Dear Leaders, please legalise weed for these reasons…

It seems the approach to drug law in the UK has traditionally been characterised by fear and hypocracy. Everyone loves a good old fashioned moral panic, it sells newspapers and gives people something to worry about (as if they don't have enough already), and that seems to be all we've had: moralising and panic.

When I worked for a major international broadcaster, their editorial guidlines surrounding drug references in popular music was a little tricky. Tricky because you shouldn't really mention the 'd' word, but the vast majority of popular music is either about drugs or has been written by someone who is taking them. Everybody's doing it but nobody's talking about it – and isn't that a pretty dangerous situtation?

In fact, isn't almost a complete no-brainer that what we need is a proper discourse based on reliable research? It would be, but for the fact that various members of government are so unwilling to take advice from the boys and girls in white coats, y'know, the actual scientists. How are we supposed to have confidence in politicians who not only don't listen to the people, but don't listen to the advice of people who are emminently more qualified to lead the debate.

Obviously decrimilasing drugs is never going to be a vote winner but in the long term might it not actually reduce crime? If the market – and there's no doubt that it is a booming market – is regulated by people who aren't off their faces on their own product, isn't that going to be much safer all round? We've tried just saying, 'we don't like drugs, please don't do it or we'll arrest you' for a good half a centuary now and it just hasn't worked; isn't it time we tried something new? It will undoubtedly be a difficult decision to take, but all the best ones are.

Oh, and another thing, you can't seriously tell me that not a single solitary member of parliament has ever taken drugs; it's just statistically massively unlikely. And what's all this business about one nice taxable drug being legal just because it always has been and other drugs being illegal even though they may in fact cause less harm? It's hazy thinking at best, even a dope fiend can see that…

Why is this idea important?

It seems the approach to drug law in the UK has traditionally been characterised by fear and hypocracy. Everyone loves a good old fashioned moral panic, it sells newspapers and gives people something to worry about (as if they don't have enough already), and that seems to be all we've had: moralising and panic.

When I worked for a major international broadcaster, their editorial guidlines surrounding drug references in popular music was a little tricky. Tricky because you shouldn't really mention the 'd' word, but the vast majority of popular music is either about drugs or has been written by someone who is taking them. Everybody's doing it but nobody's talking about it – and isn't that a pretty dangerous situtation?

In fact, isn't almost a complete no-brainer that what we need is a proper discourse based on reliable research? It would be, but for the fact that various members of government are so unwilling to take advice from the boys and girls in white coats, y'know, the actual scientists. How are we supposed to have confidence in politicians who not only don't listen to the people, but don't listen to the advice of people who are emminently more qualified to lead the debate.

Obviously decrimilasing drugs is never going to be a vote winner but in the long term might it not actually reduce crime? If the market – and there's no doubt that it is a booming market – is regulated by people who aren't off their faces on their own product, isn't that going to be much safer all round? We've tried just saying, 'we don't like drugs, please don't do it or we'll arrest you' for a good half a centuary now and it just hasn't worked; isn't it time we tried something new? It will undoubtedly be a difficult decision to take, but all the best ones are.

Oh, and another thing, you can't seriously tell me that not a single solitary member of parliament has ever taken drugs; it's just statistically massively unlikely. And what's all this business about one nice taxable drug being legal just because it always has been and other drugs being illegal even though they may in fact cause less harm? It's hazy thinking at best, even a dope fiend can see that…

What terrorism?

Have their been no more terrorist attacks because of the various terrorism legislation introduced, or have their just been no more terrorist attacks?

I think it's about time we repealed some of the more pernicious aspects of the act such as (what I believe is) the longest detention period without charge in Europe. Does that keep us safe or put us at more risk?

"What more fertile recruitment ground for extremism could there be than innocent young men released without charge after 90 days internment?."

Hello? This important rule of law is surely an absolute, and should not ever be qualified: you're not innocent until proven guilty…unless you might be a terrorist.

In the words of, erm, Spiderman; with great power comes great responsibility. Unfortunately it seems Police forces cannot be trusted to flex that power responsibly. There are loads of cases of people being stopped and searched for fatuous reasons that are then justified under the catch all wording of the Act. It's the legal foundation for a police state, and the European court thinks it's well iffy too…

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8453878.stm

Whilst we're here, how about police photographers at protests? I understand that if you have a specific suspect for a crime then you might legitimately use various surveilance techniques. However, this has not been my experience of police photographers at protests. They tend to indescriminately record everyone who attends and the only reason I can think that might be is to put people off protesting. The other place I've seen this kind of thing in action is at protests in the West Bank where the Israeli army and the implication is clear; we've got you on tape and we'll use that to either deport you or refuse you entry to the country in the future.

Let's be clear, the vast majority of people at protests are there because something's gone wrong and they want it to better. And let us not forget that the right to assemble is a fundamental human right and anything that interferes with that should be viewed with deep distrust at very least. It also seems a little rich when you consider that it is illegal to photograph a police officer…

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7351252.stm

One rule for us, another rule for them? If I were more cynical I might suggest it's so unscrupulous officers can removetheir identity tabs and violently strike peaceful protestors/kill newspaper vendors in the street…

 

Why is this idea important?

Have their been no more terrorist attacks because of the various terrorism legislation introduced, or have their just been no more terrorist attacks?

I think it's about time we repealed some of the more pernicious aspects of the act such as (what I believe is) the longest detention period without charge in Europe. Does that keep us safe or put us at more risk?

"What more fertile recruitment ground for extremism could there be than innocent young men released without charge after 90 days internment?."

Hello? This important rule of law is surely an absolute, and should not ever be qualified: you're not innocent until proven guilty…unless you might be a terrorist.

In the words of, erm, Spiderman; with great power comes great responsibility. Unfortunately it seems Police forces cannot be trusted to flex that power responsibly. There are loads of cases of people being stopped and searched for fatuous reasons that are then justified under the catch all wording of the Act. It's the legal foundation for a police state, and the European court thinks it's well iffy too…

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8453878.stm

Whilst we're here, how about police photographers at protests? I understand that if you have a specific suspect for a crime then you might legitimately use various surveilance techniques. However, this has not been my experience of police photographers at protests. They tend to indescriminately record everyone who attends and the only reason I can think that might be is to put people off protesting. The other place I've seen this kind of thing in action is at protests in the West Bank where the Israeli army and the implication is clear; we've got you on tape and we'll use that to either deport you or refuse you entry to the country in the future.

Let's be clear, the vast majority of people at protests are there because something's gone wrong and they want it to better. And let us not forget that the right to assemble is a fundamental human right and anything that interferes with that should be viewed with deep distrust at very least. It also seems a little rich when you consider that it is illegal to photograph a police officer…

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7351252.stm

One rule for us, another rule for them? If I were more cynical I might suggest it's so unscrupulous officers can removetheir identity tabs and violently strike peaceful protestors/kill newspaper vendors in the street…