Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Class B criminals again

Oh dear, as if it wasn’t bad enough that we wasted all those nights damaging our lungs and laughing stupidly on the sofa, now most of my friends and I are Class B criminals again. Actually, most of us are Class A criminals because cannabis isn’t the only drug of choice that we’ve ingested over the years. Apart from anything else, there’s the little matter of magic mushrooms, which got listed alongside crack and heroin the year before last, forcing us all back onto ecstasy and other chemical substitutes for our entheogen experiences.

So now we’re back to where the Wooton Report kicked off in 1969, when its advice to classify cannabis as a class C drug and to make possession a non-arrestable offence went unheeded. Good old Gordon, whose government has set itself the target of getting something wrong at least once a week, has decided to emulate King Harold, formerly of that parish, in ignoring all the expert evidence (not to mention the fact that the number of cannabis consumers has fallen substantially across all age groups since David Blunkett reclassified it as Class C in 2004) and humping it back up to a B drug again.

So that’s up to five years and an unlimited fine for having a spliff, and up to 14 years and an unlimited fine for passing it on. And no excuse if you don’t inhale it yourself: it’s still 14 years for letting someone else do so where you live. (I’ve sent people out the back for the past ten years – can’t stand the smell of smoke in the house – but that doesn’t get me off the hook either.)

I can barely be bothered to marshal the arguments against prohibition and punishment when what you’re dealing with is a public health issue. And it hardly seems worth repeating the obvious point that all this stuff about skunk being so much stronger than the old-style weed is just, well, stuff and nonsense – the extra strength just means people smoke less of it, as they drink less brandy than beer.

I’m curious to know, though, why a Cabinet that was falling over each other not so long ago to say that, yes, they’d smoked a bit when they were younger, but gave up on it without the intervention of the boys in blue, thinks that the best way to deal with kids doing the same today is by criminalising them. Immoral in principle, unworkable in practice: the old adage is as true as ever.

Oh, and by the way, as I once read in Viz, if smoking is so bad for you, why does it cure salmon? Boom, boom!


Anonymous said...

Apparently according to UCLA medical professor Donald Tashkin smoking marijuana prevents cancer or at least slows the rate among tobacco smokers to that of none smokers.

Anonymous said...

Spot on. Criminalising drugs has benefitted nobody but criminals.

Pamela Anderson said...

I was not a big drug person. I couldn't smoke pot because it made me so paranoid that I couldn't tell if I had to pee or I was really cold, so I just didn't enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

it's called trying to look tough and running scared of being sensible in the face of the daily mail and public opinion--but i think you knew that already