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current drug policy failure

Comment 2nd July 2010

I am a pharmacy worker in the south of England and dispence drugs on a regualar daily basis.From aspirin to zopiclone i handle all kinds of drugs, some of which i can only dispence if i wear gloves as they are so toxic.
In my opinion the current laws regarding the use of certain illegal drugs are not only outdated (1971),but are actually counter productive in their approach to harm reduction and misleading to users as well as the general public.
To put it bluntly the current classification of drugs is not only flawed, but unscientific and potentially dangerous.
One example is the re-classification of Cannabis…
If you pidgeon-hole cannabis in the same drug section as a more dangerous drug,there is the inherant danger that Cannabis users may regard that drug as no more harmful than Cannabis, as it is in the same section.
Most informed people know that Cannabis is one of the safest drugs on the planet,even if they don’t use it themselves (bearing in mind that there is no such thing as a 100% safe drug).We have thousands of years of evidence to support this fact, from archaic script of the medicinal use of the drug through time, to the present day American style Cannabis prescribing. Unfortunately thanks to modern day ‘reefer madness’ tabloid hype and political pressure, a large proportion of the the UK public still thinks that society would descend into chaos if Cannabis was made legal, and sneer and tut when the dutch example is refered to.
Given the current economic climate this is unfortunate as it would not only free up police and court services time,as well as emptying a fair amount of prison space (which as we all know = money) but also generate a huge amount of revenue through direct product taxation or even some kind of ‘home grown’ tax if it were truly controlled, and not just said to be controlled, by the state.As it stands now the only people in control of the illicit drug trade are the criminal underworld which also has links to terrorist chains which then goes on to perpetuate even more crime,only this time on a larger more grotesque scale.(911,7/7 etc)

Why does this matter?

The time has come to take control of the situation away from the black market and not throw more money and resources down the drain trying to stop otherwise law abiding citizens from using a product they will use whether or not you try to scare them out of it. A product which to date has not directly caused a single verified fatality in all its history.At least none which i am aware of.
Like anything else in life,moderation is the key,and i accept that there are a minority of people who should not use Cannabis as it will have a negative effect on them.If you have an intolerance to nuts then who is to blame if you decide to eat a peanut butter sandwich?The police?The state?Your parents?
Man since time immemorial has sought to alter his consciousness,and some of the greatest art,music and literture has been concieved and produced ‘under the influence’.Whats more i believe that my consciousness is my own to do with as i please and not the property of the state.As an ex Cannabis user of 20 years, i think i can safely say that the only harm done to myself can now be overcome by oral consumption(space cakes) or through the use of modern day vaporisers which causes minimal damage to your lungs.
Lets face it, putting any kind of smoke into your lungs is really not advisable.(ask a doctor or fireman-they will agree)Also the people who i used to have to aqaint with in order to buy the product would ask me if i wanted anything else,so you could say that the process of procurement could indirectly account for the so called ‘gateway drug’ effect of cannabis.
I stopped using Cannabis for two reasons.
1-It cost a lot
and 2-I did not wish to associate with criminals.
Coincidentally those are the two main advantages our current ConDem Alliance government have over the black market.Lets hope they see sense enough to use these advantages, as the alternative is a future of more drug wars which will once again be lost by all but the organised underworld.

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