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July 6, 2001 1:31 AM   Subscribe

The Conservatives (Well, a couple anyway) are calling for the legalisation of cannabis
posted by twistedonion (19 comments total)

 
Mr Lilley told BBC News: "We are forcing cannabis users into the arms of hard drugs pushers. It is that link I wish to break."

This has got to be the first time I agree with anything Mr Lilley has said. Are we going to see a reversal in policies of the two main parties - Labour becoming more hardline and the Tories becoming more Liberal?
posted by twistedonion at 1:40 AM on July 6, 2001


Maybe, but they could stop when they meet in the middle - then we'd genuinely have no difference between the policies of the two major parties.

At least it is good to see a few Tories using some common sense for once. Hopefully the trend will continue.
posted by Singular at 2:29 AM on July 6, 2001


I just want to know how I missed this impressive bit of shrubbery the last time I was in the green and pleasant land. (Maybe Ken Livingstone's had it moved to Kew?)
posted by pracowity at 2:40 AM on July 6, 2001


Ah, the lovely Doris Karloff, Conservative pin up, seems unswayed but at least she seems to have given up on her previous "zero tolerance" stance.
posted by davehat at 4:17 AM on July 6, 2001


OH! The crack smokers! will somebody PLEASE.. think of the crack smokers..

It seems really silly to me, partly because of my silly nature to begin with, that people would start to think "well, 'cannabis' smokers there are a lot of them... let's just legalise it so that we can deal with the bigger problem of the lesser drugs being used.

But then again, I'm being silly.
posted by a11an at 5:08 AM on July 6, 2001


Or possibly even "Having all these drugs out there unregulated and unlicensed is causing thousands of unnecessary deaths and incalculable suffering, perhaps it would be more sensible to assert some standards of manufacture and distribution and possibly even evolve some kind of ettiquette of use rather than continue the flimsy posturing of prohibition which in fact amounts to nothing more than sweeping any genuine issues under the carpet whilst at the same time letting us look firm and statesmanlike."

But then I'm completely mad.
posted by Grangousier at 6:33 AM on July 6, 2001


In the US, its a Republican governor, Gary Johnson of New Mexico who has been the strongest elected legislation advocate.
posted by brucec at 7:05 AM on July 6, 2001


Its about wasting the time and resources of an already overstretched police force trying to enforce what is becoming a more widely accepted pastime (in the UK at least). The health risks are no greater (and arguably lower than) those of alcohol and tobacco which makes prohibition seem more pointless all the time.
The 'evidence' that cannabis is a gateway drug is flimsy at best and based on the fact that people caught with hard drugs often admit to having tried cannabis at some point. This is not evidence, this is simply the fact that people who are likely to try hard drugs will have tried soft drugs too. For the first time I actually heard a politician admitting this in public today and I was impressed. More so when you realise it was a Conservative politician.
However I don't see legalised 'off licences' selling cannabis ever becoming the norm - anyone who smokes knows how much they have to pay to obtain it. if the government were to produce and tax it they would have to sell it for an equivalent price. Once the dealers see that their customers are going elsewhere they will drop their prices (by the time a 9-bar of hash is split into ounces, halves and quarters the profit margin is staggering) and their customers will return. I don't see the government getting into a price war with dealers and I don't see the dealers letting go of their income without a fight either.
posted by Markb at 7:07 AM on July 6, 2001


The health risks are no greater (and arguably lower than) those of alcohol and tobacco

The health risks of cannabis are way lower than those of alcohol and tobacco. Too many people forget that you don't need to smoke it. In fact, if cannabis is used in food or drink, there are no known serious physical side effects. Even I have to admit that it can do harm mentally if abused, but then again, so can alcohol.

The thing that I just can't get my head around is this:

Tobacco kills 100,000 people in the UK each year
Alcohol kills 10,000 people each year
0 people killed by cannabis

Why is cannabis illegal again?
posted by twistedonion at 7:24 AM on July 6, 2001


In fact, considering that the combined death rate of all illegal drugs are way less than 10,000, why are any of them illegal?
posted by twistedonion at 7:32 AM on July 6, 2001


cannabis is illegal because it's a drug that makes you feel good. that's the reality of it. the reason why other addictive drugs currently legal in the market are left alone is because they've been here for so long. they tried to get rid of alcohol, and could not. but regardless of rationale, marijuana will probably never be legal. get over it.
posted by moz at 7:53 AM on July 6, 2001


While on the topic of cannabis and europe, how come in continental europe, everwhere you go, hash is the norm for THC delivery, but in the U.S., plain old marijuana plant materials are the norm (or is this just a result of my limited exposure to street dealers in europe?). What is the norm in the U.K.?
posted by jeb at 7:56 AM on July 6, 2001


Generally either form is available, though there is often a higher price for weed (plant material).
The plant itself is difficult to cultivate in the Northern European climate so most has to be imported. Which means when smuggling, pound for pound hash is more profitable than weed - hence the higher availablity and lower price.
Having said that, several people I know grow it at home, but to get anything nearing an impressive harvest they have to use light/hydroponics etc. Not really inconspicuous for commercial production.
posted by Markb at 8:17 AM on July 6, 2001


Once the dealers see that their customers are going elsewhere they will drop their prices (by the time a 9-bar of hash is split into ounces, halves and quarters the profit margin is staggering) and their customers will return.

I disagree. This is no different than any other product. The only people who would return to dealers are those who would choose price over quality.

But look at the additional value you would get with a legitimate and legal transaction

-- legal product (no fear of arrest)

-- standards of manufacuturing (ingrediants on the label; no more wondering what other chemicals it's laced with, or whether it was smuggled up some guy's ass)

-- transactions with a safe, legit business (no more trolling around seedy neighborhoods)

-- dealing with a regular businessman who must obey all regulations concerning his products in order to stay in business (instead of always buying from criminals).

I could go on, but you see where I'm heading. Just compare the experience of buying a bottle of your favorite alcoholic beverage from a liquor store vs. dealing with bootleggers.
posted by Dirjy at 10:51 AM on July 6, 2001


Actually, I believe that pot is illegal for two reasons:

1) Inertia - An illegal drug tends to stay illegal until the legislature is acted upon by some counteracting force.

2) Someone must believe that if drugs were made legal that the wrong people (i.e. not the government) would profit. Perhaps the government believes that the drug trade is better at making money from it that it is.
posted by fooljay at 11:24 AM on July 6, 2001


Hmmm, or perhaps that the gov't makes more money now from the illegal drug trade than it would if it were made legal...

Food for thought?
posted by fooljay at 11:25 AM on July 6, 2001


I watched an hour-long documentary about how heroin is not really bad per-se and that if it were legalised, and people could get a clean source, there would be no deaths or illnesses related to it anymore.

So.. hey, if you wanna legalise cannabis, why not heroin?

Legalise everything, then we'll see the true moral fibre of those around us.
posted by wackybrit at 1:24 PM on July 6, 2001


The big thing too, with legalization is that it removes the stigma of admitting addiction, which makes it easier for people to eradicate it.

Case in point: I'm addicted to chocolate milk. Because I can say that, without fear of societal retribution, it's easier for me to acknowledge it and do something. If this were a bigger affliction, there would be hundreds of centers where I could go do "dechoch".

I need my fix, man...
posted by fooljay at 2:04 PM on July 6, 2001


The reason drugs remain illegal is that the "drug war" is a giant sinkhole where taxpayers dollars get flushed and disappear, much like the military industrial complex.

Some of these drug war "subcontractors" are smuggling heroin, so they get paid either way. Will the mainstream press touch this story with a ten foot cattle prod? Hell no!

You're never going to get rid of drugs, gambling or prostitution. They're the basic human vices and people will pay top dollar for them regardless of whether they are legal or not. Government should legalize them, regulate them and tax the shit out of them.
posted by dr. zoidberg at 5:00 PM on July 6, 2001


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