Pubdate: Tue, 06 July 1999
Source: Examiner, The (Ireland)
Copyright: Examiner Publications Ltd, 1999
Author: Joe Hennon, Belgium.


Could someone please explain precisely why cannabis is illegal?
Throughout the Western world, alcohol is used on a massive scale every
day, sometimes with considerable social consequences, but such
behaviour is (rightly) not regarded as criminal in itself. However,
woe betide the citizen who dares to inhale some cannabis into their

If cannabis is illegal because it is supposed to be a health risk,
then we should at least be consistent and make alcohol and tobacco
illegal also. In any case, a recent report commissioned by the French
Minister for Health categorised drugs according to their level of
toxicity. Cannabis came at the bottom of the pile, with barely
measurable levels of toxicity. (Alcohol and heroin came top high risk
of damage to the brain or other organs.)

Maybe cannabis is illegal because of what smokers get up when they’re
under the influence? Well, let’s see, what do cannabis users get up
to? They listen to music, read books, watch TV, go to the cinema,
attend sporting fixtures, chat with their friends, ... hmm, suspect
admittedly, but hardly grounds for putting them in jail.

The so called ‘gateway’ theory (i.e. the theory that cannabis use
leads to use of hard drugs) can also be discounted by any rational
person. In fact, it is blindingly obvious that heroin addicts begin
with alcohol and nicotine and go on to try every drug in the book,
including cannabis.

Cannabis smokers do not threaten other people or their property, so
why on earth should they be classed as criminals? It would make far
more sense to devote scarce police resources to tackling behaviour
which actually does infringe other people’s rights, such as mugging,
burglary, car theft, etc. (And please don’t try to tell me that such
crimes are fuelled by the need for money to buy cannabis they are far
more likely to be fuelled by the desire for money to buy drink and
consumer goods).

Joe Hennon,
Vlieguit 12,
3061 Leefdaal,

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