Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Expert calls for licensed sale of Cannabis

One of the country's most senior experts on Cannabis has called for the drug to be made available on a licensed basis - both for the seller and the purchaser.

Professor Roger Pertwee, is the professor of Neuropharmacology at Aberdeen University so there's not much about the effects of the drug on the human body that he doesn't know.

While he acknowledges that there are issues with Cannabis, he argues that the current approach of decriminalisation does more harm than good and has suggested a way forward. Today's Independent quotes him as saying:

"You'd need to have a minimum age of 21, and I would suggest you might even have to have a licence," said Prof Pertwee, from the University of Aberdeen, who pioneered early research on the effects of cannabis in the 1960s and 1970s.
"You have a car licence and a dog licence; why not a cannabis licence?"
The idea would mean only those not suffering from a serious mental illness or at risk of psychosis would be legally allowed to buy the drug.
He was clear that:
"We're allowed to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes. Cannabis, if it's handled properly, I think is no more dangerous than that."
I think there might be some merit in what he's saying. If there was a proper licensing regime, the Police could concentrate their efforts on the people who operated outside that system. I wondered if there would be an illiberal element to restricting eligibility for licences - but we have that principle anyway in the way we deal with shotgun and driving licences. 
What is clear is that the current policy isn't working. By insisting that all drugs should remain illegal, the potential for someone using a less harmful drug to be lured by an unscrupulous dealer into a much more dependent relationship on substances which will rule and ruin their lives is clear.
I think we really need to have a proper, open debate about drugs and the best way to minimise the harm that they cause. We should make policy on the basis of evidence and not on the basis of prejudice or fear. It's quite strange that it's perfectly legitimate, even acceptable to say you have a hangover, or you got absolutely hammered on booze at the weekend. However, if someone came into work and said they'd been stoned on Saturday night, they'd likely be sacked on the spot, even though both activities for most people have the same amount of risk.
It's time to cast aside the blinkers and take a cold, hard look at the evidence.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

$113 billion is spent on marijuana every year in the U.S., and because of the federal prohibition *every* dollar of it goes straight into the hands of criminals. Far from preventing people from using marijuana, the prohibition instead creates zero legal supply amid massive and unrelenting demand. The scale of the harm this causes far exceeds any benefit obtained from keeping marijuana illegal.

According to the ONDCP, at least sixty percent of Mexican drug cartel money comes from selling marijuana in the U.S., they protect this revenue by brutally torturing, murdering and dismembering countless innocent people.

If we can STOP people using marijuana then we need to do so NOW, but if we can't then we must legalize the production and sale of marijuana to adults with after-tax prices set too low for the cartels to match. One way or the other, we have to force the cartels out of the marijuana market and eliminate their highly lucrative marijuana incomes - no business can withstand the loss of sixty percent of its revenue!

To date, the cartels have amassed more than 100,000 "foot soldiers" and operate in 230 U.S. cities, and it's now believed that the cartels are "morphing into, or making common cause with, what would be considered an insurgency" (Secretary of State Clinton, 09/09/2010). The longer the cartels are allowed to exploit the prohibition the more powerful they'll get and the more our own personal security will be put in jeopardy.


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