Brussels & Durban – the focus of the world…


It’s strange that two of the seemingly most important issues facing humans right now are being fought over/discussed/determined at the very same time. The on-going discussions during the Brussels Euro talks have been┬átaking place during the Climate talks in Durban, … Continue reading

The War on Drugs – the fruitless 40 year struggle…

I had a quick look on the Guardian website this morning and nearly fell off my chair! One of the main headlines was about the US and Latin America’s war on drugs, and why after 40 years it’s basically completely failed.

I’m reading Ben Elton’s ‘High Society’ at the moment, which is all about drugs in our society – in fact about this very issue. He covers all the background issues in a hilarious, shocking and ‘can’t put the bloody book down’ kind of way, which is his usual style.

I can’t remember being more pleasantly surprised by an article and shocked by the pure ‘common sense’ content. Ben Elton uses the term ‘no-brainer’ frequently in his book, to describe the process of legalisation and that term can be equally applied to the article. There are just so many reasons why it’s the right thing to do.

One of my friends from school is half Swiss and his family usually went over to Switzerland for long summer holidays each year. He told us about cannabis being available is certain shops, but the THC (tetrahydrocannibonal) content, which is the active element of cannabis, was tightly controlled and regulated. The authorities would tax the product and limit the THC content to a fairly low level. This avoided the much stronger ‘Skunk’ types which are the ones commonly associated with the mental illness/depression side of the debate.

You just have to look at the figures on the impacts of alcohol (socially, medically and economically) to know there must be a better alternative. If you looked at the figures in a logical way, you would instantly ban alcohol and tobacco, particularly when compared to cannabis. The article does raise the interesting point that the prohibition of alcohol in the States in the 1920’s did more for the criminal fraternity than anything else, so probably best to avoid the prohibition approach – exactly what seems to be needed with cannabis?

The existing approach of the criminal justice system seems absurd on so many levels. Go to an A&E department on a Thursday/Friday or Saturday night and see the results of our ‘legal’ culture of drinking. It’s pretty grim.

Anyway, this post could have been much much longer, but the Guardian article does a good job of summarising the issues + read Ben Elton’s book – it’s very well written and the pace is fast!