Re: If they listened to scientific advice (Anon Coward 11:25 GMT)
"Half the illegal substances would be legalised, tobacco would be banned immediately and UK faith schools would be prohibited from teaching creationism as scientific. Never gonna happen though."
You're too timid by half, Mr. Anon Coward. After giving the matter much thought, I have concluded that the only viable approach is full legalization of *all* recreational intoxicants, no exceptions. The present approach is utterly broken; it causes nothing but evil results. To wit:
1. No one who wants to use any drug has the slightest difficulty acquiring the stuff. Thus the law is brought into disrepute.
2. Users are at the mercies of producers and dealers, and can never be sure about the identity, purity, and potency of whatever it is they enjoy getting high on.
3. The real addicts end up committing petty crimes to pay for their habits, to say nothing of the sad women prostituting themselves to pay for their next fix. Legalize all intoxicants, give them free to certified addicts and guess what? You could leave your front door unlocked.
4. The money that organized crime derives from the drug trade has utterly corrupted any number of countries. Plus there are those with a vested interest in keeping the present system of prohibition unchanged: cops, the incarceration industry, mafia dons, sleazebag politicians. You may be sure that the louder a politician squeals about the evils of drugs, the more money they're being paid by gangsters. [Hello, Wakkyjakky!]
5. Police manpower is diverted to drug law enforcement when it could be used to combat more serious menaces.
6. Drug law enforcement becomes a vehicle to justify further Stasi-fication of many countries.
7. Mankind, from its earliest days and quite likely before that, has always sought to get as stoned as possible as often as possible. You simply can't fight human nature.
I'm quite sure every El Reg reader can add other points to this list of "the evils caused by the prohibition of most intoxicants."
Yes, legalize even the dangerously addictive drugs like crack and meth.
I used to propose all this as a way of stirring up the shit, but one day I paid attention to what I was saying and realized that it may all sorts of sense.
Spread the word.