So Tony Blair wants to do yet another U turn, this time on the classification of cannabis! Recent reports suggest he wishes to overturn the decision the government made two years ago to downgrade cannabis use. His change in attitude is allegedly down to a report from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). They claim that there is a definite link between cannabis use and mental illness, that cannabis causes psychosis in regular smokers of the weed.
That such a change in legislation is proposed only two weeks after the government sanctioned round-the-clock binge drinking, allowing pubs and clubs to sell alcohol 24 hours a day, makes you wonder what the hell Blair is up to. Anyone who has ever been to British city centre on Saturday night can tell you that the unregulated sale of alcohol is by far a greater threat to society than the decriminalisation of cannabis.
Is the Labour cabinet continually stoned? On the one hand you have the government okaying 24 hour drinking, just ahead of Xmas, and on the other you have the Transport Secretary, Alistair Darling, launching the government’s annual crusade against drink-driving, and in a pub of all places - okay, so it was on the set of the Rovers Return, but still, it’s perceived as a friggin’ pub, and what the hell if he did order an orange juice!
Not so long ago we had Dave Blunkett, Home Secretary, relaxing penalties on cannabis use whilst at the same time unveiling harsher penalties for selling the stuff. Eh? Forgive me if I rabbit on here a moment – this is the Marxist in me - but isn’t there an issue of supply and demand here? Firstly you increase demand by decriminalising the bloody drug and then limit supply by imposing harsher punishment for the suppliers. Doesn’t this drive up the price? And how do you get the money to buy it? Crime?
And then along comes a new Home Secretary, Charlie Clarke, and he says that there should be limits on the amount of ganja you can carry before you are assumed by the cops to be a supplier – and he reckons that 4oz should be enough. Anyone ever seen what 4 oz of cannabis resin looks like? It’s a fair little chunk. Opinion is divided on just how many spliffs you can get out of this but figures I have sourced range from 250 to 800 joints. For your own personal use!! That’s enough to take you to the moon and back. And what of the cost of this? About £250 if you have a canny supplier.
But I digress. Back to the findings that cannabis use causes psychosis. I’ve just accessed an online dictionary which has given me a definition of the condition: “A severe mental disorder, with or without organic damage, characterized by derangement of personality and loss of contact with reality and causing deterioration of normal social functioning.”
I know a fair few ganja smokers, some of them heavy users – I’m fond of the odd joint myself – but I can honestly say I have never came across any with these symptoms (they undoubtedly exist in places like the White House and the Pentagon and Buckingham Palace). Granted ganja, whilst you’re smoking it, can slow down your reasoning, cause you to have what you assume are profound and innovative ideas, make you talk bollox, cause you to laugh at anything, for instance, but the effects are not, to my knowledge, what the ACMD claims for the drug.
Sitting talking to a uniformed police officer not so long ago (and no, I was not under arrest), I asked him what he thought about the legalisation of cannabis. He replied that if it was fully legalised then his job would be a lot easier. I asked him to explain and he pointed out that people smoking cannabis were a lot friendlier, more relaxed and chilled out. He had never encountered any aggro from them. The real problem he said was with drunks. He really dreaded being called out to incidents involving the intoxicated as it often involved violence and a lot of upset.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I can’t see the police approving of Blair’s new cannabis policy. There again, Blair ignored police concerns about 24 hour drinking. What the hell do the police know anyway? That’s why we elect leaders – coz they know best.