Gordon Brown is rolling ahead with plans to reclassify cannabis as a class B drug, after opting to follow the common sense advice of his police chiefs rather than the Home Office’s own scientists. Brown had asked The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, an “independent” body with web and physical addresses at the Home Office …
Just the facts, Ma'am...
Unless of course I don't agree with them. In which case "SHUT YOUR HOLE!!!"
© Gordon Brown, 2008
Good to see Gordon Brown's not going to let a little thing like scientific advice get in the way of protecting the people from themselves. After all, if cannabis is a class B drug then all those people who were thinking about having a quiet spliff at home may suddenly decide that instead of doing something socially unacceptable that they should do something considered perfectly normal, like going to the pub, downing 10 pints and starting a fight. I can already see that making cannabis a class B drug's going to make a massive difference to the way we all live our lives.
Oops, silly me, I forgot there are local elections this year and Comrade Brown needs to do something to try and get the Mail readers to vote Labour.
Lovely article, well written and heavily dosed with interesting double drug-tendres which gave me a giggle, if not actually educating me. But I fear we are missing the point somewhat. We don't trust the government's scientists any more that we trust the government. Okay, so at least now we have evidence that the government don't trust their scientific advisors either - cue a rapid round of public sector sackings. I happen to disagree strongly with the direction of proposed reclassification but I can't fault the reasoning.
daily mail whingers win again
So lets get this right... the scientists are being ignored and a bunch of whining nazi rag reading assholes are being listened to AGAIN! Is it any wonder noone does the sciences these days when repeatedly we see the nutjobs in charge of this country ignore scientific reports and years of experience and go ahead and do what the baying mob want anyway.
Even the best figures say that the increase of mental problems go from a 1.2% to something like 1.4% of users which, instead of being reported at insignificant to insignificant, gets reported as FORTY PERCENT INCREASE!!!!!
Dont let fact stand in the way of politics
.. .well its not the first time this (or any other government) has stuck its fingers in its ears and said "la la la, can't hear you".
Its time to reclassify democracy i think!
Watch out! They ARE coming to get you!
And there I was relaxing with some home grown (no dodgy dealers required)...
...Now I have get paranoid again!
It's all true - drug prohibition does cause paranoia!
Oooh jailtime fun...
Yes, good idea - who would have expected the Gov to actually listen to advice? Let's bang everyone up in prison as if they aren't full enough already. I know, they could let all the murderers and rapists out early so there's room for the potheads.
They're as good at running successful IT projects as they are at anything else.
If the police can't prosecute a 15 year old with a spliff there crime figers will be down and their arrest rate will appear low as they would have to do some proper policing to catch real criminals. They must be seen to be winning the War on Drugs^TM
the government using science?
oh come on, anyone who belives that gordon will do anything but what he feels like is simply deluded. as a long time toker of the skunk veriaty of cannabis i have found that my work has improved my ability to cope with changing situations has improved. hell i even have a socal life now, none of which i had/could do before i descovered it. i think that gordon really needs to get wtih the times, after all if such large numbers of people all smoke it then why isnt it allready controlled like alchohol or prescription drugs? i have written to my mp and asked that she opose any move to reclassify it to anything other than available from a chemist or licenced premisis. this is supposed to be a democratic country but from my point of view were moving closer and closer to a dictatorship
Drugs are bad, m'kay?
I think Mr Brown will simply continue to commission studies until he finds one that recommends what he wants. Of course the ACPO would recommend upgrading- it will give its members more to do!
IMO cannabis at least should be legalised; removing the vast profits from the hands of criminals and putting funds into the legitimate economy (and the treasury of course..). Remember that in the Netherlands (where cannabis is essentially legal) usage rates are actually lower than in the UK, and usage of harder drugs is much lower, as there is a much bigger legal 'step' between those and cannabis.
The government however is far more likely to follow its historical process of making irrational judgements and then fabricating 'evidence' to back those judgements up.
See also: Road policy and speed limits
Is the author being ironic?
Is the author of this article being Ironic or are they just a faschist (sp?)
They make out like Gordon Brown's ignoring the scientific evidence is a good thing.... Gordon brown is becoming as bad as Tony Blair, defying scientific evidence and public opinion and just doing as he pleases.
Someone fetch me my pitchfork.
This sends out the wrong message...
In particular, it sends out the message that the PM & Police chiefs can't read, don't understand research or the scientific method and simply hang onto their prejudices and ignore anyone with more information and better data that happens to disagree with them.
Whatever happened to 'evidence-based policing' then?
Reminds me of the CFO of a company I worked for once, who used to canvas the expert staff from various departments, at substantial time cost in research and producing reports, and then just ignore everyone and go with the idea he first thought of, thereby causing much ill will, and ultimately FUBARing said company,
This is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to play the "Drugs are bad, m'kay ?" card in order to appease the Daily Wail reading swing voters who are quite fancying Cameron at the moment.
Apart from anything else, a five year sentence for possession of a widely used recreational substance (that actual proper experts, using actual proper evidence and actual proper research have adjudged to be less harmful than booze) is hardly likely to do anything nice to the already over crowded penal (fnar!) system.
Guess they'll have to release some more terrorists in order to make room for all the potheads.
As for the whole "Oh noes! there is a skunk now!" panic, if pot was decriminalised and properly produced so that people could get hold of some decent resin that doesn't taste like camel shit, that problem would most likely solve itself. And I don't know where ACPO are getting their cues from (although I can guess) but I've seen the rozzers ignore possession of pot hundreds of times, well before the reclassification, largely on the grounds that they really do have better things to be doing with their time.
But hey, let's not let some inconvenient obstacle like facts derail the Moral Panic.
Alien, cause everyone knows that ET smokes pot, that's why they do all those crop circles, god damn exosolar hippies!
If I didn't like/was afraid of/contemptuous of some identifiable group, I guess I'd find some way to lock as many of them up as possible. (Were I a complete arsehole, that is.) One option might be to increasingly criminalise those of their presumed characteristic behaviours that most set them apart. That seems to be the approach in the US, where by all accounts it is quite successful.
Give it up.
Science is not wanted in this country. Decisions are based off of opinion polls, fascist control freaks, media spin and short term commercial interest.
kettle calling the Pot unacceptable
Maybe Gordon has smoked some of that old Euro Gack and f*cked up his brain. You know, the stuff that used to be around in the 80's, which created the need for sensible pot smokers to come up with a home grown solution in the first place - (it seems to have worked rather well, eh ?).
Being the nation of techno freaks - wot we are, and following the Dutch interest in hydroponics and genetics, we were prompted to replace our need for importing crappy hashish and ageing brown weed. We also reduced our carbon foot print in the process.
Now someone ought to remind Gordon what it was that Mrs Thatcher had whispered into her shellfish like ear, back in the 80's.
Being that, if smoking pot is so popular and you (the state) successfully operates "preventative" measures - to put folks off doing it, besides annoying a lot of potential voters, all you manage to do is make lots of professional people unemployed and unemployable.
No matter how desperate you need their skill set, they all have criminal records.
Boo Hoo !
Back in the day of "stop and search", most of the "whitey's" pulled, turned out to be teachers and professionals of one sort or another, including a few politicians.
So, Nanny State ought to tidy up Gordon's nappy, as he appears to be pooing his self. Frightened by all those big bad, scarey warey police chiefs, no doubt !
Skin one up ! Pour one out ! We are the Barmy Army !
Here we go again.
FFS Mr Brown - either legalise, licence, tax and control cannabis (and the rest) or criminalise alchohol and tobacco.
Until you do one of these things no-one with half a brain will take government policy on drug abuse seriously because of the blatent double-standards.
No Different to Beer for Feck's Sake!!! If not better for you
Sign up if you disagree with the 'Minority' Opinion.
Now how about reclassifying alcohol to class B so I can go to work and not get glassed in the face by some p*$$&d up knuckle-dragger who thinks drinking 15 pints of Nelson and then having a fight is a good friday night out?
(I was being sarcastic, btw. It's just I smoke a lot of weed, and don't really know if you got that.)
so.... weed is getting stronger, less people are getting mentally ill yet we need to make all pot smokers criminals. btw - 5 years (the max term for possession) is more than you would get for raping someone! SO, i smoke a J and am classed as worse than a rapist? what bollocks. more idiots in whitehall who know nothing about a subject they are making rulings on
i mean the british medical society also said that cannabis is less harmful than cigarettes and a lot less harmful than alcohol - both of which would be class A if newly discovered.
alcohol accounts for the majority of murder, violent crime and rape - yet is still socially acceptable
the real reason they dont like cannabis is they cannot tax cannabis to fuck - so they want us to all drink and smoke instead so they can get the massive revenues.
the reason why stringer strains are about now is that everyone grows their own - since they clamped down so hard on the weaker stuff! i would be happy to buy government rated pot - they could even sell it at different strengths - since most home grown contains THC levels from 4/5 upto 30! so some weeds are 6x stronger than others, i dont smoke to get wasted (like heroine addicts) i smoke cos i work long hours and like to chill when i get in - and i KNOW its less harmful to me that driking alcohol like a lot of people do
isnt this a left wing government? looking after the people? making people who smoke pot criminals and threats of prison - when any tobacconist or pub does FARRR more damage to society!!
who the hell does this fascist government think it is? the fucking fun police?
ive been smoking since i was 17 - i am now 33, i hold a management position, earn a good salary and pay plenty of tax - yet they are more than prepared to thrown away the key because i dare to put some smoke in my mouth!
can someone just do a guy fawkes and get rid of the lot of them and get some decent politicians in who dont just pander to the right wing papers and outspoken idiots in the media.
the problem is that just because an 'asbo yoof' commits a crime and is found to be on cannabis DOESNT MEAN that cannabis made them do it. its almost used as a defence. Now, cannabis DOESNT make you do anything you dont want to do. it DOESNT make you more aggressive. this only happens if you are already of low mental calibur, or already destined to be a nutter. it is a mental defficiency in a tiny majority of brains that cannot handle THC. i know - lets ban milk - plenty of people are lactose intollerant. hey - im a hayfever sufferer - why dont we stop all crops being planted - you see, its all bollocks!
rant over :)
paris - cos we've all seen that not so green bush :)
Prison causes schizophrenia
Thank you Nanny Brown! You're just like my old nanny only fatter! Perhaps if you make being fat a crime that will fix it.
Being fat causes heart disease which is a bigger problem you know, Nanny Blair said so.
Nice one Joe
Not one hint of bias here is there? Just plain honest independent reporting. "Just the facts Joe, Just the facts."
What is the point!!
Whats the point of an advisory panel if you completly ignore ewverything it has to say.
Why waste the taxpayers money in the first place if you are already decided on what you want to do.
Out of touch again.
Hah! Observe the lack of surprise in the general population...
It's not about "protecting people" (because if it was, govt. would consider some form of dutch-style legalisation process), it's about criminalising people who don't go opt to use the legal, highly-taxable yet more damaging "allowed" recreational narcotics.
Even in the Talk To Frank campaigns, there's no mention of whether those who suffer schizophrenic episodes as a result of cannabis usage would be likely to suffer similar episodes as a result of alcohol abuse. (But we can't go pointing out that the legal, taxable stuff causes problems, that would be facts determining policy rather than policy determining which facts to pay attention to...)
Anyone remember the days of Thatcheritism, when the govt decided what to do on the basis of govt advice taken from the Prime Minister?
OK she was supported by a bunch of dimmos who didn't know the difference between a calf and a sheeps' brain. But we all stopped eating meat in those days anyway. (Unless we were ministers for beef products. Or rich.)
Data? What data?
They are also very conveniently ignoring the fact that their own statistics indicate a significant drop in cannabis use when they reclassified it as Class C.
I guess if the government says it's not such a terrible drug then it's not so cool to smoke it any more. If they reclassify it back up then perhaps it will be more cool again and da kidz (or whatever the young folk are calling themselves these days) will be more excited about using it. Perhaps it will keep some of them off harder drugs.
Still, good to have evidential policy-making under Brown rather than the stomping rough-shod over evidence in pursuit of every single Daily Wail reader vote that we had from his predecessor, eh?
Wow that will make SUCH a difference
Didn't notice it when it was classified down and I am sure I wont notice it on the way up. Does Mr Brown really think this makes any difference whatsoever ?
As an example Cocaine is a Class A drug but I can get it in pretty much any city in england with a little bit of effort(not that I do anymore !) . Class B Drugs get even less attention from the police, they simply don't have the manpower to deal with the problem.
As for the scitzophrenia issue, well I'm not really sure about that, Yes I am, No I'm not...... arrrrrggggh.
Video games next
I don't know if you caught this:
But looks like UK newspapers (Murdoch's lot probably) are hiring actors to tell them stories about how 'Computer games drove them to crime'. Which means ACPO will be demanding criminalization of violent computer games and Brown will dutifully (being a follower not a leader) follow along with legislation.
Starnow is an actor recruitment site, Newspapers and Magazines hire actors telling 'true' stories to whatever subject they want to drive today. If you want to see what false story will be pushed, watch the actors job listings.
I wish they kept old adverts now, there was a 'cannabis ruined my life' casting call last year.
Imagine a world where policy is driven by science and analysis rather than a Murdoch hack in a newspaper office in Wapping.
Grandstanding by a desperate politician
When will they get round to classifying alcohol as a class C drug as well?
Also, when cannabis gets puts back to a class B drug, the price on the street will go up because of the increased penality leading to an increase in crime as addicts find ways to pay for their more expensive habit.
Have they looked at the whole picture? (Cost of policing, more people in jail, etc.etc) Have they looked closely at the evidence? (How many mental health cases actually were due to drug use?). I doubt it, it's just the usual grandstanding by a politician desperate to be seen to be doing something.
Who needs evidence when you've got an opinion.
Whilst I appreciate the many arguments against drug use (and abuse) and choose not to take any of them myself, I consider this constant bickering and criminalisation of the use of cannabis to be utterly laughable in the face of continued legal sales of alcohol, and indeed lobbying to defer increases in duty on alcohol.
It isn't that cannabis is safe, rather that existing legal intoxicants are equally dangerous. All of the arguments for cannabis being classified as anything other than "not very good for you really, but it's a bit of a laugh" could equally be applied to alcohol and indeed, over the counter drugs, if abused.
Not that Brown would concede this point. I'm sure he enjoys a quiet pint as much as many people enjoy a quiet smoke. Perhaps he'd like to walk down any small-town high street in a weekend, or live in a small community or housing estate, and continue to support the position that alcohol is in any way more appropriate for mass consumption.
Regardless of the arguments such as "I'd rather people were high on pot that smashed on drink" - the scientific arguments used by the Government to support reclassification are "damage to family", "social dysfunction", "psychological damage", "health concerns". All of which can be similarly attributed to alcohol use and more significantly abuse. And we don't need "health concerns" to be so vague, either - the affects are well documents and even well known to the masses. Everyone knows about the connections between alcohol abuse and liver failure, for example. Just as almost everyone can probably name an abusive, violent drunk within their social network.
I fail to see why people can be considered capable of making the judgement on alcohol, yet need protection in law from "the evil weed". Either legalise it, or bring back prohibition, but FFS, be consistent one way or another.
Drugs are baaaad.
When it comes to drug use, governments don't want any of those damn scientists to offer evidence that pot is no more harmfull than beer. If they do, they must be hippie stoners. No, they want scientists who IGNORE evidence, take a backhander, and say "smoking pot will make you a terrorist, or an addict who will kill for his next fix".
While I can see the downsides of weed, it being a major factor in my only receiving a 3rd class degree, if you drink as much beer as I smoked skunk you would do far worse.
I, personaly, am pro-canabis (wonder if anyone could tell?), although I havent touched the stuff in years it has helped me become who I am today. I am also pro-choice in most things, which sets me against any government who wants to invade your life, put you on a leash and force you to tow the line.
Oh, and in case you didn't notice, I am also pro-South Park :)
Now I'm off to hide from the black helicopters. They are out to get me! Just because I'm paranoid doesnt mean it isn't true!!
Legalising it won't sort out the problem
If it were legalised, nobody would pay the prices for a packaged and marketed and TAXED product when they can get home grown stuff far cheaper. If petrol were available from dodgy suppliers for 40p per litre, people would abandon petrol stations in their droves.
Brown's just lost my vote. But that's all this is isn't it? A popularity contest, it's not about doing th best by the county.
Well I'm just going to have to stop smoking if they put a letter 'B' in some documents rather than a letter 'C'. Makes all the difference to me you know, well done Mr.B, money well spent.
Seems to me Gordon Brown needs something to appease the baying masses and sweep under the table important issues like recent Data loses, Phorm, BT pimping our data, massive loss of civil liberties since Labour came to power.
As Anonymous said time to get the pitchforks out, anyway I'm of for a smoke.
The government doesn't want you using your drugs
They want you to use THEIR drugs.
Moreover, knowing that the jails are already at record overcrowding levels, where does the Prime Minister plan to house all of these new hardened criminals?
People DO produce their own fuel, and indeed, fuel is available massively discounted. People use red diesel from agricultural stocks in their road vehicles all the time, and they get nicked fairly often. People creating their own biofuels are supposed to pay duty on it. Very few do; fewer still will pay the duty on what they ACTUALLY produce vs. a token quantity.
People also brew their own beer and produce their own wine. I'm sure that people have grown their own tobacco where climate and conditions allow.
Home-grown pot is probably only as widely responsible for the product in circulation as it presently is due to the illegality and inability to deal with a reputable supplier. Most people attempting to casually grow pot get nothing more than a couple of weedy little bushes. The convenience of a legal supply network would undoubtedly reduce the number of people attempting to grow their own, regardless of taxation and costs.
How much 'tax' do you reckon exists on pot from the dealer's risks if he gets caught?
Good news for dealers
As the economy collapses and we head into a recession, house prices falling 30% according to the bank of england.
The threat of cannabis sold in plastic bags is now over. Dealers can get some profit back from home growers, or those who were thinking about "ditching the dealer" but now don't like the risk/reward
I'm also really ecstatic methamphetamine is still Class B, I now know it's as dangerous as cannabis so might buy some.
Legalisation is NOT going to happen - and even if it did tobacco will be illegal in 10 years anyway so you'll have nothing but smouldering neat-weeders to smoke - and they can be tricky to keep lit.
They'll have solved the binge-drinking problem in 10 years too - it'll be £50 a pint.
Think of the film "Demolition Man" - "Anything that isn't good for you must be bad, and therefore banned" (paraphrased) - that was a good line at the time... now it's beginning to look prophetic.
I first smoked dope in 1969. I smoked all through the seventies. It helped me to stop myself from drinking until I was dead. Nowadays, I don't smoke. So I eat a little hashish from time to time, and it helps me not to drink myself to death.
In all this time, I have still not had any mental problems at all, apart from the inevitable depression caused by observing the way politicians mess everything up for everyone. If you are a latent schizophrenic (isn't there a test?) then don't use pot. Simple.
I would also like to protest again at this skunk scare-mongering, for that is exactly what it is. Sensible pot users (not the ones who drink as well, and top up with cocaine) know that even if skunk was all that strong, they would just adjust the amount they used at a time. And I know from personal experience that the dope from the far east in 1969 was way more amazing than this rough stuff called skunk. I know what good hashish is like, too.
Now let's get some MPs that insist on voting instead of letting Dictator Brown do what he decides. If he had any of the strength he boasts about, he'd call an election on this one. Then we would see how many pot-heads have been keeping a low profile and wishing this was a sensible country.
On PM last night they had one of the more Quisling-esque MPs commenting on the subject. When asked why HM.Gov looked like it was going to ignore independent expert advice he said that they were following expert advice - from ACPO.
Now I don't give a rats arse about the classification - what worries me is that the police are cited as experts on any given subject. Surely the only thing they are supposed to be experts on is upholding and enforcing the law of the land. Last time I looked, Class C drugs hadn't stopped being illegal; so why is it that the police should have any opinion on the matter?
Is it that nabbing a few consumers of Class B substances improves their statistics more markedly than Class C?
As the politikos are banging on about being really concerned about the high-THC varieties, would it not be possible to classify high-THC cannabis as Class B and leave the rest as Class C? A differentiation is made with regards alcohol taxation so I don't see why it wouldn't be albeit that that /could/ cause an implementation issue that the police would struggle with.
there have been worries?
"there have been worries that skunk and other super-strong strains can trigger schizophrenia in susceptible individuals"-uhoh
mine's the one that smells like a skunk and has voices coming from it
Pundits having remarked that the Brown approach to politics is to treat each issue as a virility test, the relief provided by this gift on a plate must have been palpable all over Whitehall. Scientific evidence has never been an obstacle to policy - AGW, passive smoking, fattism, etc etc. The ludicrous thing is that Brown's majority is humongous compared to what Major had to deal with, which suggests a strong sense of insecurity. At least now he can hang out with the boys of ACPO, many of whom seem to have a comparably exaggerated need to seek attention. It would of course be cynical to think of this move as a marketing ploy to help shift all the hard but more lucrative stuff that the invasion of Afghanistan has guaranteed will keep on coming.
> If petrol were available from dodgy suppliers for 40p per litre, people would abandon petrol stations.
They do - it's called kerosene and diesel engines run on it just fine, if not legally. The Revenue has sniffers that analyze car exhausts, so I wouldn't recommend you convert to oil-fired central heating.
If it was really about...
the strength of cannabis being the main reason for reclassification. Surely it would make more sense to make cannabis of less than 10% THC (or some more scientific arbitrary percentage) semi-legalised, thus encouraging people to use the less strong stuff. Allowing a personal quota of six plants per household will reduce the drug dealer link, and may even help the housing crisis - think of all those houses being used as urban drug factories actually being used to house people.
Time for the old one
Clearly we're using the wrong drugs. All together now: "Gordon Brown, texture like sun..."
Have they ever tried it?
Somehow I doubt it. Like most of the anti bunch all they have is opinion with no experience to back it up. Quoting hearsay and 'reports' has no value compared to true experience.
I am in my 50s and have indulged since I was 15 with NO adverse effects. I believe that all decision makers should take at least a full day to experience the effects (with the required munchies and a good movies) and find out how a good giggle session effects their perception of the evils of weed.
At the weekend, what proportion of places in A&E are taken up by stoners & drinkers? How much does it cost the NHS for drink related issues every year? What percentage of physical or sexual assaults are due to stoners?
I would love to see the results of a truly anonymous opinion poll of the whole UK. The same for parliament might be interesting if they could be trusted to be truly honest. Scrub that - they are politicians so honest is not in their vocabulary.
The real issue is probably revenue. The duty income from alcohol is massive. If they are unable to replace that with duty on cannabis they will never vote in favour of any measure that brings it closer to being legalised.
a little re-wording suggestion
Gordon Brown, talks from his bum; lies and lies, thinks he's the sane one; Throughout the sh*te, tells you he's right, never a brain, in Gordon Brown
In other news...
Doctors warned yesterday about a new, highly concentrated form of Mead, believed to be imported from North of Hadrian's Wall.
Said a senior police chief "We're concerned that this new form of alcohol, several times stronger than the mead, perry and scrumpy the general public has been used to for the last few hundred years, will cause vulnerable individuals to become violent, anti-social and a danger to themselves and the public."
"Clearly the average yokel will be incapable of moderating their consumption of this new brew, known only as Scotch. We shall therefore be pressing the government to assign it the highest classification of controlled substance and ban its use immediately."
Reclassified to class B?
What is Gordon Brown on?
Mine's the rather fetching hemp number.