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back to article Top drug boffin renews criticism of cannabis policy

The Home Office's chief drug advisor has today stoked the row over the reclassification of cannabis and ecstasy, accusing the government of "devaluing" scientific evidence. Professor David Nutt heads the committee of boffins that advises the Home Office on drug classification. Last year then-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith ignored …

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WTF?

And so why...

is Mr Nutt still the government chief advisor on drugs matters? Must be paying well enough for him not to draw the obvious consequence of the government's wilful disregard for his eminent views and resign, publicly, noisily and, if possible, together with all the other government scientific advisors.

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Go

about time!

also all this bollocks about causing mental inllness is just scaremongering.

something like 20% of people have some form on mental breakdown in their lives. yet only something like 5% of smokers will. so, you could say that smoking pot mekes you LESS likely to have some form of breakdown.

it seems wrong to penalise us normal smokers for the small numbers of people with schtizophrenic carriers in their system. pot can bring it out but doesnt CAUSE it. the likelyhood is that many people who claim to suffer would have gotten schitzophrenia later in their lives anyway.

its like banning alcohol because some idiots cant handle a drink and start a fight.

as a lifelong smoker (34 now and been smoking since 16) i have a good job and zero mental health issues, just like all the smokers i know.

of course idiots like jackboots brown will always think they know better than trained experts and scientists.

maybe if we were allowed to grow our own (cheap and easy to do) we could grow weaker strains than the 'killer skunk' that doesnt exist anyway. there are plenty of weaker, low THX strains that are much like resin, FLO, VOODOO are 2 good examples. both only 8% THC and leave you a lot less monged out.

do they now realise that pot is now more expensive than heroine in many places?

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Anonymous Coward

The trick here is 'Illegal' substances

No problem with legal substances like cigarettes, burgers and organophosphate weedkillers having an adverse effect on health. Producers have insurance or 'suitable' or 'appropriate' warnings. If the government legalised many drugs they would have to tax them and require them to be controlled and tested as they do with Pharmaceuticals and the like.

The 'illegal drugs' industry is very powerful and not one our police want to mess with in a serious fashion because it would upset too many governments in Europe and those heavily involved in other war zones.

The way the scientist is being reporterd he is made to seem bit precious, no matter how right he may be.

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FAIL

Not a shock

Governments of any hue (yes, for the children out there, once upon a time we had Conservative governments) only indulge in evidence-based policy under certain conditions.

1. The advice they are given supports their political or personal prejudices

2. The advice supports the line taken by certain tabloids and their editors and proprietors

3. It doesn't upset the a powerful ally (for the Brits that's usually the USA)

If these criteria are not met you could give the best researched, most cogent advice in the history of history itself and it would still be ignored, nay, denigrated even.

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Happy

Yeah. Yeah That's right - You tell em'

What were you saying again....

Ohhhh Chocolate Rice crispy cake.

Happy face because I have never heard of of a stoner beating anyone to death. Never heard of a stoner doing anything much. Reaching the remote control is a struggle some nights

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Anonymous Coward

'tis no surprise...

....that these creatures care not for his science or his educated opinion.

The (majority of) Government are disingenuous greedy snakes, so the fact that they pay no attention to science or truth should come as no surprise to anyone. As you were, keep doing what you do, pay them no heed... they do not and never had YOUR best interests at heart.

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Stick your title

"the distinction drawn between the harm caused by illegal and legal drugs is moral and political, not scientific." No s**t.

@AC

"resign, publicly, noisily and, if possible, together with all the other government scientific advisers" If you're going to be consistently ignored, you might as well be paid for it.

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Backward thinking

I heard on Radio 1 an interview with him and he was correct what he said, how are parents surpose to give the correct advise to there children? don't smoke cannabis because its bad mkay, but drink all you want as the guberment say its fine ever though as he points out every day a child dies from alcohol poisoning.

Melbourne has the correct thinking on this, grow a coupel of plants at home for yourself and thats it no harm done.

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Stop

Well duh.

Wait. Somebody expects the government to LISTEN to scientists ?

I thought the job of scientists was to produce papers of any level of quality that support the government's policies, and if they don't, to accept that the report will be selectively quoted until it's original meaning is lost and it completely agrees with government policy again.

Honestly... putting science BEFORE policy decisions ? Kerrr-azzzzy !!!

*waggle finger near temple and roll eyeballs*

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A Taxing subject

Mr Nutt has been purely basing his research on medical grounds and not on what is and what isn't taxable.

There is also a very powerful (read 'paid MPs) lobby for the tobacco and alcohol cmpanies who, after all, have shareholders.

You can't have research not take in to account what could happen to those pension funds and incomes based on legal but highly addictive drugs, can you ?

Make it legal and you also sort out the issue of using ilegal immigrants to grow cannabis and by-passing leccy meters. There is also the matter of when cannabis was downgraded - less people used it.

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Anonymous Coward

Legal Highs

The policy of criminalisation of users has failed. Legalisation is, in the words of the Economist, the least bad answer. Drugs will always be harmful in society, but the additional harm of criminalising users and handing the business to gangsters is an extra harm as a result of this cruel and unhelpful policy.

We now have a situation where dealers are passing off analogue compounds like mephedrone as ecstacy, because mephedrone is legal to possess and sell. Ecstacy has it's problems, but at least it has decades of field testing giving some knowledge of it's toxicity. Meph is of unknown toxicity, but the law as it stands encourages its use. Mephedrone will be made illegal, and further compounds will be developed (there are receipe books full of them, eg Shulgin's). If this continues, it's quite possible that something really neurotoxic will hit the streets.

Isn't it time to focus on those individuals who become harmed by drug use in terms of their mental health needs, and leave the vast majority of problem free drug users to get on with it?

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Of course...

...these drugs are [only] as dangerous as alcohol [cirrhosis of the liver] and tobacco [lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease].

And, yes, various diseases were previously considered equivalent to riding a bicycle, mounting a horse, or crossing the street. The analogy has only limited usefulness, and in this case is well past its use by date.

It doesn't mean that we should permit open use of such things as ecstasy and condone the consequences.

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Big Brother

Home Office

'The Home Office said it is "determined to crack down on all illegal substances"'

Cannabis isn't inherently illegal - no substance is. It's only illegal because our gubment overlords have decided it is. If their motive really was to "crack down on all illegal substances", they could simply legalise everything. Job done.

No, I believe Mr Nutt has hit the nail on the head when he states that drugs are classified politically, rather than scientifically.

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FAIL

/ignore

Good to see we get value for money out of our scientific advisors.

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Coffee/keyboard

"no more dangerous than riding a horse"

What an excellent comparison.

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WTF?

cannabis long term effect

as someone who has been a hardcore smoker for 15 years who recently quit, i'm quite confident when saying that cannabis certainly isn't addictive and doesn't seem to have any long term effects. i quit a little over two months ago without any trouble and haven't had any problems since. perhaps i'm just lucky, but there's been quite a few friends of mine who have done the same and are fine as well.

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@John Angelico

i think you misunderstand, you seem to think your opinion is more important than anyone else's, whereas i do not think it is any of your business what someone else chooses to do.

by all means feel free to refrain or indulge in whatever you like but it is not your place to permit or deny anything to anyone you selfish git.

i suppose you would have been all anti-drinking during the prohibition would you?

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@Elmer Phud

"Mr Nutt has been purely basing his research on medical grounds and not on what is and what isn't taxable."

So not only make it legal, but tax it!!! The tobacco companies are already seeing a declining market for cigarettes, however introducing a new product which they are geared up to process, package and distribute and you save jobs and increase tax revenues.

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Flame

If they lie about this

- What other obviously true scientific evidence has been suppressed?

An ounce of decent weed will cost you MORE than an eighth of an ounce of Heroin( 3.5 grams)

How insane is that, when weed'll grow anywhere & should cost a few pounds if that for an oz.?

There are so many people angry for no reason, or getting into drunken fights - we need more weed smokers, not less. Some people should be MADE to smoke dope, it would improve them no end. (Adam Crozier, for a start)

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@ Danny 5

I gave up because my wife was having a baby. I guess you maybe the same.

Giving up cannabis is easy. Kicking the fags. Now that's the difficult bit.

children now there is something that should be banned as the amount of psychosis they introduce is way off the scale

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Anonymous Coward

Gordon Brown is a drugged up hippy

The search [David Nutt drugged up hippy] returns 1750 hits

The search [Gordon Brown drugged up hippy] returns 119,000,000

Thus there is a strong correlation between being a drugged up hippy and being Gordon Brown. He's legislating from experience folks! He knows what a loser drugs can turn you into! So be nice!

There, but for the grace of God, go you!

How can this so called 'scientist' deny my science!

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omfg

Oh dear Lord. Everytime I see the argument that weed < tobacco I want to kill someone. Wtf do you smoke weed with? Pixie dust? You may as well say water < alcohol so my scotch on the rocks is going to do me no harm. If you imbibe both things together you're going to get the benefits and harmful effects of both.

Saying that I don't have an issue with them legalising pot or reclassifying it as class C. As long as the reeking smokers stay the hell away from me I'm happy.

You can argue about the risks of tobacco and alcohol all you like, but all you do is risk those being banned too. Tobacco is getting there here in the UK, and in 30 years time I'll be surprised if alcohol isn't headed the same way.

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Troll

pass the duchy

Well I think anyone with half a brain recognizes the fact that we live in a society that likes to think its a lot more fine and upstanding than it really is. Inhales deeply through tight lips while squinting eyes and trying to ignore painful sensation from newly burned thumb and forefinger.

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Anonymous Coward

But the surfs will get lazy.

The reason cannabis is illegal is purely because the middle/upper classes are scared that it will reduce the efficiency of their surfs (minimum wage earners).

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Anonymous Coward

@omfg

thats why we grow WEEK weed so we use less tobacco.

if it was legal to grow your own i would bet within a year or so you could get some herb with THC down to 3%, which you could use instead of tobacco.

i used to smoke pure when i first quit smoking, but with current strains most just wipe you out

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Happy

Duh

"Alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than cannabis and ecstasy"

Bears, woods, pope, catholicism, etc. Clearly the government has made some very bad hiring choices if its advisers are going around saying what every fourteen-year-old knows is the objective truth.

Perhaps they could outsource their drug research to the Poppy Project? They've got the right attitude to evidence-based policy ("me support your policy long time, evidence say yes, evidence say no, whateva you wan, ten dolla") and hey, look at their name. They're perfect.

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@Ross 7

I'm sure a lot of people smoke weed with tobacco, but personally I've always chosen to do it "straight" with a pipe. The health risks and addictive properties of tobacco are well known, and that's not a hole I'm willing to dig myself into.

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Tee
Happy

Chill-man, Big-hug..

God forbid people being chilled-out or happy,

just what type of a world would that be to live in....

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FAIL

@Ross 7

so what do you say to someone who just grinds it up and uses it in their cooking?

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grow some balls gov

To quote a friend in reaction ot the government: "so what your saying is, the opinion of, and research carried out by one of the people that you paid to give you his opinion and research, is wrong, that you dont like what he says, and you want him to resign. all the facts show that alchohol is one of the most destructive drugs, and that E is safer than asprin when used 'properly'... why do people insist on arguing with this?"

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@Ross 7

I would never mix a harmless drug like weed with a killer like tobacco, it'd be like mixing water with some sort of poison.

Idiot.

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Pint

Schizo here

As someone who has suffered from a drug induced paranoid meltdown and cannot partake in them anymore (apart from beer), I fully support the legalization of all drugs.

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RW
Troll

Oh, dear: a crack down. Golly gee, what are we going to do, Miss Molly?

Quote:

The Home Office said it is "determined to crack down on all illegal substances and minimise their harm to health and society as a whole".

Sounds like circular reasoning to me, the implication of this remarkable piece of NewSpeak being that the illegality of drugs justifies cracking down on them - in other words, their illegality justifies making them illegal.

I think I've fallen down a rabbit hole into Wonderland!

For some mysterious reason, I smell very strongly the waft of "the cops think they should make the law as well as enforce it", plus "marijuana users are all dirty, long-haired, would-be revolutionary hippies and must be strictly controlled lest they overturn the State."

Does NuLabour have any awareness that a great many of their portentous announcements are sheer piffle? (Answer: almost certainly not, having long ago confused the sizzle with the steak.)

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Silver badge

Ecstacy no worse than riding a horse...

... which is blinking dangerous. That said, nothing is safe. And why should it be? The one irresolvable danger we are all facing is a growing and ancient population supported by a tiny minority of over-burdened taxpayers. Until they can solve ageing, they have no business trying to make us live longer. And I would agree with the Prof, that a lot of ADDITIONAL harm comes from drugs being illegal - it makes gangsters rich, and turns low level users into thieves, muggers, prostitutes and dealers because they have to pay well over the odds for a cheap organic material.

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@ daz

fair play mate. at least you dont blame everything on the drugs. schitzophrenia is apparently (though im no dr!) not caused by pot but pot can bring it out in people who are carriers or are liable to getting it

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Happy

No more dangerous than...

I ride a motorbike recreationally. My friends take cannabis recreationally.

Guess who has cost the NHS more through their hobby :)

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J 3
Black Helicopters

The real people against legalization...

Who would be most likely to NOT want these recreational drugs legalized?

The drug barons, cartels, dealers. Obviously. Not to mention the corrupt police, politicians and drug agencies that get bribed to let drugs and weapons pass under the table.

Their product is much more profitable that way -- and nearly tax-free too (if you discount the above "corruption tax"). How much does a six pack of beer or a cigarette carton cost? How much would they cost if banned? Less overall volume would be sold, of course, but whoever sells them would make much more money.

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Big Brother

That reclassification thing

Let us not forget that when they reclassified cannabis to class C, usage went down. So their reclassifying it back up was a pretty self-defeating move right there.

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@RW re. Oh dear.....

"......must be strictly controlled lest they overturn the State".

There's a way to control people like that and numb their revolutionary urges - give them lots of weed......oh....wait.......

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Happy

One comment

The human race suffers from a slave mentality. Just think about it.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Ross 7

well arn't you smart o wait, you dont' know what you're talking about.

You don't smoke weed with tobacco you smoke it streight, same with skunk, you can also smoke weed/skunk and solids via a pipe/bong/bucket//vaporiser.

Now that we've cleared up you know nothing can we move on?

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Bloody Hippies

That is all.

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Grenade

not so self defeating

"Let us not forget that when they reclassified cannabis to class C, usage went down. So their reclassifying it back up was a pretty self-defeating move right there."

If only that were true. Policy is about mobilising voters, nothing else. Facts are irrelevant, the average reactionary voter responds to headlines and soundbites, not statistics.

Your cynically.

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Unhappy

Cannabis led to more dangerous drugs with my friend

He used to smoke resin in a pipe, never saw a problem with him, then he was offered a joint, oh dear, he got addicted. Now he is a tobacco addict and can't get off them.

Why was the illegal drug not a problem yet the horrible smelling legal drug is?

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WTF?

Legalisation is not the answer.

First off, all the dim bulbs comparing alcohol and baccy to weed/ecstacy/whatever-they-snorted-last-night, your argument ignores the fact that alcohol and tobacco are only allowed due to history. If either was created as a new product today they wouldn't be acceptable under current pharmaceutical or food legislation. Unfortuantely (or possibly fortunately, seeing as I enjoy the odd drink), alcohol has deep-rooted social and economic roots from times well before legislation. Smoking also got popular long before science caught up with its problems. Simply saying we should legislate new drugs and ignore their associated prolems simply because we have two "just as bad if not worse" from historic use is a flawed argument verging on myopia. If it was legal to chop off your hands but not your legs, would you also insist on the right to chop off your legs? Well, if you've been puffing too much product you probably would.

And legalising weed or other drugs would not magically remove the associated criminal element. If you hadn't noticed, there's plenty of organised crime associated with alcohol and cigarettes. And then there are those users that currently pursue criminal activities to fund their habits, are you telling me you expect them to suddenly become model citizens just because what was being sold on the street corner is available from Boots? Don't be naive. If someone has to resort to crime to pay that habit, it is only going to get worse as legalisation will probably increase costs if ony due to taxation. I used to know kids at school that stole and burgled to get the cash to buy weed, and they would still have needed to do so as they would not magically have gotten a new source of cash if weed had been made legit, just like other kids that stole to buy legal cigarettes and booze. In fact, most crime is to allow crooks to pay for legal products such as clothes, stereos, cars, houese, even holidays, so simply saying that making an illegal item legal will immediately stop people committing crimes to pay for it is being deliberately blinkered or just plain stupid.

And then you have the current suppliers, who don't have to pay tax, pay development and legal teams to get their products past regulated quality thresholds, keep accounts or do any other such profit-reducing measures, they'll take one look at how much more profit they can keep making through illegal dealing and just carry on. To do so, they will continue to associate or be serious criminals linked to such lovely past-times as kiddie porn and child slavery. I just bet you like to think that few grams you bought was ethically grown and supplied to you, but the reality is it is highly likely to have passed through the hands of someone involved in very serious crime at some point in the supply chain, or that part of the cash from the sale will go as protection money or a cut to such criminals. The only winners from legalising weed and ecstacy would be large agricultural and pharmaceuticals companies, who would have a new product market to target.

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@Matt Bryant

you're an undercover moralist and a Nostradamus-wannabe, and i want my 5 pounds.

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He's sacked...

...presumably so the home office can find a scientist who has the same views as them - whatever the facts...

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Unhappy

@Matt Bryant

What a twisted load of rubbish,

Whatever organised crime exists today directly relating to alcohol is tame compared to the violence of Al Capone's prohibition era.

Crime committed by users to pay for weed, reduce the price, reduce the crime.

Like many, you have some kind of egalitarian attitude concerning drug use, but ignore the consequences of criminalisation. i.e British bobbies running around with H&K MP5s. I'm guessing you get turned on by groups of uniformed men with guns.

As for broader consequences of the drug war, its prosecutors and proponents must take responsibility for the nightmare unfolding in Mexico, Afghanistan and every other country where drug barons rule.

"Dim bulbs", take that comment, some lube and get one of your darling storm troopers with their magnificent weapon to stick it where the sun don't shine, right up your @*?

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On losers.

I see this argument an awful lot, prevalent despite its reliance on an elementary mistake: "People who smoke dope are losers and commit crimes to fund their habit." Implicit therein is an underlying assumption is that the dope made them losers, as though to suggest that getting rid of the dope would solve the problem. Let us consider the typical jobless loser who smokes dope, shall we?

Which came first? Would these people be upstanding or even particularly functional citizens if there were no dope, or even if there were no beer, percocet, oxycontin, mouthwash, hairspray mixed with water*, or whatever? How and to what extent do these people differ from, say, drunken hicks who can't hold down jobs, fat housewives who blow their money at casinos, grandmothers who sit in front of Home Shopping Network all day, or obese, numb-minded teenagers who spend most of their waking hours in front of World of Warcraft? That a person imbibes too heavily in a given chosen means of the pursuit of self-pleasure is more often not the cause but the symptom of their being a useless tosser to begin with.

Sure, people shouldn't be giving weed or such to kids, but there's not much use in acting like somebody who spends all his time doing nothing but pleasuring himself--whether with drugs legal or otherwise, slot machines, video games, or a bottle of Vaseline--and stealing out of unattended purses to gamble, drink, or smoke in lieu of working is totally without blame and would never have become such a pathetic git if only that evil stuff hadn't corrupted his poor, fragile mind.

*"Ocean", for the curious. This enjoys some popularity on Navajo reservations.

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