Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Weed Wars

It's unbelievably cruel that some people actually smoke skunks. Added to which I suspect the pungent aroma from lighting up one of these little furry creatures must be rather strong - no wonder it's sending everyone barking hatstand.

I notice on Reuters there is a study saying that one joint is as bad for the lungs as up to five fags. It's an odd piece because whilst I'm sure many people smoke twenty a day it's only the very hardened smoker that would light up four joints a day, everyday, although naturally these people do exist.

The piece includes this weird quote from the British Lung Foundation "Smoking a joint is more harmful to the lungs than smoking a cigarette and we have just banned people from doing that in public places because of the health risks." Um... and? Smoking a joint is, like, illegal and is covered by the smoking ban to boot. Perhaps the spokesperson went on to say "Murder is much worse than stealing cars and we put thieves in prison."

I'm sure you'll have noticed we are in a new round of discussions on the evils of marijuana kicked off by government warnings over weed not being as good as in the old days. Personally I'm in favour of legalising the lot - from E's to skunk to heroin - although I should add that I've wrestled with this question for years. Whilst the criminal fraternity monopolise the recreational drugs industry quality control is always going to be lacking, supply uneven and the chances of getting a fair trade toke are absolutely zero.

All these neo-liberals may be keen on keeping the drugs trade completely unregulated but the social damage that is the inevitable by product of the industry is difficult to offset whilst we criminalise the victims of addictive substances and refuse to meaningfully differentiate between the smoking of cannabis and jacking up the dragon.

I'm just not cool enough to take illegal drugs, and I'm willing to confess that I'm utterly opposed to the use of some of these medications as a recreational activity. I don't think taking heroin is a good idea, in fact I think it's an exceptionally bad one - but seeing as criminalisation has not exactly led to the eradication of the practice I think it's time to try a more human friendly, rational attitude, which I think would lead to a massive reduction in drugs related crime and misery.

One difficulty we have when discussing drugs in this country is the reactionary tripe that passes for drugs education in schools. It was not helpful to pretend to my class that all drug takers are anti-social, spotty, misfits that die the first time they try to blow brown sugar over a tab of Lady Snow. Once that lie was told all the other information was more tainted than an eighth of shoe leather heavily wrapped in cellophane.

We knew it wasn't true so the whole exercise just became part of the po-faced injunction against having fun, getting drunk, and staying up on a school night. If they'd said "taking drugs is fun and that's why people do them" we might have actually listened to the rest of the lesson and been prepared for some of the more heavy duty experiences some of us would meet in later life.

If we had drugs education that was honest (ie was actually education rather than nonsense) I firmly believe lives would have been saved and a number of people with irreparable psychological damage would be fully functioning members of society today. But it's more important for us to appear respectable than actually think about the problems we face in society rationally and try to solve them.

Clinton may want us to believe he did not inhale (which would make him a spineless twit who can't even say no when someone hands him something to smoke, rather than a liar) and our new Home Secretary may try to lead us to believe that she never liked smoking that much but what would be wrong with saying "It's something I used to enjoy but I grew out of it."

Obviously I'm being hopelessly Utopian believing that politicians, newspapers and schools should tell the truth. I mean that would be the end of civilisation as we know it, wouldn't it?


Dorothea said...

"... drugs education ..."

Remember the cool "heroin screws you up" adverts?

Anonymous said...

"(which would make him a spineless twit who can't even say no when someone hands him something to smoke, rather than a liar)"

Either that or he tried to smoke some brownies.