Does the UK government want to ban tea and coffee? According to a BBC report from 13/09/14 it would appear that they are considering it.
By Deej Sullivan
Here you can find the original BBC report
In a move that will dismay drug law reform activists everywhere, our dear leaders are apparently considering bringing in legislation that would ban all psychoactive substances in a remarkably ham-fisted and short-sighted effort to curtail the rise of so-called ‘legal highs’.
Under current laws ‘new psychoactive substances’ are looked at on a case by case basis to decide whether they can be sold legally in this country. The Local Government Association have decided in their wisdom that this is the reason behind the rise in deaths from legal highs, and that a better solution would be to blanket ban everything.
Obviously, this creates a problem for them, as banning all psychoactive substances would surely mean outlawing alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. After all it is well established that these are among the most dangerous and addictive substances out there. But no, because there would be special clauses in the new legislation that would exempt the most socially destructive substances and keep the markets for those substances legal and regulated.
So what we have here is a government who are so concerned about the welfare of their citizens that they are prepared to ban everything psychoactive in the name of keeping them safe. Except for the ones that kill millions of people a year. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? It is possibly the most illogical move this government has considered in years, but it is a microcosm of the war on drugs as a whole.
Let’s keep this simple – prohibition does not work. Ever. When synthetic cannabinoid products first started appearing in this country they were a direct response to the ongoing prohibition of cannabis. Despite what the media tell you, the original synthetic cannabinoids (let’s take JWH-018 as an example) were actually extremely well researched and considered to be relatively safe. In fact there was even some evidence that they could have medical applications. Now obviously when used to excess they had their dangers, and they were certainly not as safe as natural cannabis, but we knew what they were and what they did and could educate people accordingly.
What happened next was that media scare stories prompted the government into banning JWH-018 as it was one of the most commonly found synthetic cannabinoids in the popular ‘Spice’ brand. The name Spice has since become the Skunk of synthetics, being used to describe any and all cannabinoid-based legal highs, regardless of accuracy. In the law maker’s minds that solved the problem. No JWH-018 equals no legal high problem. But of course it isn’t as simple as that. The vast numbers of new chemicals flooding the market at present are a direct consequence of the policy of prohibition – as soon as an old, tested, and relatively safe compound is banned a new, untested and potentially unsafe one takes its place. In exactly the same way that banning cannabis resulted in synthetics in the first place; banning certain synthetics has just led to more dangerous ones being produced and sold.
Now the Local Government Association would have you believe that the way to put a stop to this is just to ban everything psychoactive. That way, according to them, the head shops selling legal highs would go out of business, all of the potentially dangerous drugs would up and vanish and we’d all be able to sleep easier at night knowing that the children are safe. What they fail to take into account is the observable fact that prohibition does not make drugs disappear, or stop people from using them. In the 40 years since Dick Nixon’s War on Drugs began the rates of use of pretty much all drugs have risen to the point that a nations Cocaine habit is now measurable by how much is found in the water supply. When the only people hailing a war on drugs as a success are the cartels and the bankers you should know it isn’t really working.
They also don’t seem to care in the slightest for the hundreds if not thousands of people who would likely lose their livelihoods if this new legislation were to come into effect. The vast majority of head shops could not possibly survive on the sale of novelty bongs and Bob Marley posters alone, so a hell of a lot of people would be out of work and on the dole. Costing the government and the economy millions in the process.
To be blunt – this advice from the Local Government Association is idiotic in the extreme. It flies in the face of all logic and reason, as well as the evidence of what has happened every other time a government has tried to ban something. A far more sensible approach would be stricter regulations on the industry to reduce any potential harms that can be caused by the products they sell. This way the drugs people take would be tested and labelled correctly, the producers of the chemicals would be known and could be held accountable for any skirting of the law, and consumers would have the protection of knowing that if they suffer ill effects from anything they’ve taken they aren’t going to be banged up. Surely, surely it should all be so obvious by now. And while they’re at it they should legalise and regulate the cannabis industry too because, well, logic.