back to article Brown ignores scientists and pushes pot reclassification

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 …

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  1. Mike Crawshaw
    Thumb Down

    Just the facts, Ma'am...

    Unless of course I don't agree with them. In which case "SHUT YOUR HOLE!!!"

    © Gordon Brown, 2008

  2. Colony

    Common Sense?

    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.

  3. Slaine
    Boffin

    yawn

    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.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    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!!!!!

    fucking sucks!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    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!

  7. Matt Horrocks

    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.

  8. Jon

    Police

    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

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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

  10. Martin

    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

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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?

  13. The Other Steve
    Alien

    Grrr!

    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!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Hmmm...

    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.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    lol

    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.

  16. Alfazed
    Heart

    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 !

    regards

    Alfazed

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    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.

  18. John Lacey

    No Different to Beer for Feck's Sake!!! If not better for you

    Sign up if you disagree with the 'Minority' Opinion.

    http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/steveb

  19. Andy Jones
    Dead Vulture

    Superb.

    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.)

    Andy

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    typical

    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 :)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Nice one Joe

    Not one hint of bias here is there? Just plain honest independent reporting. "Just the facts Joe, Just the facts."

  23. Simon Aspinall

    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.

    Slim

  24. Kyle
    Thumb Down

    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...)

  25. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
    Paris Hilton

    Brain Sugary

    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.)

  26. breakfast
    Thumb Down

    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?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    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.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Video games next

    I don't know if you caught this:

    http://www.starnow.co.uk/Magazines-newspapers/computer_games_life_of_crime_stories_wanted.htm

    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.

    http://www.starnow.co.uk/Magazines-newspapers/

    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.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

  30. Tom
    Thumb Down

    idiots

    Who needs evidence when you've got an opinion.

    Pathetic.

  31. Richard Kilpatrick
    Thumb Down

    Insanity

    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.

  32. Dr. Mouse Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Drugs are baaaad.

    Mmm-kay?

    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!!

  33. andy gibson

    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.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Barmy

    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.

    Legalise it.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Cripes!!

    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.

  36. BitBotherer
    Thumb Down

    Smoke screen

    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.

  37. Geoff Mitchell
    Stop

    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?

  38. Richard Kilpatrick

    @Andy Gibson

    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?

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    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.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Legalisation

    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.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Dictator Brown

    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.

  42. Richard
    Pirate

    "Experts"

    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.

  43. mike
    Happy

    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

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Political virility

    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.

    @andy gibson

    > 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.

  45. Karl

    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.

  46. Graham Bartlett
    Happy

    Time for the old one

    Clearly we're using the wrong drugs. All together now: "Gordon Brown, texture like sun..."

  47. Paul

    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.

  48. Slaine
    Happy

    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

  49. Daryl
    Pirate

    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."

  50. Alex
    Coat

    Reclassified to class B?

    What is Gordon Brown on?

    Mine's the rather fetching hemp number.

  51. Andy
    Happy

    Mr Brown Stoned?

    Not listening to advisors? Is he high?

  52. Phil
    Alien

    Don't you see?

    By reclassifying cannabis as class b it now becomes a chargeable offence to possess it. Now, any chargeable offence results in your DNA being nicked (er, collected) and added to the governments huuuuge database.

    Now that the ID scheme is approaching tatters (if not already there) good old Gordo is creating more ways to make everyone a criminal and grab their most intimate physical info that way.

    The Alien because they're Gordos bosses and they WANT that database to engineer a docile, mindless slavehttp://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/alien_32.png

    Alien population for the next generation.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    ... fellow "Paul" - excellent arguments

    me too, I ate one sour one too. or, now over 40 years old, started smoking dope at 14... never arrested, never killed anyone, never needed psychiatric support (well - not till this government took over), never wanted to try smack, or crack (well except perhaps *her's*).

  54. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: ... fellow "Paul" - excellent arguments

    Well, you're obviously not doing it right.

    "Never murdered anyone, never robbed anyone, never raped anyone, never beat anyone, never lost a job, a car, a house, a wife or kids - laughed my ass off - went about my day. Sorry."

  55. Slaine
    Boffin

    News update

    A heinous fluid, referred to colloquially as "Council_Juice" has been positively identified as the precurser to a wretched despoiling of human lives that has been observed in drug dens up and down the country. In surveys, recently an absolutely staggering 100% of all herion addicts admitted (after having lit matches placed under their toes) that before becoming hooked on smack they had, in fact, drunk water, scientific name "dihydrogen monoxide".

  56. James Burton
    Stop

    Yet more lies and the slaughtering of science

    I have started to get the feeling that whenever the New Labour government commissions a study, we can guarantee that their policies will not reflect their advisors results. We consistently see labour government requesting these reports because they do not believe the general opinions, and then when they see the evidence spelled out by their own (paid by government) advisors, they still do not believe it. The simple answer on this issue is that a down-grading reduced overall usage here, as it did in Amsterdam. The only argument for upgrading this drug would be to reverse the results of the down-grading ... which would mean to increase the illegal usage of this widespread drug.

    People do not for the most part do things because the government tells them to, though there is a section of sheep-minded labour supporters who will do so, but rather will continue on the guidance of their own moral compasses. These will vary from individual to individual, but trying to ban low harm behaviour (and by anyone's measure a 1.2% against 1.4% rate of pschosis is a tiny movement, especially when not adjusted for usage rates within potential psychotic cases to prove a "causal" link) will only alienate the intelligent people who do not agree. This is an autocratic approach to government where we are supposed to be a representative democracy. The status-quo, media leverage and fallicious reporting figures help to goad people to vote for a backwards status-quo. The liberal minded people are often intelligent but free-thinkers who realise that we need to respond rationally to what people at large "choose" to do, rather than to instruct every action as if the voters are children until we are all work obsessed sheep with no motivation beyond securing a public-sector, middle management job where we can profit from other's work whilst thinking as little as possible. New labour ignores strong-minded people at their own peril, and I have to hope that the nation will wake up enough to cast them out.

    Cooking the figures (such as official violent crim figures, against the official police violent crime figures for example), and supressing the reports you have yourself commissioned ... it does not win respect, if merely insults the thinkers at large in the nation. I consider the government to be a very bad example of what it means to be British, as they smack more of the colonial arrogance than seeming a supporter or their own people.

  57. Mostor Astrakan

    Think on this when you smoke tobacco...

    The smoke that doth so high ascend

    Shows that our lives must have an end

    The vapor's gone

    Man's life is done

    Think on this when you smoke tobacco

  58. Elmer Phud
    Unhappy

    Stronger?

    Old people remember (possibly) the days long before skunk when it was mainly sticky brown stuff from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The good stuff was on par with today's skunk, possibly better. Not all skunk is that good either.

    Yes, skunk is hell of a lot stronger than the bog-standard 'cooking' hash but due to HM Gov inc. (who outlawed cannabis in turn for goodies from the U.S.) and the War on Drugs tm. it becomes economic sense to the crooks to get rid of the hassle of smugging the stuff in and grow the stuff locally.

    If it were legal I'd be happy to have a small plantation indoors but I'm forced to choose between the crooks that run the brewing industry and the crooks that run the weed industry. I can't afford the booze.

    What folks are also forgetting is that young people are going out and getting wasted as quick as possible - whether with blow or booze, it doesn't matter - it's what young people do. Not so long ago it was all about young people necking E's and other pills by the dozen

  59. John Savard Silver badge

    Consistency

    As long as marijuana is illegal to any extent, it will be sold by criminals, who will endanger the lives of police officers and the general public in their efforts to avoid arrest. So, it is highly appropriate, irrespective of the specific dangers of the drug itself, to have severe penalties for its users while it is illegal. Instead, scientific evidence on the dangers of marijuana are relevant to determining if it is not dangerous enough to be illegal, so that it would be sold in licensed outlets like beverage alcohol.

  60. Squits
    Pirate

    Weed.

    I too have been a smoker for a few years, if anything, starting smoking it almost full time brought me out of the depressive, suicidal few years i'd been having, it lifted my spirits and actually made me enjoy things again, it also made me cut down my alcohol consumption by half, considering that I consume a crate of beer a week now, that obviously cuts down on tax.

    I was also on Incapacity benefit, not anymore, I'm actively looking for work now, I want to get back into the swing of things and try to make something of my life.

    The problem I have is when the rozzers shut down these factories and local 'dealers' that only deal weed, and then have their own moral code not to sell to X+Y, we end up with sub-standard shit that could potentially kill you (ground glass to up the weight anyone?)

    Yes, yes, I know it's illegal and I shouldn't smoke it, but it grows in the ground, mother nature made it and I feel ace when on it. I will not pander to governments will of "NO SMOKING!" nor will I suddenly decide 'I know, I want to get higher than that, where's the heroin?'

    For Atuins sake, my life, let me smoke, let me drink, let me eat what I want, I'm here 80 years if I don't get stabbed to death by a hoodie for already looking like a rocker, I'm going to die anyway, let me enjoy my time here you ignorant fascist bastards.

    /rant never over on this subject.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    and another thing.... :)

    another thing that annoys me is the use of the word 'skunk' this is like referring to all cars as a 'focus'

    there are thousands of varieties of bud that can be grown - skunk being aruond the middle! at the upper end you have varieties like Northern Lights - which i was smoking 15 years ago! - with thc levels 20+, whereas you can get much lower THC strains such as FLO - whch is about 5/6 - slightly more potent than the old style resin that we all wish would come back!

    and all this shit about weed never being that strong in the 60s... bollocks. you get some of the haze varieties now - they have been around for years and are still on the top of the 'get you hammered' list

    2 or 3 plants will easily be enough to keep a couple of people going - imagine wiping out 'dealers' and having a law that allowed upto 4 plants per house. i would even be happy for someone to come round and check it for H&S :)

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Strength...

    ...is partly due it being full of all sorts of other shit, partly, because the source is not trustworthy.

    Gin used to have a fair bit of methanol in it at one time.

  63. The Other Steve
    Flame

    @Daily Mail Reader

    "it will be sold by criminals, who will endanger the lives of police officers and the general public in their efforts to avoid arrest."

    Sorry, but that's utter bollocks. Your typical 4AM drug raid poses no danger to the general public, and very little danger to the police in most cases, as you'd well know if you'd ever seen one.

    Real life != "The Bill", or whatever arsewash ITV drama you're basing that opinion on.

    "So, it is highly appropriate, irrespective of the specific dangers of the drug itself, to have severe penalties for its users while it is illegal."

    Oh really ? OK then how about, next time you're flashed by a speed camera, you do five years at Brenda's pleasure. It's illegal to exceed the posted limit, so it 's "highly appropriate .. to have severe penalties", regardless of weather you were doing a ton on an empty stretch of four lane at 2 in the morning or driving at 60 through a busy school crossing area at 3:45 on a Friday afternoon.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    UK drug policy formulated by the US state department

    When Blindgit reclassified cannabis to class C, Condleeza Rice hopped on a plane, and paid the then home secretary a visit, soon after his political life was ruined and Dumbo Clark took over, and as if by magic, he was violently in favour of reclassification, since then this has simmered away, and not much has been said until now, flying in the face of all the research, (funded by our taxes), our comrade leader sticks his head in the sand,(and offers his/our asses up to Bush and his gang of fools), most if not all of the UK drug laws relate to American government attitudes/opinions. I wonder what lies we'll be force fed next? Paris Hilton is smarter than Stephen Hawking anyone?? Or Dubya knows where Osama really lives??

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Political Parties

    Who do we vote for now?

  66. greg

    Switzerland case

    Interesting that in Switzerland we had a majority of politicians, police chiefs, doctors asking for cannabis to be decriminalized, the change of law almost happened but is now delayed...

    When 500'000 adults over 6 millions admit to smoke couple of times a year, it's annoying to want to put them all 5 years in jail for possession.

    Those wanting to put pot smokers in jail are usually the same wanted to put parents in jail too if the state can't force their children on Ritalin, interesting too.

    Politic's is easy, follow the money...

  67. amanfromMars Silver badge

    The Voice of the People Register No to Reclassification, Ma Broon.

    Downing Street Smoke In ......Breathe in the Love. ...... http://jamesstgeorge.proboards32.com/index.cgi?board=UKdomestic&action=display&thread=1207226971&page=2#1207286047

    By the way, in the Dutch coffee shop model, cannabis in not legalised, it is only tolerated and peer pressure controlled with Police assistance/oversight/liaison. It is certainly not encouraged and condoned, it is just available for adults with a mind of their own to enjoy a high time.

    When are Governments going to learn the Simplest of Lessons ....... they are there, and are paid from Taxation, NOT to Show a Lead of their Own but to Server the needs of the People and Provide them with what they want. If they want to try and Lead, show us something new that they can supply and provide funding for rather than pilfering from the Public Purse to suit/feed/house themselves at everyone else's expense. Wise up to the Future being Different from the Past. Do something Original that doesn't criminalise Society and set them against Public Servants.

    You know IT makes Sense.

  68. kain preacher Silver badge

    ole poltician creed

    If the facts do not support your position, get rid of the facts.

  69. PH
    Happy

    WTF?

    Re: "The Association of Chief Police Officers has lobbied hard for the drug to be effectively recriminalised."

    And I always thought the role of the cops was to simply enforce the law of the land, not to revise, interpret or create it.

    If the root problem is a health issue then surely the NHS, BMA, or MRC should be doing the lobbying, not the boys in blue.

    It's high time ACPO had a nasty slip on the steps on the way down to the cells...

  70. Shabble

    Religion = bad politics

    I think that Gordon Brown considers what God says to be much more important than advice from any scientist. After all, when mere real world observation comes up against spiritual enlightenment there can be only one winner.

    Brown is Blair all over again - all that's happened is that a Presbyterian 'child of the manse' has replaced a man for whome the Church of England wasn't religious enough. The Catholic 'we must teach people not to sin' Thought Police attitude of Blair has changed to the 'you're bloody well not sinning on MY watch' authoritarian attitude of Brown, but the basic 'my decisions are 'informed' by my faith' religiosity is the same.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Brown has got to go

    There was a time when smoking cannabis made me feel better. When it stopped doing so, I stopped smoking it and moved on. I now choose not to smoke it because I don't want to, not because it's illegal. All the time people want something they will get it. I like my Dutch friend's attitude, "I don't know what all the fuss is about. Cannabis is there and I can get it if I want it, not if I don't." A female French friend said almost an identical thing about pornography. IMHO these attitudes are much more healthy and don't encourage people to try forbidden fruit.

    I believe in responsibility. Most people smoke cannabis with tobacco which carries health issues regardless of whether the cannabis does or not. If I light up a spliff I believe I must accept the downsides as well as the upsides. I made an informed decision and whatever the consequences of that are they are my responsibility.

    For the good of our country we have to get rid of these arrogant, corrupt parasites. When NuLabour were elected they told us "things will only get better." Well they haven't. We now have a country where there are so many badly-targeted laws that they've got something on everyone in case they want something to use against you if you're doing something legal they don't like. A country where every law with "freedom" in the title is a lie that takes away more of that freedom than it gives. Like the freedom of speech provisions in the Human Rights Act that basically say we are free to say what we like unless the Government thinks it's necessary to restrict it for public order, national security, the prevention of crime or for the economic well-being of the country. Under those definitions they can stop us from saying just about anything.

    If I get caught short on the way home and can't find a toilet I get labelled an no different from a kiddie-fiddler for stopping at the woods and taking a piss behind a tree. Welcome to (Not Great Any More) Britain; The country where you just haven't been caught yet. I'm an educated person in a well-paying job. I own my own company. I should be on the side of the Police and feel they are on my side. I'd now be worried about reporting a crime in case the Police find something I've done that I didn't know was illegal and I ended up in more trouble than the criminal.

    Almost everything is illegal now and just about anything else can be caught under the "economic well-being" heading. If they chose to enforce it we could now be prevented from talking about file sharing ("harms" companies which "harms" the economy.) It's already almost illegal to organise a protest boycot against a company (Conspiracy to Injure Business.) There was no restriction on free speech until the free speech law came in.

    Whatever the Conservatives say about Labour being bad they won't give away any of the power Labour have given them if they get elected. When's the last time you saw a politician say they have too much power and should return some of it?

    Oh well at least it will help with the crime figures. "Right sonny, that's a spliff, you're nicked." Crime detected; Crime solved (Tick in the box.) Much easier than catching the real criminal that mugged that old lady or stole the stereo from someone's car. We'd have to work and spend money to find them.

    Well I guess we now know who had his hand up Tony Blair's **** operating the controls.

  72. Alfazed
    Happy

    Would that be Frank Skinner then ?

    Talk about debasing the English language.

    No wonder those poor young kids with really dodgy upbringings are f*cking confused and showing signs of psychic stress after smoking a spliff. Apart from a spliff usually containing the poisonous substance nicotine. I wonder what head state the Afghani and Iraqi kids heads are in ? This sort of mental illness is a product of living in the UK, or trying to.

    It isn't double standards. It's just another huge pile of absolute f*cking bollocks cooked up by those skunks who're holding the pan handle. Tax payers money spent on facist propaganda aimed at the youff and being broadcast on public radio and television.

    Let's be Frank.

    Lets talk to Frank.

    Which f*cking Frank are they on about ?

    Let's be Shameless then.

    Let's be Frank Skinner.

    We have accepted that simply reading the Daily Wail, being fat, rich, straight and also being caught lying to the public again and again, is the real crime. We seem to be in a bit of a pickle though. What can we do about it ? Democracy isn't working !

    How about this for a solution ?

    Next voting day, let's all get so stoned that we can't leave the house/flat/bedsit/cardboard box.

    Then we can dick around all day - doing whatever it is that we like. Inventing new Web2 architectures or playing LAN games, whatever, on our personal computing devices of choice. Hanging loose, keeping cool, we could also use that old reprobate of the ether, "file sharing", and caste our own votes in a World Techies Parliament (WTP) aka What The Pot ! (well, OK, UK it is then ! But the anagram looks more homegrown some how. UKTP.)

    Maybe UKTHC, like a techno agora.

    Let's face it.

    If Gordon and his bag full of over paid cronies are looking to public opinion to inform them of which way to jump when the dogs do bark, we can optimise the whole process for them by leaving the buggers out of the loop.

    As you do, when considering all important decisions.

    And think of the money we'll save on the government IT programmes alone.

    Just Do It.

    Alf

  73. Ishkandar

    @Geoff Mitchell

    The government will export (oops, I mean transport) them to third world countries where they can get far better quality stuff for pennies !!

    While I,m not keen on that stuff, I'm totally against thoughtless legislation that have to be undone when the manure meets the rotating object BIG TIME !!

  74. Steve Browne

    Rise in psychosis

    When did this rise actually occur? Was it over the last 10 years or so? In which case it is more likely attributable to NuLabour than anything else.

    More sinister, why is ACPO involved so much in pressing for more illegality? The police are (allegedly) there to uphold the law. So far as I am concerned upholding and making are quite different. ACPO is hardly a representative or trustworthy organisation. The police have shown repeatedly that they cannot be trusted.

    I have said many times, the rise of the police state needs to be reversed. Those who think they have nothing to fear, have been hiding for too long! They will find a way to criminalise you too. The sooner people seriously object to the continuing criminalisation of everything in their lives, the sooner we may be able to hold our heads up and feel proud to be British again.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Skunk hysteria and "Common sense".

    The hysteria over stronger concentrations of thc in skunk is just palpable nonsense. Ok, it's two and a half times stronger than it used to be? Even a completely wasted caner is capable of figuring out that, oh I dunno, maybe I'll put a bit less in each spliff. Why it's beyond the wit of politicos and tabloid journos to figure out the same solution is beyond me.

    And as for "common sense" solutions. Common sense is what tells you the earth is flat. That's why we have things like research and studies, to *test* our common-sense assumptions and validate them against reality, because they can easily be 180 degrees the wrong way round and we really, really, just DO NOT KNOW without checking.

    So if the studies say it's not more harmful and more people are NOT, in fact, being harmed, I'd start looking around for a reason why maybe we /assume/ that things have got worse.

    And I'd start by looking at the social hysteria being manufactured by aforementioned not-actually-as-bright-as-the-druggies-they're-freaking-out-about politicos and journos. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy: first all the authority figures start insisting that it's making people insane and causing crime, next thing you know any half bright chav who's up before the beak is trying the "It's not my fault, guv, I was stoned on that skunk stuff which as we all KNOW makes you not responsible for your actions". Dumb old-fart judges take these pleas at face value, because /they've/ all been spluttering into their cornflakes over the stories in their morning Telegraph about the terrors of this new killer weed, journos write up about all the drug-crazed hoodie muggers currently going through the courts and how the courts are going too easy on them, politicos point the finger at these reports when trying to stir up a bit of self-publicity by appearing "tough on drugs an crime", and the whole cycle repeats itself, entirely fuelled by mob hysteria and a basis of unchecked assumptions that in fact turn out to have NO basis in reality.

    It's a classic witchhunt, a mob-hysteria-led groupthink in which people consider themselves to absolutely certainly "know" many things which are utterly without basis in reality and use those received truths as the basis for punitiive opression against a section of society. It's just like the witch trials, when everyone absolutely KNEW without doubt that there were such things as witches and that the common sense solution was to have more trials and burn more people, and (surprise surprise!) the more trials they had, funnily enough, the more witches they found!

    Self-delusion is always self-reinforcing if you try hard enough. That's what we have science, logic and reason to help protect ourselves from. We (as a society) must not be using them as well as we should be.

  76. Nano nano

    Can't help thinking

    that if the advisory report had agreed with Brown, he'd have been quoting it endlessly...

  77. Brian Whittle
    Thumb Up

    but it can screw you up

    its a fact cannabis in some people can fetch on schizophrenia.

    Schizophrenia regardless of what some of the idiots above says is not just mental problems (everybody has them at some time) what it is is a life long debilitating illness

    Oh its just 1% to 2 % who are affected,would you walk through a door it there was a one in fifty chance of you being totally fucked up for the rest of your life ?

    My answer is no thanks

  78. amanfromMars Silver badge

    @but it can screw you up ........ Caveat emptor.

    Brian,

    If that is the correct interpretation/consequence in schizophrenia ..."Schizophrenia regardless of what some of the idiots above says is not just mental problems (everybody has them at some time) what it is is a life long debilitating illness" ...... then its inclusion in the cannabis debate may be suspect and only included for maximum sensationalist effect/cynical abuse/spin.

    That is not to say that it should not be included though, for such broad spectrum advice/scare-mongering is a quite valid control parameter used in all foodstuffs/additives/medicines/drugs...... but it only has a limited validity, totally shot to pieces, if it is abused/overused.

    Abuse and/or overuse of cannabis may present the risk but the advice given with all preparations for human consumption is always never to abuse/overuse/overdose as they all will render self harm.

  79. HFoster
    Stop

    I don't know if anybody's mentioned this as yet

    But I don't think it matters. After the reclassification to class C, the penalties were adjusted so that class C drugs carried the old class B penalties, and class B and A penalties were upped.

    All that's going to change is where on the sheet of paper the word Cannabis will appear in the ranking of illegal drugs. What a waste of time and effort. This is why I only vote in order to keep the Conservatives and BNP out - party politics is otherwise a shower of shite.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    "We don't make the law"

    Just remember, when a policeman next tells you "We don't Make the Law", you can actually correctly inform him that they do.

  81. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Flame

    Grassing up pompous shit stirrers .....but mindful that they may be useful idiots.

    "If Gordon and his bag full of over paid cronies are looking to public opinion to inform them of which way to jump when the dogs do bark, we can optimise the whole process for them by leaving the buggers out of the loop.

    As you do, when considering all important decisions.

    And think of the money we'll save on the government IT programmes alone.

    Just Do It.

    Alf" .... By Alfazed Posted Sunday 6th April 2008 08:23 GMT

    Sound advice, Alf, and more are just doing exactly that and launching much better Beta government IT programmes which do leave them out of the loop.

    Of course, you know what will happen whenever they eventually realise that they are considered an ineffectual joke and a liability ......the buggered over-paid cronies will then, if they have any SMARTs at all, step up to the plate with loadsamoney/Flash Gordon Cash to buy into the Programming Project ...... and the Humble Pie will be a lot sweeter and much healthier for them than the present rancid fare they gorge on and disgorge. It is either that or the Headcases are Doomed, Doomed, Darling.

    "Skunk hysteria and "Common sense".....By Anonymous Coward Posted Sunday 6th April 2008 13:34 GMT

    A very succinct analysis, AC.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    The danger of Cannibals

    Cannibals ? how can anyone claim that cannibals are not dangerous ? My old Great Uncle Buffy was eaten by cannibals while walking across East Timor in '98.....oh, canabis. Sorry, wrong glasses.

    R

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Brian & @amanfromMars

    @Brian

    "but it can screw you up"

    Sure it can screw you up. So can working your whole life at a dead-end rat-race job for an uncaring boss in a faceless corporation. So can getting out of bed in the morning, and you might get run over by a bus tomorrow, and even if you stay in bed you've still gotta watch out for the meteorites, and... and ... and. There are potential risks and rewards in any decision in life and it's up to each individual how they draw up their personal cost-benefit assessment.

    "Oh its just 1% to 2 % who are affected,would you walk through a door it there was a one in fifty chance of you being totally fucked up for the rest of your life ?"

    But that's not what it's like. If you want a fair comparison, you would have to say "Would you walk through a door if there was a one in X chance of you being totally fucked up for the rest of your life, and a one in Y chance of that happening anyway even if you don't walk through the door, and a (X-1) chance in X of you not being totally fucked up if you do walk through the door, /and/ a one out of one chance of a variety of what you may regard as psychological, social, philosophical and hedonistic benefits"

    "My answer is no thanks"

    Totally respect your decision. Mine is "Yes please". I took the chance and walked through the door. Then I came back. Then I went through it again. Then I jumped about and giggled a lot. Went to a lot of festivals. Learnt to play music. Studied biology, psychology and neurology at university. Went to a lot of raves. Learned a lot about the law and my rights. Became politically active. Developed a career. Went to a lot of places, met a lot of people, learned and experienced a lot that I might never have become curious about if I hadn't taken that risk.

    Twenty-something years on I have absolutely no doubt I made the right decision, and if I had to make it again I'd do it the same. And smiling. :-)

    @amanfromMars

    High praise indeed. Thanks for your kind words!

  84. jack
    Go

    Hit them where it hurts

    My friend and confirmed pot smoker (who holds down a job Mon to Fri 9 to 5 which is a major responsibility in one of the country's finest institutions) has decided not to drink alcohol as a result of this move by G. Brown. This may actually be the consumer weapon of choice in combating this outrageous political nonsense.

    If all the pot smokers stopped buying alcohol the tax implications to the treasury would be devastating. Don't worry, you would only have to do it for one week just to show your own fiscal muscle.

    We can all talk on blogs etc., but my friend's idea seems to me to be a bloody good one. "If I can't smoke my spliff then I am not buying their dangerous and tax heavy alcohol"

  85. Steve Roper
    Paris Hilton

    Our government tried this

    In South Australia, our Premier Mike Rann decided last year he was going to recriminalise cannabis (it's only an on-the-spot fine of $70 here in Adelaide right now.) But for him, there was just one small problem: 39 percent of Adelaide's population are pot smokers (all the potheads from interstate moved here because of our lax cannabis law). So when Rann said he intended to recriminalise cannabis (so instead of a $70 fine you'd get up to 5 years) the newspapers and TV stations jumped down his throat. "So, Mr. Rann, you are going to suddenly turn over a third of Adelaide's population into criminals are you? So you're going to spend billions on a bloody great city-sized prison to put all those people in are you?"

    Oops. Well, he backed right down after that, the issue was quietly buried, we continued smoking our pot unmolested, and dear Mr Rann forgot about the War on Drugs and went back to removing a few more other civil liberties in the name of the War on Terror instead. Pot will not be recriminalised in Adelaide, no matter who is in office. Which a) makes me love our local media for helping to keep our government's idiocy in check, and b) makes me thankful I live here!

    Paris because she's a lot more fun after smoking a fat blunt...

  86. Liam
    Coat

    hmm

    "So, Mr. Rann, you are going to suddenly turn over a third of Adelaide's population into criminals are you? So you're going to spend billions on a bloody great city-sized prison to put all those people in are you?"

    isnt that australia anyway :)

    i now wish we had let the none crims go to Oz and let the crims stay in miserable old blighty!

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