The law is an ass: this time it\’s the drug laws

Now, certain prohibitionists like to make much – too much – of the possible impact of cannabis on mental health. This, they say, is sufficient cause to ban the drug and punish its users “for their own good”. Since it has been moved back up to class B, against expert advice, the maximum penalty for personal possession is five years’ imprisonment.

The difference in penalty is staggering, and reveals the extent of prejudice against drug use. If one already has poor mental health and is a risk to oneself or others, maximum detention is only for a year, and as a patient. If one merely increases the risk of developing schizophrenia by 40% or so, it can result in detention for five years as a criminal. Punishment simply for risking one’s own mental health is more severe than the restrictions on someone already suffering from a mental illness and at serious risk of doing harm to himself or others.

Quite, they\’re twats. Can we hang them yet?

Read the other two posts either side as well. Articulate case being made there.

10 thoughts on “The law is an ass: this time it\’s the drug laws”

  1. If people voluntarily disable themselves mentally from being able to work by taking drugs, why should I be made to keep them for the rest of their days?
    That is a theft of part of my freedom.

    The army used to take a dim view of self-inflicted wounds.

  2. Edward, every single person I know who smokes cannabis has a full time job, most of which would class as ‘respectable’ by anyone’s standards.

  3. Just one caveat; bear in mind that the expert advice came from David Nutt, who is a rabid (alcohol) Temperance advocate. There seems to be a disturbing and growing constituency of neo-puritans who have a mental see-saw with alcohol on one side and dope on the other, and use a “they ought to ban alcohol instead” argument. Nutt is definitely in that camp.

    But anyway yes, of course the drugs laws are total bullshit. One of the great triumphs of Progressivism 1.0, along with other great achievements including hysterical persecution of homosexuals, banning brothels, censorship, eugenics and, of course Prohibition in the States. Progressivism being, of course, merely secularised Puritanism.

    We are now in the implementation phase of Progressivism 2.0, btw.

  4. “Nutt is definitely in that camp.”

    Not exactly. If you look at everything he’s said, he’s very clearly in favour of treating drugs consistently. He believes that alcohol advertising should be banned and alcohol consumption should be discouraged but legal. He also believes that cannabis advertising should be banned and cannabis consumption should be discouraged but legal.

    I don’t think Nutt’s goals would be achievable from a pragmatic point of view, given the role of alcohol in our society, but it’s unfair to accuse him of treating cannabis and alcohol differently when he’s one of the very few people who actually treat them the same…

  5. It has been estimated that the number of people who’s livelihoods depend upon the war on drugs, possibly as much as half the US criminal justice system, is far too large for it ever to be ended.

    Remember kids, bureaucracy kills.

  6. @Edward Spalton
    But using your logic where do you stop at preventing people harming themselves? Ban alcohol & tobacco? Introduce food rationing so people dont over eat? Force feed people who under eat? Ban most sports? Rugby? Offroad cycling? Sky diving? Scuba diving? Mountain climbing? Have government inspectors make sure you always use a condom when having sex?

    I’m all the cases I’ve listed people have been harmed and you already support their NHS costs & disabilities allowance.

    Any you are paying for the costs of illegal drugs now (law enforcement). If drugs where legal you wouldn’t be paying the law enforcement costs, and the government would be getting revenue from duty & income tax.

    And there is no evidence that drug consumption would increase if made legal. If The Netherlands is anything to go by then consumption would actually drop.

    If drugs were legal, it would be easier to control under-age use. Also drugs would not be contaminated, with god knows what, reducing the actual harm and therefore direct costs to NHS & disabilities benefits.

    So to summaries, if you don’t want to pay for drug harm then legalising would reduce harm & costs. If the drug trade is as large as claimed you might even see a drop in tax rates.

    @john malpas
    Cannabis is easy to obtain and those who wish to consume it already do. Tobacco is legal, yet 75% of the general population don’t consume tobacco. Cannabis is no different, the general population wouldn’t suddenly become stoner’s just because its legal.

  7. “Why must society have meat? What benefit is it to the population in general? After all, it’s an energy-inefficient way of taking on calories, and vegetable-based substitutes can meet all the protein and vitamin/mineral needs we once relied it for.”

    Because PEOPLE LIKE IT, you fascist (in the literal sense) wanker (in the metaphorical sense).

  8. … the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil, in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil to some one else. The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign. – John Stuart Mill

    If only it were so.

  9. I wonder how the mental health risks of cannabis compare to the risks from 5 years at Her Majesty’s…

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