What politicians *should* be saying

"We noticed recently that while most dangerous substances and activities are legal – including skiing, scuba diving, sushi, and ice cream sundaes – there seems to be a loophole whereby we forgot to legalize marijuana, opium, and some other drugs.

"As a result, we find ourselves incarcerating people simply because they are walking around carrying a little bit of a substance that they later might want to consume. We must close this dangerous loophole immediately, before we end up putting hundreds of thousands of Americans in prison for activities that don’t harm others." – Vice Squad

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13 thoughts on “What politicians *should* be saying

  1. In regards to this post and the post above, the main thing is that most drugs ~will~ harm you even if you use them properly, whereas scuba diving will not if done properly (same for sushi). I’m no prude but I know that Cannabis is dangerous (it is).
    You might have an argument if you start talking about cigarettes and alcohol, which are dangerous but whose side-effects are reversible unless large doses are involved (and this is valid for the Oasis song as well).
    The war on drugs is counter-productive but don’t pretend the problem is that simple John because it’s not. Maybe you don’t know anyon harmed by them, but maybe it would make you reconsider that "as long as it doesn’t harm others" line…

  2. Cannabis is harmless in small doses. If you take too much, you’ll get cancer and die. Ice cream is harmless in small doses. If you take too much, you’ll get obese and die.

    Most people who use cannabis suffer no significant impairment beyond the short-term effect they’re aiming for. Most people who go skiing suffer no broken limbs or other significant disability. Sizeable minorities (broadly equivalently sizeable minorities) are less fortunate.

    Your case is a long way from made.

  3. And opium? That harmless in small doses? And how much is a small dose? Should cannabis be legal if limited to one spliff a day? Logically cigarettes and alcohol should be illegal. They are not, but that cannot be used as an argument for legalising other harmful substances. And by the way it doesn’t necessarily have to be the substance that is harmless, just the effects (social as well as physical) of addiction. Why do those who claim to be truly supportive of civil liberties advocate legalising substances that remove a part of a person’s free will.

  4. Most people can consume cannabis and opium recreationally indefinitely without harm; others enjoy the drugs so much and have sufficiently little willpower that they overconsume and become addicts. Most people can consume ice cream recreationally without harm; others enjoy the food so much and have sufficiently little willpower that they overconsume and become addicts.

    The fact that ‘a small dose’ of ice cream is hard to quantify doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist, or that there’s no difference between eating a Cornetto and eating a gallon of Haagen Dazs.

    And criminalising drugs does little to end addiction, but does much to ensure that addicts are unable to live normal lives – whereas you could barely throw a stick in a room of middle-aged middle class professionals without hitting a functional alcoholic.

  5. "Why do those who claim to be truly supportive of civil liberties advocate legalising substances that remove a part of a person’s free will."

    Wha? I’m not allowed to exercise my free will in consuming something that you think will reduce my free will?

    i.e. You’re allowed to reduce my free will, but I’m not.

    I suppose lots of people vote for this sort of thing, but its continuing attraction does depend on somewhat specific values of "you" and "me".

  6. It’s certainly hard to argue that cannabis should be illegal, or otherwise supply-restricted in some way, when alcohol is not.

    Some people overdo it, but most are sensible. The problem with current thinking in government is that we have to protect the idiots who don’t know when to stop, by restricting those who do.

  7. What do you mean, ‘free will’? This isn’t some abstract question, as, given it is the centre of your argument, Paul, you need to have a working definition an theory of the term.

    Living in a material universe governed by cause and effect (else all our reason crumbles), there is little room (no room) for uncaused ‘free will’. We are free to will what we will, but the causes of what we will are the historical, social, economic, biological antecedents of that will.

    By the logic that a person who smokes cannabis reduces their capacity for free will, then so does any action that affects the existence of another person, as it irrevocably changes the antecendents to their future will.

    I think you meant ‘remove a part of a person’s capacity for reasoned thought’. In which case, fair enough. But the biggest and most widespread causea of this are ignorance, lies, secrects and mistruths.

  8. I don’t think my ex-girlfriend, who smokes cannabis regularly to relieve her MS symptoms, is the slightest bit concerned about whether it reduces her capacity for free will – all that matters to her is that it’s the one remedy she’s tried that demonstrably works.

    The irony is that she doesn’t even like it that much – but what’s the alternative, given that there are no legal or affordable drugs that are anything like as effective? (Believe me, she’s done plenty of practical research).

    Fortunately, though what she’s doing is technically illegal, the chances of her getting nicked for it are practically zero: ever since the BMA acknowledged that there were clear medicinal benefits, the police and the courts tended to turn a blind eye to situations with obvious mitigating circumstances. And quite rightly.

  9. Cannabis does have effects on the mental health which you are apparently not aware of… more than just laziness! Paranoia, psychotic crises, etc. I just wish you never suffer from them but they exist. It’s not a "danger" but an inherent side-effect of a mind-bending drug.
    You all keep repeating the trendy line on cannabis, with a libertarian point of view, but from the point of view of society there is a case for drug restrictions
    I don’t suppose y’all have kids?

  10. "I just wish you never suffer from them but they exist."

    Multiple sclerosis and other illnesses whose symptoms are chronic muscle spasms also exist, and I hope in turn that you never suffer from them.

    And I mean this most sincerely, as I know a great many people who do suffer from them, and have seen first-hand how these people’s symptoms are ONLY relieved by cannabis (beta-interferon not being widely available on the NHS and far too expensive – five figures a year – for people who are generally subsisting on disability benefits). As a result, I tend to be highly suspicious of people whose only concern is to stress the drawbacks without acknowledging that a significant minority of people derive very real benefit from it. And this isn’t remotely a "trendy line".

    "I don’t suppose y’all have kids?"

    I have two, as it happens, and I’m going to bring them up exactly the same way my parents brought me up when it comes to drugs (and sex) – make sure they have access to balanced and authoritative information that highlights the drawbacks without resorting to finger-wagging moralism. If they’re anything like me (or their mother), the latter approach is almost certainly going to be completely counterproductive anyway.

  11. Incidentally, John, when doing a bit of digging on the former Lord Chief Justice, who was recently awarded the Order of the Garter alongside John Major, I found this

  12. If you’re worried about drugs fucking people up, then don’t send drug-users to prison. It’ll just fuck most of them up more.

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