Pubdate: Mon, 10 Mar 2003
Source: Hull Daily Mail (UK)
Copyright: 2003 Northcliffe Newspapers Group Ltd
Author: Carl Wagner, Legalise Cannabis Alliance

Clarity Needed To Find Drug Answer

After reporting the tragic story of Valerie Parker, who has lost two 
children in eight years because of the unregulated drug market, the Mail 
quite rightly said that conventional methods of preventing drug abuse are 
not working (Feb 7).

The question is what do we do about it?

The drug problem is now distorting the whole of the law enforcement and 
legal system of this country.

We have a duty to look at the laws we already have, look at the effect they 
are having on society, look at the social circumstances surrounding drug 
use and drug abuse, and tailor our laws accordingly, because society can no 
longer afford to pay the price that the current policy of prohibition is 

For policy makers to blame drugs for the crime problem is dysfunctional denial.

Prohibition causes crime. Not only does it increase the sheer volume of 
offences by making crimes of things that are not criminal, it increases the 
frequency and violence of crime. It also creates opportunities for police 
brutality, corruption and bribery.

Being against drug taking in principle is a valid position to take, but the 
'holistic' approach - pretending all drugs are equally dangerous and 
addictive - has resulted in immense social harm: the criminalisation of 
large numbers of young people, deaths as a result of lack of information 
and support, and alienation of many young people from authority.

Cannabis use is common and socially tolerated among many young people and 
any drugs or crime policy in our society that ignores cannabis is ill 
conceived, incomplete and irresponsible.

We often hear the phrase "harm reduction" in relation to cocaine and heroin 
users and addicts, but we seldom hear anything about harm reduction for 
cannabis use. Are we to assume that the Hull and East Riding Drug Action 
Team, despite its claims that cannabis is a dangerous substance, does not 
consider it important to advise cannabis users on safer use?

The real risks from illegal cannabis use need to be recognised and tackled.

Full legalisation would enable the laws on quality, weights etc, that 
already exist to be applied to cannabis, enable taxation on profits, would 
divorce supplies from hard drugs, allow home cultivation, allow public 
consumption premises (maybe coffee shops).  It would protect the consumer 
from the type of dealer who sells dubious substances.

There has never been a "drug free" society; it defies reason, and it is 
arrogant and totalitarian for a small, shrill special-interest group to try 
to impose its own version of morality on the rest of society, especially 
considering that prohibition itself is the cause of most drug-related harms.

Carl Wagner Legalise Cannabis Alliance
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