ramblings of an aimless mind

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Drugs legalisation.

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I first came across the concept of legalising drugs when I read Ben Elton’s “High Society”, a work of fiction set in modern Britain, where drugs are illegal (or at least not completely legal) but a huge section of society consumes them anyway. Though the idea was revolutionary, I felt kinda queasy at the thought of legalised drugs and could not really stomach it.

I was again made to think about it after I saw a BBC program on cannabis use in Britain and the potential effect of legalising it etc etc. At the moment, cannabis is classified as a Class C drug, which means that people dealing or even possessing the drug could land up being jailed for quite a while(Home office drug classification). But despite this, there seems to be a burgeoning cannabis growing industry in Britain and the police seem to have their hands busy trying to bust all operations of the kind. The disturbing thing is that the cannabis on sale on the streets seems to be a more potent strain than what was available earlier, with higher chances of causing schizophrenia, depression and all the other cannabis associated malaises. The MOST disturbing thing however, is that people are really not aware what they are buying, so even buying from the same drug dealer on two separate occasions could mean that one gets completely different stuff.

Cut to the part of the programme was when the presenter travelled to Holland, where cannabis is freely available for consumption and though it is still an illegal drug, the authorities “tolerate” it for the greater good. The removal of this fear of the police has made buying cannabis in the Dutch cafes something like buying a cup of coffee. The person in charge will tell you how strong a particular strain is, how to smoke it and even some of the science behind how it gives the high that it does. Regular smokers have their favourite strains, depending on the intensity of the high they give and they are pretty much guaranteed that if they ask for a particular type, they will get exactly that. With so much information available, people can make a more reasonable choice about how great a risk they wish to take with their health.

That program made me rethink my original stance on legalisation. Maybe it wasn’t so bad a thing after all. It makes more information available about the risks involved, it drives away the criminal element in the drugs trade and when properly taxed, it may actually contribute handsomely to the government coffers. Money which can then be used to fund anti-addiction programmes maybe. A second reservation I had stemmed from the fact that alcohol is pretty legal in the UK, but the country has its fair share of alcohol driven problems, especially on weekends when people drink like there is no tomorrow and then spill out onto the streets at the same time, sometimes causing violence and destruction. The program in question however, pointed out that while alcohol causes the person to be more confident and aggressive, cannabis consumption causes them to become paranoid, and the stronger strains made them downright scared of pretty much everything. I have also heard(not verified) that drugs like marijuana also give a more mellow high (think of the hippies going “peace brother” 🙂 ), so maybe having some stoned people out on the streets instead of the drunk ones is not too bad an idea. They may die of fright when a cat jumps out of the bushes, but at least they won’t kill anyone else.

I certainly cannot make a strong case for legalisation or not based on an half an hour TV programme, so I will refrain from doing so. Personally I think as long as people don’t cause any problems to others, they should be allowed to consume what they want but no free healthcare should be provided (as is unfortunately done in the UK) to those who make such debilitating lifestyle choices. This programme just got me thinking about the idea and maybe it should be given more attention instead of being treated as a taboo and swept under the carpet.

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Written by clueso

April 14, 2008 at 11:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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