back to article Home Secretary goes crazy on drugs... policy

As an example of the brain-gobbling stupidity that affects those who dabble with drugs, you really cannot beat Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's announcement that cannabis is going to be upgraded again, from a Class C drug to a Class B one. This is the sort of drivelling idiocy more normally associated with decades on peyote rather …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Sensible Article

    Nice to see a sensible and balanced article on the subject, it's more than the newspapers and government can manage.

    I've not smoked cannabis in years other than in Amsterdam, they have the system right there. (Go sign, for the right to smoke pot)

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Police Attitude Unchanged

    Still can't see me local plod changing their actual response. They like it when it gives them a convenient excuse to arrest someone so they can see what spills out, but that would be for an associated reason rather than for smoking weed. Remove the weed, warn the pot head, then abscond with weed for later home testing. That will continue to be the state of affairs for possession for the foreseeable future.

    The penguin, cos he is clearly suffering from reefer madness. On the desktop? Your having a laugh.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Hear hear !

    Well said, spliffs are on me !

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And to what purpose? What will actually be achieved by this?

    The nominally left wing labour party will appeal to nominally right wing voters.

    All this gumpf about harm etc, is irrelevant, it's a political exercise designed to appeal to the voters they think are most likely to switch to the tories.

    The only way the 3 million will make an impact is by mass protest, but the demographic they come from means that :-

    - They're stoned, so can't be arsed getting off the sofa.

    - They're young and don't vote anyway.

    - They tend to be left leaning and so loads of them will actually vote for the party that wants to lock them up.

  5. Ben Smith

    Wonderful article

    but sadly it seems with the cannabis debate that no matter how many of us know that the Government stance is pointless nothing will change, regardless of whoever is in power.

    We are doomed to be locked into some sort of "groundhog day" on this issue - futile government action, mild public reaction, nothing changes...we'll still be having this "debate" in 20 years, just wait and see...

  6. Thomas Guymer
    Thumb Up

    Good Article

    Good article, well written and a decent logical argument.

    Keep up the good work.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    @Sensible Article

    Amsterdam...? Oh, you mean the place where they've admitted that a comprehensive strategy is needed to ameliorate the social and personal effects of their previously liberal drugs policy?

    And Tim:

    > That even after you've been found not guilty they still take your money on the basis of an "almost"?

    Read your own article... he wasn't found "not guilty", the verdict was "not proven". If you don't understand the meaning of the "third verdict" under Scots Law, you need to bone up on what is undoubtedly a better legal system than the one that exists in England & Wales.

  8. Spleen

    Excellent article

    The government are lying to us. They are ignoring even the scientists that are in their pocket. And now they are "announcing plans" - announcing plans! - most dictatorships at least pretend subtlety! - denying us the right to a fair trial, plunging us straight back into the Third World.

    All in favour of actually doing something?

    Thought not.

  9. Robin Layfield
    Dead Vulture

    Excellent article

    This is the kind of measured journalism that is making me turn to El Reg for a balanced view of society rather than the beeb or one of the newspapers. Keep up the good work.

    Vulture 'cos it neatly represents where our civil rights seem to be going...

  10. Stuart Morrison

    WARNING: May Contain Nuts*

    *(but no balls, obviously).

  11. Aron A Aardvark

    The govt does not care about you or your health..

    The govt is only concerned with making itself look good. Moving drugs in and out of various slightly arbitrary categories does absolutely nothing to solve any of the problems alleged to stem from Cannabis use. More to the point, most, if not all of the problems arise because Cannabis is illegal but these politicians don't get it. i.e. kids getting hold of the stuff and the lack of QA on the 'product'.

    You know, there is some research that concludes that the mental health problems are not caused by the plant itself but the heavy metals contained in the fast-grow hydroponic kits used by most domestic 'cannabis farms'. Has Smith and rest of these moralising idiots ever looked into that? No way. This whole process is about getting The Facts to fit the conclusion. Screw data that might upset the apple cart.


    Did I hear Smith say that Cannabis is bad cos nasty people are involved in its cultivation and distribution. D'uh Jackie, could it possibly be because decades ago, one of your predecessors decided, without any evidence, to make a friken plant illegal and create all the necesary conditions for a vast organised crime network to take root. But thats good huh Home Sec? Don't hear you talking about them those top level mafia types? Or the massive and sanctioned network that can only exist with tacit official consent to keep the habit well fed. Don't see you hitting out at official corruption Smith. Like I said, it's all about the govt making itself look good.

    If you wanted to stop kids getting it, you'd make it legal. Would anyone seriously suggest we stop kids getting hold of vodka by making it illegal?

  12. b

    Do what though?

    I'm in favour of doing something, but what though?

    Apart from voting for the yoghurt weaving greens which I can do with a clear conscience knowing that Labour will be getting stuffed at the next election.

  13. Nomen Publicus

    Keep prisons drug free - release all the druggies

    If we released from prison all the people convicted of bogus "dealing" charges (these don't need evidence of dealing - if you have sufficient drugs you are resumed to be dealing - apparently the government has never heard of bulk discounf :-) ) there would be space to lock up the occasional terrorist, if we could find any.

  14. Liam
    Black Helicopters


    1 - there are quite a few more people in the cuntry than there used to be - so a % increase cannot be done

    2 - maybe drs KNOW more about psychosis than before - therefore more readily to diagnose rather than chucking someone in the nut-house

    3 - stress levels are wayyyyy up over the last few years - a massive contributer to any mental illnesses

    4 - weed DOES give paranoia... but what type of paranoia? mine has only ever been that i might get raided... therefore the LAW creates paranoia rather then the drug itself (fear of being caught)

    5 - you hear it in the news all the time.. some youths who have been drinking and smoking cause some trouble. weed is blamed! erm... hello... they also drank alcohol (stella and vodka NEVER EVER seen youths drinking alcopops!!!), which is proven to cause bad behavior - weed itself would just make them sit onthe swings saying 'weeeeee' and giggling

    cannabis has been known to affect a certain low percentage of the populus. these people are boarderline schitzophrenic anyway. the same people that will probably be violent on alcohol etc

    the problem with classing pot the same class as amphetamines (which i think are still class B) is that people think they offer the same danger. years ago far more people were hurt from speed than e - yet one was B one was A - totally illogical. surely all class B's are the same danger???? </sarcasm>

    and surely shouldnt Jacqui Smith now be charged? i mean if i can get done why cant she? they are looking at charging amy winehouse for something she did in the past? surely an MP guilty of a crime deserves to be punished too? surely the same with all the other politicians too?

    and i will also let you know that pot ISNT any stronger than pot was 15 years ago. you could still get northen lights and hydro weed back then - NL having well above 20% THC.

    also hasnt anybody raised the issue that homegrown is MUCH better for you physically than resin? resin was often re-blocked with vinyl and other shitty plastics (i know, i used to know the people that did it!!! thats why i stopped smoking resin about 10 years ago!)

    also sinsemilla is just weed with no seeds, that has not been germinated! thats it! if you get seeds the person growing knows fuck all about what they are doing! (erm... remove the male plants asap!!)

    i am seriously worried about a government that can force people to behave the way it wants (i.e drinking lots and paying plenty in taxes, getting so pissed you forget gordon and his cronies are gang raping your arse)

    i am also in favour of doing something. but what can we do? protest? thats illegal under our gov :( send the PM and email? (so they can bust me or think of some trumped up charges? or think im brazillian and have an accident?)

    i just dont know where to go on this one!

  15. Dean

    Let's pick on someone

    GORDON: "Quick, we've lost voters. We need to pick on somebody quickly to prove we're strong!"

    JACQUI: "We've already put the boot in on car drivers, drinkers, fatties and smokers"

    GORDON: "Not all the smokers..."

    JACQUIE: "Time for a U turn?"


    JACQUI: "I don't know who we're going to pick on next time"

    GORDON: "There's always someone...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stronger, better weed...

    ... means it costs more to buy. You pay for the quality.

    When you're buying 1/8 at £30 of the green herb, you tend to calm down on the amount you put in. Kind of like buying a bottle of Glenfidich or Lagavulin; you wouldn't shovel it down your neck like a bottle of Tesco Paint Thinner.

    Having said that, though, the people who say that "skunk" is more potent than resin are talking out of their ass; Take them over to The 'Dam and get them a portion of Moroccan Black.

    That one dude who died of smoking ganj has a lot to answer for... Idiot.

  17. Wize

    Ban tobacco

    Well, they are claiming a bit of blow is a lead in to harder drugs, so smoking B&H is a lead in to smoking mary jane.

    The one with the packet of fags and skins in the pocket.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    I'm living in Amsterdam and let me tell you the streets are just littered, LITTERED with the bodies of people who have been smoking lethal varieties of weed...

  19. Geoff Johnson

    How much did they pay for the advice they then went on to ignore?

    And can I have that much of my tax back please.

  20. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Comment rejection note

    Folks, I'm personally totally with you in your lack of warm feelings for the Home Secretary, but if you could find creative ways to lambast her that stop a mite short of fervent wishes for bad things to befall her, I won't have to reject them and the debate can rage on.

    I do hope she doesn't get what she would like for Christmas, though.

  21. Anonymous Coward


    So are the government trying to get the message across that amphetamines and barbiturates are no more dangerous than cannabis?

  22. Tim Worstal

    Sarah Bee

    Umm, could you email me privately those very interesting things that they are suggesting for the Home Secretary? One blog has already argued for the use of especially sharpened cockroaches (!?) and I'm just wondering if readers here are even more inventive?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tough on things that are easy to get tough on...

    Tough on the things that are easy to get tough on.

    Tough on the causes of the things that are easy to get tough on.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Distinctly nonplussed...

    Very disappointed about the government's decision. How can we trust them to make any common sense decisions if they have messed this one up.

    I wish they'd just legalise it actually (i'm sure I'm not the only one). With all that fuss about skunk being strong. Skunk is all you can get these days. If it was more like Amsterdam you'd be able to have a choice of weed. I prefer a nice mellow herb or hash, but all I can get currently in the UK is skunk.

    Not that I'd vote for Labour anyway, but I have even less respect for them now.

  25. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Sarah Bee

    Ah, it wasn't that interesting, Tim. Just violent. Actually I have to say it represents one of my own worst fears, but fortunately I live in a ground floor flat.

    I think fleas would be a good start. Maybe bedbugs. They're pretty nasty beasties.

  26. Stephen Adam
    Thumb Up

    Awsome article

    Couldn't agree more, was kinda pissed off and resigned when I heard about this but now i'm ANGRY!

    It really makes no sense and is cheap points scoring, what realyl sucks is the Tories are backing them on this.

    When will this damn drug war be over!!

  27. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Tough on things that are easy to get tough on...


  28. Anonymous Coward

    @AC (and I'm staying that way too)

    "Amsterdam...? Oh, you mean the place where they've admitted that a comprehensive strategy is needed to ameliorate the social and personal effects of their previously liberal drugs policy?"

    Oh yeah.. and nothing to do with the Shiny Tory Tits who are in charge here now, since anti-immigrant racism now gets you votes here in Holland.

    They hate the fact that this policy has manifestly worked,the only place it has failed is in their heads; so through the inexorable process of spin they are trying to manipulate people around to their view of the 'facts'.

  29. Pete

    If mental illness has increased under this government...

    Shouldn't we be locking those bastards up?

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Re: heavy metals

    @Aron, Firstly your average garden center compost will contain vastly more heavy metals then even the cheapest hydro nutrient.

    When you grow with soil/compost most of the water used evaporates from the soil surface. The reason people grow with hydro is simply that it uses less water for the same yield. Less water = Less money on nutrients = more profit/cheaper own smoke.

    The really troublesome growers fill a three bedroom house, lining the floor with plastic sheeting, and dumping *Compost* directly on the floor, then enslave/pay some poor sod to be a human watering can.

    Secondly, almost every tomato/cucumber/lettuce/etc that you've bought in the last 10 years from a UK supermarket will have been grown with hydro methods, (organic, my aunt fanny).

    There does seem to be some evidence to suggest that heavy metals are widely present in the populations food supply, however no-one has yet suggested that you can ingest them via smoke inhalation.

    Hydro is not the problem, the illegality of production is the problem.

    A previous poster has it spot on, people self medicate with weed, not to mention it's easier to arrange an appointment with a dealer than a doctor.

    As an example, I once accidentally put a 3" nail through the fleshly part of my thumb, I rolled a small strong joint, smoked it, had a vodka shot and pulled the nail out with my teeth, bandaged it and went about my day. Total time from fsckwit to fixed 15mins, A & E waiting time, well you get the point.

    Anon as at work.

    Tux because you know he likes a toke

  31. Mono Ape

    Amsterdam spin...

    (one of the) Anon Cowards: "Amsterdam...? Oh, you mean the place where they've admitted that a comprehensive strategy is needed to ameliorate the social and personal effects of their previously liberal drugs policy?"

    Perhaps your evidence-free assertion has something to do with the localised problems in Amsterdam where a large quantity of the planet congregate in order to smoke a joint in peace? Problems exacerbated by the lure of prostitutes and low level crims who congregate to take advantage of all those stoners? Or maybe the problems in Amsterdam are just a problem relative to the rest of chilled out Holland?

    Excellent article which shines a bright light on the political expediency at play here. The science-free, Daily Mail thinking of Smith+Smith and dishonest justifications are all we expect, know and love from the average vote-grubbing politician.

    When do we get to vote them out?

    P.S. Can The Reg add a doobie icon to the post selection?

  32. Stuart

    The other side

    I do not smoke weed or fags and probably never will, they are just not my cup of tea, but strongly disagree with the government on this one. I think the biggest dangers from weed come from the lack of control in both production and retail. Having no guarantees that it hasn't been cut with something dodgy or that your dealer might decide his 0% finance package suddenly expired would be of far more concern to me.. Legality and therefore control would (in my opinion) greatly reduced the dangers associated with Canabis, making the numbers of those negatively affected by it drop even further below that of alcohol.

    Also you hear a lot of talk about the path from soft to hard, from weed to heroin but again I don't see canabis as being the problem... Using the same logic you could ban football - If you play football as a child and have some friends who enjoy it then you might end up going to a game and then the next thing you know you in the middle of a scene from football factory..

    I do not know how you get to see this side of the argument but I hope one day somebody works it out before it's too late.

    Well done Tim for voicing some of the lesser heard points of the great canabis debate!

  33. Chris Lovell

    And Gordon wonders...

    ...why Labour took such a hammering at the polls recently?

    It's precisely this kind of policy twaddle that's making me ponder emigrating.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Last I heard...

    Seroxat (the 'anti'-depresent) was responsible for more people than that committing suicide per year.

    Somewhere around 15% of those that take it suffer from depression so bad they start self harming, and around 2% kill themselves, if my memory serves correctly.

    Now that's some statistic... Doctors still prescribe it when to quote bill hicks "marijuana shouldn't be legalised, it should be MANDATORY" as taking life a little less seriously would stop half these people requiring anti-depressants in the first place.

    And don't get me started on the long term affects of other drugs doctors hand out like candy... But to name a few;

    Ritalin - highly addictive, taking a child off this drug often leads to suicide (shown in under 8 year olds!!!!)

    Co-codomol - highly addictive, responsible for reciprocal pain where the actual pain has stopped but a requirement for more painkiller occurs, because the user feels ghost pains.

    Prozac - sends women nuts after a while, especially during times of bleeding.

  35. Mycho Silver badge

    Of course the Tories are backing them

    Labour, Tories. Same politics, different snouts.

    What we need to do is stop voting for the same snouts year on year. Let's start with four years of Tory then switch for four years of lib dem, then maybe just maybe labour will be fit for four years. It's like the saying goes, politicians are like nappies. Both need changing regularly for the same reason.

  36. Elmer Phud Silver badge


    I feel sorry for those who started smoking dope and got addicted to nicotine. But one is highly addictive, can bring on deadly diseases and collects huge amounts of tax while the other doesn't do any of those things and is shat on by HM Gov inc.

    It'll drive me to drink - let's see, Tesco are doing bogofs this week on booze.

    Shouldn't there be some form of test before people apply to become M.P.'s?

    (No, not an IQ test as that's no indication of intelligence) Or is it a case of leaving one's balls outside if you want to 'be someone' in the party.

    Bunch of two-faced piss-heads.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Sensible Article - RE: Not Proven

    OK, I'll bite.

    Not proven = not guilty.

    Although not proven and not guilty are different in perception, in actuality they are technically the same thing - being both not actually guilty and not allowing for a re-trial under double jeopardy rules.

    In more detail, not proven means there is not sufficient evidence of guilt to find guilty but also not sufficient evidence of innocence to find not guilty.

    Now, do I need to remind you of the guilt beyond all reasonable doubt in order to be guilty bit?

    So in summary:

    not proven = not guilty. This may not be the same as "not guilty" but it is definitely *not* "guilty"

    So, you get your assets seized on teh basis of not being guilty of an offense. Be afraid, be very afraid.

  38. Peter W


    an article I agree with by Tim Worstall.

    What gets worse is the sheer stupidity of Labour putting this into place when Labout normally get the majority of youth votes: ie, they're putting policies in place that hurt their constituency and will lose them votes.

    Not only stupid scientifically and morally but also politically. Bravo Jacqui & Gordon! A triple own goal!

  39. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Never trust a junkie

    Er, no, Chris, sorry. You can't call her that out loud. Try again.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Class B

    It seems madness to me for the governemt to reclassify canabis to a class B. C'mon Mr Brown GHB is less harmfull than canabis (yet only a class C). Tell that the 19 year old date rape victim.

    If it is because of the harm caused then why are cigerattes and alcohol not classified in the same way. Surely they both should be Class A, as both of these drugs are contributers to the deaths of millions every year. How many deaths has cannabis be contributaory factor?

    We need to follow Hollands lead on the whole drug situation and have 2 classes, hard drugs and Soft Drugs. Hard being things like Alcohol, cocaine, heroine (the really bad ones) Soft like Mushrooms, canabis etc.

    Following their lead will free up thousands and thousands of police hours leaving them free to catch the real criminals like those diving 33mph in a 30mph limit.

  41. Risky
    Thumb Down

    Tally-ho all over again.

    Standard Gov Behaviour

    1. Order report from emminent experts

    2. Wait for them to report

    3. Check the focus groups/polls

    4. Do whatever you want and ingore the report.

    Same as for hunting as I recall.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    utterly bang on

    this article is so spot on i salute you el reg. someone needs to get that stupid little woman out of office - in fact the whole government needs to go as well as all the opposition parties. i love you el reg for saying so succinctly how it really is.

  43. Liam
    Black Helicopters


    @ Re: heavy metals

    "When you grow with soil/compost most of the water used evaporates from the soil surface. The reason people grow with hydro is simply that it uses less water for the same yield. Less water = Less money on nutrients = more profit/cheaper own smoke."

    wrong! hydro uses MAYYY more water actually (ive grown in both) and to be honest i find soil much easier to grow in and only slightly less yielding! plus hydro usually have annoyingly noisy pumps. they also use WAYY more nutes. growing in soil a plant (v big one) needs about 3 litres every 2 days. also you can go away for a few days with soil and plants dont die - if the hydro setup needs water your plants die v quickly as they rely on the hydo keeping the roots moist and oxygenated

    also - organic CAN be hydro. its just the nutes you use. there are plenty of nutes that have organic NPK in them.

    i can tell you that the weed grown in soil is no worse than hydro - if you know what you are doing. 3 plants do me and the mrs very well :) i also grow different varieties, its always nice to have some very mellow weed as well as some 'skunk' (pfft) such as northern lights thats a bit more mongy. my personal pref is for strains lower in THC - then i can smoke more doobies :)

    as mentioned above - if this was all legal you can go and buy/grow mellow strains like FLO (well worth a try :)) as its very mild and more like resin from old (giggly not rooted to the couch). the problem is if you were to grow commercially (and i will point out that i dont sell ANY of mine...) you would go for the Northern Lights and other high yielding strains - not caring about the strength, unfortunately NL and blueberry etc are high in THC

    also, the fact i smoke weed means im a nicotine addict :( i have tried smoking pure weed, bongs etc (no tobacco) but the lure of a joint brings you back (smoking lots of pure joints isnt good m'kayyy :). now, if i could grow a 3% strain (easily done if i could setup a lab or something) i could smoke that pure and dump the tobacco :)

  44. Maliciously Crafted Packet

    Too much money involved?

    Could it be that there is too much money being made out of keeping cannabis and other drugs illegal? And some of that money is finding its way to those in power.

    That's the only explanation I can think of for the current status quo.

    Nothing else makes sense.

  45. Eddie

    I wonder..

    Back a few years ago, Larry Flynt threatened to publish all details he had on Congressman's sexual indiscretions if the impeachment of Bill Clinton for his shenanigans with Monica Lewinsky went ahead (I don't know if he followed through on this though)

    It would be fun to start a register of all known MP tokers - to join Jacqui "few spliffs" Smith, Boris "tried cocaine but I sneezed, and yes there were a few joints" Johnson (both personal admissions, so nothing actionable there), David "I had a normal student life" Cameron.

    As for Gordon Brown - well would you sell anything to a student that looked like this?

    Skull, to represent my solidarity with this governments view on lethal herbs....

  46. Anonymous Coward


    This is nothing to do with the dangers of the use, if it was then the Government wouldn't be ignoring their advisors. This is purely pandering to readers of the Daily Mail and Daily Express.

    Mine's the jacket with a henry in the pocket

  47. Anonymous Coward

    El Reg talks Sensi

    Mine's the one with the ripped packet of blue Rizla in the pocket.

  48. Squits

    I've said something about this before.

    I was once depressed, doctors pills = bad, you can't enjoy anything, I quit work twice and had nearly ten years off so far through depression.

    Things are much better in my head now because of Mary, stopped me drinking myself into an early grave to be honest.

    So weed is a bad thing because it saved this life.

    /Real life

  49. Danny Silver badge

    Prisons are Junky Factories

    I've heard this both from prisoners and prison warders. This government introduced mandatory random drug testing for prisoners. Cannabis is easliy detected for weeks after by these tests but prisoners can clear signs of heroin from their bodys the next day. This has turned a herbally self-sedated prison population to become junkies.

    I know one prisoner who was imprisoned for having a tiny amount of cannabis, and who never used hard drugs outside, who became a junky due to this testing. He says now if he is released he will have to turn to petty crime to fund his habit so is expectant of spending most of his life in prison. He is typical rather than atypical.

    This governments drug policy seems designed to create as big a market for Afghanistans main export as possible. The old Dutch policy of tolerance was the best but mainly suffered because it was one country in isolation.

    Ten years ago Amsterdam did have a large junkie population but mainly immigrants from other developed countries who were junkies before they arrived. They traditionally support themselves by stealing bikes and reselling them for a pittance on Junky Bridge. If someone steals your bike, just go to Junky Bridge and buy it back for 25 guilders or whatever that is in Euros. It was a minor inconvenience compared to being mugged in Scotland for cash for a fix. Dutch people smoked less dope than here and the only trouble I witnessed was with foreign tourists over indulging.

    I know one schitzophrenic who smokes skunk, but he is the only one and was crazy before skunk arrived here. In the old days the dope we got here was mixed with crap like motor-oil to bulk it out, which must have been causing more serious health problems than skunk does.

  50. Anonymous Coward

    @not proven

    Er, yes: not proven means there wasn't sufficient evidence to prove you did it. It does NOT mean you did it. It means exactly what it says - the crown could not prove its case.

    As for why J Smith is doing this - a combination of Puritanism, a distressingly common trait amongst G Brown's supporters, and naked appeal to the Daily Mail brigade. Sad.


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