem with drugs is prohibition in communities, drugs dont harm communities the law does as it enacts its mandatory rights to abuse sub sections of society, usually some of the most damaged people in society.

    Now we just need the government to get of its moral high ground and provide a legal system for cannabis and medical systems for heroin addictions.

    The government statement on drugs is wrong more harm is caused by the current interpretation of MODA than by the drugs themselves.
    Our community is a classic example of this failed policy, as the lines are blurred the drugs grouped together and new legal ones appear small time dealers are fighting each other for the gateway income to the legal high markets.
    Small time dealers are being robbed at knife point.. never happened when cannabis was £70-£90 the ounce now its an average of £220 an ounce its a commodity worth fighting over, even worth killing over.

    Time to face the cold harsh reality that the war on drugs has been an expensive failure which only causes more harm.

    All our troops in Afghanistan are on the front line of the drug war this government in its actions and response to the current suggestion to a new way forward is highly disrespectful to the families and soldiers that have died in this drug war.

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  • 2. At 4:48pm on 18 Aug 2010, calmandhope wrote:

    Mark please keep bringing this up as much as possible, and also try and get it in any interviews with politicians that you can as well. Our drug laws are a pointless joke.

    Seeing as at the moment, more and more journos seem to be pointing out the pointlessness of our current laws maybe by the time the next general election comes round we could havea adult debate on the subject and possibly even some real change!

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  • 3. At 4:58pm on 18 Aug 2010, Forlornehope wrote:

    Recent reports of police raids on cannabis farms show that, not only are we criminalising a large part of the population for a largely harmless pursuit, we are also stifling a major economic opportunity and potential source of government revenue. If the financial crisis can bring some sense into penal policy, perhaps it can do the same for our drugs laws.

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  • 4. At 8:20pm on 18 Aug 2010, Rob wrote:

    What I find difficult to accept with the arguments about legalising drugs is that it will make the situation better. By far the most harmful drugs in UK society are Tobacco and Alcohol which are both legal. For all the press coverage it gets, illegal drugs are a much smaller problem. Unfortunately I can only see the legalisation of drugs making them more available and more people will be exposed to them, leading to even more harm.

    The only way to get anywhere with this problem is to try and educate people and get them to change their attitudes to drugs. It's not easy and seems to be a losing battle, but it is the only way.

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  • 5. At 9:51pm on 18 Aug 2010, Financial Oxymorons wrote:

    With respect to the mental health issues quoted for at least cannabis, has there ever been detailed research on the effects of partakers living a semi-criminal life, furtively seeking to purchase an illegal substance, under threat of various penalties. Then often having to hide nominally recreational behaviour from family and work colleagues. Threaded through this of course the police force becomes a general threat, while the cannabis user may happily support a safe and honest environment.

    So this to me seems like a list of seriously stressful pressures, due to the choice of how you wanted to relax of an evening. Stories of how drunk you might have been on holiday / friday night are however typical fare without an eyebrow being raised.

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  • 6. At 9:55pm on 18 Aug 2010, Cobalt Chicken wrote:

    > Unfortunately I can only see the legalisation of drugs making them more available
    >and more people will be exposed to them, leading to even more harm.

    Common-sense would agree, but the evidence suggests otherwise.

    I'd argue that even if decriminalisation increased the number of people trying drugs, and this resulted in a significant increase in the number of addicts, the reduction in harm to each addict would be so great that the total harm would still be greatly reduced. Most of the harm attributed to drugs actually doesn't happen if users have access to a safe, clean supply at sensible prices. Not that being an addict isn't harmful in itself, any obsession is harmful, but many of the currently illegal drugs are not addictive anyway.

    But it seems I don't need to because everywhere prohibition has been softened the number of users seem to actually go down. Nobody is sure why this happens. There's certainly a "forbidden fruit" effect. There's less incentive for pushers to persuade people to try their wares. For example, during the period cannabis was downgraded use actually seems to have fallen, only to pick up again as the government re-classified it.

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  • 7. At 10:01pm on 18 Aug 2010, Cobalt Chicken wrote:

    > has there ever been detailed research on the effects of partakers living a
    >semi-criminal life, furtively seeking to purchase an illegal substance, under threat
    >of various penalties.


    Thing is, that the statistical correlation between Cannabis use and schizophrenia is actually negative, i.e more cannabis is associated with less schizophrenia. The obvious conclusion is that the very small correlation between individuals using cannabis and suffering schizophrenia is more likely to be explained in terms of people in mental distress attempting to self-medicate.

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  • 8. At 10:42pm on 18 Aug 2010, Dr David Hill - World Innovation Foundation wrote:

    No need to decriminalise.

    Modern drugs cause far greater harm than their traditional medicine counterparts and that is a fact. So are our regulators naive or what, for they stop the use of traditional medicines in the West because they don't know that they are safe. The irony of this argument is that modern pharma has only been going little over a centuries whilst tradition medicines have been built upon trial-and-error and been around for 2000 years or more. So which using common sense should be the safest? I would think that traditional medicines but where our intelligent regulators say not. A crazy world that we live in and it makes one wonder if our regulators are just another division of big pharma?

    I mention all the above because Vietnam even have a humane curative medicine that works for hard drug addiction but where again the powers that be just aren’t interested. A totally strange thing again !

    Dr David Hill
    Executive Director
    World Innovation Foundation Charity

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  • 9. At 11:16pm on 18 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    #7 the link between THC AEA and early onset schizophrenia may hold some fact.. but only in the sense that THC may cause accelerated neurogenesis and populate the cells on an already damaged microstructure revealing an illness that was formed when the hippocampus was built in the first place and would have naturally occurred within a few days weeks months or years of puberty beginning the full scale construction of the adult brain, with mass population of the frontal brain/hippocampus.

    but what do i know im not a politician.

    If we still had the "British system" I would quiet possably still also have a brother. Thats the realy sad cost of this war on drugs the human life invovled be it addict or soldier both are needless deaths. I will never meet a whole generation of family due to the heroin addiction he had the life he lead the harms he caused.

    Time for change not more of the same time for respect of life not criminilisation and abandnment, why must so much hate and malice be poured onto one section of sociaty for thier social and cultural choices.

    Ive also been an addict several times in my life to some realy nasty drugs that at the time i could not live without. these were prescribed by my doctor I kicked those and now use cannabinoids which do the same things in the body at a celular level but with out the addictions and side effects. Time to grow up about drugs and reletive harms.
    What would the public say if they were told that if everyone over the age of 40 ate a low dose of well cured cannabis every night as a supliment they could save the NHS 100's millions i un-needed pain killers and anti inflamotorys as everyone would be getting a natural boost to thier own bodys immune system, let alone safeguarding celualar life span in the brain were the bodys own THC AEA controls the immune systems and repair systems of the brain so we would see a drop in demensia cases. Then we come to the cancers of the body THC mixed with other antagonists of the human endocannabinoid network is shown to activly reduce and kill cancer even the most aggresive forms that reamin so far untreatable.

    None of this can be looked at though as its a banned substance not illegal, no such thing human use is illegal the plant isn't.

    the structure of social control needs to change we as a sociaty need to change and the governemt needs to relese its last form of mass social persicution, whites on the right blacks on the right. brown eyes stand blue eyes sit. is the Moral of the day..

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  • 10. At 11:48pm on 18 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Fergus is at it as well seems everyones talking drugs for a change..

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/ferguswalsh/2010/08/would_decriminalising_drugs_work.html

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  • 11. At 02:27am on 19 Aug 2010, Mafficker wrote:

    Thank you again Mark for your insightful commentary. It is time to accept that we all do drugs of one post or another at various times and circumstances in our lives. It is time to promote drug equality and the equal treatment of those who use drugs under law. The MDAct 1971 should apply to alcohol and tobacco, remembering that prohibition is a policy choice and not a command of the Act. The MDAct can regulate a lawful commerce in all controlled drugs for any peaceful use purpose, recreational, sacred, profane, medical, scientific, etc. For more on this see:

    http://www.drugequality.org/legal.htm

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  • 12. At 03:02am on 19 Aug 2010, Mafficker wrote:

    That should have been 'we all do drugs of one sort or another' rather than 'post'. See were predictive text will get you! Not to mention the drugs.

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  • 13. At 08:28am on 19 Aug 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:

    I have already applauded Sir Ian elsewhere.

    There is so much hypocrisy in drug use and abuse debate. On the one hand it is okay for the richer classes to embibe, 'out of sight, out of mind, and out of reach' of the enforcement agencies, and yet we have a vast lower classes majority for whom even legal drugs have questionable histories. Lower classes for whom, so it would seem, no trust can ever be offered. And yet just how do we treat the sicknesses of the over stressed lower classes - with drugs, prescribed powerful drugs, even potentially lethal drugs, and, most importantly, pharmaceutical drugs. Pharmaceuticals, the powerful, lobby rich arm of the same wealthy people for whom drug use and abuse is, apparently, okay.

    Many a professor, old and new, has churned inside at the duplicity of the ruling classes, the inability to recognise that the drive towards ever greater profit stirs the ordinary human condition to ever lower depths. But the folly continues in spite of each and every warning.

    I hope Sir Ian's voice is not lost to the wailing echoes of cash tills in the 'legal' drug emporiums. I hope someone's brain still works in the ruling classes but I am almost certain there is no intelligence to be found there.

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  • 14. At 09:44am on 19 Aug 2010, McD wrote:

    Politics… Who needs ‘em? Well, it might just be everyone in this case. There are some intelligent and perceptive people making policy decisions in the US and at the UN (which is really the same thing). They know they have been defeated in their War on Drugs and must find the fact acutely embarrassing. As a rule, people don’t like losing fights or wars and, having done so, saving face becomes highest priority. Defeat has been indirectly admitted by the Obama administration: ‘We no longer call it the War on Drugs.’

    The Russians don’t seem to have got the message, though. I’m sure there are plenty of intelligent and perceptive people in the Kremlin, as well as the White House, but they don’t have the same experience of defeat as the Americans do. (They have their own, which is no less valuable.) They’ve gone into ‘moron mode’ in their approach to drugs, just like their counterparts in the West did some thirty-odd years ago. This is something the Russians are extraordinarily good at… And human rights.

    The appointment of Yuri Fedotov to the UNODC Boss job is a cause for great celebration for those who are eager to change current international drug policies. Not only does it underline the Americans’ admission of defeat in one of their most ridiculous holy crusades (The War on Drugs) but it has finally set the stage for the repeal of the (US/)UN(/UK) (Axis) ‘Narcotics’ Conventions of 1961 and ’88, which in turn should lead to a number of other equally important and similarly obstructed measures.

    Look around outside the box - you don't even really need to think, just open you eyes - and consider an internal dialogue: ‘We’ve lost. What can we do?’
    
‘Blame it on the Russians.’
    
‘No-one’s going to buy it.’
    
‘Make ‘em beg for it.’

    ‘How so?’

    ‘Flood the country with heroin so that they have no choice but to demand responsibility for stopping it. That way we kill a whole bunch of birds with one stone:

    1) we save face by distancing ourselves from defeat without even ever actually openly admitting defeat;

    2) they take over, assuming the same position that caused our defeat, making the same mistakes until they’re forced - just as we have been - to come to terms with defeat; that way they take the blame and get called fools for repeating the mistakes which we can claim to have innocently made and they’re seen as idiots for repeating our mistakes; and the really, really good part is that we can then say, ‘Ah, yes, but you see, we’d already understood what we'd done wrong and started to embrace harm reduction before those idiots took over and made a mess of the good work we’d started to do, and we only let them because we’re such good, kind and trusting souls - always willing to give them enough rope to hang themselves - and they pressured us so hard to do so.';

    3) when they’ve made such a mess of it that they’re crawling away on their knees, just like they did from Afghanistan twenty years ago, then we can waltz back in as heros, repealing the Conventions, replacing them with new ones to our liking, minimizing damage to our good selves, maximizing damage to them, thereby strengthening our position at the centre of the Axis. How’s that for a strategy?’

    ‘Let’s do it!’

    Personally, I don’t believe the Americans are as stupid as one might be led to believe by a simple analysis of their holy crusades, particularly the War on Drugs. Once they’ve managed to pull off something like the plan outlined above, I’m sure they’ll take a more intelligent approach to the new and improved Axis ‘Narcotics’ Conventions. Having lived and worked in Russia and the ex-Soviet Union for several years, however, I’m afraid I can’t find the same confidence in the Russians’ capabilities. I don’t think I’m revealing anything other than the obvious here. It won’t be long before the Russians have dug a hole for themselves so deep that their infractions of human rights become intolerable and they’re forced to retire from their fantasy role as ‘savior of traditional values’. As far as I can see, this is the only way the Axis is able to deal with the defeat it’s suffered. And it’s not a bad plan.

    So take heart those of you who await intelligence from our masters. I see light at the end of the long, long, dark and decaying tunnel which has caused such horrific pain and suffering.

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  • 15. At 09:53am on 19 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    ‘Flood the country with heroin so that they have no choice but to demand responsibility for stopping it. That way we kill a whole bunch of birds with one stone:


    were Russia boarders Afghanistan there are over 2.5 million addicts....

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  • 16. At 10:07am on 19 Aug 2010, jon112dk wrote:

    Medicalisation of criminal behaviour.

    Free drugs on the NHS and everything will be fine.

    Hasn't this blog already had an item about the methadone industry and the way prisoners who would actually like to stop using drugs are pushed into indefinite drug use (at tax payer expense)? Hundreds of them die each year from this 'treatment.' We even have babies dying after their druggie mums 'treat' the baby with methadone when it won't stop crying.

    Rather like the NHS giving free scotch to drinkers or free burgers to the obese - surprise, surprise, this 'treatment' might have it's own set of problems.

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  • 17. At 10:19am on 19 Aug 2010, McD wrote:

    "were Russia boarders Afghanistan there are over 2.5 million addicts...."

    Exactly. Before NATO ceased it's poppy eradication programme there were very, very few.

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  • 18. At 10:26am on 19 Aug 2010, Denis Bourne wrote:

    As I understand the position, most of the harm is not caused by the drugs themselves, but the stuff that criminals use to dilute them. Decriminalizing drugs would remove most of the reasons for this happening; the government supplying pure drugs free to anyone who wanted them would eliminate them completely.
    Instead of taking up moral positions on this sort of questions, people should look at the evidence. One of the main reasons why drugs are attractive is that they are illegal - "Reckoning" - Elliott Currie 1993.

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  • 19. At 10:37am on 19 Aug 2010, BobRocket wrote:

    All these top people suggesting (usually in their retirement speeches) that the current system is not working has all the hallmarks of a softening up exercise.

    The country is broke.

    I expect a statement in the Autumn Spending Review, the gist of which is this.

    'The country is skint, we have ring-fenced Health and Foreign Aid spending but we have no money to pay for it.
    We could raise general taxation for everybody which would not be popular with a lot of voters or we could just let drug users pay for it by legalisation and taxation which would not be popular with a smaller number of voters, which is it to be ?'

    It will all be dressed up 'as the right thing to do' blah, blah, 'accepting the responsibilities of sensible users whilst holding out a safety net for vulnerable groups etc.'

    The reality is that the US Government repealed the prohibition of alcohol because the country was broke in the great depression of the '30s and the government needed a new revenue stream.

    The UK Government is rapidly finding itself in the same position.

    The Transform document 'After the War on Drugs : Blueprint for Regulation' has some very sensible suggestions for a framework for achieving this.

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  • 20. At 10:43am on 19 Aug 2010, nautonier wrote:

    Drug addiction is a sickness?

    Tell me about it ... is that why the UK addicts are drawing £'s billions every year in govt. benefits, free drugs and free alchohol?

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  • 21. At 11:05am on 19 Aug 2010, McD wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 22. At 11:17am on 19 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    20. At 10:43am on 19 Aug 2010, nautonnier wrote:
    Drug addiction is a sickness?

    Tell me about it ... is that why the UK addicts are drawing £'s billions every year in govt. benefits, free drugs and free alcohol?

    while currently costing billions to enforce a criminal system that will make them unemployable while keeping them on the sick unable to get cured properly, time to evaluate the actual cost of treatment V the cost of every other current impact that has monetary cost.

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  • 23. At 11:21am on 19 Aug 2010, Peter Reynolds wrote:

    The drugs issue is gaining huge momentum. Government policy looks increasingly ridiculous. More and more people are "getting it". Prohibition just doesn't work. Cowardly politicans have failed to grasp this nettle for years. Change is coming.

    http://peterreynolds.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/the-drugs-debate/

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  • 24. At 11:26am on 19 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Flood gates are breaking :(
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/08/19/police-losing-fight-against-new-drugs-and-legal-highs-115875-22497478/

    When are these people going to learn we are dealing with software/wetware for the receptors. So changeable easy to modify the code shift an instruction here add an acceptance instruction there, shutdown function here.......

    how often does your antivirus update ????

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  • 25. At 2:28pm on 19 Aug 2010, sunk_optimism wrote:

    Legalise drugs and the benefits are enormous

    - crime is reduced hugely, from petty theft to fund a "habit" to gangland killings over turf wars, because the illegal profit motive has gone.
    - health wise, there is availability of clean grades of drugs that are not cut with poisons, and more "addicts" will feel able to come out of the closet and seek help, since they are not engaged in criminal activity any more.

    - instead of wasting billions on fighting drugs, recreational drugs can be sold, and taxed.

    - with cannabis legalised, more people will use that as a recreational drug of choice, and less will consume excessive alcohol, leading to less public disorder.

    - farmers will be able to plant new cash crops. Companies will be able to establish processing plants. Employment will rise.

    The only battle will be with the PR spin in the conservative press.

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  • 26. At 3:09pm on 19 Aug 2010, Steve - Iver wrote:

    A decriminalisation of illicit drug use would give society the tools needed to combat addiction whilst allowing individual freedom of choice in this multi-million dollar / pound / euro market.

    Would we become a nation of junkies? I think not.

    The tide of change must begin with a change of opinion - Education, and a true education of everyone with facts. The law-makers, currently, don't need to invest much in the science and medical fraternities, because public opinion is so polarised. There are those that shout for complete relaxation of law whilst others shout for the death penalty for thinking about using drugs. A truly polarised base, but there are so many more people, many on the BBC Blogs, that are sensible, otherwise law abiding, and reputable commentators that should be listened to as well.

    In the 1970s, when I was merely a boy, I remember drinking and driving being a social norm. It was hardly accepted in law, and people were of the opinion that the restrictions being suggested were a step too far. I was only young, and not of driving age, but I remember it being discussed in the family and amongst friends. Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey, and it wasn't long before public opinion swung to the morally correct side of the fence. It took a generation to bed itself in. It was the right thing to do, and nowadays, it's accepted as the default situation.

    Public opinion is shaped by many things, not least, the media. The job of the news media is to report facts, but that alone suggests opinion, even if it is not intended. Opinion is shaped by the opinion of others - and that is human nature. There will always be opponents, but this is the reason I believe that education is the first key in the lock.

    The fact is that 'drug' use, as it is commonly called, bundles together lots of different substances with lots of different causes and effects. It's a bit like bundling all drinks under one heading; water, milk, vodka, cola, lager, wine, whisky and winter-berry squash. They're all drinks, but for the purposes of classification, they fall into different categories.

    The situation with drugs should be handled in a similar way. Yes, they're all drugs, but then so is aspirin. This is part of the education process too. Many, less-enlightened, members of our society, will see the evils of the harder, more addictive drugs to be equally applicable to the softer, less addictive and therefore, less dangerous drugs. They're all evil addictive, dirty, unwanted substances, and that opinion leads people to feel that those using drugs are, by association, dirty, unwanted addicts.

    Social change is a huge task, and it takes a long time to effectually see those changes, often a generation or more. I see that drug education is being brought into our schools and that will help to educate the next generation so that hopefully they won't be so bigoted and hateful as they grow into adults. But education is not limited to academic institutions. It is equally applicable to garden-fence gossip and social network chatter. We live in an information age, and this blog is a direct result of that. Look at how many responses any of these drug blogs receive.

    With each drug in it's own place, without the blanket policy of prohibition, we could deal with the regulatory matters each in their own merit. It's not fair that those calling for their right to smoke cannabis, for example, should be thrown to the wolves of those opposing heroin shooting addicts on the street corners, a view, by the way, that does nothing to help anyone.

    All drugs, on whichever side of the fence they're purveyed, have effects, good and sometimes bad. The means to administer that drug can have equally bad or worse effects. The quality of the drug is only called into question when it's bought on the wrong side of the fence, however. Let's put every drug on the one side of the fence, and deal with each one separately.

    I'm prepared to say that no-one really wants the trend of IV heroin use to be 'normalised', including those that do it, but it doesn't need to be public enemy number one either.

    IV drug use, irrespective of the substance, can be an addiction in itself, and needs to be treated by professionals and society together.

    The substance is another matter, and most IV users will be using that method for heroin and / or coke. Heroin addiction is horrible, and the fact that those drawn into it have to descend into the underworld to simply get by is criminal, no pun intended. Treatment for heroin addiction is wide and varied, but the law doesn't provide much more than methadone as a replacement, which itself is addictive and does nothing to lift the person back to normal society levels. They often have to stand in the pharmacy and be publicly humiliated once a day, every day, with little likelihood of recovery. Other treatments are available, such as Subutex, but any recovery program must be done in parallel with psychoanalysis to help to understand the reasons behind the affliction; the underlying causes.

    Coming back to cannabis, often, popular public opinion is that cannabis users are no different to heroin users. This is caused by years of ignorance and incorrect reporting by unqualified commentators, leading to facts being miscommunicated and understanding being skewed.

    The first step in any reform is an acceptance by those reformers that change is needed. Facts should be studied and a new system of regulation implemented. Positive and truthful reporting and analysis should follow, leading to a more balanced argument for both sides.

    IGNORANCE = FEAR
    KNOWLEDGE = POWER

    With a level playing field we can then look at the regulation of drugs. Prohibition prevents regulation.

    Regulation would allow for various legal processes to be applied to each drug in turn, with the stigma for each reflecting perceived harm and so assist in recovery for those trapped, whilst allowing the recreational pursuit of less harmful substances, in moderation.

    The final issue is that of taxation, which can only be achieved once regulation is in place, which in turn is linked to the education of our society.

    EDUCATE, REGULATE, TAX
    PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK

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  • 27. At 3:20pm on 19 Aug 2010, Tenisson wrote:

    The sensible approach could not really be ignored forever. Everyone knows - or should know - that the UK's approach to drugs was massively influenced by the US in the earlier parts of 20th century, when they were very knee-jerk and reactionist in how they chose to to portray drug use - 1950s adverts saying cannabis will put you in cahoots with the Devil, etc.

    The question I always ask is, what HARM are the police protecting us from, when they spend millions of pounds carrying out big enforcement raids on a guy selling cannabis out of a warehouse? Do they genuinely believe that by putting some people who grow cannabis plants away, they are going to stop drugs being cultivated and sold eventually? It is madness. All that happens is that your poor average Joe who smokes a bit of weed is going to have to look a little bit harder, and pay a bit more for his cannabis, the dealers whose operations have not yet been shut down will raise their prices sensing the fall in supply, and more turf wars will follow to try and capitalise on the decreasing amount/higher demand. Just creates more crime.

    Im a law student at Warwick and a thoroughly law abiding citizen. I also enjoy smoking cannabis with friends, I dont smoke cigarettes and hardly drink alcohol. I do not consider myself a criminal yet, when I find myself taking long drives to isolated places where I stand inbetween a couple of cars to quickly smoke a marijuana cigarette hoping I am not unlucky enough to have a patrol car drive in the vicinity, I feel absolutely like I am a criminal and it is ridiculous.

    I think there are more discussions to be had regarding heroin and cocaine etc, but the Governments problem is now legitimacy. They know that the public simply do not share their version of events relating to cannabis.

    Legalisation and regulation of cannabis would wipe out the black market for cannabis/skunk and I cannot even comprehend how much good that could do for everyone. At the same time the government and country would benefit financially through the sale and domestic cultivation of cannabis. The money not thrown away on arresting people with a couple of bags on them, or on enforcing / shutting down cannabis cultivators etc could be re directed to, I dont know, building better schools?

    Chris

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  • 28. At 5:03pm on 19 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Mark Easton.

    "The US saw drug abuse as a sin.."

    this seems to sum up 'our' war on drugs -- nothing to do with rational, mature debate, all driven by finger-wagging and moralising (often by the very people who excert a deeply corrupting influence on the rest of society through their 'free-trading' and war mongering).

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  • 29. At 5:37pm on 19 Aug 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    Well, here's another fine mess the Americans have got you into!
    (American campaigners started urging the UK government to ban recreational drugs at the beginning of the last century.)
    The Rolleston Committee got it right: addiction was a disease and an addict was ill.
    Too bad about Lady Frankau's "lunatic generosity", which saw the end of the British system because the British System (in my opinion) was correct.
    Too bad that US President Richard Nixon described drug abuse as "public enemy number one", thus beginning the War on Drugs, which has lasted over 35 ++ years. If something hasn't worked in 35 years, it's time to do some rethinking.
    Now you have the experience of Portugal to look at.
    Portugal has decriminlized drugs. It's HIV rate (from re-using needles and other drug parphanalia) has dropped dramatically; it's addictions have dropped dramatically. It's jails now have more space for real crime vs. the illness of addiction.
    I'd recommend that the original British system should now look at the Portuguese System and act accordingly.


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  • 30. At 6:42pm on 19 Aug 2010, U14567582 wrote:

    I too am very pleased another doctor has spoken out.

    It is also unfortunate that we have usual cries from prohibitionists of the "irresponsible" behaviour of Ian Gilmore. Have we really reached the Orwellian state? It is of no use to a free society to quash debate and free thinking by simply shouting the loudest and accusations of heresy.

    It is furthermore disheartening that the knee-jerk reactions of the Home Office and the prohibition supporters has not progressed for decades. It is stunted reasoning and moronic thinking that "drugs are bad, ergo, they are controlled by punitive measures"--- This simply does not work. It is also a dismissive and, to be candid, a cop out (pardon the pun). It does not treat the symptoms of what is going on out there, it is a bury your head in the sand approach to sorting out a problem.

    Drug use needs to be addressed in this country, when the scientifically illiterate "misuse of drugs act" reflects nothing of the truth of substances and focuses on moral reasoning alone, this is once more dangerous to a rational society.

    It is infuriating that certain substances are STILL subjected to pseudoscience! I do not wish to defend cannabis once more, but ignorance does not relent on this subject. The main ammo for discrediting cannabis is the psychosis issue: Out of 6.2 million users, 800 are at risk... look beyond the news headline and the facts are actually there. Any other substance and this would be hailed a success. Prevalence of alcohol psychosis is far greater with direct links as opposed to cannabis' "casual link".

    With any substance, the emphasis needs to be, and should be on the user and responsibility. Cannabis seems removed from this pretence. All personal responsibility has been removed in favour of damning a substance that is comparatively one of the safest we have, this once more does not aid debate or progressive ways ahead. An alcoholic takes full responsibility of action, other substances do not have the same set of ethics.

    As soon as we can address all substances with emphasis on the individual user, we may start to form rationality that has been missing in the UK.

    Invariably we have the comments too of "Alcohol and tobacco are legal, look at the trouble we have with them."

    Well, as said, the misuse of drugs act has no place in democracy to be frank. We have two of the top tier substances as the excepted "cultural and accepted" drugs, and the ones that are comparatively safe, cannabis, LSD, MDMA, are deemed the harmful ones! If you lie to a nation, mayhem will ensue, and this is what we are now faced with.

    Alcohol is marketed and encouraged in our society. 50% of MPs are sponsored by alcohol companies, sponsorship and adverts still exists with alcohol- and until sometime ago- tobacco was a player in sporting events etc. If a decriminalisation system came into play, there would be no such advertising and coercion into other substances. This cannot be overlooked in the debate when comparatives are made; we have alcohol and tobacco issues for deliberate reasons, the power of alcohol and tobacco lobbies has been hilariously ignored and hushed.

    Only yesterday the BBC reported how the age restriction on tobacco (from 16 to 18 years old) lowered teenage usage by 7%. So, age check systems do work then? Well, there's food for thought.

    Still, keep drugs feral, it benefits all society, it sends the "right messages" and... and... Actually, that is where the law starts and ends. Well, I can only speak for myself, but I always thought the right messages were for the parents to teach, not the law.

    It is not to be underestimated the power of corruption either, the drug war is reliant on every soul in the fight to do their duty, in every force, in every country. This will never happen with the power that now resides in the cartels court, and the money that changes hands. There is much naivety on the prohibition front.

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  • 31. At 6:43pm on 19 Aug 2010, Charles Howie wrote:

    Thanks Mark.
    Your piece is really informative. I had no idea that supplying 'drugs' were only criminalised in the 1960s. The US tried prohibition of alcohol, but it didnt last. Looks as if criminalising drugs havent been any more successful

    Two comments: what would the drug entrepreneurs turn to to make money on if drugs were decriminalised; and this could be an issue where the coalition government could show any colours of independence it has by stepping away from the US on this subject.

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  • 32. At 7:08pm on 19 Aug 2010, Luke wrote:

    RIGHT PEOPLE!

    The UK Drug market exceeds 100 billion a year with ilegaly sold drugs, Why let people get away with makeing millions???
    Why also let the TAX payer pay for people to go to prison its a waste of police time.
    legalising canabis alone would stop a huge drug crime wave across the uk, by makeing it legal to grow a maximum of 2 plants per person. But still keep it alegal to sell......... but then again makeing it legal to sell in shops and implicating a tax onto this would build a revenue that would proberly bring us out of ressesion think about it MR CAMRON!! i would say around 45% of the UK smoke canabis ilegaly in the UK they smoke around £10 put a tax of £3 on this.... There is 60 million people in the UK well close to Garenteed at least 1 million people smoke canabis in the uk do i need to do the mathmatics i think not 3 million pound a day in tax revenue would be made and this is only of canabis! NO MORE NEEDID TO BE SAID!!! ON CANABIS THE HARMLESS DRUG!! THAT IS LESSS HARMFULL THEN alcohol ( proven fact ) common people !!!! PLEASE TRY AND SEE MY LOGIC :)

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  • 33. At 7:23pm on 19 Aug 2010, Luke wrote:

    Excuse my spelling mistakes i am working and doing this inbetween calls and well on the phone! lol Multitasking man!! who would of thought of it!

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  • 34. At 7:46pm on 19 Aug 2010, freddawlanen wrote:

    Even the most blinkered must realise that the "War on drugs" has failed at every level, from the disillusioned youths who'll try anything illegal purely for the thrill of it, through the self medicating millions, right upto billionaire drug barons who've made tens of thousands of lives a complete misery and that's not even counting the who knows how many who've died/been killed due to ignorance, fear and even slavery, the world over.

    Legalisation brings regulation of quality, taxation in the billions of pounds, removal of criminal activity for 100s of thousands, millions of man hours saved by police forces that can be used to pursue more dangerous criminals, a vast swathe of the black economy, better and more honest education and the gateway aspect of "soft" to "hard" drugs that only occurs because most of the places to purchase these substances is from unscrupulous characters who only care about their money.

    The sooner sensible policies are brought in, the better for every man woman and child as the current situation is both a ludicrous shambles and blatantly ineffective.

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  • 35. At 8:47pm on 19 Aug 2010, Rob Walker wrote:

    The idea that the use of drugs can be controlled by criminalising them is patently absurd. If the Home Office cannot prevent the trade in drugs in the controlled environment of its prisons, then what chance is there in society at large? We must be pragmatic.

    Such an approach only serves the interests of the criminals who profit greatly from the illegal trade, along with those with careers within the law enforcement agencies and the justice system that have been expanded greatly to cope with the drug related 'criminal menace'.

    The evidence is that, like alcohol and tobacco, while the responsible, personal use of heroin, cannabis and such like might be a bad idea in relation to the health of the user, it need not destroy the fabric of society as a whole. Indeed in the pre-criminal past, long term users of such drugs have led useful, productive lives and even been regarded as examples to us all e.g.wartime aircrew burns victims.

    So why not follow the examples of tobacco and ethanol, both of which are capable of inflicting great damage on society, and follow the path of legalising, regulating and taxing the use of these substances? In the age of Coalition austerity,the great savings arising from reducing the size of the justice system and the demands on NHS services not to mention the potential for VAT and Excise Duty receipts would surely be most welcome.

    And who would cry for the losers - the criminals, the cops, the lawyers and the screws?

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  • 36. At 9:41pm on 19 Aug 2010, McD wrote:

    They may not be applied in Holland, but they’re still on the books. ALL signatories to the UN ‘Narcotics’ Conventions, which in effect means any country which wishes to trade with other countries, are obliged to have criminal statutes to hurt and ‘punish’ drug users.

    The comment above about this issue being beyond the power of UK governments and law is quite right. Nothing can be done to make any real change to the situation by the UK alone. If I’m not mistaken, the real reason for the most recent re-classification of cannabis was a mere hint at the possibility of sanctions by the UN. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Maria_Costa for some detail.) However much we may like to pretend it is within our power to do something about this, the only way anything of any real import can be undertaken is by renouncing the UN Conventions. Could any sane person with any more than half a dozen brain cells to bang together at any given time seriously suggest the Americans would allow this? No, they will be first and then they will allow (or force) others to follow. If you try to overtake the leader, you will be bitch-slapped down. That’s what the politicians know and are afraid of. Can you imagine how acutely embarrassing that would be? Now you know why no politician would ever consider it.

    So, all there really is to do now is to pray California leads the way in November in the same way it led when it became the first State to criminalise cannabis. This is what the Americans are waiting for: when too many States have rejected too many conventions, then the Federal Government may get it sorted out at the UN and we may be given some relief. Until then, you may as well save your breath. There’s nothing of any real significance anyone can do while the current (1961 and '88) UN Conventions remain in force.

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  • 37. At 10:22pm on 19 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    McD #36.

    "There’s nothing of any real significance anyone can do while the current (1961 and '88) UN Conventions remain in force."

    but what about Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands? they all have partially or fully decriminalised the use of various substances.

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  • 38. At 10:26pm on 19 Aug 2010, Bertie wrote:

    Whilst most of the posts here seem to indicate a will to decriminalise recreational drugs i wonder how many of those posters have alcholic friends,or perhaps know drug addicts - its not pretty and usually is devastating.
    Im the last person who would be against decriminalisation as i strongly believe in free will, but ---
    perhaps the answer is in something we havent tried yet.

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  • 39. At 11:30pm on 19 Aug 2010, McD wrote:

    "but what about Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands? they all have partially or fully decriminalised the use of various substances."

    True, and the benefit it has been to them in comparison to the benefit our drug policies have been to us is indeed significant. But the effects of a policy would have to be very horrific indeed if they were to compete against the horrors resulting from our policies, so let's not use that as a baseline for significance.

    The most advanced nations - Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands - have managed to keep beneath the radar. I wonder what the population of them combined is. Let's see, without looking it up, I know there are about 16m in NL, probably about ten in Portugal, half as many in Switzerland; don't know about Austria; what's that - two thirds to three quarters the population of the UK? And you can't hide the secret that these are all the very most advanced nations - decades ahead of others in the EU family. Portugal's bravery has compensated for a lot of things some might consider shortcoming, e.g. lower material standards of living, but this bravery has really pulled her up a notch or two.

    The point is, as almost all of the comments above make all too clear, significant change is now required. You can't put a population of sixty-odd million with hundreds of thousands and millions of relatives in every corner of the globe into the same position as NL, i.e with the 'back-door problem'. (Ouch! Sixty-odd million back doors just won't take it!) The problem needs to be resolved. This is significant. This is not decriminalisation, as so many people seem to mistakenly believe. (See above for examples.) This is full-blown legalisation. There is no middle ground. If the drugs are not criminal, but there's no way to obtain them other than by going to criminals, then there's no difference between them being illegal and not being illegal. I repeat from above, "ALL signatories to the UN ‘Narcotics’ Conventions, which in effect means any country which wishes to trade with other countries, are obliged to have criminal statutes to hurt and ‘punish’ drug users." If a signatory to a UN Convention openly disregards its legal obligations, it will be punished. The punishment could be quite severe. It will be painfully humiliating. Any person who was involved in creating such a situation would no longer be welcome in politics. It might be difficult for them to find work to keep them in a means to which they may have become accustomed. It's really not something (m)any politician(s) would think of as a good idea. It's fine for (retiring) doctors, but it's not a bandwagon a lot of politicos are going to be very eager to jump into bed on. See Chapter VI - Beyond the Current Drug Conventions - of the Beckley Foundation Global Cannabis Commission Report (http://www.beckleyfoundation.org/policy/cannabis_commission.html) for a nice, accessible explanation.)

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  • 40. At 11:36pm on 19 Aug 2010, badger78 wrote:

    Excellent post HomeGrownOutlaw. The duplicity of the Government with what as I see as the most harmful drug of all - alcohol, should not be brushed under the carpet; or more importantly not used as an argument against the regulation of less harmful drugs.

    @McD. As jr4412 points out - utter rubbish. The UN conventions are a convenient but invalid excuse for the Government to do nothing.

    @Bertie
    "i wonder how many of those posters have alcholic friends,or perhaps know drug addicts - its not pretty and usually is devastating."
    Yes, drug misuse and addiction can be devastating. It is even more devastating if you are locked in a cycle of ciminality to fund an addiction. This is not an argument for punishment rather than treatment.
    Have also ever considered that the high alcohol rates in the UK might be something to do with the extent to which Goverments have not sufficiently regulated alcohol advertising and sales over many years? The fact that alcohol is a harmful drug sanctioned by the state, where other less harmful alternatives exist but are criminalised. For example, cannabis has been shown to be beneficial in reducing alcohol dependency, or that it is probably safer to substitue 12 pints on a Friday night with a small amount of MDMA, if that's what one chooses to do.

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  • 41. At 00:00am on 20 Aug 2010, McD wrote:

    No, Badger, you're wrong.

    Educate yourself a bit. You could start by reading the Beckley Report, for example. It's only 200-odd pages long and it's very well written - accessible; unlike so many other terribly stodgy and boring tomes on the subject, which I could hardly blame you for neglecting to read. Shouldn't take you more than an evening or two. Then you might have some idea of what you're talking about.

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  • 42. At 00:38am on 20 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    McD #39, #36, #41.

    in #36 you say: "There’s nothing of any real significance anyone can do while the current (1961 and '88) UN Conventions remain in force."

    I pointed you to Portugal, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands -- all of these nations are signatories to the UN Conventions.

    please explain, concisely, what you failed to address in your #39, namely why they can change their legislation without being "bitch-slapped".

    size of population has nothing to do with legal imperative!

    (I do hope you can do better than the "Educate yourself a bit" you offered to badger78)

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  • 43. At 01:05am on 20 Aug 2010, badger78 wrote:

    @McD. Thanks for the patronising tone. I have seen that report before.

    International law is, in a sense, complex and I don't pretend to be an expert.
    What I do understand is that we are bound by a UN Convention in as much as we are a signatory to it - if we break from those conventions then that is the choice of the UK Government, and we are no longer a signatory. As I understand the US is not a signatory to the UN Convention on Rights of the Child for example. UN Conventions are only as powerful as a sum of parts i.e. signatories.

    You say "If a signatory to a UN Convention openly disregards its legal obligations, it will be punished. The punishment could be quite severe. It will be painfully humiliating. "
    If we are not a signatory then this does not stand.
    Anyway, I'm not exactly sure what you mean by punishment here? A good slap in the chops for the UK's representative to the UN?

    And lo! I take this from the report that you metaphorically shoved in my face telling me to educate myself:

    "The 1961 treaty (UN, 2007a) provides a clear procedure for denouncing the Convention, that is, withdrawing from it with a specified notice period which amounts to less than a year (Art. 46). In the 1988 Convention (UN, 2007b) the specified notice period is one year (Art. 50). Helfer (2005:1601) notes that “the conventional wisdom holds that treaty exits are extremely rare events that governments undertake only after exhausting all other avenues of persuasion and influence”. However, compiling a database of ratifications and denunciations of treaties from 1945 to 2004, he found that exits were in fact not so rare; in that period there had been 1547 denunciations or withdrawals, a little under 5% of the number of ratifications. Of the multilateral treaties concluded after 1945, 3.5% had been denounced at least once.
    Denunciation of a treaty is on the one hand a legal action that removes a
    state’s obligation to comply with the provisions of a treaty. On the other hand, it is also a public statement. As Helfer (2005:1588) notes, “withdrawing from an agreement (or threatening to withdraw) can give a denouncing state additional voice, either by increasing its leverage to reshape the treaty,… or by establishing a rival legal norm or institution together with other like-minded states”.

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  • 44. At 04:26am on 20 Aug 2010, Mafficker wrote:

    Ok folks, the MDAct does not equate to the Government's policy choice of prohibition. The MDAct can implement any of the five models in Transform's Blueprint for Regulation. Only the UK executive ratified the UN drugs Conventions; the Parliament and the Judiciary did not! That ratification is subject to the UK's 'constitutional limitations', of which the principle of equal treatment and non-fettering of future executive action are two; hence, drugequality.org And, illegal/legal drugs do not exist; the MDAct regulates humans not drugs. Have a nice day! Shine like a crazy diamond! Mx

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  • 45. At 08:01am on 20 Aug 2010, badger78 wrote:

    Thanks Mafficker...!

    As I said, the UN Conventions are a not a excuse for inaction on the part of the UK Government.

    Good day :)

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  • 46. At 09:05am on 20 Aug 2010, McD wrote:

    The above three - 42, 43 and 44 - are all valid points, but they lack a depth of understanding about how politics work. Firstly, you must bear in mind why prohibition is with us in the first place - it is simply an extension of slavery. It's all about power and control, showing who's boss. Of course, theoretically there are instruments for withdrawing from UN conventions, but the reality is the World Boss (the United States) will not allow anyone to steal a march on them. In denouncing a UN Convention a state is actually denouncing the UN, read US, and questioning it's competence. This is not acceptable and would not be tolerated. You can't have slaves suggesting their masters behave differently or might be subject to question, can you?

    You ask what punishment there might be for a state which tries to rise above its station. Well, in the first instance, it would need to be ready to weather alienation and isolation. If it persisted, it may be subject to UN sanctions. Whatever happens, it would not be possible for the UN to ignore the challenge, as it has done with the states previously mentioned here.

    I think I've already pointed out here somewhere before: criminal statutes to harm users of officially bad drugs are still on the books in both the Netherlands and Portugal, not to mention every other signatory country, which in effect means every country. (Actually, I don't know if there are any countries, including so-called rogue nations, which have been allowed to avoid becoming signatories.) In practical terms this means they can ignore some aspects of their laws without incurring the the Wrath of the Axis (sanctions) as long as they can change their minds immediately and start hurting people tomorrow for using officially bad drugs. If, however, the Dutch, for example, were to decide tomorrow to solve their back-door problem and enable the legal supply of an officially bad drug, they would be punished. It would be the same for Portugal if, for example, they decided to change their law to enable users of officially bad drugs to possess more than a ten-day supply. Intense pressure would be applied. (The deepest admiration of Holland for withstanding this intense pressure, as they have somehow managed to do since 1976, is justified. I love the Netherlands for this.) If the maverick states persisted, sanctions may be imposed. For a country like NL, the economy of which is so dependent on international trade (like all countries now), the result would be immediately apparent - a non-functioning economy and consequently declining material standard of living. You must be aware how 'democracy' works: it would mean the government responsible would soon be ousted. And political suicide for everyone involved. Again, I think I pointed out above the extent to which many politicians - funnily enough, particularly the more influential ones - may have become accustomed to keeping themselves in a manner which they might not be able to afford, should outrageous fortune force them to compete on the job market. Particularly if the job market were subject to such pressures as The Wrath. No, this is not a win-win in a democracy, nor anywhere else.

    Start looking into why cannabis was last re-classified in the UK if you want to start learning how to read between the lines and deepen your understanding of how these politics might work. Did you really think Gordon Brown was such a visionary thinker and leader among politicians to decide of his own volition to go to the lengths of undoing obviously sensible legislation which had been introduced by his own party only a short time before? Try thinking a bit harder.

    If you can't do that, then try reading (a bit more carefully and thoroughly). Somehow you missed the relevant part of the Beckley Report. Unfortuantely - and this really is sods' law, since I commented on how well-written and accessible the Report is - the pages of the Report are hard to sort out at this particular point (Chaper VI, pp. 155-157). The formatting of the footnote is the problem. Try reading it without getting sidetracked by the last paragraphs, which are actually the footnote, on those pages. You've taken a paragraph out of context to show how well you can read, but you've missed the point, which is on page 164, "There are thus several paths forward which could be taken by a single country or a group of countries inclined to allow a controlled legal market in cannabis. The simplest, in countries with a constitutional system like that of the US, would be to pass domestic legislation enabling this. Under the last in time principle, this would nullify international law with respect to national law and the domestic market. However, with respect to international obligations, this would be a breach of the treaties, and the state would have to be willing to bear this onus." There would need to be a group of very brave, single-minded and dedicated politicians in power to be able, never mind willing, to bear such an onus. Perhaps this new coalition government in the UK is The One? Personally, I'm a great believer in coalitions. United we stand and half a dozen kids together can put a playground bully, which is really what we're dealing with, in his place. Keep your fingers crossed and watch this space!

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  • 47. At 09:20am on 20 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Drug addict benefit withdrawal considered
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11033139

    if this goes through time to march on parliament, the crime and civil disorder this will cause will be incredible.

    We have serious problems now!!!! our streets will be littered with dead people, our hospitals full of stabbing victims, our psychiatric hospitals and prison bursting at the seems...

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  • 48. At 09:30am on 20 Aug 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    Thank you Mark. Your posts on this subject are always well thought out and well written. It's such a shame that other sections of the media cannot report on the drugs debate and drug use in general without including a huge dose of moral indignation, half truths, lies and the usual Govt line. The media have a duty to society to report these issues in a grown up, thoughtful way. Hopefully the tide is beginning to turn and we can stop wasting huge sums of money on this lost war. We must stop the criminalisation of vast swathes of society just because they would rather relax with a joint, or a pill rather than a beer, a glass of wine or a fag. Addiction is an illness and should be treated as such - not a crime. Legalise and regulate.

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  • 49. At 09:58am on 20 Aug 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    The Home Office has also confirmed plans to give ministers the power to ban new substance for a year until they have been properly assessed in a bid to combat so-called "legal highs".

    Minister for Crime Prevention James Brokenshire said: "The drugs market is changing and we need to adapt current laws to allow us to act more quickly.

    "The temporary ban allows us to act straight away to stop new substances gaining a foothold in the market and help us tackle unscrupulous drug dealers trying to get round the law by peddling dangerous chemicals to young people."

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11033139

    We already know all the risks/harms associated with heroin, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamines, mdma, alcohol, tobacco etc. If the so called illicit drugs were legalised and thoroughly regulated there would be no need for new potentially very dangerous drugs - there would be no market for them. Criminalisation of mdma has caused this new market. We need legalisation, regulation, education. Talk about fiddling while Rome burns!

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  • 50. At 10:22am on 20 Aug 2010, plasticmanc wrote:

    The Home Office has made it clear ministers remain opposed to such ideas.

    "The government does not believe that decriminalisation is the right approach. Our priorities are clear; we want to reduce drug use, crack down on drug-related crime and disorder and help addicts come off drugs for good."

    Reduce drug use - educate instead of criminalising
    It is well docuemnted that Amsterdam and the netherlands have a very low drug use per capita as opposed to it's European counterparts.
    Crack down on drug related crime - What figures are they using for this? burglary to obtain the funds for drugs are in the same catagory as somebody caught with a joint. When in fact burglary is the only 'crime' in this instance. Legalise and the black market crumbles as do the organised 'crime' syndicates who supply the drugs.
    Help addicts come off the drugs for good - Money can be better used to pay for reabilitation and education rather than imprisoning your everyday weed smoker at great expense.

    The Home Office are in fact doing everything they can do NOT to achieve their own goals...

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  • 51. At 10:58am on 20 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    FedupwithGovt #49.

    "Minister for Crime Prevention James Brokenshire said: ..stop new substances gaining a foothold in the market.."

    that would be a genuine first since it hasn't worked for any of the other substances.

    Brokenshire -- nomen est omen ??

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomen_est_omen

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  • 52. At 11:03am on 20 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    John Ellis #47.

    "Drug addict benefit withdrawal considered"

    the 'problem' with that (as I see it) is that the majority of drug users aren't on benefits!!

    this is more about further marginalisation the the lowest (poorest!!) 20% of society.

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  • 53. At 11:47am on 20 Aug 2010, Scott1981 wrote:

    It saddens me that people feel that they need to resort to chemicals to have a good time. Yes alchol and tobacco are legal but that is more due to hunderds if not thousands of years of them being part of our culture. If there were not there now and someone tried to introduce them then they would be illegal.

    Free will is a good in theory but it relies on people making correct decisions. Clearly not all people do this. Look at the amount of people in serious debt due to too much borrowing.

    Keeping drugs illegal is the only sensible option backed up by good education and a culture against drugs.

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  • 54. At 12:14pm on 20 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Scott1981 #53.

    "It saddens me that people feel that they need to resort to chemicals to have a good time."

    not all drugs are about 'a good time'. LSD (and similar substances) for instance is about exploring your mind and your (sensory) perception.

    the point surely is that no one ought to be forced to take any drug against their will, and that everyone has the education and information to hand to make informed decisions.

    your point on debt is a good illustration of the consequences of people being forced to act within narrow (legal and societal) confines in the absence of basic education and unbiased information.

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  • 55. At 12:29pm on 20 Aug 2010, Steve - Iver wrote:

    46. At 09:05am on 20 Aug 2010, McD wrote:

    ...lots of stuff about the problems we face with regard to decriminalisation...

    Thanks for all that McD. You have put a well written argument and I get the feeling, from reading your post, that although you have a grasp on international political law, or at least you've read about it, you also seem to fall on the anti-prohibition side of the fence - would I be correct?

    You cite UN Convention, and at first it does seem that although we may be able to present very reasoned arguments for the abolition of prohibition, the reality of getting that past the legislators is significantly more difficult, if not only for the complexities of international law, moreso than a lack of willingness on any particular member to do so. And it does appear, at first, to be a monumental task to achieve.

    But it is the way things work, and it is the top of the tree insomuch as the workings of international law. You're right to bring it up, however, as I wonder how many people realised how far the legislation would need to go, to be changed, to be accepted. It's clowns to the left of me and jokers to the right, or stuck between the devil and deep blue sea - take your pick.

    Whatever happens, I can see only one successful route through the maze of international convention and law. It will take a long time, and we must all be patient.

    I come back to Education again. Educating our society at the grass roots level is the starting point. Once we have the backing of society, we have a better case for our elected representatives. They cannot act unilaterally, I think we've established that. It would be political suicide. But, with other sovereign nations rethinking their attitude to this situation, we could find allies, including, dare I say it, the US, Mexico, Switzerland, the Netherlands. Should the UK join that mix I'm sure others would either lead, follow or walk side by side with us. If the US and the EU were to, at least, consider the benefits of a 'sea-change', the 'how-to' ratification process would be more clear.

    The mood is changing and the pace is quickening. We must preserve the momentum and not be dissuaded.

    It was in 1893 that the first nation in the world granted equal voting rights to all its citizens, including women. That nation was New Zealand, and it went against all international convention. We didn't have the UN at the time.

    Slowly slowly catchy monkey, the world began to catch up. Every year, new countries would join the list of those who allowed their women folk the voting right. Some even allowed women to run for office. Attitudes changed as public opinion was moulded by a new, modern society.

    The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was not adopted by the UN until 1973. How's that for a long time coming.

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  • 56. At 12:29pm on 20 Aug 2010, Carl Showalter wrote:

    53. At 11:47am on 20 Aug 2010, Scott1981 wrote:

    It saddens me that people feel that they need to resort to chemicals to have a good time.

    it's how we and the rest of the animal world are wired. get over yourself.

    Yes alchol and tobacco are legal but that is more due to hunderds if not thousands of years of them being part of our culture. If there were not there now and someone tried to introduce them then they would be illegal.

    Yes, Queen Victoria used laudanum to ease her period pains, heroin, cannabis and cocaine were available in shops in the Victorian era and psilocybin mushrooms are actually indigenous to the UK, traces of which have been found in the foundations of many stone circles. your point is?

    Free will is a good in theory but it relies on people making correct decisions. Clearly not all people do this. Look at the amount of people in serious debt due to too much borrowing.

    so you argue that people shouldn't be allowed to do anything just in case they make the wrong decision? it's called learning from experience. talking of experience..

    Keeping drugs illegal is the only sensible option backed up by good education and a culture against drugs.

    because it's worked so amazingly well thus far? your culture against drugs is pretty much on it's backside matey, what with 6.2 million cannabis users in the UK. what we really need is a culture against ignorance, backed up with genuine factual education and not buzz-phrases to sell more red-tops.

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  • 57. At 3:59pm on 20 Aug 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    56. At 12:29pm on 20 Aug 2010, Donaldus Matthews wrote:

    Keeping drugs illegal is the only sensible option backed up by good education and a culture against drugs.

    because it's worked so amazingly well thus far? your culture against drugs is pretty much on it's backside matey, what with 6.2 million cannabis users in the UK. what we really need is a culture against ignorance, backed up with genuine factual education and not buzz-phrases to sell more red-tops.

    ==============================================

    I think we can safely say that after 40 years it is quite evident that prohibition does not work in this scenario. I couldn't agree with you more DM. Surely if prohibition has not worked for that length of time the situation will still be the same 40 years from now - probably worse. It really is a head in the sand policy. Legalise, regulate and educate. It is the only sensible way forward. Now - let's see if we can find a sensible politician :(

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  • 58. At 4:00pm on 20 Aug 2010, McD wrote:

    Yes, I'm with you, Steve.

    Actually, you can call me a cynic if you like, but I don't believe this debate coming to fruition as and when it has is anything like coincidence. I believe it's all been manipulated. Have a look at one of my earlier posts above, nr. 14, for an overview of the mechanisms I believe are being used to free us of this hideous beast (prohibition=slavery).

    I think you're right about nations starting to be seen to come together to work this out, but I don't think you're right about the difficulty we can expect to meet from legislators. I think that's already been decided. (A lot of them just aren't aware of this yet.) Russia will be the scapegoat. Judging by the pace at which the debate has heated up, it looks as though this could all take place much more quickly than one might have dared imagine only a few months ago.

    The big question I keep asking myself now is, 'Did the government know what they were doing when the sacked David Nutt?' I find it difficult to believe they might have been stupid enough not to. But who knows? This world is full of genuinely stupid politicians. I keep seeing a picture of the then Home Secretary in my mind's eye a day or two after he'd done the deed. His face looked more cunning than stupid to me. But it's not really evil. If they know what they're doing, then what they're doing this time, unlike so many times previously, is for the best.

    Yes, I have read a bit of law. In fact, I did start a joint honours BA in Russian (language) and Soviet Law and English Law, but I didn't finish it, and so can't claim to have any more than a layman's grasp. I also lived in America for fourteen years, so many of the most important factors and various cultural mentalities at play in this situation are intimately familiar to me.

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  • 59. At 4:14pm on 20 Aug 2010, Peter Reynolds wrote:

    What we the people are now DEMANDING from our government is:

    1. An end to oppression of drug users (at least 10 million citizens)
    2. Removal from the criminal law of any offence for possession and/or social supply
    3. Fact and evidence-based policy, information and regulation

    The National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee have both criticised the government for basing drugs policy on opinion rather than facts and evidence.

    Our cowardly politicians, who have refused to grasp this nettle for years, are directly responsible for the death, misery, degradation, and crime caused by drug laws. This is an international scandal of monstrous proportions.

    As Baroness McNally said in the House of Lords on 15th June 2010: "There is no more obvious waste than the £19 billion cost of the UK's war on drugs."

    http://peterreynolds.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/the-drugs-debate/

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  • 60. At 4:15pm on 20 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    52. At 11:03am on 20 Aug 2010, jr 4412 wrote:
    John Ellis #47.

    "Drug addict benefit withdrawal considered"

    the 'problem' with that (as I see it) is that the majority of drug users aren't on benefits!!

    this is more about further marginalisation the the lowest (poorest!!) 20% of society.


    Its about our masters getting more prostitutes to abuse. that's all it can be about as its the only source of income left open. most addicts partner up male/female, the female will become the revenue for the drugs. whole sale abuse ....
    The chaotic addicts will still steal of those around them, other groups of addicts will organise themselves and start hitting middle england for income through organised burglaries, after all why risk prison for a games console when you can risk prison for a lot of antiques and jewelry that is still easy to get rid of but worth a lot more in street sales. Its that or make the Mrs work on her back to pay for the drugs.

    We will also see a huge rise in the price of basic commodities in shops as shoplifting becomes a full time profession..

    To many costs for the sake of punishing a few.

    Still its all right to propose such stuff when you live in the countryside and have chafures to drive you to work and back. Its okay to suggest such things when private security firms protect your house and property, when you can afford to have your burglar alarm connect to the police station..


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  • 61. At 4:51pm on 20 Aug 2010, Steve - Iver wrote:

    McD,

    Prohibition is akin to slavery, in that it is a blanket policy to restrict freedoms. What it does, is prohibit without good reason, using scaremongering tactics to mould public opinion. The media pick up on this language, and use it in the reporting which in turn becomes the belief system of the morally righteous. You could appraise that to white plantation owners spreading malicious gossip about black slaves all being voodoo practitioners so as to coerce liberal thinking rightful people to believe their rhetoric.

    This is how beliefs are spread to become opinion. A better example would be the church, but that would be taking the discussion a tad too far off topic.

    My terminology with regard to 'legislators' might have been a bit misleading. I was trying to say that getting this to resolution within the UN would be a difficult matter, but the path should be clear.

    We have to begin with taking the work of the likes of Professors Nutt and Gilmore, and give it as much publicity as possible. Admittedly, Prof. Gilmore gave his thoughts at the end of his career, but I still applaud him for that. It would have been risky to do so if he still had a year or two left before retirement, but I'd like to think that he and all the others who have given their name to the cause, are pioneers in their own way. Dr. Nutt gave his thoughts on the matter and it cost him his job.

    If each one can help us to persuade a small percentage of non-believers each time, then it can only be a matter of time before we get the majority consensus.

    Lest we forget the outspoken Nicholas Green, QC, chairman of the Bar Council for England & Wales who spoke out this year in favour of decriminalisation. Then there was Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom from the North Wales Police who spoke out (in 2005) about the way we deal with drugs, users, and how to reform.

    As I said in the earlier post, moods and opinions are changing and there is a momentum now that is gathering pace. How do we take it further?

    Can you imagine a stoners riot? It would hardly be a riot, and it would be so peaceful and respectful, it would probably need no security, and we're banded as criminals in the process.

    There was a gay rights activist in the 1960s and 1970s called Harvey Milk. His catchphrase was 'I want to recruit you' and he encouraged all gay men and women to identify themselves so that society at large could see how many they actually were. It caused a sensation in San Francisco at the time. Look at the change of attitude in a few decades.

    Think about it - a nationwide stoners party. How many would there be. Some commentators estimate 6+ million in the UK alone. All we need is the venue.





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  • 62. At 5:05pm on 20 Aug 2010, McD wrote:

    You're getting carried away, John.

    Do bear in mind what this is really all about. Opiates and real addiction aren't really big problems. It's only a minuscule proportion of the population who get caught up in them. I don't think you need to worry about the drug-fuelled thieving sprees of hoards of 'chaotic addicts driving up the price of commodities as a result of shoplifting'. I can't remember the exact figure - again, it's in the Beckley Report - but I think it's only a fraction of one percent of the population get caught up in genuine addictions, like opiates and pharmaceuticals.

    This is really about suppressing the use of cannabis. The problem for our masters is that the number of people who would have anything to do with drugs other than cannabis is too small to justify any expenditure. This is why they can't just legalise cannabis on its own and this red herring of genuine addictions has been thrust into the equation. If it weren't for the six or seven or eight or ten million people in the UK who naturally enjoy invigorating their endocannabinoid systems, there would be no debate, no question. How many opiate addicts are there in the UK now? Do you think they would get all this attention in their own right? No, they'd be prescribed heroin, like in Switzerland - once in the morning on their way to work and again in the evening on their way home - to get on with their jobs and leading fulfilling, productive lives.

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  • 63. At 5:43pm on 20 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Hmm that depends on were you live. around here ... were I live... its constant.. unrelenting. we have spent many years dealing with it pimps prostitutes organised shop lifting. we also have 4 halfway houses within ½ a mile square...

    heroin dealers actively addicting young girls and pimping them on our main road.. addicts waiting morning noon and night less than 30 yards from my house for drop offs, begging in the street getting abusive when you say no...

    the local co-op cant put expensive meat out... you have to ask for it... the local high street is just a free for all. organised gangs choosing picking and distracting while ps3's and tv's are lifted out the shops... I know exactly how it is.

    anyways that's not why i came to post.. this is submit your answers ASAP

    http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/about-us/consultations/

    2010 Drug strategy consultation paper. You can also respond to the questions immediately via our online form (new window).
    Publication date: 20/08/10
    Closing date: 30/09/10

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  • 64. At 5:45pm on 20 Aug 2010, McD wrote:

    Steve,

    "...getting this to resolution within the UN would be a difficult matter..."

    I disagree. I think the decision has already been made within the UN, hence the retirement of Antonio Maria Costa and the appointment of Yuri Fedatov. That's the only reason this debate has come out as and when it has.

    Further to my previous post, I paraphrase: 'The burning question that haunts me now is who knows about it? The US President? Quite possibly not. No-one wants amateurs getting involved in jobs where professionals are needed. The CIA? I should think so. The Russians? Most decidedly not; they need to play the role of fall guy, which they've taken to with quite some aplomb. Tony Blair? Quite possibly. Have a think about this meeting in Washington:

    Blair: You know, George, old buddy, I'd really like to get my name in the history books in a big way. We all know cannabis isn't going to be illegal for much longer. Howsabout I be the one to legalise it in the UK?
    Bush: Well, Tony, you sycophant, I could let you go ahead and do that, but I'd need an assurance from your lackey, the next PM, that he'll go back on it as soon as you're gone. That way you get a footnote in the history books. How's that?
    Blair: Oh, you're too kind!

    On the other hand, the smaller the circle of those who are in on it, the smaller the chance of it going awry.

    I think you can look forward to a lot of stoners' riots in the UK soon. Unfortunately, I no longer live in the UK, so won't be able to participate. Even better, though, I think you can look forward to open debate on Newsnight, etc. That, of course, is the end. As soon as this debate goes mainstream and is aired openly, as it has now begun to be, it's all over bar the shouting. No prohibitionist could withstand any fair debate on a level playing field. You'll soon be seeing them dropping like flies all over the airwaves. Only wish I could be there with you!

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  • 65. At 6:07pm on 20 Aug 2010, McD wrote:

    OK, John, I believe you, but I'm afraid you're making the common mistake of confusing the harm caused by prohibition with the harm caused by the drugs themselves. Would any of the problems that plague your locality exist if drugs were not prohibited?

    Thanks for the Home Office link.

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  • 66. At 6:40pm on 20 Aug 2010, Cobalt Chicken wrote:

    > Free will is a good in theory but it relies on people making correct decisions.
    >Clearly not all people do this. Look at the amount of people in serious debt due to
    >too much borrowing.

    Oh, come on, what you're saying is that "people should be free to make the decisions in accordance with what we think is the right choice.

    That's not remotely free will.

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  • 67. At 6:47pm on 20 Aug 2010, Cobalt Chicken wrote:

    >No prohibitionist could withstand any fair debate on a level playing field. You'll
    >soon be seeing them dropping like flies all over the airwaves. Only wish I could be
    >there with you!

    Who says they'll play fair? They'll wheel out that most potent political force for irrationality; the bereaved parent.

    And you needn't imagine that legalisation would be the end of it.

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  • 68. At 6:55pm on 20 Aug 2010, McD wrote:

    Oh, I don't think there's much more mileage to be dragged out of bereaved parents.

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  • 69. At 7:41pm on 20 Aug 2010, jon112dk wrote:

    65. At 6:07pm on 20 Aug 2010, McD wrote:
    "OK, John, I believe you, but I'm afraid you're making the common mistake of confusing the harm caused by prohibition with the harm caused by the drugs themselves. Would any of the problems that plague your locality exist if drugs were not prohibited?"
    =========================================================

    Aren't you mistaking prohibition with cost?

    Surely if heroin/crack were legalised and sold at every shop next to the cigarettes the druggies would still need to prostitute and/or rob the co-op to pay for it?

    That's the need to pay causing crime, not prohibition.

    The need for crime to pay for the drugs would only cease if we gave them everything they want for free.

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  • 70. At 8:06pm on 20 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Im a bereaved brother i say legalise them all tax regulate. Stop the madness.

    Treat and supply.

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  • 71. At 8:33pm on 20 Aug 2010, McD wrote:

    69. "Aren't you mistaking prohibition with cost?"

    Well, yes and no. You certainly make a valid point.

    The thing is, though, there's no reason to believe an enormous number of people are going to rush out to become crack or opioid addicts. Sure, some will, but they would have done so anyway. Most people will probably indulge in the same way that people use the monkey drug now - at parties, weddings, funerals, etc. - probably not much more than half a dozen times a year or so.

    It shouldn't take too long to work out how to most effectively help those who are predisposed to addiction and get themselves into trouble. There should be oodles and oodles of money left over from discontinued futile interdiction, so there's no reason why good intervention, rehabilitation (though I shouldn't think that's what they'd be called) and other support programmes can't be developed; unlike the situation as it is now, where people could be threatened and bullied into 'treatment' programmes, as they are in the States.

    I don't think this idea that we can make a fortune in tax off of it is wise, though. I think we'll find most people are happy with cannabis and really don't have much burning desire to indulge in much else. Maybe a couple of lines a couple of times a year, but... Most people want to have a job, work, make enough money to enjoy themselves and do so as they please. I should think anyone with a garden will be growing and there won't be any revenue for the state from that. Most people would be more than happy with a good, bushy, 1-metre plant a month, so they'll probably cultivate twenty or thirty plants, give some away to friends who aren't fortunate enough to have a garden and buy a few grams a month when their supply runs out in the spring or summer if they don't keep a couple of plants under lights inside. It's not going to be a money spinner.

    As for the other drugs... I don't think many people will show much interest in them and those who do, as I've already pointed out, would do whether they're legal or not.

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  • 72. At 10:45pm on 20 Aug 2010, Peter Reynolds wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 73. At 10:57pm on 20 Aug 2010, Peter Reynolds wrote:

    @McD,John

    The individual liberty, tax generation, proper use of law enforcement resources and fighting US organised crime arguments are mostly relevant to cannabis.

    The street crime, global organised crime and health arguments are mostly relevant to heroin and cocaine.

    All arguments are relevant to MDMA and psychedelics

    Together they add up to (forgive me for repeating myself):

    1. An end to oppression of drug users (at least 10 million citizens)
    2. Removal from the criminal law of any offence for possession and/or social supply
    3. Fact and evidence-based policy, information and regulation

    I think it’s self-evident that the approach I have outlined would result in less harm, fewer harms and a damn sight better society.

    www.peter-reynolds.co.uk

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  • 74. At 10:59pm on 20 Aug 2010, Peter Reynolds wrote:

    @McD

    "invigorating their endocannabinoid system"

    I love that Mac. I'm nicking it - shamelessly!

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  • 75. At 11:36pm on 20 Aug 2010, Fightintheshade wrote:

    Only someone who wishes to see their country weakened or is too ignorant to see that would be the result advocates for open drug abuse. REF China 1700s

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  • 76. At 00:32am on 21 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    jon112uk #69.

    "Surely if heroin/crack were legalised and sold at every shop.."

    no one in their right mind would advocate this, check out the Swiss model; synthesised opiates are cheap to manufacture, given the declining user base, the overall cost would be negligible.


    Fightintheshade #75.

    "Only someone who wishes to see their country weakened or is too ignorant to see that would be the result advocates for open drug abuse."

    sigh..

    what is it with you people? do you not know the difference between use and abuse? millions of people drive cars, how many of those always drive their car at topspeed, all the time, everywhere? your Daily Mail-style view does nothing to further the debate.

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  • 77. At 01:38am on 21 Aug 2010, stevester01 wrote:

    you english people are fine you only have the police to worry about catching you growing or smokin . here in northern ireland there are terriost groups you probly heard of UDA / UVF/ UFF . THEY ARE A BUNCH OF LOSERS . over here they tried to fight the IRA and failed so now they beat people for smoking cannabis because the IRA smuggles it in to northern ireland from ireland or grows it in n ireland and sells it the community the UDA dont want them to do this so instead of going after the IRA they beat normal people for smoking even murdered people for doing it ITS THAT BAD . if the goverment would wise up over here and decriminilze cannabis none of this would happen . and the IRA would lose there biggest paying drug . that would mean less people wasting hospital time and money for broken bones and beatings for smokin a joint and it would also free up police officers who investagte these beatings plus if the IRA lost there biggest selling drug they would have less money for guns and bombs . you should count yourself lucky you live in england and not in this country .

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  • 78. At 02:06am on 21 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    @Peter
    problem with these blogs is we say so much over so many blogs we end up like babbling parrots. I think if we took all the relevant posts and made one blog out of it the read would be more constant. Plus having changed my name here from communitycriminal I have so much ground to go over... BIG thanks microsoft for ctrl c+v :)
    Been watching the global heroin/cocaine wars for many years, the US stuff on cannabis is interesting if not funny as cannabis is expected to crash in price to around $40 the ounce.
    The MDMA side of things.. well they are just overgrown antidepressants and for all the hype seem safe enough.

    But that's all old school stuff, we now have so many new wonders mephedrone was the key to pandora's box. From what Ive read on development sites many nightmares as well.
    I know some people think I exaggerate on the harms and costs to our community and eventually to the country as it all seems so detached from what most people know and understand. But its the truth of things in one of the most deprived areas in england.

    My other growing concern after spending the day looking at what will happen within my own community is voluntary overdose. That's how my brother went and I can foresee many others taking this option through fear alone as the last safety nets of life are pulled out from under them. Stopping benefits does not just mean the money they live on it also means the money that pays for the roof over the addicts head. Once this is lost... All is lost.

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  • 79. At 02:34am on 21 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    stevester01 #77.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zElkA9zbz60

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  • 80. At 07:29am on 21 Aug 2010, Scott1981 wrote:

    There have been a number of responses to my comments earlier. My comments around free will are that people SHOULD be able to do what they want however that is where it does not harm themselves or others.

    However as a society we do need to government to legislate against things that cause harm. Take seat belt laws in cars as an example. You could argue that people should be free to decide whether to wear one or not as it is only themselves that would be hurt if they were in an
    accident.

    Unfortunately drugs are not risk free. They do cause harm and while some of the drugs suggested might be a lower risk than say alcohol, that does not mean that they should be legalised. Would it not suggest trying to get people off the legal ones?


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  • 81. At 10:48am on 21 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    There have been a number of responses to my comments earlier. My comments around free will are that people SHOULD be able to do what they want however that is where it does not harm themselves or others.

    a little old but well weres the harm.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/content/articles/2007/10/08/westmidlands_horses_12_4_feature.shtml

    Midlands alone, the air ambulance is now attending three horse riding incidents a week.
    A lot of money involved in that. 25-40k per lift off.. imagine if that was the cost of every drug user.
    risk and harms at everything.

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  • 82. At 6:47pm on 21 Aug 2010, dodgybbc wrote:

    Around 2 months ago someone told the police that I was growing cannabis in my small back garden. I had six plants. Half of them would probably become male, with a very low THC.Call it 3 to 4. When I was raided, there were 6 police-some of of whom were very adrenalised and showed aymptoms of this by deliberately fingering their tasers,even after I came down to the garden to give myself up peacefully. They even had a local newspaper reporter with them who had been invited in on the raid to take shots of the bust. They moved tomato plants in to make the amount look bigger! I was handcuffed and taken away from my neighbourhood in full view of my neighbours.I was eventually and inevitably cautioned, but they did do their job well, I am now too frightened to grow anymore for my enjoyment or to relieve my chronic back pain (caused by hard work).
    So now I have to -if I would like a smoke - score from a criminal who is supplied by other criminals; of a hash whose ingredients are probably cut with nasty additives to increase their lucrative profits. At £20 for three grams! And how much money did it cost the taxpayer for six police to raid plus all of the other logistics and processing (of me as a now known, potential criminal)?
    But one thing I do know, its the same kind of hash that I used to buy years ago as a student during the time of the Russian invasion of Afganistan.Its 'squidgy black'. Its from Afganistan! So now the same thing's happening and I am supporting this country's apparent enemies. Bright thinking of the drug policy makers over here. Meanwhile the poppies and cannabis grows on over there, in full view, in vast fields, overseen by American and British troops who have been ordered not to touch them. MAD!

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  • 83. At 8:35pm on 21 Aug 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    The following link has a link to the Home Office consultation for the coalitions proposed drug policy:

    http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/about-us/consultations/

    Print out a couple of copies, fill it in and send it back to the Home Office. Would also be a good idea to send a copy to your MP as well.

    There's also one there for the licensing act too.




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  • 84. At 8:58pm on 21 Aug 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    @Scott1981

    Would it surprise you to learn that heroin isn't as harmful as alcohol?
    It may be more addictive but doesn't harm the body anywhere near as much.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2001/jun/14/drugsandalcohol.socialsciences








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  • 85. At 00:00am on 22 Aug 2010, Scott1981 wrote:

    @iNotHere

    Yes I do know about the relative risks of different substances and my comments reflect this.

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  • 86. At 01:25am on 22 Aug 2010, Fightintheshade wrote:

    jon112uk #69.

    "sigh..

    what is it with you people? do you not know the difference between use and abuse? millions of people drive cars, how many of those always drive their car at topspeed, all the time, everywhere? your Daily Mail-style view does nothing to further the debate."

    Jon, looks like you don't know the difference between apples and oranges or you wouldn't have presented that form of spurious argument. Car safety has no relationship to illegal narcotics. All "recreational" drug use is abuse. You need to come off the pipe for a while so you can start to think straight. Put the piiiiippppeeee doooowwwwn jonnnnn, puuuuttttt, ttthhee pipppppeeee dowwwwwwwwn
    Jooooon. Mmmussssttt thhinnnnnkkkk strrrrraigggghtttt.

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  • 87. At 01:32am on 22 Aug 2010, Fightintheshade wrote:

    last comment directed to jr4412 or j..jj..jjrr..rrrr444...4

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  • 88. At 03:21am on 22 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 89. At 03:27am on 22 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Fightintheshade #86, #87.

    "Put the piiiiippppeeee doooowwwwn jonnnnn, puuuuttttt, ttthhee pipppppeeee dowwwwwwwwn
    Jooooon. Mmmussssttt thhinnnnnkkkk strrrrraigggghtttt."

    "comment directed to jr4412 or j..jj..jjrr..rrrr444...4"

    whatever it was you put in your "pipe", I wouldn't touch it!

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  • 90. At 12:45pm on 22 Aug 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    I see that the prohibitionists still can't formulate a coherent argument without getting personal and making snide, sometimes nasty remarks. You lot have lost the battle I'm afraid, get over it and get on with your lives and leave the rest of us to get on with ours - thanks.

    Legalise, regulate, educate.

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  • 91. At 1:20pm on 22 Aug 2010, WolfiePeters wrote:

    Congratulations Mark, you've produced, in this blog, one of the most illuminating pieces of journalism that I've seen in years. You deserve a prize. Simple facts, clear argument, only one possible conclusion.

    Though we might find that conclusion hard to believe - I would have before reading your article, the facts presented put it beyond dispute.

    Now, how do we make UKGov act to change the system?

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  • 92. At 3:26pm on 22 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Ive been telling pepole we export cannabis for a few years finaly the police and press admit it..
    Britain's cannabis producers go global as factories multiply
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/22/cannabis-factories-narcotics-europe

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  • 93. At 3:32pm on 22 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Now, how do we make UK Gov act to change the system?

    start here http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/about-us/consultations/

    took me about a hour to fill in copy n pasting to a text doc as I went so that I have a copy to distribute.

    Get everyone you know to fill it in this is how we will do things.
    So Wolfie Peters distribute the consultation to everyone you know point them here, as until the British public is properly informed things will never change and the oiks will just keep criminalising US.

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  • 94. At 3:58pm on 22 Aug 2010, WolfiePeters wrote:

    John Ellis used the word prohibition in the first line of the first comment.

    The American experience of alcohol prohibition proved one thing: prohibition is a huge opportunity for organised crime to make an enormous amount of money. I wonder, given that we hardly had a drug problem at the time the drug laws appeared, was the real motivation of some of the people in power to put money in the pockets of drug traffickers?

    Does it seem unlikely? The involvement of the CIA and elements of the US government in the drug trade is well documented. I cannot specifically accuse members of the 1960s Labour government of having criminal connections, but they wouldn't be the first politicians to associate with organised crime.

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  • 95. At 4:46pm on 22 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Wolfie Peters unfortunately its probably the truth of things. You only have to follow the Sativex DEA connections to see that.
    The same people behind the dutch scenes hold the licences for the cannabis farms GW use... I have a friend in the states goes by the name Joe (kingofnepal.net/) the stuff he talks about is unreal or would seem that way to an outsider or general joe public, but knowing the history of prohibition it does not seem at all surprising.

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  • 96. At 5:14pm on 22 Aug 2010, kevthebrit wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 97. At 5:31pm on 22 Aug 2010, kevthebrit wrote:

    The law on drugs is a bit like that old law 'Do not walk on the grass'!
    There will ALWAYS be some one that is going to run, crawl, roll, hop skip, slither etc over the grass. The problem will NEVER go away. Telling people that it's against the law is just a complete wast of time and money. The 'law' is now the biggest problem; Just as it was during prohibition in the USA. The 'law' was left on the side lines while all the bootleggers became rich and in some cases famous (The late Preident JFK's family).
    The exsisting drug laws must be re-examined and and reset to cut off the suppiliers that only make profits for themselves!

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  • 98. At 5:51pm on 22 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    I think the actual failing of our drug law was loss of Faith in it.
    If the law had just been added to over the last 40 years and remained constant with no move of class for a drug without significant scientific support not cherry picked, but this has not happened drugs have gone up and down the scales according to political whim and basically messed over the law to the point were no one has Faith in it and as we see with anything that requires Faith in something the British are very lax in and unable to comprehend beyond 'the world is round and the sun comes up and goes down'.

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  • 99. At 11:25pm on 22 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    John Ellis #98.

    "I think the actual failing of our drug law was loss of Faith in it.
    If the law had just been added to over the last 40 years.."

    sorry, disagree; the way I see it, it is all about controlling and corrupting people.

    say you enact legislation which runs counter to basic human instinct/drives, like (this contrived scenario) for instance: you must not have sexual relations outside marriage, you know this won't work because people will want to have sex. this then allows you to give any law breaker you might be interested in because of their skills/connections/place of work/whatever a choice: either they go to prison/are criminalised/stigmatised, or they agree to be 'useful' to you in return for you looking the other way.

    far-fetched?? you decide :-)

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  • 100. At 00:05am on 23 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    jr4412 i know what you mean and yes coruption is part of it.

    'If the law had just been added to over the last 40 years and remained constant with no move of class for a drug without significant scientific support not cherry picked, but this has not happened drugs have gone up and down the scales according to political whim'

    thats the hidden agendas and 'coruption'

    Why are we the last country to adopt UN thinking? and why are our masters holding out on our liberties and continuing to waste vast sums of money while cutting jobs and services. So much real employment and revenue to be earned from this plant.

    It's definatly not in someones interest to have the UK stop exporting cannabis.

    maybe we should all grow Kenaf(hibiscus) LOL http://the.cannabisreeducationteam.com/kenaf-images/some-selected-kenaf-images-from-google-image-search-t33.html

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  • 101. At 00:44am on 23 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    John Ellis #100.

    "..why are our masters holding out on our liberties.."

    oh, I'd love to discuss this, alas, this is not the forum for my (admittedly cynical) theories. :-)

    "..waste vast sums of money while cutting jobs and services. So much real employment and revenue to be earned from this plant."

    already there are way too many of 'us', the establishment could run modern Britain with a population of under 5m; hemp is versatile, I agree, too versatile perhaps because its many products would render many industrial products superfluous, from analgesics to paper and clothing, the impact would be felt in many industries.

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  • 102. At 07:56am on 23 Aug 2010, tarquin wrote:

    Why do these experts only ever speak the truth on departure? Scared of another Nutt perhaps?

    Quite simply I find it to be cowardice that these scientists refuse to speak out because they will lose their jobs - if they took a united front instead of worrying about their own backs they wouldn't need to anyway, the government would be shown up, just as it was over the Nutt affair

    The individual issue aside, I dislike the government's continuing defence of an obviously flawed policy for political expedience, we should not be basing our drugs policy (or anything else) on tabloid hysteria and opportunistic politicians

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  • 103. At 11:35am on 23 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    tarquin #102.

    "Quite simply I find it to be cowardice that these scientists refuse to speak out because they will lose their jobs.."

    or their lives!!

    but I agree with you, "All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing" (Edmund Burke)

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  • 104. At 1:14pm on 23 Aug 2010, DibbySpot wrote:

    About time this issue was aired and openy discussed without the normal hysteria.

    Prohibition simple does not work, look at alcohol in the US in the 1930s that lead to the funding and growth of a criminal class that persosts today.

    In the UK no one with an axe to grind is seriously going to favouar decriminalisation or legalisation, within firm boundaries. The reason is well known with over 80% of crime drug related the police and customs staff fear for their jobs and so do not want this £50 billion/yr gravy train to end.

    However, let us be clear drugs are only a cost in the UK. If the government stepped in and taxed them they would become a revenue generator. This money could then be used to fund harm reduction campaigns to make the UK a safer happier place with less organised crime or general criminality.

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  • 105. At 2:21pm on 23 Aug 2010, jdsholdencaulfield wrote:

    The only solution as we all know is to de-criminalise all drugs, licence and tax them. We will get there sooner rather than later so let's get on with it.

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  • 106. At 4:43pm on 23 Aug 2010, theraven wrote:

    Some of the people who joined this debate don't seem to know what they're talking about. John Ellis seems to think that heroin-addicts qualify for 'sick' benefits; that it's just not true.
    Let me remind readers that the so-called 'war on drugs' is a relatively recent development. Until the 1930s opium, heroin and cocaine could be bought at Harrods. Until 1967 doctors could prescribe heroin to patients. There were no drug-related crimes, no wars among criminal gangs, no deaths from overdose. Heroin is actually quite a safe substance: goes through the organs without damaging them, and is excreted a number of hours later through urine. The damage is caused by its illegality, the bad quality of street drugs, the expensive price, the difficulty in purchasing it, the fact that it's in the hands of criminals, the persecution of the law, the stigma attached to it, etc... all things that those who have reflected on this subject would know well.

    Otto Von Bismarck unified Germany: he was an addict. Wagner was an addict. Marcus Aurelius was one of the good and great emperors of Rome; many consider him as the "perfect man of antiquity"; he was an addict. He sits on his horse on the top of the Capitol, in Rome. Wilberforce, the parlamentarian responsible for taking Britain out of that shameful practice that was the Slave-trade, was an opium addict. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas De Quincey, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Baudelaire, Edith Piaf, William Burroughs, and some of the greatest minds in the history of humanity were addicts, and until the very end of their lives. These people didn't harm society; on the contrary, they led productive lives, and their contributions to culture, to our society, are gigantic. The list is quite literally endless. But - luckily for them - they lived in times when there was no 'war on drugs'. Britain fought 2 Opium Wars with China. Some might think it was to stop the drug trade; they would be wrong. The British Empire wanted to assure itself a safe and stable supply of opium. In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books even Sherlock Holmes is a drug-addict.
    There's also a moral argument, of course. It's the following: opiates are pain-killers. They're used routinely in hospitals. It seems to be morally acceptable to use them for physical pain; but there's also spiritual pain, we all suffer from it at times, and its use in that case is punishable by law. Who has this monopoly on pain to be able to say: one can have the cure, but the other must be put in jail?
    And I still hear people comparing cannabis to so-called 'hard-drugs'. Only last night I picked up a leaflet about drugs available in every shop in north London. It put alcohol together with cannabis, conveniently forgetting that alcohol is legal, that it causes untold acts of violence and death, something that cannabis quite obviously does not, ever. It also stated - laughably - that one could die of a cannabis overdose. It's really the case of asking: "Who writes this stuff?". They forget that George Washington and Queen Victoria used it. That President Obama has decriminalized medical cannabis in 12 US states. It cures glaucoma, ashtma, and a variety of other ailments. Recently on American TV news many mothers, previously opposed to this evil weed, have sung its praises and the unexpected, positive effects it had on children who suffer from a variety of conditions, from attention deficit to autism. Tony Blair's government assembled a panel of respected scientists to definitively establish the connection between cannabis and mental illness, at a considerable expense to the tax-payer. After three years they could not find this link. Home Secretary Jaqui Smith said on TV that their study was irrelevant: cannabis would not be re-graded as far as the law is concerned. Never mind the MPs expenses scandal: she should have been made to resign for that episode alone, i.e: the criminilization of many, many people who commit no crime, either towards themselves and/or others.
    There are many other considerations to be kept in mind about this issue, but I shall stop here, adding only one more of them:

    Very often I hear people debating the crisis in which British identity is perceived to be in. Perhaps they're focusing on the wrong values. Britain invented the Industrial Revolution, the welfare state, women's rights with the Sufragettes, and many other good things, from fighting fascism and sponsoring democracy to popularizing modern popular music - with the Rock&Roll music of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones - all over the world. Let's be proud of these things, and let's add to them the end to this ridiculous, criminal, destructive, misinformed, prejudiced, counter-productive, immoral, inefficient nonsense that is the 'war on drugs', once and for all.


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  • 107. At 7:14pm on 23 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    the raven wrote. 'Some of the people who joined this debate don't seem to know what they're talking about. John Ellis seems to think that heroin-addicts qualify for 'sick' benefits; that it's just not true.'

    raven what are you babbling about.?



    Most of the addicts I know(and there is a lot of them) get DLA amongst other benefits, many were veins have collapsed. Some have even had limbs amputated due to this.

    The rest of the statement is um common knowledge.

    Try reading what I say properly instead of in some haze as you appear to have done so.

    Welcome btw.

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  • 108. At 02:59am on 24 Aug 2010, Jake Middlebrook wrote:

    Addiction is a tragedy. On the other hand, in the US, we have been locking up addicts for a long while. Funny thing is you can't miss any. Could it be that making addiction an offense makes it profitable and there being profit in it; new addicts are being recruited to replace those sent inside. Sadly there are those with addictive personalities. Many of those will be addicts no matter what, but, I find it hard not to believe there would be a great deal fewer addicts if there was no profit in hooking new ones. It does remain to be seen what line of work the out of work pushers would take up.

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  • 109. At 07:15am on 24 Aug 2010, mephistophelesstephen wrote:

    I must congratulate "theraven" for his good piece about the war on drugs,nice one,happy too know there are people out their who knows what thjey are talking about.There is nothing wrong with taking any sort of drug,its the people who take them and then blame the drug,no,no,no.if you dont mind me saying,ive take all sorts of drugs since the mid-sixties when drugs WERE drugs,and not the rubbish thats about today,most of this skunk nowadays is rubbish to,wouldnt get a nat high.ive had quite a few habits over this time but im still here and doing just great.i dont drink,its MY RIGHT by birth,please dont tell me what i can and cannot take,im too old take any notice from people who have necer taken a drug in their lives.what do you people think they do in a so called free and democratic country??--you should look up.FREE and DEMOCRACY !!.yoyu might be surprised?? nice one theraven.mephistopheles

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  • 110. At 07:16am on 24 Aug 2010, mephistophelesstephen wrote:

    was the last one okay for your readers?.you keep sending them back,what can you say?.mephistopheles

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  • 111. At 12:34pm on 24 Aug 2010, Steve - Iver wrote:

    News just in.....the Drug Commission is recommends the term 'junkie' and 'addict' be dropped.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11067028

    Anyone reading the report at the end of the above link will recognise it. If I knew no better, I'd think it was a cleverly edited version of this blog. I know no better, but it might just be the case that the powers that are, are listening.

    I've bleated on about 'education' and changing opinion since forever, it seems, and it's good to see that common sense seems to be getting through.

    I have a good education, academically, but I have a much better eduction from experience, and I've experienced this aspect of drug (mis)use personally. I have a strong will, and a positive mind, so although I'd been stupid in one respect, and gotten myself hooked on heroin a few years ago, I had the presence of mind to get myself out of it, with professional help, of course. I'm a respectable person, of good character, you might say, but have had problems like all of us. In my case, the problems I had coincided with my meeting someone who was an addict themselves. My problems and his addiction soon led down the wrong path, and before I knew it, I had made that leap from someone who was mortgaged to the hilt, nice car, lots of friends and, on the surface, happy, to someone who didn't care about the mortgage, crashed the car, lost the friends, and was, in conclusion, deeply unhappy with my lot.

    It was my fault, and I was determined to fix it. Luckily, I have a strong mind, and could see that it needed to be fixed, and fixed quickly. This is not the case for many people.

    The problem I had was with that of stigma. When you descend into the world of addiction, you lose some inhibitions. You care less what people think of you, and more about ensuring you have your daily fix. Those people are the same people who call you 'dirty junkie' or some other derogatory slant.

    In reality, I think it'd be fair to say that most addicts behave like this in defence, not aggression. Once an addict, you don't feel less about others, you simply change your priorities, and the need for heroin is stronger than the need for social acceptance. It is a battle of wills.

    If society can be educated in how to understand this issue, we might get to a point where an affected drug addict can feel less ostracised by society, and society can become more accepting of our brothers and sisters in trouble. That will bring the stigma down.

    I was lucky, in that I managed to get the right help at the right time. I fully appreciate the help I received, and I know that without that help, I would have been lost. The doctor was fantastic, the centre was professional and always courteous. We talked about everything. For me, it was a relief to be able to get all this out in the open, to a doctor, to a professional who didn't judge me every time he saw me. He took me for who I am, who I was, and we worked on the problem from the ground floor upwards. I kept every appointment, kept my promises (with the Doctor and myself) and because of him, I felt proud that I was tackling the problem, head on, and winning too. The help I received is available to anyone.

    We all have feelings, and we all make mistakes. To Err is human, to forgive, divine. I think it's human nature to make mistakes, and it's down to those of us who recognise that, to forgive and help those who've gotten lost. I don't believe there is a heroin addict out there who actually wants to keep things as they are.

    Education is a wonderful tool to understanding. Experience is the best education. When it comes to drug addiction, experience cannot be underplayed. Knowledge backs up that experience, so to have an educated society giving support, knowing that stigma is probably the one single obstacle to beginning a detoxification regime, apart from the actual addiction itself, would be a positive turn-around and would help millions.

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  • 112. At 4:33pm on 24 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Steve very well said :)

    I just had a quick scan of the report as it seems rather wordy.. but at least they are finally recognising the abuse that a few labels cause to a group. I get tired of the words 'that dirty smackhead' when people around here talk about some individuals even when that person is in ear shot of the conversation..

    Just have to educate people to the fact that they are still people at the end of it all. However i wonder what the feel good term is going too be you know the PC one, what do you replace the word addict with?

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  • 113. At 4:52pm on 24 Aug 2010, Chris wrote:

    There are different levels of users, that should be established, but they all have one thing in common, what they are doing is deemed illegal. That's why the problem has gotten so bad. Gangs and dealers are profiting in a big way which is also having a knock-on effect with crime and social disorder.

    De-criminalising drugs has to be the way forward. Look at Amsterdam, have you seen how things work there?
    I can only assume not. The barbaric fashion that this government approaches problems is laudable.

    Give people a choice, a safe choice. If you take away the taboo then people will be more receptive to what is going on. Selling controlled substances can only benefit the government as they would earn from it and also regulate it. Recreational drugs are very common and it is hard not to see drugs being used on a typical night on the town. By all means put an age limit on them if they feel it will make any difference, but you must remember, education is the key.

    For example, for buyers of controlled substances, they must be educated to know a limit, what not to mix it with and guidelines on drinking alcohol with such substances. Grading them in categories, Ups, downs, duration of effects, risks and guidance like drink enough non-alcoholic beverages to prevent de-hydration.

    Remember, alcohol is worse in most cases.

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  • 114. At 4:57pm on 24 Aug 2010, Steve - Iver wrote:

    112. At 4:33pm on 24 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    ..."what do you replace the word addict with?"...
    Good question, and I suppose it raises the question, do we really need to replace 'addict'? I agree that 'junkie' is derogatory, along with 'smackhead' etc., but addict is a word to describe anyone addicted to anything, nasty or otherwise. I don't feel 'addict' is necessarily derogatory, but it would depend on the tone of use.

    Junkie itself, is a word that used to specifically relate to those 'on junk', ie Heroin, but it seems that it is now used to describe anyone that has ever (mis)used drugs, in general.

    I fear we will get something like 'substance dependent' or 'toxin reliant' or some such PC-like rubbish. Addict is fine - it says what it does on the tin. Junkie is a slur on human dignity and should really be avoided.

    Often, it's not the word that causes offence, but the manner in which it's used.

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  • 115. At 5:18pm on 24 Aug 2010, David wrote:

    I am surprised the article does not mention Britain's most successful post war experiment in the 80's by John Marks of Liverpool University where doctors prescribed drugs to users. This caused crime to fall dramatically and less prostitution etc. and it was a near total success.

    It was so successful that the Americans asked it to be shut down which it promptly was. There was speculation at the time that the Mafia wanted it stopped.

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  • 116. At 5:40pm on 24 Aug 2010, Steve - Iver wrote:

    113. At 4:52pm on 24 Aug 2010, Chris wrote:
    ..."Look at Amsterdam, have you seen how things work there?"...
    Of course, Amsterdam is always rolled out as the example of the future, drug-wise, but I think we should be careful using Amsterdam as the role-model. There are plus points to be learned from Amsterdam, but there are negatives too.

    Amsterdam is geared, or rather it was until recently, in so far as tourism is concerned, to promote cannabis in the cafe culture there. The effect of this has had a negative impact on the city in general, and the Amsterdam 'laws' are not applicable to Holland or the Netherlands in general, necessarily.

    A more pointed example of drug rehabilitation, for those that have addiction issues, is that which Portugal has recently implemented or on a smaller scale, a city centre service in Canada (possibly Toronto) in the In-sight program. Other European countries are considering options and the US recently brought Cannabis out of the closet in some states by allowing medical cultivation and use by private individuals (for medical use only)

    This is what we can achieve with education; as you said yourself ..."education is the key"...

    Education, with regard to the prospective user, can be provided from an appropriate age in school. I know of schools that provide 'drug education' to the 13-14 year olds, but I worry that the education being given is biased. It would need to be impartial to be of positive benefit. Education of the facts, not the 'do and don't' rubbish that the government perpetuate, is mutually beneficial.

    We protect people with education, but we should also inform. It's not just the drug users that need educating, but the whole of society. I said it earlier as 'a Sea Change' and that is exactly what is needed. A total change of opinion from the general public.

    It starts here, spread the word.
    EDUCATE, REGULATE, TAX
    PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK

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  • 117. At 6:13pm on 24 Aug 2010, Steve - Iver wrote:

    115. At 5:18pm on 24 Aug 2010, David wrote:
    ..."I am surprised the article does not mention Britain's most successful post war experiment in the 80's by John Marks"...

    David, there is a name I've not heard of in a long time. It was during the 90s, I think, but I'm not here to split hairs. Yes, the John Marks experiment - a 10 year program (so I suppose it could have begun in the 80s and ended in the 90s) to prove, beyond all doubt, that the black market as imposed by successive governments, is the cause of all drug related crime and death.

    I was looking on the net for John Marks stuff, prompted by your post, and found the following from the Guardian newspaper, albeit from 2001, but it worth a read, and it is an excellent example of the entire drugs yes / no debate. This item alone should be published again.

    I've entitled it, 'the Needless Lies of Government' so read on. Credit to Nick Davies who wrote the report with Jane Cassidy for a Channel4 program in 2001 called 'The Phoney War'. It says it all, and what it doesn't say isn't important.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2001/jun/14/drugsandalcohol.socialsciences


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  • 118. At 6:53pm on 24 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Steve #114.
    (John Ellis)

    ..."what do you replace the word addict with?"...

    habituated?

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  • 119. At 01:18am on 25 Aug 2010, crash wrote:

    There is currently no criminal system in the UK,rapist,drug dealers,bank robbers,lets just give em a big hug an let am go wouldnt that be so nice ?

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  • 120. At 1:03pm on 25 Aug 2010, Steve - Iver wrote:

    118. At 6:53pm on 24 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:
    ..."what do you replace the word addict with?"...
    habituated?

    Close, but it still sounds a bit of a mouthful against 'addict'. Personally, I don't see what is wrong with the word, as it does say what it means.

    I agree that 'junkie' is derogatory and in no way helps in the battle over stigma, and it is largely stigma that stands in the way of reform. It could be, though, that the commission are moving in the right direction, at least. If they are attempting to reduce the impact of stigma brought about by derogatory remarks, it can only help our cause to educate society and further the discussion towards a positive end.

    EDUCATE, REGULATE, TAX
    PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK

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  • 121. At 11:35pm on 25 Aug 2010, badger78 wrote:

    @crash

    Glad to see the arguments for prohibition are so strong these days...

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  • 122. At 02:23am on 26 Aug 2010, U14594484 wrote:

    There is an epidemic of heroin addiction in our towns and cities. I should know as I am an addict. The Community Addiction Units are drowning in a tide of desperate people seeking help for their dependency issues. The services cannot cope. Their policies, State approved, are draconian in the extreme. They are quite happy to put addicts on methadone indefinitely and the daily pick- ups at a chemist only reinforce, and lock the addict into, drug seeking ( scoring) behaviour. If the addict actually wants to be totally drug free, the treatment services go into shock and can only predict disaster as " nobody gets off completely. You will relapse." I detoxed myself against their advice and without their 'support'. Was told nobody had done this the way I did (with no other drugs) and I would fail. I was clean within 21 days and stayed that way. The drug treatment policies are beyond not working and contribute to the problem of addiction in their inflexibility. The drug laws serve a similar purpose. The Government cannot even admit to how big the drug problem is in our communities let alone have a sensible debate on the issue. They cut funding to rehabs as a non- essential service. Looks essential from where I am. How bad does it have to get?

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  • 123. At 09:11am on 26 Aug 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:

    The three major factors in the increase in drug use in this country has been firstly the establishment of large supply network. Secondly a belief that drugs aren’t harmful. And lastly a general culture of disrespect towards drug legislation. The common factor in all of these is middle-class cannabis users. They have spent the last forty years funding criminals, undermining the law, and spreading myths purely to make their selfish habit more socially acceptable. Is it any wonder that people in other social groups look at their example and decide that drugs such as heroin are ok?

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  • 124. At 09:14am on 26 Aug 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 125. At 12:49pm on 26 Aug 2010, Steve - Iver wrote:

    122. At 02:23am on 26 Aug 2010, U14594484 wrote:
    ..."The Community Addiction Units are drowning"..."The services cannot cope"..."They are quite happy to put addicts on methadone"..."the daily pick- ups at a chemist only reinforce, and lock the addict into, drug seeking ( scoring) behaviour"...

    In a nut-shell, yes.
    It's the totally wrong approach, borne out by the fact that we now have more addicts in a world that supposedly prohibits drug use than we had in the world 40 or so years ago before prohibition.

    ..."If the addict actually wants to be totally drug free,"...
    I'd say it depends on his/her mental state. There is always the risk of relapse, as you say, but you have to tell yourself, every day, that there are better ways to be happy. I've been clean now for almost 2 years.

    ..."I detoxed myself"..."without their 'support', Was told nobody had done this"..."and I would fail"...
    Not a very positive means of encouragement is it? But, well done you for your achievement, it must have been hell for you to go through cold turkey alone. 21 days is a long time when you're in that state. 21 minutes is bad enough. How long have you been clean now?

    ..."The drug treatment policies are beyond not working and contribute to the problem of addiction in their inflexibility"...
    I'd agree with you if you're talking specifically about Methadone treatment. This is a weak response to the drug rehab problem, and it does nothing to promote a sense of pride in the addict, routinely attending for his meds, and almost certain to be derided somewhere in the process. There is a much better treatment - Subutex (Buprenorphine). It's taken sub-lingually, under the tongue, and when it dissolves, it's quickly absorbed to give almost the same effect as Heroin, but with the pleasure aspect removed (boo). Each tablet lasts 24 - 36 hours, and you slowly, with the pharmacist, reduce your dosage. After you have built up some trust between yourself and your doctor, who you must visit every 1 to 2 weeks, they will likely give you a 'take-home' allowance, so you can get on with daily life quickly, and have a one week supply at home. Each week, the dose gets less until you're down to such a small dose that stopping completely becomes no worse than a few days of flu-like symptoms.

    Cutting funding to services like this takes away the very limited service that is currently available. With a more modern approach, with open eyes instead of bigoted, ill-informed opinions, the whole process could be self funding, or at least in part.

    We have to get opinion changed. We have to treat this with the decent level of care it deserves. We cannot simply brush it under the carpet and hope it will go away. I think we can safely say that successive governments and the UN have tried that tactic and it doesn't work, does it?

    123. At 09:11am on 26 Aug 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:
    ..."The three major factors in the increase in drug use in this country has been firstly the establishment of large supply network"...
    Hmmm! So you're saying that we use drugs because someone set-up a supply network. I think it might be the other way around - supply generally needs to meet demand.
    ..."Secondly a belief that drugs aren’t harmful"...
    A weak argument - if you live in SE England, the air can be pretty harmful, but seriously, if you want to argue this point, you have to get over the opinion that drugs are drugs. Break it down, analyse the information available, and draw your own independent conclusions.
    ..."And lastly a general culture of disrespect towards drug legislation"...
    Because it is unjust. Open your mind, Shaunie, and understand the reasons for this. Read the facts that many posters have presented to you over the years. There is room in this world for so much more than simple black and white.
    ..."The common factor in all of these is middle-class cannabis users"...
    There is no direct correlation between cannabis users and heroin users, other than by association, that they are both classified drugs. Two completely different cases, and both need to be handled in their own separate ways. What are the myths Shaunie? Can you explain the myths that we are being accused of purporting.

    ..."Is it any wonder that people in other social groups look at their example and decide that drugs such as heroin are ok?"...
    At first, I almost agreed with you there. Your arguments are a constructed a little better than previously. Where did you read this?
    It's been suggested for some time that cannabis is a gateway drug. This is equally refuted and I personally, find it very difficult to see the connection, other than, as already said, they're both classified drugs, but that is where the similarity ends.

    If I say it's ok to mix a bit of green herb with my tobacco and smoke to feel a little relaxed, where is the correlation that it's be ok to cook up a heroin fix and inject it into my veins? Where is the connection Shaunie? That's the part I fail to understand.

    You've been marked by many as a wind-up merchant, Shaunie. Are you a serious commentator? Do you believe your government sponsored rhetoric? Are you able to discuss and understand different opinions, or are you hardfast stuck in your 'I'm right, you're wrong' attitude?

    Discuss!


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  • 126. At 1:31pm on 26 Aug 2010, BobRocket wrote:

    #123 Shaunie Babes

    'firstly the establishment of large supply network'

    The supply network is a direct result of demand, without demand the supply would not exist.

    'Secondly a belief that drugs aren’t harmful'

    Some drugs aren't harmful, some are (it depends upon the user and how they are used).
    The system used for categorisation is clearly wrong as substances scientifically deemed to be less harmful are lumped in with substances deemed more harmful and the recreational drugs Alcohol, Nicotine and Caffeine do not appear at all.

    'lastly a general culture of disrespect towards drug legislation'

    There is disrespect towards the current implementation of drug legislation because that implementation is flawed, the legislation was intended to provide official control of the use and mis-use of substances.
    As implemented, the current legislation hands over control to the black market gangsters.
    (an industry in the UK alone worth in excess of £6bn per annum, globally the industry is greater than £350bn annually)

    'The common factor in all of these is middle-class cannabis users'

    No Shaunie, the common factor in all of this is middle-class alcohol users sitting in the House of Commons using the issue to make themselves (re)electable.

    It is quite simple.

    If a sensible law is enacted and then implemented in a quite clearly stupid manner, who is bringing the law into disrepute ?

    Is it the people who argue logically against it and try to change it or is it the people who insist that this is the implementation and it shall be followed without question for all eternity and ignoring any new evidence ?

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  • 127. At 5:06pm on 26 Aug 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    http://transform-drugs.blogspot.com/2010/08/independent-becomes-latest-national-uk.html

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  • 128. At 5:32pm on 26 Aug 2010, Steve - Iver wrote:

    So, the Independent newspaper has become the latest of 5 national media organisations to back the move to legalisation / regulation. This is fantastic news for the movement.

    The Observer, Guardian, Sunday Express, Herald and now The Independent. No Daily Mail I see. No surprises there.

    Thanks to John Ellis for publishing the link in #127.

    EDUCATE, REGULATE, TAX
    PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK

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  • 129. At 7:44pm on 26 Aug 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:

    Readers of the Guardian, Observer and Independent think that serious drug abuse is smoking the spliff out of turn at a dinner party. The nearest they get working class culture is watching Shameless. Real people who live on real hell holes estates wouldn't dream of flooding them with cheap legal drugs

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  • 130. At 10:11pm on 26 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Steve #128.

    "..the move to legalisation / regulation."

    a short but thought-provoking item on California's pending vote (in November) on legalisation was broadcast today on Channel 4 News.

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  • 131. At 10:17pm on 26 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Shaunie Babes #129.

    "Real people who live on real hell holes estates wouldn't dream of flooding them with cheap legal drugs"

    agree, fortunately education, regulation and taxation will not result in a 'flood of cheap drugs'; educate yourself and have a look a the experiences of the Portuguese, for instance, where regulation has resulted in a fall of substance (mis)use across the board.

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  • 132. At 11:51am on 27 Aug 2010, General_Jack_Ripper wrote:

    Shaunie Babes wrote:
    Readers of the Guardian, Observer and Independent think that serious drug abuse is smoking the spliff out of turn at a dinner party. The nearest they get working class culture is watching Shameless. Real people who live on real hell holes estates wouldn't dream of flooding them with cheap legal drugs


    As I mentioned on a previous blog when you tried using this baseless argument; I grew up in the slums of Liverpool many years ago and I now live on a council estate in Merseyside where we have above average rates of crime, prohibited drug use, social problems, unemployment etc and I still believe that legalisation, regulation and taxation is the best solution to the problems we face with drug use.

    This doesn't mean flooding our estates with cheap drugs, it means providing a legal and regulated supply of recreational drugs to adults from licensed and regulated retailers in order to remove the criminal element from the supply chain, helping to protect children with the use of age-restricted sales and covering the costs to the healthcare system via direct taxation.

    Any time you want to come up with an argument that hasn't already been thoroughly discredited please let us know; it will make a change from the usual rubbish you've been coming out with whenever this subject is raised.

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  • 133. At 12:00pm on 27 Aug 2010, GraemeEastBelfastye wrote:

    BBC Bob - Education has not worked and will never worked when i was at school i learned a great lot about drugs about there dangers and have found that as a young teenager and a young adult the education i was giving seems to have been a lie. i have done them all except smack and crack and have found that they are not as bad as 'The Government' said they were.The Government think by keeping these drugs illegal that they have won the war. But this is far from the truth. The morality is that people cannot accept legalization so the war is over and drugs have won

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  • 134. At 3:12pm on 27 Aug 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:

    131. At 10:17pm on 26 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:
    Shaunie Babes #129.
    "Real people who live on real hell holes estates wouldn't dream of flooding them with cheap legal drugs"
    agree, fortunately education, regulation and taxation will not result in a flood of cheap drugs'; educate yourself and have a look a the experiences of the Portuguese, for instance, where regulation has resulted in a fall of substance (mis)use across the board.
    ---------------------
    Drugs aren't taxed or regulated in Portugal. They're just as illegal as anywhere else. Taking drugs is illegal and any drugs found are confiscated. The only difference is people caught with drugs for personal use aren't prosecuted but have to explain themselves to legal and medical panel. I'm sure cannabis users are queuing up to be helped by the Government.

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  • 135. At 3:32pm on 27 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Shaunie Babes #134.

    yes, I ought to have written decriminalised instead of regulated.

    "They're [drugs] just as illegal as anywhere else."

    wrong.

    "..Portugal, which in 2001 became the first European country to officially abolish all criminal penalties for personal possession of drugs.."

    now, I'm sure you'll find something else to quibble about, the end of the day though the Portuguese experience is one of reduced drug use and falling crime. good enough for me, would that it was good enough for the British.

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  • 136. At 5:56pm on 28 Aug 2010, Euforiater wrote:

    134: "I'm sure cannabis users are queuing up to be helped by the Government."
    - Ok, on past evidence I might be a tad optimistic in expecting a straight answer here, but I'm curious to know where you're coming from. Just what help is it that you think cannabis users want or need from the Government?

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  • 137. At 09:36am on 29 Aug 2010, Daniel Earwicker wrote:

    It's strange that the UK government was being pressured on this issue by the US in the mid-1920s. At that point of course the US was in the middle of its alcohol prohibition experiment. Were they also pressuring the UK to ban alcohol? And why on earth didn't they realise that if it doesn't work for one addictive drug it isn't going to work for others? The whole thing is mystifying.

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  • 138. At 09:16am on 30 Aug 2010, barryp wrote:

    The great thing about the British System is (was) moderation and the rule of measured thought over Political or religious Dogma. It is also the cause of the failure of the anti-drug 'war'. The possible penalty for simple possession of cannabis is two years imprisonment, the normal punishment is a small fine or a 'caution'. The possible penalty for possession with intent to supply a class 'A' drug is similar to the punishment for Murder. The norm is a moderate fine and a short prison sentence.
    We have to decide whether we want to 'win' the war on drugs, or is it simply the wrong war.
    The Public as a whole have been shown to have little faith in the Criminal Justice system as it now operates, or fails to operate. The whole UK Justice system needs review to find what is really needed, be it punishment, rehabilitation or simply prevention.
    Every penny spent on Policing is money that could be better spent elsewhere. Every penny spent on locks and household security is 'wasted'and is money diverted from allowing people to prosper. As a retired Policeman I suggest that the anti drugs laws are, and always have been, the wrong war on the wrong target. I started my service just before the Laws were introduced, we had a small and insignificant drugs 'problem'. I would contend that as a direct result of the profitability introduced into the drugs supply trade by those Laws the drugs problem was promoted by Parliament, albeit by mistake. AS this well balanced article shows the Laws came about because of the misdeeds of one woman. The harm inflicted on the public as a result of the laws is a result of Political cowardice that still continues.
    My simple thought is to undermine the profitability of the drug supply trade by direct Government competition, i.e. free drugs on prescription, with a proper imposition of draconian fines and mandatory prison for those unlawfully supplying drugs. A simplistic and modified version of the British System.

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  • 139. At 4:19pm on 01 Sep 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    http://peterreynolds.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/home-office-backtracks-on-cannabis/

    seems some background editing on the cannabis front has gone on.
    light... tunnel .... end...

    Having mailed Mr Brokenshire this week asking how his opinion on cannabis and other drugs related to his experience withing drug communities around the UK. would be very interesting to see what REAL life experience he has to be making such statements about cannabis.

    the email..

    Good afternoon James.


    I am taking time to ask you why you are failing in your job to send out the right messages with regards to drugs why this country is failing in its policies towards a minority group?
    I ask this as a community leader whose community is being overrun by heroin cocaine legal highs crack cocaine all manner of pills. We have addicts begging in our streets.. Funny thing is there is no cannabis available and supplies have been low since the former governments insane move of declaring cannabis dangerous/lethal and upping it to class B. When in-fact all it has done is put and extra 5 billion in the hands of none taxable business. This in turn has lead to an alarming rise in these so called legal highs the first of which thankfully have proven to be nothing to dangerous. This however is were it stops you are now playing a very dangerous game with the lives of our younger generations, research chemicals are here to stay and will prove to be unbannable for all peoples efforts to stop people using them.

    I would be interested to know your history and experience around the drug communities of this country? I buried my brother 7 years ago after a heroin overdose. I work with the local police in pinpointing dealers and problem drug users.. We as a community are loosing in your war on people(drugs) The madness must end the government must move towards a new drug policy one that does no discriminate one that does not place social stigma on addicts. one that works.!!!
    May i also suggest you stop saying cannabis and its constituent components are dangerous, they are not they promote good health and long life. Most current medical research for many illness are targeting the human endocannabinoid system network.

    Highest regards

    John Ellis

    Waits for a reply ... breath not held as ill turn blue and fall over...

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  • 140. At 4:30pm on 01 Sep 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    http://pr.cannazine.co.uk/201009011322/green/eco-news/cannabis-pensioners-court-case-cost-us-over-30k-in-public-funds-why.html

    30k would run several community projects. it would provide the wage for 2 full time jobs 4 part time jobs.

    but i suppose it was better spent making a 66 year old man stay in is home after dark.....

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  • 141. At 11:15pm on 01 Sep 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    re:

    It beggers belief the stupidity of the 'War on (some) Drugs'...at times I don't know whether to laugh or cry at it all. Will 'grounding' this man for three months actually help either him or society? Or is it just a monumental waste of tax payers money?
    When are our government going to grow a backbone and see that the policy for the last 40 years is a sham and has totally failed to achieve any of its objectives. There aren't enough police or funds to be even remotely successful. Isn't it about time we decriminalised possession and regulated production and sale?

    Let's get the control back!

    Control, Regulate, Tax and Educate!
    Prohibition Does Not Work

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  • 142. At 12:51pm on 02 Sep 2010, Steve - Iver wrote:

    140. At 4:30pm on 01 Sep 2010, John Ellis wrote:
    about Mr. Bending who was 'grounded' for enjoying a spliff.

    So the local authority, Devon & Cornwall, like to boast of the 4th lowest crime rate do they? If they concentrated on real crime, their actual crime rate might be much lower. Take false crimes out of the equation, and we might just find that nationally, crime rates are not really at the level suggested. But, they're just following central government doctrine, who as stated in the report, were 'protecting our teenagers'.

    As far as I can remember, teenagers are the responsibility of their parents, not the state. Further to that, teenagers DO NOT like being lied to. Using fear to control the population is lying. People, teenagers included, will only take so much bull. The current policy is laughable in its consistent lies.

    Wake up, Govt., before it's too late. Stop trying to nanny us. Run the country, not the people. You do your job, and we will do ours. In doing your job, please listen to your employers, the educated masses, the scientists, professors and doctors, the drug advisors and the public at large.

    EDUCATE, REGULATE, TAX
    PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK

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  • 143. At 10:44am on 04 Sep 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    HAHA what a morning local conservitive counclier asked by local heroin addict if she wanted to buy some knock of meat.... while she was out delivering news flyers...

    could not make this up if you tried....

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  • 144. At 9:51pm on 11 Sep 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/kfmhauojgbql/rss2/
    No longer criminals for medicating themselves

    THE legalisation of cannabis moved a step closer to reality this week after Health Minister Mary Harney announced she is open to making cannabis legal for medicinal purposes in Ireland.

    Read more: http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/kfmhauojgbql/rss2/#ixzz0zFxM7OOP

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  • 145. At 10:49am on 13 Sep 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Is the UK millitary ramping up heroin supplies for the ressesion, how have we arrived at this point in time? British troops bringing back heroin..... Who are the real dealers. why is heroin being flowin into the UK and the USA on military planes?
    Why have we promoted and ensured that heroin production has increesed by 15% per kilo of opium.
    Why is my community full of heroin, why is there no cannabis in my community.????

    This off course is all utter noncence as far as the British goverment is concerned. Could this be why they are so undecided of our new aircraft carrier...?
    They got busted.....

    Mark how rife is this actualy? how common has the military drug supply problem become...

    I even doubt that SOCA could even get a look at the planes as they leave Afghanistan..

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  • 146. At 12:16pm on 13 Sep 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Does this not make you wonder that we only seize 1% of all heroin that enters the UK?

    We need a clean slate. We need legal drug supplies as no one can be trusted under current law. from the street to central goverment the drugs are our most pressing problem as we face cut upon cut as the poor in sociaty are further vicimised by the state the same state that will create 100's of thousands of addicts over the next few years.

    If my community is one of the most deprived in england and our problems is growing on a daily basis.. how long before it spreads across all communities. How long before the current generation of young people are turned into heroin addicts by our goverment and thier ill conceved policys. Now our cannabis has dried up the heroin supplies are taking hold, the police think they have done a fantastic job in hitting the multibillion pound cannabis markets, when in reality all they have done in cleared out the markets and prepared the RED carpet for heroin dealers including members and sub groups of the british army.

    I recon we will top 1 million heroin addicts buy 2013 in England alone at the current growth rates most will be problematic grafters. This is being generious and does not include projected losses within law enforcement, as the drugs will flow so much more freely under the current cuts.

    We have already lost so many generations to this problem how many more do we need to loose??

    God im annoyed today.. someone take Dave C firmly by the sholders and shake him till some common sence sinks in. Please for the sake of our country..

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  • 147. At 09:20am on 14 Sep 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    This made me Smile this morning after reading this I wonder how much crime went uncheched during this operation....
    http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/8389579.York_Railway_Station_drugs_crackdown/?ref=rss

    Seems even the police are looking for a easy life while wasting tax payers money.

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  • 148. At 3:47pm on 16 Sep 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Dear sir please find enclosed the standard issue crazy talk.
    http://cid-b0414da877bbb909.photos.live.com/browse.aspx/Goverment%20Responce

    While i dont actualy remember what email it was the content of this responce is very weak on all the grounds of mental health especialy as most drugs used to treat mental health issues expand the functioning of the ECSN.

    Further to this the current message is unheard due to the goverments own failing to promote healthy drug use much as they do with alcohol.

    No cannabis within communities = more class A more legal highs more eventual addicts. So weres the harm realy?

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  • 149. At 12:14pm on 02 Jun 2011, U14890913 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

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