The latest in our series of blogs for Cannabis Hypocrisy Week
By Adam A.
What associations come to mind when the word ‘cannabis’ is mentioned ? Perhaps it is criminals, drug dealers, gangs, laziness, social ineptitude or maybe it is life in all its glory squashed into one beautifully smelling, aesthetically pleasing nugget.
Regardless of what side of the fence you occupy concerning the current laws on cannabis the following facts cannot be disputed.
- Weed is a natural substance that has been grown by hundreds of cultures for millennia.
- The ‘side effects’ of cannabis are over estimated due to its links to crime, regardless of the fact that the latter results from the laws themselves.
- Marihuana has proven medical benefits for a number of illnesses including cancer.
- Cannabis does not lower IQ. My higher education results have been increasing annually for the last five years and were cannabis to have an adverse on IQ, most of my friends and my family would not be the intelligent people they are.
Regardless of opposing arguments, the general consensus is that the ‘war on drugs’ has failed to prevent their sale and distribution whilst at the same time placing billions of pounds into the hands of real criminals. So not only are the current laws inadequate, but counterproductive. Indeed if any other law was equally as futile it would have been discarded long ago, like with prohibition, but for some reason we continue to throw billions of taxpayers’ money at a ‘problem’ that does not exist, considering that before their criminalisation drugs could be bought at local ‘drug stores’. Far from being a problem, it was a solution to many ailments and disorders. Nowadays there are many examples of how cannabis and its derivatives (e.g. hemp oil, THC), have benefitted the lives of thousands of people all over the world.
In 2009, government scientist and head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, Professor David Nutt, publicly incurred the wrath of the government when he claimed that alcohol and tobacco were more harmful than many illegal drugs, including cannabis. He was immediately fired (no surprise there !). Also clashing with Jacqui Smith, the home secretary at the time, Nutt compared the hundred deaths annually from horse riding with the mere thirty deaths linked to ecstasy. It certainly appears that there exist more dangerous activities and substances out there that are completely legal, advertised and even encouraged, some as an Olympic sport !
More recently, UK Police Chief, Mike Barton said that “it is time to end the war on drugs”, stating that not all crime gangs raise income through selling drugs, “but most of them do in my experience. So offering an alternative route of supply to users cuts their income stream off”, (not to mention providing a a revenue stream, and lessening the public debt that is directly attributed to prohibition).
“He is that all too rare thing, a man who serves on the frontline, with principles and courage, who supports effective reform that best meets the needs of the communities that he serves. We must hope that this time more of his peers follow his lead.”
Those are just two high profile examples of truth, reason, and hope. People everywhere, especially professional scientists, politicians, and those in the social spotlight need to make a stand against prohibition. We already have the potential, the ball is rolling, the UK just needs your support.