Why I strongly oppose the call by a local MP to decriminalise cannabis

Today is World Mental Health Day.  At lunchtime today I went to a very positive event that launched a new ‘pathway’ of support services for those with high support needs.  These services are provided by Southdown Housing, Sanctuary Support and Brighton Housing Trust, funded by Brighton and Hove City Council and the Brighton and Hove Clinical Care Group.

Having been inspired by what I heard, I was so disappointed to read in today’s Brighton Argus (10th October 2014) that Lewes MP, Norman Baker, is proposing to tackle crime by legalising cannabis. I personally hope he is singularly unsuccessful in this.

When, in 2004, the last government foolishly reduced the classification of cannabis from Class B to Class C, consumption increased significantly. A message had been given that the drug was safe. The decision to change the classification was reversed within five years.

A paper presented to the World Health Organisation earlier this month, based on a 20 year study, highlighted the highly addictive nature of cannabis. It warned that cannabis doubles the risk of developing psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia.

Cannabis users do worse at school and, according to this study, heavy use in adolescence appears to impair intellectual development.

Driving after smoking cannabis doubles the risk of road traffic accidents, and this risk increases substantially if the driver has also had a drink.

Legalising cannabis will not tackle drug abuse, only increase it.

(Norman Baker has responded to this post with a letter which was posted on 24th October 2014)

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28 thoughts on “Why I strongly oppose the call by a local MP to decriminalise cannabis

  1. Do you want to ban everything that is dangerous to adults?

    You want to make the judgement on behalf of everyone else.

    “X is bad for you, so therefore I want to send you to prison if you do it”.

    I suspect that prison is bad for people too.

    • Have I touched a raw nerve here? All I have done was to say that something that is already banned should remain banned. I didn’t mention alcohol or cigarettes. We are where we are with cannabis, and I don’t want to change that.

      • > Have I touched a raw nerve here?

        In terms of logic, yes. I’m not a cannabis user. I just don’t like inconsistency.

        > I didn’t mention alcohol or cigarettes.

        Right, but your reasons can apply to those too.

        So I want to know if you are logically consistent and want to thus ban alcohol and cigarettes, since they both have bad side effects too.

      • Then you’re a fool and a control freak tryin to interfere in the lives of others.

        1. Alcohol is one of the worst recreational drugs in terms of health and the effects of addiction, in 3rd place behind crack cocaine and crystal methamphetamine.

        2. Banning recreational substances doesn’t work, it just creates opportunity for gangs and huge amounts of violent crime and costs for society. Legalise. Regulate. Tax. It’s the only option that works.

        3. Here’s another idea for you, which comes from the USA:
        – If you don’t like cannabis, don’t smoke it
        – If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t marry a gay person
        – If you don’t like abortions, don’t have one
        – If you don’t like religion, don’t practise it
        Perhaps you can see a pattern

  2. No lack of logic. Cannabis is currently a controlled drug. I want it to remain so. Alcohol and cigarettes are not. Yes, they are harmful. I am glad there are greater restrictions than before on cigarettes which have led to a reduction in smoking, especially by children. I think the liberalisation of alcohol regulations has been a disaster and would like to see that reversed. But ban alcohol? No.

    • So why do you want Alcohol to remain legal when the side effects are much worse, but send people to prison if they smoke cannabis?

      Why do see a distinction there?

      • Because one is currently illegal and I want it to stay that way. The other is not. This is becoming circular and I can see no point in you just repeating your point and me explaining mine. Perhaps you should find an outlet to argue your case.

      • If cannabis become legal, would you thus argue that it should remain legal and shouldn’t be recriminialised?

      • And likewise, if alcohol become illegal, would you argue for it to stay illegal, and argue against it becoming legal?

      • If cannabis become legal, would you then change and argue that it should remain legal and shouldn’t be recriminialised, in order to keep the status quo?

        And likewise for Alcohol. If it become criminialised, would you argue for it to stay that way and not become legalized, in order to keep the status quo?

    • No lack of logic? There is an immeasurable lack of logic in wanting to maintain the status quo because it is the status quo.

      Logic and science both point in the right direction, regulation. Propaganda and hysteria, as usual, point in the opposite.

      The large majority of cannabis users never, ever, suffer psychosis. The biggest threat to a cannabis user right now is what might happen if they get caught. A criminal record will do far more harm to a young person than cannabis. Not to mention the present system does nothing at all to protect children, the drug is not “controlled” and neither is its sale.

      Cannabis is a remarkably safe drug relative to most others, including house-hold pharmaceuticals such as Aspirin and Paracetamol. If you truly cared for the health and safety of people you would recognise the benefits of legalising and regulating cannabis, rather than leaving it in the hands of criminal gangs.

  3. Sir, I beg you to reconsider your opinion.
    Cannabis is not safe. That’s why it should be properly regulated instead of left in the hands of criminal gangs whose idea of ID is a £10 note. Should you peruse the scientific literature on the subject, you’d find that almost all the harm associated with cannabis use is either down to it’s criminalisation or due to the effect it has on developing brains. By setting a legal age of use, we can make it far harder for young people to access.
    At the moment, proceeds from cannabis sales go towards funding organised crime whilst we pour money down the drain trying to stop people using it. With regulation, we could save police time so that they can catch real criminals whilst raking in taxes to fund the NHS.
    Even our own police do not believe this drugs war is worth fighting (http://leapuk.blogspot.co.uk/).
    The only reason you could come up with to defend the policy is “it’s the status quo and I want it to stay the same”. Well, there will be a lot of non-violent offenders with criminal records if we keep doing things the same way, despite the fact that the crime they’ve committed is merely to take a drug shown to be less harmful to both the individual and society than alcohol. A lot more of them will be from ethnic minorities than will be white.
    This is an issue of social justice. Cannabis was criminalised to support the cotton industry and to persecute minorities. The law is still used to defend big business and engage in racial persecution to this day.
    This is why it has been legalised in Colorado and Washington. The sky has yet to fall in there and it wouldn’t fall in here either.

      • Well given your original article is basically knob-cheese, an observational report with no scientific study and a claim that can never be substantiated that cannabis was used more after classing it down… you are either a first class moron with no discernment or a shill for the anti-cannabis lobby which was originally oil and timber industry, but now it is demonised because it stops brainwashing techniques used by mainstream media. Government and their cronies do not want independent thinkers. They like You.

  4. Did the author actually research anything related to Cannabis before posting his uniformed opinion?
    I can link to many peer reviewed and accredited scientific research papers that show that Cannabis can treat and cure many ailments including cancer, a variety of autoimmune diseases, brain traumas

    Did you know there are people whose lives are very literally saved directly because of Cannabis use?

  5. Where to start? First Wayne Hall’s study wasn’t a “20 year study”, it was a summary of (some) studies carried out over the past 20 years, it did not contain any new information.

    It did not claim cannabis is ” highly addictive” but rather demonstrated that compared to other drugs it is far less addictive. It is not correct to say it doubles the risk of serious mental illness because it has not been shown that cannabis is a cause of that illness. There is a correlation yes, but correlation in not causation.

    You are also wrong to claim use increased when cannabis was downgraded to C from B, it did not, in fact it decreased. The move back to B was not based on evidence, in fact it was done against the advice of the ACMD and against the available evidence.

    Perhaps most importantly, Wayne Hall made it quite clear on BBC Radio 5live that he did not support continued criminalisation of cannabis, despite his previous association with the Australian prohibition supporting organisation NCPIC.

    Lastly and perhaps most importantly, cannabis is many things, but it is not a controlled drug in any plain English use of the word “controlled”. There is no control over the strength or potency (not the same thing), no control over who sells it or from and no control over purity or protection for vulnerable people. Instead, because of the regime you promote a massive multi million pound industry is gifted to organised crime.

    Please at least check your facts before writing blogs like this.

  6. I really think you should do some serious research, not just skip-reading the Daily Mail – the worst problem the electorate face in this country is ill-informed, unintelligent, bigoted individuals making their decisions for them. Let alone the fact that cannabis is a plant and it is somehow illegal (are you saying that God made a mistake?), there is a mountain of evidence to support its medicinal and therapeutic value in a host of diseases and disorders. As for the recreational issue, people should be allowed to make their own decisions as to whatever they see fit to ingest. That is a fundamental principal of freedom which millions of people like myself will continue to follow. I for one will never bow down to totally outdated laws which seem intent on seeing sick people suffer needlessly and strip people of their personal freedom.

  7. Who would DIE first if I consumed £100 worth of marijuana and you consumed £100 worth of vodka?

    The global economy would be billions of pounds better off if all illegal drugs were made legal.

    Instead, billions of pounds go to criminals and terrorists.

    By opposing the decriminalisation of cannabis (and other drugs), you are supporting criminal activity.

  8. I am sorry, I just do not believe you so called study. Cannabis is not addictive and never has been. Cannabis can save lives but in itself, it has never taken a life. It cures cancer, and can be used for food fuel shelter clothing paper and medicinal purposes. And as a relaxing agent. Given the right amount of money any study can be paid to misrepresent the truth. I suggest you open your eyes and mind and do the research, cannabis has been a benefit to mankind for 10,000 years.

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