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[P]
Law change on cannabis: The UK Spins.

By priestess in News
Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 12:07:12 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Two ministers from opposing parties in the UK propose changes to the cannabis laws. The first proposal is rejected resoundingly by the people and never even makes it to a manifesto. The second, a year later is announced to general approval and will surely be law in a few months time.

The difference between the two proposals may not be quite what you think.


In October of the year 2000, at the Tory Party conference in Bournemouth, Ann Widdecombe announced a prospective policy from the opposition cabinet which would change the laws on cannabis. Rather than face years in jail and an unlimited fine a person caught in possession of cannabis would be subject to a spot fine of 100 pounds which Ann said would be similar to a speeding fine.

The resulting fuss was incredible. Several cabinet ministers and shadow ministers admitted that they had smoked Cannabis in the past and the media decried Ann's attempt to 'Crack Down On Cannabis Use' as unrealistic and outdated. The leadership distanced themselves from the fuss and the Tories lost both votes and credibility as a result of the fiasco.

Almost exactly a year later, in October 2001, the newly elected Labour government's minister David Blunkett proposed that cannabis should be rescheduled. Changed from a "class B" drug to a "Class C" drug. The media applaud the event, claim that the relaxation of the law is a positive step and that the law is slowly coming into phase with the world on the street.

But class C drugs carry a possible two year prison sentence for possession, along with an unlimited fine!

The difference? Spin. While Widdecombe pounded her fists together, stalked the stage like an overweight panther and decried the increasing burden on the police of the evil cannabis user, Blunkett said openly that this was a relaxation of the law. His proposals were designed to "have credible policy in treatment and harm minimisation and above all consistency in law enforcement and policing"

They both claimed, a year apart, that the idea of the legislation was to allow the police to concentrate on the real demon: Heroin and Cocaine and Crack (which is basically also cocaine of course).

What can we learn from the media's and public's reaction to the two speeches? Simple: We can learn how easy it is, and how useful it is when in government, to manipulate the timing and focus of news as it's released.

Me? I welcome Blunkett's proposal. It's a step in the right direction though I still regret that criminals will continue to be making all the profit from cannabis production and distribution rather than legitimate business and the treasury's coffers as would happen with full legalization and taxation.

I regret that the news media and the public are so easily manipulated, that their opinion of a proposal is so easily altered, that the skills to be approved of and elected are so removed from the reality of that proposal. I regret that the Spin Doctors make or break an election or a policy decision rather than informed and rational debate.

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Law change on cannabis: The UK Spins. | 84 comments (79 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Concession. (3.33 / 6) (#1)
by priestess on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 09:05:39 PM EST

It is probably true that Blunkett's proposal will see less people punished for possession than Widdecombe's would since the process for prosecuting someone for a class C possession case is more convoluted and difficult than a speeding fine tends to be. However, the unlucky few who end up in jail under Blunktett's deal will probably disagree that this is an important distinction I'd imagine.

I thought I'd get that point in before anyone else does.

Pre.........

----
My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
Robots!
I`m not sure. (4.00 / 4) (#15)
by FredBloggs on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 05:05:48 AM EST

This issue will be thrashed out over the coming days/weeks, but i`m sure that some people will demand a court case (refusing warnings, cautions etc), and get it thrown out by a jury. Other people will then be able to use that precedent.
It means that people wont face arrest for using it medicinally, and this will have a knock on effect - if the conservative (small c) members of the uk see that their parents/grannys/friends can smoke a little to help with MS or Glaucoma, and not end up shivering in the gutter then perhaps its not such a bad drug after all.

[ Parent ]
Medical (3.66 / 3) (#36)
by priestess on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 06:42:55 AM EST

Yes, I didn't mention the fact that medicinal use will be effectively legalized completely, though I'm interested to see what arrangements will be made for the supply of medicinal cannabis.

That is a genuine difference between the proposals and, of course, not denying the sick and dying their medicine is much better. Let's hope that a decent supply system can be worked out for those people.

Pre.........

----
My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
Robots!
[ Parent ]
Winning combination (2.14 / 7) (#4)
by ktheory on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 09:48:15 PM EST

Drugs and government manipulation. I'd like to talk about it on the front page

clarification for the clueless (3.87 / 8) (#8)
by shadowmage on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 01:08:59 AM EST

What exactly are the current laws re: cannabis in the UK? I'm in the US and was under the impression that European laws regarding marijuana (they are the same, aren't they? You can tell I'm not particularly familiar with the subject...) were quite lax. Is the UK more or less restrictive than the rest of Europe? The author indicates that he feels "full legalization" would be more beneficial; is cannabis the equivalent of alcohol in the US, i.e., possession is legal, but only over a certain age and within certain guidelines?

EU law (4.20 / 5) (#9)
by NotZen on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 04:04:42 AM EST

European law varies a lot. All the countries are bound by a treaty (to do with either the UN I think, I can't remember exactly what, unfortunately) that means they have to crack down on illegal drugs. However, they all have their own laws. The UK was until recently very anti-drug, but the attitude towards cannabis has softened considerably. Holland has very relaxed laws in certain places (Amsterdam, for instance, has an awful lot of Cannabis Cafes where personal consumption is allowed). Other countries vary a lot between these two extremes.

[ Parent ]
More specifically (4.00 / 4) (#49)
by magullo on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 10:26:41 AM EST

I was writing this detailed response when I saw this.

[ Parent ]
Laws not the same as reality (4.00 / 1) (#76)
by fonkyt on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 03:46:38 AM EST

The Dutch have a policy they call 'gedoogbeleid' (don't try to pronounce it, without lessons you will get it wrong!) which essentially means the activity is still illegal but officially tolerated. This is the model that lots of countries are going towards now, but the Netherlands seems to have pushed the line to a logical, but quite daring point where shops are actually setup.

I have heard this policy of tolerance is quite a Dutch cultural characteristic, and extends to quite a few other grey areas of the law.

[ Parent ]

Interesting Question (4.25 / 8) (#10)
by jynx on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 04:10:17 AM EST

Controlled substances in the UK are currently divided into 3 groups. Class A (heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, LSD etc.), Class B (cannabis and I'm not sure what else) and Class C (mostly controlled prescription drugs: anti-depressents etc.)

I'm not sure of the exact penalties for cannabis, but the laws allows for both supply and possesion for personal use to be punished with prison sentences.

However, for a long while there has been an increasing gulf between what the law says about pot says and what the police do. For many years, possesion of small quantities of cannabis have been ignored, or users have been offered a "police caution". This is an admission of guilt which results in a police record (which is not the same as a criminal record - it doesn't have to be declared to employers etc.) but no trial or punishment.

Recently this became more explicit - several police forces in the UK have announced in the last few months that they do not have the resources to persue minor cannabis possesion, and that it would go unpunished.

I'm not sure how this compares to the rest of Europe. It's clearly stricter than say, the Netherlands, and less strict than Germany. I'm not sure about elsewhere.

So, what effect will rescheduling cannabis from Class B to Class C actually have? IMHO, none. The police are not prosecuting now, so under the new laws not much will change.

This is a clever move from the government. The pro-legalisation lobby is becoming increasingly vocal in the UK, but there is still a large conservative (with a small c) group, many of whom are also Conservative (with a big C) who are opposed to decriminalisation. By making the token move of down-scheduling cannabis the government hopes to satisfy the pro-legalisation lobby without upsetting the [Cc]onservatives.

--

[ Parent ]

I meant to add... (3.60 / 5) (#12)
by jynx on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 04:16:21 AM EST

However, for a long while there has been an increasing gulf between what the law says about pot says and what the police do. For many years, possesion of small quantities of cannabis have been ignored, or users have been offered a "police caution". This is an admission of guilt which results in a police record (which is not the same as a criminal record - it doesn't have to be declared to employers etc.) but no trial or punishment.

I meant to add, cannabis users accepting police cautions is probably one thing which has done more to keep cannabis illegal than anything else.

If, starting tomorrow, every person in the UK caught with cannabis refused a police caution, demanded trial by jury, and pleaded not guilty, within 6 months one of two things would happen: Cannabis would be decriminalised or the criminal justice system would go bankrupt.

But of course, lots of these people would get fined and some would be jailed, when they could have been let of with cautions.

--

[ Parent ]

Or they sometimes nick it (3.25 / 4) (#14)
by Nick Ives on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 04:46:15 AM EST

Sometimes the coppers nick off with your weed. I've never heard of it happenening to anyone over the age of 16, but I remember way back around that age that a couple of my friends had that happen to them. Rather than complain they figured they got off lucky, at least their parents didnt find out.

But yea, everyone in the UK should refuse cannabis charges and opt for trail by jury. At the same time, everyone should agree to simply find such people not guilty. A national campaign could be made out of it, and as long as you didn't get a jury of Daily Mail readers you'd be sorted.

--
Nick
Fooood...

[ Parent ]

Maybe they were being nice! (4.00 / 4) (#30)
by jynx on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 06:24:56 AM EST

I've heard of this many times. People usually spin it as though the police are taking drugs for themselves, but you don't really know this to be true. Perhaps they take it and dispose of it. Maybe because they personally don't think a crime has been committed, so there is no need to drag the person down the police station and waste hours processing them. I think maybe confiscating the gear and disposing of it is in some cases a half-way point between letting someone get away scott-free and wasting 4 hours of their life cautioning them.

In a town I used to live in, if the police caught someone with small amounts of pot they would offer that person the opportunity to drop it into a storm drain, in which case it would be forgotton.

But on the other hand, I used to know a guy who bought gear from a drugs squad policeman.

--

[ Parent ]

It's happened to me (3.50 / 2) (#70)
by FeersumAsura on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 01:46:46 PM EST

I'm 19 (looking 24) and about three weeks ago I was caught with 2g of Hash. I was slightly stoned at the time and was smoking straight rollups and arguing with my gf. The cop looked in my eyes and asked me to empty my pockets, out drops the hash. Cop picks it up and tells me to go home.

I'm so pre-emptive I'd nuke America to save time.
[ Parent ]
Clarification(was It's happened to me) (none / 0) (#79)
by kingmob on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 12:09:43 PM EST

By "smoking straight rollups," do you mean smoking handrolled (tobacco) cigarettes? I am an American and this term is unfamiliar to me.

[ Parent ]
Trial by Jury (4.00 / 5) (#17)
by hulver on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 05:25:03 AM EST

If, starting tomorrow, every person in the UK caught with cannabis refused a police caution, demanded trial by jury, and pleaded not guilty, within 6 months one of two things would happen: Cannabis would be decriminalised or the criminal justice system would go bankrupt.
<cynical> No. The goverment will just include trials for canabis possesion in the new legislation which meens that you will not be able to request trial by jury. You will be tried by up to three judges, who, in order to keep the goverment happy and retain their jobs will fine you.</cynical>

--
HuSi!
[ Parent ]
Probably right (3.60 / 5) (#19)
by jynx on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 05:43:12 AM EST

You are probably right. And of course, the system would never be allowed to go bankrupt anyway, the government would find more money, rather than letting the UK decend into anarchy.

But still, it would cost them a lot. A trial by judges is still many many times more expensive than giving someone a caution. There are around 50,000 cautions[1] issued for cannabis possesion each year. 50,000 extra court cases would make the government think hard about it's policy.

[1] I'm pretty unsure about this number. I think that's what the lawyer guy who spoke at the cannabis march through London said, but strangely my recolection of the day is somewhat hazy.

--

[ Parent ]

re: Interesting question (4.40 / 5) (#38)
by TomV on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 07:17:00 AM EST

So, what effect will rescheduling cannabis from Class B to Class C actually have? IMHO, none. The police are not prosecuting now, so under the new laws not much will change.

One significant change, it seems to me, will be increased fairness in enforcement.

At present, as jynx says, some police forces have, either quietly or openly, moved to a position of not prosecuting minor cannabis offenses. But others have not. This has the result that the same behaviour may be permitted by policy in Brixton, permitted by quiet default in Birmingham, but prosecuted leading to a prison sentence in Wiltshire.

While Mr Blunkett's declared policy move will not de jure remove the asymmetry here, it will at least reduce the gross de facto unfairness of a geographically discriminatory situation.

It's still a shame that the revenues will remain in criminal hands, but one key factor will be whether the courts decide that it's possible that home-grown might not always and only be possessed with intent to supply (at the moment, growing, when prosecuted, is always considered a supply offense, never just possession, which to my mind simply offers protection to the criminal market for weed)

TomV

[ Parent ]

Laws catching up to reality (3.33 / 3) (#56)
by rhdntd on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 04:13:37 PM EST

It would most likely lead to consistent enforcement nationwide, as you say. The other interesting thing to me (in the middle U.S.) is that a reasonably civilized country will actually be moving, in one small step, their laws toward the will of the people. Normally that takes revolution. It gives me hope for the species when lawmakers actually reduce the scope of law rather than leaving them there and saying 'don't worry, that law isn't intended to prosecute you'.

-- 
"book chicks really seem to like anal"
  — Lady 3Jane
[ Parent ]
Class B drugs (4.00 / 4) (#41)
by Gully Foyle on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 08:32:17 AM EST

> Class B (cannabis and I'm not sure what else)

Amphetamines are also class B. All class B's become class A when prepared for injection.

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

What, exactly, does 'Class C' mean, legally (4.16 / 6) (#11)
by Obvious Pseudonym on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 04:13:32 AM EST

But class C drugs carry a possible two year prison sentence for possession, along with an unlimited fine!

The BBC news this morning reported that becoming a Class C drug would mean that possession would no longer be a criminal offence.

Given that you can't both be right, could someone who knows more about the British drug laws than I do actually state what is and isn't legal if something is Clsss C?

Please, only post if you know - don't just post a guess or hearsay.

Obvious Pseudonym

I am obviously right, and as you disagree with me, then logically you must be wrong.

I don't know, but I'll reply anyway. (Sorry :) ) (3.20 / 5) (#13)
by jynx on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 04:19:51 AM EST

According to the BBC website:

Cannabis possession and supply would remain a criminal offence, attracting maximum sentences of five years for supply and two years for possession.

So the breakfast program is at odds with the website.

--

[ Parent ]

the difference is (3.66 / 3) (#21)
by Best Ace on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 05:47:32 AM EST

I think the difference is that if you are caught with a small amount for personal consumption, then you won't be arrested or cautioned, but if you have larger amounts, then the police can charge you with intent to supply, which carries the heavier penalty.

Possession for personal consumption of class A and B drugs is, however a criminal act.

[ Parent ]

Non Arestable (4.00 / 4) (#24)
by priestess on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 06:09:51 AM EST

Possession would still be criminal, but not serious enough to be arestable. Rather than immeidately pack you into a police van and run you downtown for a strip-serach and some questioning and a few hours in the cells before they gave you a caution as they can do at the moment, the police would have to let you go immediately and then post you a summons to appear in court in the mail if they wanted to get you into jail.

The law has already been changed so that a dope caution doesn't have to be revealed to employers etc just after Jack Straws son recieved a caution if I remember rightly. Pah.

Pre..........

----
My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
Robots!
[ Parent ]
Compare it to driving laws (4.00 / 4) (#43)
by Vulch on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 08:52:55 AM EST

As a comparison, drunk driving is an arrestable offence. You will be taken to a police station and spend the night in cells if you fail a breathalyzer. Speeding isn't an arrestable offence though. If a police officer is present (it might be a camera gathering evidence) he may not even stop you at the time, but a summons will drop through the post box a few days later.

For both offences you can land up in court, but only one will land you in the cells.

Anthony

[ Parent ]

Maximum penalties (4.66 / 6) (#47)
by nichughes on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 09:44:49 AM EST

Class A
Cocaine, crack, dipipanone, ecstasy, heroin, LSD, magic mushrooms, methadone, morphine, opium
(Class B drugs prepared for injection are classified class A)
Maximum penalty Possession: 7 years plus fine Dealing: life plus fine

Class B
Amphetamine, barbiturates, cannabis, codeine, dihydrocodeine, methylamphetamine
Maximum penalty Possession: 5 years plus fine Dealing: 14 years plus fine

Class C
Anabolic steroids, valium, librium, buprenorphine, diethylpropion, mazindol, and pemoline
Maximum penalty Possession: 2 years plus fine Dealing: 5 years plus fine

Of course in practice the biggest difference is that nobody is arrested for possession of class C drugs, that will make a big difference to around 80,000 people per year.

--
Nic

[ Parent ]

Don't know about Britain... (3.00 / 2) (#58)
by dadragon on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 05:46:02 PM EST

but in Canada, we have provinces. Each province can make laws which if broken, can carry a prison sentence. Provincial laws do not cause you to have a criminal record, speeding tickets go on your driving record, not your criminal record. It only causes a criminal record if you break a major federal statute ie: The Criminal Code of Canada or the Narcotic Control Act.

[ Parent ]
More info (3.50 / 2) (#64)
by FredBloggs on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 07:28:47 AM EST

http://www.guardian.co.uk/drugs/Story/0,2763,580507,00.html


[ Parent ]
The good news followed by bad news... (4.18 / 11) (#16)
by nobbystyles on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 05:12:28 AM EST

As one of the most media savvy governments in our history, it wouldn't suprise if the announcement on cannabis and IRA decomissioning were done this week to get a good news vibe before the announcement of thousands of British troops to be deployed in Afghanistan.

Cynical? Moi....



Already denied (2.75 / 4) (#18)
by FredBloggs on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 05:42:56 AM EST

by Blunkett, who claims this announcement was timetabled weeks ago.

[ Parent ]
Yes (3.75 / 4) (#20)
by nobbystyles on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 05:45:09 AM EST

But I think they are delaying the announcement on British troops until the end of the week. Why, one may ask?

[ Parent ]
I dont think (3.75 / 4) (#22)
by FredBloggs on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 05:49:57 AM EST

the British government are privy to the exact timetable of announcements by the IRA. I think that took everyone by suprise.

Having said that, i believe far more people are interested in and affected by cannabis law than by politics in Northern Ireland, so accusations that the drug law changes were `buried` under the IRA story seem disingenuous.

[ Parent ]
I am more interested in the IRA decomissioning (3.50 / 2) (#23)
by nobbystyles on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 05:59:37 AM EST

As I don't smoke dope much any more, I can't say I am really that bothered apart from the factor of freeing up police resources to fight more important stuff.

The IRA decomissioning is far more important in the scale of things as it means that we have one less lot of people trying to blow up innocent civilans in the UK.

[ Parent ]
I`m not. (3.25 / 4) (#25)
by FredBloggs on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 06:09:54 AM EST

I`m far more concerned with UK citizens being unable to:

Teach
Work in the armed/police forces
Travel to countries outside the EU
walk the streets safely in case they are innocent bystanders in some pointless drugs related turf war
Buy drugs for their own consumption without the risk of having low quality/badly cut drugs
Buy drugs without mixing with lowlife.
Leave their house without the risk that some addict will break and in steal stuff for their habit.



[ Parent ]
Laughable (3.33 / 3) (#26)
by nobbystyles on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 06:14:06 AM EST

Cannabis being downgraded to a Class C drug is going to end the turf wars caused by crack cocaine gangs in Harlesden, bollocks...

My friend had a cannabis conviction and admitted it at interview for a teaching job and still got the job so that is bollocks as well.



[ Parent ]
No, (3.25 / 4) (#28)
by FredBloggs on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 06:23:36 AM EST

its another step towards sensible laws pertaining to drugs. Although if it frees up police time to deal with hard drugs it may have an impact. To be honest i dont really care about crack cocaine gangs in Harlesden either! Its a seperate issue.

I dont know the details of your friends job, or conviction, but the example proves nothing.



[ Parent ]
It seems to me (1.00 / 5) (#31)
by nobbystyles on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 06:25:58 AM EST

The only thing you *do care* about is getting stoned with less hassle from the pigs, man...

[ Parent ]
Incorrect (3.00 / 3) (#33)
by FredBloggs on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 06:29:10 AM EST

I`ve already stated why i believe the drugs laws need to be changed.

[ Parent ]
perhaps we should elaborate on that one (4.60 / 5) (#32)
by hjw on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 06:28:40 AM EST

The IRA guns have been predominantly silent for quite a while now. There have been outbursts of voilence by republicans, but it's hard to prove that it's directly linked to IRA strategies and orders.

I'm not trying to claim that IRA members haven't been involved in voilence. The point I'm making is that guns can return. This is really a statement of commitment to the peace process by the largest militant republican movement. This is the significance of it. Were the peace process to fall apart, I have no doubt that these militants would regroup and rearm.

I'm worried that people at the frontline of the bigotry in Northern Ireland ( i.e. those being subjected to pipebomb attacks) may feel more motivated to enlist the aid of other parimilitary organisations.

The next step is a consolidation of the political instituions now that the major obstacle to cross community cooperation has been removed.

We are at a very important phase of the peace process now. I hope hardcore loyalist and republican groups can be disarmed and kept under control. There is a lot of sectarian voilence in NI at the moment and this just feeds the cycle of revenge and hatred and plays right into the hands of hardcore militants such as 'The Red Hand Defenders' and 'The Real IRA'.

We are not safe just yet. There is a lot of work to do, and I hope that Sinn Fein and the UUP can continue to work for compromise



[ Parent ]

Expand this (4.33 / 3) (#37)
by nobbystyles on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 06:45:21 AM EST

add a few links and submit this as a story. I'd vote +1 FP. Ties in nicely with the current War on Terrorism as example of negotiation.

[ Parent ]
ironic (3.00 / 3) (#50)
by streetlawyer on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 10:49:42 AM EST

as it means that we have one less lot of people trying to blow up innocent civilans in the UK.

One door closes, another opens ...

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

I prefer if (3.33 / 3) (#54)
by nobbystyles on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 12:37:31 PM EST

We deal with terrorist groups one at time, don't you agree...

Anyway what's the point of Bin Laden and Co targetting the UK in this as the ultimate decisions about this war are made in the US. We are just a bit player...

[ Parent ]
IRA vs Bin Laden (5.00 / 1) (#84)
by Akaru on Wed Oct 31, 2001 at 06:42:58 AM EST

as it means that we have one less lot of people trying to blow up innocent civilans in the UK.

One door closes, another opens ...

Ahh But Bin Laden isn't being supported by the Americans is he?

[ Parent ]

Timetabling (3.66 / 3) (#29)
by Cloaked User on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 06:23:57 AM EST

I'm pretty sure that the deployment of British troops in Afghanistan was probably timetabled weeks ago, too...


Cheers,

Tim
--
"What the fuck do you mean 'Are you inspired to come to work'? Of course I'm not 'inspired'. It's a job for God's sake! The money's enough and the work's not so crap that I leave."
[ Parent ]
Missing The Point Completely (4.87 / 16) (#27)
by the trinidad kid on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 06:19:36 AM EST

The key difference is that by making Cannabis a Class C drug you can no longer be arrested for possesion of quantities for personal use.
A policeman can cite you for it, and you can be summoned to appear before a magistrate who has available to him sentences of up to 2 years (down from 5) and unlimited power to fine you.
This brings the Cannabis in line with other illegal Class C drugs like Steroids which are widely and illegally used in bodybuilding.
The reality is that magistrates have the power to fine and imprison people for considerable periods of time for a whole range of offences but that the magistrates are guided by their clerks who tell them the appropriate penalties for a particular crime. The clerks in turn are guided by sentencing guidelines which in the case of Class C drugs are basically "don't imprison".
This "spin" nonsense is rubbish. Anne Widicombe wanted more dope smokers fined. The current Government wants less. This has been preceeded by a experimental 'tolerance zone' where it has been shown that not prosecuting dope smokers frees the police up to chase real criminals.
Disclaimer: I am a Labour Party member

Then why (2.50 / 6) (#34)
by priestess on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 06:31:38 AM EST

If the government really wants to punish less cannabis users then why is the theoretical punishment more severe than the Tories suggestion was? The problem with judging a politician by his words is that they lie and spin all the time and their words mean almost nothing. We must judge them by their actions and the actions here are, yes, to reduce the penalty for cannabis crimes but not to reduce them as much as the proposal last year.

I think maybe you have missed the point that the only substantial difference between the two proposals is what the politicians say they want to achieve with their aims. This is surely the very definition of spin?

Pre.........

----
My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
Robots!
[ Parent ]
theoretical punishment more severe (4.00 / 6) (#39)
by FredBloggs on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 07:28:02 AM EST

Its not. Its less severe. If by `theoretical punishment` you mean the worst that can happen to you, you can see that a Class C drug is more leniently punishable than a Class B drug. And in practice you`ll see fewer people prosecuted.

Customs and Excise have already stated they dont go after cannabis importers anymore (although they may prosecute if they discover cannabis while investigating other drugs).



[ Parent ]
Wrong comparison. (3.00 / 5) (#42)
by priestess on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 08:46:27 AM EST

I was comparing the proposed changes this year, and the ones that gave the media the hives last year. This time there is still a possible jail sentence and unlimited fine. Last time is was a hundred quid and that it.

Pre.........

----
My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
Robots!
[ Parent ]
Yes, but (4.40 / 5) (#44)
by FredBloggs on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 09:01:02 AM EST

last years proposed changes (which i have to say amused the press, and only gave Tories the hives, as they saw their under 40`s votes vanish into the distance) would have NOT removed the possibility of a jail sentence, as it WOULD NOT HAVE CHANGED CANNABIS`S CLASS B STATUS. How many more times? Saying `a hundred quid and that it` is untrue - what about the second time you got caught, or the third.
Now you cant be arrested for it, there wont be a second, third etc arrest. Yes, you can STILL go to prison for an offence involving a class C drug, but its a shorter maximum length.

[ Parent ]
You're probably right (3.80 / 5) (#46)
by priestess on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 09:12:24 AM EST

You may be right, I certainly was assuming both at the time and since that the fine would apply for each offence rather than as a first offence only. Ann herself wasn't perhaps thinking that when she first propsed the deal but certainly soon afterwards the leadership were saying that their changes would not criminalize canabis use:
In an interview with ITN, he said that the Widdecombe plan would not criminalise cannabis users because the fines would be imposed in the same way as a speeding ticket. When it was pointed out that a Tory briefing paper said offenders would "receive a criminal record", he refused to be drawn. Tory sources said later that the briefing document was wrong.

Pre......

----
My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
Robots!
[ Parent ]
Spin (3.20 / 5) (#35)
by Scrymarch on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 06:33:02 AM EST

Even as a Labour Party member surely you should note the Blair obsession with spin.

That said, I suspect these announcements worked so well because they were true to the characters involved, ie, Ms Widdecombe (sp?) has strong and genuine family-values traditional social conservative beliefs that sometimes make her look like a nut. Mr Blunkett is more the pragmatist, and has had a year of public debate, much of which has supported liberalisation, to soften the blow, while still being able to sell it as focusing on the hard drugs.

[ Parent ]

Who is obsessed with spin (4.00 / 4) (#48)
by nichughes on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 10:07:01 AM EST

This thread typifies the problem - the proposals by Blunkett and Widdecombe are diametrically opposite in both intention and effect yet we still see knee-jerk claims that its all just spin with no substantial difference.

--
Nic

[ Parent ]

Spin (3.00 / 1) (#82)
by pwhysall on Sat Oct 27, 2001 at 01:47:28 AM EST

The only people with an obsession with "spin" is the UK media.

It's become an excuse to stop doing journalism.


--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Factual correction and minor addition (4.92 / 14) (#40)
by nichughes on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 08:18:54 AM EST

First up a factual correction - nothing in Widdecombe's speach would have reduced the maximum penalty, all she was doing was introducing a fixed minimum penalty regardless of amount found or circumstances. I have to wonder whether you were actually paying attention to what Widdecombe said, if not let me remind you
What does it mean? It means zero tolerance of possession. No more getting away with just a caution, no more hoping that a blind eye will be turned. If someone possesses drugs, the minimum for a first offence will be a fixed penalty of 100. But not for a second offence. Then it's into court.
So in fact Blunkett has reduced the maximum penalty and has also removed all threat of arrest for posession. By contrast Widdecombe was proposing to keep the threat of arrest, keep the existing maximum penalties but increase the minimum penalty to one considerably more severe than is normal for first time offenders.

The difference is exactly what everyone thinks, one was a proposal to make the laws more draconian, the other is a proposal to make them less so.

Its also worth mentioning that Blunkett also said that cannabis will be certified for medical usage (i.e. legalised) if it performs successfully in clinical trials. It seems clear that he is moving towards treating it in the same way as other medically useful drugs such as anti-depressants and steroids.

--
Nic

Tiny Steps (3.62 / 8) (#45)
by priestess on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 09:04:42 AM EST

I agree that this is being seen by most people as a first step, and that's an improvement, but it's an improvement which is based almost entirely in the world of words rather than in function.

Medical prescription is definately a good thing, though I wonder how supply will work when the details are hashed out. If there is such a thing as legal cannabis on perscription then somebody has to be allowed to grow or import the stuff and that person probably won't actually be sick which is interesting too. Somebody out there will be in possession leagally.

You may be right that I wasn't paying much attention to Ann, I tend to ignore the conferences since all they really are, at least all you see in the papers of them, is retoric anyway. I try to judge by action alone which makes it more akward to judge opposition parties admitedly. This is the Diplomacy player in me who's used to having to wait and see what actually happens before a word can be trusted.

Do you not think that Widdecombe's policies, with a different stance on the podium and from a more liberal mouth, could have recieved much the reaction that Blunkett is getting? My fear is that it would have.

I hope that this is just a first step, but it really is a very very tiny one.

Pre......

----
My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
Robots!
[ Parent ]
Growing Cannabis (3.75 / 4) (#52)
by rasilon on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 12:24:32 PM EST

Cannabis production will presumably work in exactly the same way as any other class C drug. A suitable license will be issued to several manufacturers and it will be produced just like any other prescription medicine. The thing is, all compunds can be licensed in the UK, there were (last time I looked) seven companies permitted to posess (create, refine, use for permitted purposes, etc) heroin in the UK. I still have a catalogue from one of the big (UK) bio-reagent companies that lists heroin, cocaine etc. for sale, from back in the days that I did chemistry.

[ Parent ]
Not all drugs can be prescribed medically (3.75 / 4) (#55)
by cyberformer on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 03:48:13 PM EST

There are a few drugs (eg. ecstasy) that can't legally be manufactured at all, because doctors aren't allowed to prescribe them for anything. Heroin and cocaine don't fall into this category (heroin is just morphine, often used as a painkiller in hospitals, and cocaine has some specialised uses as a local anaesthetic), but under current laws, cannabis does.

This is unrelated to the legal class of the drug, though the class does affect how easily they can be prescribed: Class C drugs (valium, temazepam) can be prescribed by any doctor and are usually just given out by pharmacists in the same way as penicillin. Class A prescriptions need to be written on special paper with anti-counterfeiting features, and require the pharmacist to confirm its accuracy with the doctor before actually dispensing the drug.

[ Parent ]

Heroin (4.20 / 5) (#57)
by DJBongHit on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 05:38:42 PM EST

heroin is just morphine, often used as a painkiller in hospitals

No, heroin is not morphine - it is metabolized into morphine by the body, but it can pass the blood-brain barrier, while morphine cannot.

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
It is possible to buy cocaine legally - I did... (3.66 / 3) (#62)
by Obvious Pseudonym on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 03:15:33 AM EST

I still have a catalogue from one of the big (UK) bio-reagent companies that lists heroin, cocaine etc. for sale, from back in the days that I did chemistry.

I used to work for a veterinary supplies wholesaler and I bought cocaine legally from suppliers (and amazingly cheaply too when got through proper channels). Cocaine is still legal for use by vets as a painkiller for animals (or at least it was, this was over a decade ago...)

Of course, as soon as the cocaine arrived, it was locked away and I never saw it again (only the management had the keys to the secure drugs cabinet).

Obvious Pseudonym

I am obviously right, and as you disagree with me, then logically you must be wrong.
[ Parent ]

Importation (4.00 / 2) (#51)
by salsaman on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 12:03:21 PM EST

Just out of interest, how will the change affect importation ? Could you still be arrested/detained/fined for bringing personal amounts into the country ?

I dont know for sure, (4.00 / 2) (#53)
by FredBloggs on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 12:26:33 PM EST

but recently its been treated the same as on the streets - ie, a caution, or maybe even a verbal warning but no action (for < 5g). The fact you are bringing in a personal amount doesnt seem to automatically mean they`ll throw the book at you. I think nowadays they are more concerned with penknifes and meat/dairy products. We dont really have proper customs anymore - you`re more likely to be searched on the way out of a country than on a way in. And once you`re in, they cant arrest you on suspicion of posession!

In terms of actually trafficking, well, you`ll get a much less severe punishment now. It used to be 14 years maximum. (I dont think anyone ever got the maximum though.) Now its 5 years maximum, which probably equates to a year or 2 in prison. For bringing in tonnes!

Apparantly UK customs has lost interest in targetting cannabis imports anyway, although they do prosecute if they find some during searches for importers of hard drugs. I imagine now that its just not worth the money to investigate people importing cannabis if the most someone will get is 5 years.


[ Parent ]
Probably (4.33 / 3) (#63)
by Paul Johnson on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 06:20:21 AM EST

When you import, even personal amounts, you are tangling with Customs rather than with the Police. The two groups are separate right up to the Home Office, and actually work under different legal frameworks (e.g. Customs do not need a warrant to search your property). Customs also collect VAT, making the UK one of the few democratic countries in which you could theoretically be subjected to a full rummage search of your house and effective confiscation of records (including your entire PC) because of a suspicion of tax fraud.

A similar issue has affected "indecent" material for years. This is stuff like "Playboy" which can legally be sold in the UK, but not legally imported, because sale is only banned for "obscene" material, but importation is banned even for "indecent" material. (The vague definitions of these words would be a good subject for another rant).

Also there is a bit in the laws under which Customs operate which says that when they find contraband they can confiscate both the contraband and anything it has been packed in. So if Customs discover a splif in your suitcase, or even just a few shreds of weed that fell in there in Amsterdam, they are entitled to confiscate the entire suitcase, contents and all.

Paul.
You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.
[ Parent ]

The Real Demon (4.63 / 11) (#59)
by Chris Gore on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 09:07:09 PM EST

From article: They both claimed, a year apart, that the idea of the legislation was to allow the police to concentrate on the real demon: Heroin and Cocaine and Crack (which is basically also cocaine of course).

This is the main issue that I have with drug legislation to begin with. The real demon is not drugs, not even heroin and crack. The real demon is the misunderstanding by so many people of the differene between a vice and a crime.

A vice is any action which harms the individual who performs that action, and generally is a recurring action. In other words, a character flaw of some sort, generally in relation to the filling of some percieved need. Drinking is a vice, smoking is a vice, ``body modification'' (piercings, tattoos, etc.) could be viewed by some as a vice, as could generally any non-productive activity.

A crime is an action that adversely affects another person unnecessarily, either physically, monetarily, or emotionally. Murder is a crime, because it prevents someone else from living. Stealing is a crime, because it prevents someone else from being in possession of something that is rightfully theirs.

The primary difference is who gets hurt by your actions. With a crime, someone else gets hurt. With a vice, you hurt yourself. In my opinion, you should have the right to do anything you wish, as long as it does not hurt someone else. That is the primary tenent of personal, individual freedoms. One of the first Supreme Court Chief Justices (I can't remember which) said ``Your right to swing your fist ends at the other guy's nose''.

Well, then... (2.42 / 7) (#60)
by moho on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 09:53:07 PM EST

I suppose the paranoid, whacked-out mofos on your legal drug cocktails would be far less likely to commit a crime or harm another person than some sober guy, right? They can probably drive motor vehicles and take care of small children better, too.

[ Parent ]
Sure! (4.00 / 3) (#61)
by onegin on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 11:02:31 PM EST

Drug users can drive cars and take care of children just as well as alchohol users, afaiak.

[ Parent ]
So you are saying... (4.00 / 5) (#65)
by murklamannen on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 10:05:38 AM EST

everything that might lead to crime is a crime?
If you own a knife it is possible you will stabb someone. Should knifes be outlawed?
Being a communist might lead to a stalineque government. Should communism be outlawed?

[ Parent ]
Fucking prohibitionists... (4.85 / 7) (#68)
by beergut on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 12:52:26 PM EST

I suppose the paranoid, whacked-out mofos on your legal drug cocktails would be far less likely to commit a crime or harm another person than some sober guy, right?

Note the emphasis in what I quoted. Are these not already illegal? Certainly the first (commit a crime) is, since the commission of a crime necessarily involves breaking the law (by definition.) The second almost as surely, as harming another person is generally frowned upon.

They can probably drive motor vehicles and take care of small children better, too.

Driving under the influence? Well, that's already a crime with legal intoxicants. It's already handled. Use the same laws, for the same reasons. Same for taking care of kids - if there is a problem of abuse or neglect, then act. Otherwise, what's your beef?

I just don't understand the mindset of prohibitionists.

I was thinking a little about this the other day, and I think that just about everything we've done wrong as a nation can be traced to misplaced or misguided morality and prohibitionism of one form or another. The penalty for being a prohibitionist, then, should be death. We prohibit prohibitionists from prohibiting further by prohibiting their ability to prohibit by prohibiting them from living.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

misguided morality (4.66 / 3) (#75)
by luethke on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 02:07:26 AM EST

I think it is more of a "fell good" thing than misguided morality. We have a football game this weekend where I am from. One of the goodyear blimps is going to fly around the stadium but airspace is to be clear for a 500 ft radius around the edge of the stadium. Oh, yea, that's going to stop a terrorist with a crop duster "holy shit, we were going to spray the place but now that we aren't allowed within 500 feet were fucked. What's amazing is the number of people this makes feel safe! same damn thing with guns, drugs, and most of our (US) liberties being removed. They have no bearing on a criminal ability to commit a a crime, they just make poeple feel better. I hate the phrase "at least were doing SOMETHING". I always equate that as saying "100 mbit ethernet sucks, I have ultra-fast ethernet I just invented, it runs at 20 mbit - adopt it now because at least I tried".

[ Parent ]
Two statements: (4.66 / 3) (#81)
by Mr.Surly on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 09:43:18 PM EST

"He got really drunk and beat his wife."

"He smoked a lot of pot and beat his wife."

Which one sounds more likely?

[ Parent ]
Consensual/Victimless Crimes (4.20 / 5) (#73)
by Dyolf Knip on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 04:56:27 PM EST

Well said. I fail to see why Alcohol and Nicotine are perfectly acceptable but THC has to be illegal and punishable by prison (or death in many nations). The drug possession confiscation laws here in the states are absolutely horrific.

And it doesn't end with drug laws. There's all sorts of wierd sex laws on the books. In a lot of states, including the one I live in (Florida), it's illegal for me to go down on my girlfriend or for us to be fooling around in the first place. Never mind that we're both adults; we can vote, drink, smoke, drive, see R-rated movies, be drafted even (well, maybe not her), but we can't sleep together? Yeah, Uncle Sam sure knows best about my sex life.

Similar arguments apply to gun control laws, prostituion, gambling, or suicide. Abortion is about the only topic which could logically have opposing sides since we can't decide on whether mom has complete control over her body if there's another body at stake. The rest are just people trying to make everyone conform to their personal morality.

---
If you can't learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.

Dyolf Knip
[ Parent ]

an answers to one of your questions (2.50 / 2) (#74)
by luethke on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 01:57:50 AM EST

Well said. I fail to see why Alcohol and Nicotine are perfectly acceptable but THC has to be illegal and punishable by prison (or death in many nations). The drug possession confiscation laws here in the states are absolutely horrific.

the answer here is pretty simple. Two things, culture and taxes. Culturaly alchohol and nicotene are at worst only fringe (they are fairly mainstream as far as this stuff comes). historically they are some of the earliest forms of drugs. Stuff like cocaine is a refined substance that relative modern chemical processes have produced. Govt. wants tax money so they leave it legal (after all, if I do it then it must be ok - note: this is of course is not my beliefe). Drugs such as cannibus are not really from a european or eastern origin so are not part of the wests culture. There is an interesting program comes on the history channel detailing the processes that went on to make drugs illegal that goes into much more depth (though be warned, the people who produce the series obviously want all drugs legalized). Prohibition was wildly unsucessful because "everyone" (read a large amount of the population) did it. A large portion of the population has never smoked cannibus (large means above %70). It is not politically good to expouse that drugs should be legalized, so they are not. I don't agree with the laws but I do understand where the ideas come from. Stay sober in a group of people that are very drunk one time - now imagine someone on the outside seeing this that has never really experienced this. They would probably not really understand what is going on. As for the news reporting on this - which is better news (as far as ratings are concerned) 1) "our youth are smoking pot at an unprecedinted level. studies have shown that smoking pot can reduce scores on a standardized test as much as %60, watch your children closely. For the next three weeks we will be running shows telling the warning signs and possible treatments" or 2) pot smoking does not effect much of anything, your children who are scoring bad are lazy. well, witness the fact that a large portion of hollywood are into heavy drugs but spout out anti-drug crap. They want publicity and ratings, to hell with the truth. ah, well, I've ranted enough.

as to the rest of your problems, well I am not familiar enough with the social hostory of florida (nor the state I live in) to addres why those laws are there.

[ Parent ]
hemp? (3.33 / 3) (#66)
by greenman2 on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 11:06:54 AM EST

Noting the laws on marijuana in north america and europe, how are companies like Green Marketplace able to sell hemp products?
Is it because they can claim it fits in to their selection of Natural Products?

It's the way it's classified. (4.50 / 2) (#71)
by mindstrm on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 02:42:41 PM EST

Hemp products use the fiber of the plant; it contains no drugs, and is usually processed elsewhere into a fiber or material that is perfectly legal to have.

The laws on marijuana prevent posessing plants, floweres, and various stages of production after that. Oil, hashish, crystal, etc...

You can still import hemp fiber.


[ Parent ]
You can still import hemp fiber. ... (none / 0) (#78)
by RichardJC on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 09:37:59 AM EST

... so presumably the big ropes, called Hemp, used in theatres to lift gauzes or scenery[1] could really be made of hemp. I wonder what the material advantages of it are. It would have to be hard wearing in theatre use as it gets a lot of abuse.

- Richard

[1] if the operators are strong/heavy enough, or you're lucky to have a counterwight system


[ Parent ]
There are low THC variants of hemp. (3.00 / 1) (#80)
by Dace on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 03:27:32 PM EST

Here in Australia there were, and presumably are, several experimental farms using a hemp plant that produces very little THC.

---
"When I was a kid computers were giant walk-in wardrobes served by a priesthood with punch cards."
- Arthur C. Clarke
[ Parent ]
Bloody great (1.83 / 12) (#67)
by Meejabloke on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 12:34:40 PM EST

I'm currently forced to inhale the carcinogenic by-products of the filthy bastards who smoke.... does this now mean that I'll have to inhale the even more carcinogenic (and psychoactive) products of these selfish fuckers as well?

You won't. (4.25 / 4) (#69)
by FeersumAsura on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 01:38:29 PM EST

If it is reclassified to a Class C I'd still be uncomfortable about smoking in the street or in a pub. Unless you associate with cannabis users you are extremely unlikely to breathe in the smoke.

I'm so pre-emptive I'd nuke America to save time.
[ Parent ]
Huh? (3.80 / 5) (#72)
by Dyolf Knip on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 04:30:28 PM EST

I'm currently forced to inhale the carcinogenic by-products of the filthy bastards who smoke.... does this now mean that I'll have to inhale the even more carcinogenic (and psychoactive) products of these selfish fuckers as well?

First off, explain to me how making something slightly less illegal translates to rampant use on the streets. Second, explain to me where you got the idea that marijuana causes cancer. Because, as habits go, it's only about 10 trillion times healthier than smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol.

--
If you can't learn to do something well, learn ot enjoy doing it poorly.

Dyolf Knip

---
If you can't learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.

Dyolf Knip
[ Parent ]

Medicinal use of drugs? (3.50 / 2) (#77)
by RichardJC on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 09:33:34 AM EST

What is the condition concerning medicinal use of drugs? I often hear that cannabis would be great for medicinal use, but such use is banned. I've also seen enough people on stronger drugs such as "Oromorph" - what would be Class A outside a hospital I expect. Is the medicinal use of cannabis really being blocked?

A lot of quite powerful drugs exist on prescription, tamazepam for example (also some stronger variants?). It was interesting to read somewhere that steroids were Class C drugs, presumably that would include things such as dexamethasone (why someone would want to take that for fun I don't know). Does this mean that people `walking' out of hospital with such drugs are technicaly arrestable?

Of course I couldn't imagine any police officer actually arresting someone for prescription drugs, or even worse confiscating them. It would look a little embarassing if the patient subsequently became very ill or died.


Medicinal use of cannabis (none / 0) (#83)
by hebertrich on Tue Oct 30, 2001 at 11:36:17 AM EST

Well this is the area that interrests me most. In Canada there is a medical pot program. The government has a supplier and the doctors if they so want can prescribe it.There is very little said on the why pot is illegal in the first place.In Canada it is said that the substance was " illegalized " ( pardon my french ) by a lawmaker after complaints by his wife that it stank. Not a scientific approach to determine whether the stuff is harmful or not . An old lady complaining to her husband about the odor... So excuse me for being blunt,but when policies are based on whining old ladies..they dont have much of a basis for a serious reexamination by the scientific community. Many times over it's been said that a joint is less toxic than a cigarette. In my years in the therapeutic environment i can assure you that pot smoking to my knowledge is also less dangerous than alcohol in many respects.I have never seen a smoker turn violent.I seen people drinking and kill wifes kids and innocent bystanders at the wheels of their cars. I suppose there is the occasional incident that we never hear about about smokers that have accidents.Then again i beleive that the social costs of alcohol far outweights those of pot. The second case id like to make .and i beleive that this view is shared by many. There is a cost that's hidden in pot that could be turned in our favor. Legalise the stuff,grow it and sell it at a reasonable price. First you remove from the hands of crime a very important source of revenue. Im sure in a year every country would get enough money to have a public health care system ,fully equipped hospitals , that would not leave people to die in emergency rooms for lack of private insurance coverage. Second you remove from the hands of criminals source of revenues that give them the ability to buy arms,pay for revolts and terrorism. My position is thought of.Simply legalise it. The reason why it's been criminalised ( at least in Canada ) is ridiculous. Let go of the old whining people's ideas about something they know nothing but the smell. If it's legal im not sure part of it's charm wont fade away and that the consumption wont drop to a new lower level. Enough said ...Just wanted to let you know that it's time to drop the pretenses and just legalise it and for the governments make 2 birds out of 1 stone.. richard

[ Parent ]
Law change on cannabis: The UK Spins. | 84 comments (79 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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