Kathy Gyngell, Research Fellow and bansturbationist at the centre for policy studies is worried:
the people who perturb me are middle-aged political converts to this ‘cause’ – Nick Clegg, Nigel Farage, Daniel Hannan and Norman Fowler. Whether intentionally or not, they have aligned themselves in a culture war which pits the liberal against traditionalist, cosmopolitan against parochial and old against young. This is what drugs’ legalisation is about: a war over fundamental values. It is not a battle about basic freedoms – far from it. Drugs enslaveSome of the harder drugs are extraordinarily habit-forming. But society copes with alcohol easily enough. It will cope with a bit of pot.
I doubt whether any of these politicians are or were ‘recreational’ drug users, let alone former addicts; or that they’d wish drugs on their children. Yet they’ve been persuaded that a hypothetical taxed and regulated system – one they’ve been told would cut police and prison costs, undercut criminal gangs and end the war on drugs to boot – would sanitise drug use. It wouldn’t. It would normalise itWhy does she doubt these politicians smoked pot at university? I know of only a handful of people, mostly military obsessed or weird, who never tried. Certainly pot use, in certain circles is already "normal" and it causes almost no problems. Cocaine use is on the rise, again with very little social effect. It's alcohol which causes the blood and vomit on the street.
But like the pro-legalising think tank head I sat next to at dinner recently, I suspect Mr. Hannan’s grasp of the drug problem is pretty limited. My dinner companion typically had no idea how marginal an activity drug use is compared with smoking and drinking – living as he does amongst London’s metropolitan liberals.Few people have the criminal contacts to get hold of weed, which is easy for the police to interdict (it smells) and therefore getting scarcer. People are instead taking cocaine - easy to conceal, high margin. With the rise of mobile phones it's a delivery business.
He was surprised that fewer than three per cent of adults smoke a spliff on any sort of regular basis compared with the 20 per cent who smoke daily and the overwhelming majority who regularly drink alcohol. He had no idea that cannabis use overall had declined in the UK, and so markedly amongst adolescents – 30 per cent in the last 15 yearsOf course cannabis use has fallen. As has LSD - they're hard to get. People are moving onto cocaine, whose use is rising.
For today’s young people are more, not less, responsible than before, they drink less, use drugs less, commit fewer crimes and volunteer more as a recent Demos report shows. In these newly competitive times, the last thing this generation need is a drugs legalising experiment foisted on them by ageing libertarians.Yes they are much more responsible. They're also quite capable of lying to researchers about their drug use, and making their own decisions. NOTHING I have seen suggests to me that pot causes problems. It may exacerbate problems already there, but no more so than does alcohol. The link between schizophrenia and cannabis use is, according to all literature not published by a government-sponsored "education" campaign, suggests a co-morbidity, not a causal relationship, however comforting it is for parents of sufferers to believe it's the pot that "caused" the problem. People with mental health problems take all and any drugs in greater volume, whether legal or illegal, stimulant or depressive.
Anyway, there already is one – in Colorado. It does not look good. According to Dr. Christian Thurstone, the director of one of Colorado’s largest youth substance-abuse treatment clinics, regular high school drug use has leaped from 19 per cent to 30 per cent since Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2009 for adultsSo under a legalised system, the proportion smoking rose to that which it was in the UK, before pot got hard to come by? I'm SHOCKED, that people like to get high. SHOCKED. Drug warriors, like prohibitionists like to present it as an a-priori benefit when drug use goes down. Furthermore, there's the tired assumption that the pot available now is stronger and therefore worse, than that which our parents smoked (True in the USA, but less so in Europe) and this is mainly down to freshness - our parents smoked pot grown in Morocco (or mexico, if American). Our kids smoke pot hydroponically forced in someone's basement.
I simply don't accept that it's necessarily bad for people to get high/pissed/stoned once in a while.
Drugs enslaveThat's is probably true of Heroin. But not of pot. Pot is likely to be a substitute for getting smashed on alcohol for young people. Which drug has the worse social effects? Most of the harms associated with drug use are due to Heroin and (in the USA meth and crack), which is highly addictive, lethal if the dose is wrong and with catastrophic health effects. No-one sets out to be a junkie. They probably start with Pot. When pot is hard to come by, their dealer suggests cocaine (which is easier to get these days). When there's no cocaine, a dealer might suggest heroin - smoking at first, before finally injecting. The slippery slope exists, for vulnerable people at least.
Why would a dealer do such a thing?
Because he's dealing to fund his own habit.
What the heroin market is at present is a highly effective pyramid marketing scheme. Why do people take heroin? Because they can't get medical grade diamorphine (which has fewer health effects, no track-lines, infections, and crap injected into viens). A legal supply chain (not decriminalisation) would break the hold of the dealer, prevent dealers recruiting users to fund their own habit and close down the heroin marketing pyramid.
The number of problem heroin addicts rocketed after the misuse of drugs act. Before the misuse of drugs act, most people became addicted to opiates in hospital. It was known as "the soldiers' disease".
Legalised drugs would mean more people taking pot and cocaine, and fewer people drinking to excess and injecting heroin. I can live with that.