Decriminalisation of cannabis will see an inevitable increase in use

One of the more ridiculous arguments given by the pro-decriminalisation of cannabis lobby is that people are attracted to things that are forbidden. Make it legal and it won’t have the same attraction.

A simple lesson from New Labour’s disastrous relaxation of licensing laws saw consumption increased massively as every corner shop became an off-licence and supermarkets became outlets for cheap alcohol. Only the reversal of the licencing changes (unlikely) or the introduction of minimum pricing (a no-brainer for me but one that requires the tiniest backbone from politicians) will begin to address the appalling harm continuing to be caused by the alcohol free-for-all.

The libertarians advocating decriminalisation of cannabis regularly call for evidence-based debate …. except when the evidence doesn’t help their pro-drug cause.

Look at the evidence from the US state of Colorado which legalised possession and use of cannabis for those over 21 in 2012. In 2011-12, 10.4% of Coloradans aged 12 and older reported using marijuana in the month. Monthly use in Colorado has now jumped to 12.7% — more than a one fifth increase — in the 2012-13 data.

And some people want to see this happen here as well….?


One thought on “Decriminalisation of cannabis will see an inevitable increase in use

  1. I’d just like to say that this is the stupidest argument I’ve *ever* read opposing the legalisation of cannabis. You are the chief executive of a charity that is supposed to deal with homeless people, who are often homeless due to drug related problems and these are your thoughts on drug policy??

    The fact that you seem to think further criminalising people for activities that only harm themselves is a sensible idea makes me question whether you have even a basic understanding of the issues relating to drug policy or whether you’ve just formed your opinion on the back of a Daily Mail article you read over breakfast.

    For example, you say that alcohol consumption has gone up since Labour relaxed the licensing laws. What nonsense. Anyone getting their information from a more reliable source than page 3 of The Sun would know that the exact opposite is true. Between 2005 and 2012 the proportion of men who drank alcohol in the week before being interviewed fell from 72 per cent to 64 per cent, and the proportion of women fell from 57 per cent to 52 per cent in Great Britain.

    So, you’re literally making stuff up.

    Additionally, you have hopelessly misunderstood the statistics relating to Colorado. For example, you have compared the rates of drug usage in 2011-12 and 2012-13 in an attempt to show that legalisation has produced an increase in drug useage. Even if we accept this unsourced claim, there are two really stupid mistakes.

    Firstly, it is a tiny increase in real terms. From 10.4% to 12.7% represents a 2.3% increase or, in simple terms, an extra 2.4 people using cannabis per 100. Is that ideal? No, but bear in mind that 50% of federal prisoners are held on non-violent drug charges. A 2.3% increase in people smoking pot seems a pretty small price to pay for halving the prison population, don’t you think?

    Secondly (and this is the real doozie), you seem to have missed the fact that it was not possible to buy cannabis legally in Colorado until January 1st 2014. This was when the first stores opened. So, if cannabis useage went up in 2012-13 it wasn’t because people could buy legal cannabis – it wasn’t on sale yet.

    Not to mention that even a cursory look at countries like Portugal and Holland show that legalisation of drugs invariably leads to a long term downward trend in useage.

    >The libertarians advocating decriminalisation of cannabis regularly call for evidence-based debate …. except when the evidence doesn’t help their pro-drug cause.

    Oh god, the irony… And, serious question, do you even understand what a libertarian actually is? Because it really seems that you don’t.

    Again, you’re a chief executive of a large organisation and presumably people take you seriously. So how do you manage to produce this drivel?

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