Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

The Politics Of Cannabis

with 37 comments

Originally Published In ISMOKE Magazine Issue 1

Cannabis is a political issue.  Make no mistake about it.  The scientific, moral, medical and health arguments have all been won.  What we need to do now is find a way to make change happen.

It’s in the prohibitionists’ interests to keep debating all the ins and outs and going through the evidence because it diverts from the imperative for change. We have to keep repeating the truth.  We have to cut through their deception and scaremongering but above all, we have to demand action.

In the US, they’ve gone way, way past the silly and irrelevant arguments about cannabis being dangerous or harmful. We like to think that we’re smarter, a more mature democracy but so many Brits are still suckers for a Daily Mail scare story. The propaganda and bigotry still prevails here.  In America they simply accept that if you abuse or misuse something it may cause you harm. They rarely even mention the psychosis theory.  Even after Congresswoman Giffords’ shooting and the stories of Jared Loughner’s marijuana use, his friends were quick to step forward and say he’d stopped some time ago and actually seemed worse and more unstable without self-medicating on cannabis.  More importantly than that, the US media reported what his friends said rather than hushing it up because it wasn’t sensational enough.

Peter Hitchens, the Mail On Sunday columnist wrote a disgusting rant about the shooting, blaming it all on cannabis and having nothing to do with the truth at all. Now the US media are ridiculing him about Britain’s Reefer Madness.  He really is an example of the very worst in journalism.  The truth means nothing to him.  He is a liar and a mendacious frightener of the vulnerable, the elderly, of children and their parents.  You will be interested to know that the Legalise Cannabis Alliance has drawn a line in the sand.  We will no longer let such nonsense go unchallenged.  A formal complaint is being made in the LCA’s name to the Press Complaints Commission.  It will be the first of many.  We will no longer allow the British media to distribute lies without calling them to account.

The War On Prohibition Can Be Won!

Prohibition is fundamentally immoral.  It is nothing less than the unjustified oppression of a section of society.  It is as pernicious and evil as racism, sexism, homophobia or any other form of prejudice. It says that, irrespective of facts, evidence, science or justice, just because we disagree with you, we will make your activity illegal. We will criminalise you, imprison you, ruin your career, endanger your family, smear you with unjustified innuendo and suspicion. We will cause you far more harm than the activity you choose ever will.

It is pretty well accepted now, worldwide, that Nixon’s war on drugs can never be won.  It makes Vietnam or Afghanistan look like a little skirmish in some backwater.  It has been responsible for far more death, misery and destruction than any war since Nixon first declared it.  There are still those who cling to its ambitions, like our favourite preppy, baby face minister James Brokenshire   But he is rather like one of those Japanese soldiers, found on some remote Pacific island, thirty years after his Emperor surrendered – still dangerous, still committed to his cause but hopelessly out of touch, in need of re-education, a very, very sad case.

The war on prohibition is now in full flow and this is a campaign that can and must be won.  It is a war that has right and justice and common sense on its side.  It is time that we marshall our forces, determine our strategy, plan our tactics and hold fast to our courage as we advance on the enemy.  I believe that this year or next marijuana will be legalised in at least one state in America.  Once the dam is broken, progress will begin to roll out all over the world.

I believe that the Legalise Cannabis Alliance is the standard around which we should rally.  We are responsible, respectable, reasonable citizens and we need to unite to fight the war on prohibition.

What is vital is that the LCA communicates its messages effectively to the right people. It seems to me that one of, if not the most important audience is members of parliament. They, after all, are the only people who can actually change the law. We therefore have to play their game by their rules.

In the documentary “In Pot We Trust”, Aaron of the Marijuana Policy Project says that one man in short hair and a suit, lobbying congressmen can achieve more than hundreds marching in the street.  I think he’s right.

The LCA must re-launch its campaign.  We must overhaul our image, update the logo and the website.  We must become conscious of our communications, control and deliver our messages with ruthless effect, use all the spin doctor tricks and techniques, just as any other political party or pressure group.

I will put on a suit and tie for the LCA because that’s what is needed to make progress with politicians, through the media and, most importantly, with the great God of public opinion.

I think we also have to consider our name.  Not throw it out for the sake of something new but recognise that “Legalise” is a word that frightens people.  They think it means an uncontrolled free for all, whereas what we argue for is fact and evidence based regulation.  We also need to consider the word cannabis.  People are frightened to have it on their Facebook profile and concerned that it may come up in a Google search when they’re applying for a new job.  We have to consider these things.  I would argue that instead of saying “Legalise Cannabis”, we might say “End Prohibition”.

So we do need to become much more professional about our communications and image. Anything put out in our name needs to be “on message” in every sense of the phrase – look, feel, content, style, etc. Each target audience needs to be addressed on its terms. We need an analysis and a plan for each individual MP and constituency. We need a rota of pro-active media communications. We need to enlist the help of celebrities who support our cause.  This needs to be done consistently and repeatedly. We need a team of people all over the country working together with a plan to succeed.

I also believe that we should re-register as a political party and field candidates in every byelection.  In fact, I would propose that we field the same candidate in every byelection and we build.the campaign and awareness over time.  I don’t expect us to win a seat in parliament but I do expect us to start being taken seriously. I want to see us on Newsnight and on Question Time.  When Debra Bell is asked for a quote or is interviewed about a cannabis story, I want us to be quoted as well and to be on the other side of the TV sofa facing down her mischief and misinformation.

Cannabis is a political issue.  If we get our act together and get serious about the war on prohibition, get serious about achieving results, explain the facts, expose the lies, then we can prevail. We can see the truth revealed.  We can win!

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37 Responses

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  1. Good article peter, One man in a suit. I agree with this. we need an ethan Nadelmann on our team. As much as I respect the LCA and yourself for what you are doing, untill we get the media savvy on board we are going nowhere. Get the media, get change!

    Dump_pharma

    February 5, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    • The media can end up hurting you as well as helping. My father (Reverend Dagit) was set up by the local police in Michigan and the media tore him apart. He owned a legal dispensery in Michigan and had over 300 patients. Due to the lack of enough product available in his grow facility, he looked elsewhere for additional product. According to the law he could obtain as much medical marijuana as needed to service his patients. He ended up making the purchase through a supposed friend which turn out to be an informant sent in to set my father up any way they could. Well, my father was boosted up by the local media for doing a great job helping out registered patients. When he was busted, the media tore him apart even without a verdict from any court system. So, the media can help but they will also try to destroy you if the local authorities have their way.

      Mikejames

      March 10, 2011 at 2:31 pm

  2. Excellent article, very well-thought. I’m backing you for leader of the LCA, I think you have the motivation and power with words and determination than can accomplish our goals.

    Lets get discussing what we’re going to do for Issue 2 of ISMOKE Magazine (which I will just add is located at http://www.ismokemag.co.uk)

    Nuff

    tokeandfly

    February 5, 2011 at 7:05 pm

  3. Eloquent and incisive as always Peter. Glad you’re on our side.

    Ed

    February 5, 2011 at 7:20 pm

  4. Brilliant article. I think that if it came across a little subtler then people wont be detracted so easily.It already gets me thinking about the possibility of being more involved if the words legalise cannabis werent in the title. I wonder if hemp as a whole should be the issue.
    The flower is just a small part of a plant that can create a whole new industry. Farmers subsidized to grow hemp.Biomass used for green energy, paper etc We could be exporting goods. Cannabis needs every positive out there to convince people that this plant is an answer to a lot of society`s ills.Maybe a bit ambitious at the moment!

    Dr.Jupiter

    February 5, 2011 at 7:54 pm

  5. Excellently done Peter.

    Regarding what you said about the name of the LCA…

    Although ‘Legalize’ is a word that many people are wary about, I believe the worst word in the name is ‘Alliance’.

    Alliance is an extremely polar word. It’s all-in, or all-out. With us or against us. If you’re not ‘in’ an alliance, you’re the enemy of it.

    Even the BNP (although I hate their guts) have gone for words that are all-encompassing. British – which is almost all of us. National – which evokes pride, patriotism, and sense of being.

    I’m no politician, but maybe the name should suggest the outcomes of the parties policies instead of the policies themselves.

    Possibly the idea of removing control from organized crime, or keeping cannabis away from the most vulnerable members of society, our children. Or, reversing the billions in cuts we’re facing by taxing cannabis.

    These are all ideologies that most people in this country would agree with.

    Most people know that cannabis smokers will continue to persue their interest regardless of the state of law, so the party name could represent a better country and the effects that legalization could bring.

    Just my 2p. 🙂

    Elliot Haughin

    February 5, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    • Good post, agreed for all of the above reasons and since the gov seems to be so hot on messages maybe it could be a good idea to ( shock horror) play them at their own game. IMHO the “cannabis lobby” (in general, in this country) lacks credibility as far as the overall image perception. Its a sad thing to say but in media terms its very true.

      To put it brutally t still suffers from the “ageing hippy and traveller syndrome” (lol). Although the past year has started to change that perception it still needs work if you ask me.

      To look at a half decent example on how image works in the media for the pro cannabis lobby you should take a look at mpp.org. Then apply that to the pro cannabis lobby in the UK.

      The pro cannabis lobby needs a professional look backing up the weight of evidence if its to get anywhere serious in convincing the general public en masse.

      Hope that wasnt too scathing an outlook, sorry if it offended it really wasnt meant to.

      jimbob

      February 6, 2011 at 10:22 am

      • Hi jimbob, just listened to Stuart Warwick being interviewed by Duncan Barkes on talkSPORT:
        http://www.talksport.co.uk/radio/listen-again/episode/19435 (04:30-05:00, 16 min in)
        which is pretty good, but if you listen to the next section, about 25 min in you will hear Barkes saying that he had a look at the LCA site, and his response is the same as your observations.
        It’s actually very funny, and he gives advice on what approach they should take, which is just what Peter is doing.

        pjmcneill

        February 10, 2011 at 11:08 am

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by LazarouMonkeyTerror, Peter Reynolds. Peter Reynolds said: The Politics Of Cannabis http://wp.me/pgXXJ-XL […]

  7. Very nice artical Peter. Certainly a lot of thought and energy in the right direction.

    Might buy into your NWO 🙂

    John Ellis

    February 5, 2011 at 8:26 pm

  8. Thankyou Peter for this. i shall be making sure as many of my friends see the work you are doing on our behalf.

    man in hope

    man-in-hope

    February 5, 2011 at 8:31 pm

  9. hi

    Sofia Kubicki

    February 6, 2011 at 3:51 am

  10. Great words Peter. I have been following and reading the LCA forum for many years but have been troubled by some of what I saw there to the point that I could never bring myself to take out membership. Sarah Martin, whom I admire greatly and has had the courage to actually allow her small medical grow to be filmed for BBC, recently described the LCA press release picture as looking like a ‘special needs day out’. Now why I might find that somewhat offensive personally I DO understand the point that she has been making for quite a few years now, and that is that we need to radically change the image if LCA are ever to be accepted within mainstream media. I think you are right Peter and I believe that you can make a difference, but we need others to sand up there beside you, some younger activists too and above all prepared to work on presenting that all important image and presentation issue along with a deep understanding of he core issues here. I feel that I can relate to you in a way that I just could not do with some others within LCA, and I know that many more will feel he same way if we begin to see positive change within the LCA as this exciting new chapter begins to develop.

    Lee Gramson

    February 6, 2011 at 9:44 am

  11. I totally agree with all your points. I have just had a very negative response on my canna community forum regarding me announcing my involvement with the LCA, simply because a lot of the cannabis community feel the LCA’s image and who they choose to speak for them does a lot more damage than good. Admittedly, after reading a few replies to LCa announcements I can totally understand and is something we MUST address if we are to make any progress at all, the public image needs a total revamp, needs to broadcast professionalism in a concise, educated manner with no slanderous attacks, snide remarks which do nothing but close the ears of those we need to be listening.

    Ideally it would be a non cannabis smoker speaking on our behalf just because they can see it’s the right thing to do medically, ethically & financially and not because they want to be able to smoke weed.

    If we can join forces with the Guild of Students who are already feeling downtrodden by this government and would benefit greatly by the money raised and saved, I feel we would automatically have a national membership and if we can attract students studying politics that have experience with debating, I believe we would be in much stronger position to move forward.

    The name is definitely something that hinders the cause rather than bolsters it, it is so true that just by having the word cannabis in the name limits membership to those who have no public image to be concerned about tarnishing but it’s the professional smokers such as solicitors, doctors, business professionals that we need on our side. So, a name such as Justice Party, Freedem Party etc will result in a huge increase in signups I feel.

    Pistils@dawn

    February 6, 2011 at 10:33 am

    • I completely support the idea of teaming up with like minded people.

      Stephen

      February 6, 2011 at 1:02 pm

  12. ‘Noice waaaan bruvaaah’ Great article Peter really enjoyed that thanks, great first issue as well, thanks Nuff.
    How would a young person (like me) be able to help without going off to a messy demonstration or going off track and being more of a hindrance? I understand that the main issues that will turn public opinion are obviously the medical and revenue issues. And we do need a white smile, botoxed face, and a tie before the media will take us seriously, unfortunately.

    I would say that a new party name should have a words like ‘rational’ & ‘movement’ to show that our arguments are logical and that they mean change for the better if implemented. I don’t know the history of the LCA, nor what grievances there are. But there isn’t much to say, Peter put everything straight in the article and those are valid things that need doing.

    But main thing as said is media, they are the power to change whether we like it or not. (I hold papers like the Daily Mail responsible for cannabis being upgraded to Class B) We need to create a face for LCA then get that image through to all media corporations and get them to recognize it as a representative of the cannabis community and as an organization to turn to for input.

    But what do I know tbh. Peter and others summed it up pretty well.

    Rumhann

    February 6, 2011 at 11:20 am

  13. Picking up on Jimbob’s phrase “ageing hippy and traveller syndrome”, I think a major problem the LCA faces in winning wider public support – and one that needs to be addressed – is the widely-held misconception of cannabis users as ‘ageing hippies’ or ‘pot-heads’

    So, I know it will be hard for you to do, Peter, but yes it is time for you to cast off your kaftan, throw away your thongs (aussie speak for ‘flip-flops’), don collar and tie and help change the public perception regarding cannabis users.

    Come election time, a 3-4 minute campaign video on Youtube, with no audio, featuring just images of ‘ordinary’ people from all walks of life who use cannabis could help shift public misconceptions of what a ‘typical’ cannabis user looks like

    duncanr

    February 6, 2011 at 12:50 pm

  14. Thank you for your article Peter. It did my heart good to read it this morning. I use street cannabis medicinally (with the full knowledge of my Dr’s and Specialist) and am seriously considering going to live in Holland where I would be able to get unadulterated cannabis legally. I love living in the UK, all my friends and family are here but I hate that this country makes me a criminal. If you think I could be of help Peter please contact me.

    petapetal

    February 6, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    • I have just left a comment on this article;

      “Foreign potheads seek alternatives to Dutch coffee shop”

      http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/foreign-potheads-seek-alternatives-to-dutch-coffee-shop-2206099.html

      supporting home-growing over “narco tourism”. You could give it a try – your local, friendly grow shop will give you some good advice, and sell you everything you need. And you won’t even be breaking the law at this stage. Don’t ask them for seeds, though. You can buy these, still legally, at most headshops, or from any of hundreds (thousands?) of online suppliers.

      If you decide to have a go, it could be worth visiting some forums to seek advice about strains that may be useful to your particular condition.

      Once you germinate a seed, though, you are committing an illegal act. As with possession and use, home growers take a calculated risk, but anyone with any common sense takes steps to minimise the likelihood of discovery. Those poor people who do get caught are only the tip of the iceberg.

      If you have ever visited the Hemp Fair (there should be one this year, hopefully, after it missing 2010), you will know what a massive industry this is, and that you are in good company!

      Excellent article, Peter: I totally agree with this approach.

      pjmcneill

      February 7, 2011 at 1:09 am

      • Thank you pjmcneill. The home-growing info was an education and it never occurred to me that there was such a thing as a Hemp Fair. I feel rather naïve. . . . . Any dates you get for said fair would be appreciated. Thanks again.

        Peta

        February 7, 2011 at 9:43 pm

      • Hi Peta

        I haven’t seen anything so far, but it is still early, as the fair is usually held towards the end of the year.

        I’m sure there will be one this year, as I can’t imagine they’d miss two years in a row.

        Will keep you posted.

        If you can’t wait another 8 months or so, there is usually something going on around the world, if your resources allow. You should find some interesting stuff amongst these:

        http://www.thehia.org/events.html

        pjmcneill

        February 8, 2011 at 4:33 pm

      • Hi pjmcneill,

        Thank you very much for getting back to me re the Hemp Fair. I will keep a lookout for further updates from you.

        The link was most welcome, it certainly makes an interesting read. This all adds to my general education for which I thank you.

        I am a novice at answering posts so hope I have not made myself unwelcome by having a personal exchange.

        Peta

        February 8, 2011 at 9:11 pm

      • I think it’s all about personal exchange, and you should feel as welcome as I do here!

        If you want to add to your general education some more, and read some fascinating things about hemp, I can recommend a visit to http://www.jackherer.com/ where you can click on “The Book” and read the online version of Jack’s international bestseller “The Emperor Wears No Clothes”.

        Be prepared to be shocked, amazed and outraged.

        pjmcneill

        February 8, 2011 at 9:49 pm

      • I was just checking the etiquette, so thanks for clearing that up for me.

        “The Book” looks fascinating and will make interesting reading. Again thank you pjmcneill.

        Peta

        February 8, 2011 at 11:43 pm

  15. Peter I did it again – and used my email address. I do want to help so perhaps you can contact me privately as I appear to be rubbish at posting. Peta

    peta

    February 6, 2011 at 1:02 pm

  16. Great stuff, let me know if you want any help.

    Andy

    February 6, 2011 at 5:03 pm

  17. >> “In the US, they’ve gone way, way past the silly and irrelevant arguments about cannabis being dangerous or harmful.”

    That’s not entirely true, as the Prop. 19 campaign demonstrated recently in California. The opposition warned of everything from stoned school bus drivers to the loss of federal anti-drug funding for state and local governments. Even now, the feds are working hard to block access to medical cannabis in California by raiding dispensaries and growers.

    What we’ve seen, however, is an amazing shift from “Reefer Madness”-era nonsense to more practical debates on cannabis policy. For medical cannabis, the arguments now revolve around cultivation, distribution and taxation, with regulations designed to protect both users and non-users. We’ve moved from considering cannabis regulation in theory to putting it into practice, with 10 California cities passing medical cannabis taxes in November. Prop. 19 itself forced the governor to sign a measure making simple possession an infraction, the same measure that had failed three times before.

    In the U.K. and elsewhere, sensational headlines about cannabis aren’t new, any more than they are in the U.S. The Prop. 19 campaign showed an astounding collective ignorance about cannabis in the mainstream media, but it also provided a platform to educate reporters, readers and viewers in ways that weren’t even possible before. The follow-up initiative in 2012 will advance the debate even further, so be of good cheer and don’t take the British tabs too seriously. You can rest assured we don’t. ;o)

    Bud Green

    February 6, 2011 at 7:45 pm

  18. Great attitude Bud Green!

    Same goes for all places around the globe From New Zealand to the UK.

    Lets roll on

    Architect

    February 6, 2011 at 8:37 pm

  19. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1353917/One-cannabis-dealers-aged-18.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

    Unbelievable. Despite the fact daily fail readers voted for legalisation in their poll they insist on churning out this draconian bullshit.

    Stephen

    February 7, 2011 at 11:46 am

  20. I completely agree. Your suggestions on re-branding are excellent and should be enacted. “Legalise” is really just the process, whereas what we really care about is the outcome.

    The paragraph starting “Prohibition is fundamentally immoral” is beautifully written, and I may well borrow if that’s OK. It would also serve well as a re-branded LCA’s constitution.

    It would also be a good idea to incorporate all other illegal drugs into your movement. The official statistics show that while cannabis is the most used illegal drug in the UK, its use is declining; meanwhile the use of cocaine is booming and will soon be tipping over the one million mark, and there are hundereds of thousands of ecstasy users. Reaching out to these people could well spread your cause. While cocaine is a much more dangerous drug than cannabis, the fundamental arguments remain the same.

    Duncan Stott

    February 7, 2011 at 1:44 pm

  21. I feel that it would be a mistake for the LCA to adopt other illegal drugs in its drive to end prohibition of cannabis.

    Cannabis is a natural substance, requiring only drying in order for it to be used, and even extracting the oil or making hash should produce no adulteration. This, to my mind, gives it special status, especially considering hemp’s multi-millennial history; and its medicinal worth and industrial exploitation prior to prohibition.

    (It really gets my back up when I hear or read the term “cannabis factory”, which is designed to plant the idea in the public mind of something processed and harmful, such as heroin or crack. Would people believe that apples and cabbages are produced in factories?)

    In the US, medical marijuana has won the day, and even the American Medical Association now accepts that cannabis has therapeutic value.
    I feel that this is the direction that the LCA should head in.
    Some people may complain that recreational tokers are jumping on the medicinal users’ train, but “we’re all in this together”, as someone once said (falsely, in his scenario, I might addd…). And people have been using the herb recreationally just as long as those that have for medical reasons.

    Even Weed World magazine now presents itself as a guide for medicinal users (probably for legal reasons, and due to the US experience, where it has many subscribers), and this seems to work, without recreational users feeling elbowed out.

    I remember a leading light in the LCA remarking that he thought he may be a medicinal user without realising, since he develops aches and pains when he has been unable to procure any herb for a time.
    Maybe we’re all medicinal users. Maybe recreational use could pass as mental self-medication.

    With the abundance of positive research results being published
    http://www.cannabis-med.org/index.php?lng=en
    the government won’t for much longer be able to maintain the lie that cannabis has no therapeutic value, and if the LCA have a strong identification with the medicinal side of it, it can only be good for recreational users.

    pjmcneill

    February 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    • I simply need to requote Peter’s words in response:

      “Prohibition is fundamentally immoral. It is nothing less than the unjustified oppression of a section of society. It is as pernicious and evil as racism, sexism, homophobia or any other form of prejudice. It says that, irrespective of facts, evidence, science or justice, just because we disagree with you, we will make your activity illegal. We will criminalise you, imprison you, ruin your career, endanger your family, smear you with unjustified innuendo and suspicion. We will cause you far more harm than the activity you choose ever will.”

      That goes whether or not a drug is medicinal, whether or not a drug’s use is historical, and whether or not a drug is “natural” (What does that actually mean? Why is a product of evolution any different from the product of a laboratory or factory? It’s just a mixture of chemical compounds in the end).

      There are lots of good individual reasons to legalise ecstasy, cocaine and heroin:

      Ecstasy is a relatively safe drug that may have useful medicinal uses for people with mental health problems, and would make our streets safer if revellers switched to it from violence-inducing alcohol.

      The cocaine black market is a giant multinational operation that is turning swathes of Latin America into a collection of failed states, and its illicit growth is encouraging deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.

      Heroin is such an incredibly addictive drug that leaving dependants in the hands of criminals is deeply irresponsible, and is a primary funding source for our enemies in Afghanistan and the Burmese military junta.

      All drug prohibition is morally bankrupt. It all must come to an end.

      Duncan Stott

      February 7, 2011 at 9:17 pm

      • I agree with you entirely Duncan. I wrestled with this for some time but decided to put my energy behind cannabis for these reasons:

        1. Relatively, cannabis is harmless.

        2. It has many positive aspects and influences and can enhance spirituality and creativity.

        3. It is a hugely important medicine.

        4. The extraordinary relationship between the cannabis plant and the endocannabinoid system which is now known to be fundamental to life.

        5. It’s my drug of choice

        Peter Reynolds

        February 7, 2011 at 10:27 pm

      • Duncan, I agree with everything here, too (the above was my second attempt at posting, as I stupidly lost the first by clicking back, and had written that most cannabis users would agree that all prohibited drugs should be legalised – some bits got missed out on reassembly: also forgot to include the fact that the human body depends on its own cannabinoid system for regulation of certain processes).

        However, I don’t believe for a minute that, despite increasing calls, the government is suddenly going to decide to lift prohibition on all drugs.

        Due to its popularity and because of what is happening in the US, cannabis stands a much better chance of being legalised than any other drug.

        Cowardly politicians will see it as a safer option when considering drastic actions to save public money and, when they realise what a success it is turning out to be, will be coming up with good reasons to free up the rest.

        Forgive me for the ‘historical’ reference – the government opts alcohol and tobacco out of the Misuse of Drugs Act for spurious ‘cultural and historic’ reasons, so it probably wasn’t a wise argument. However, I resent the lies and misinformation that have kept this plant’s distinctive past, and its influence on our civilisation, from the majority of the public, instead presenting it as something to be feared, something that causes mental illness, and even something that is lethal.

        Maybe I’m a bit precious about it, as it is my drug of choice too, for the past 35 years, and is the only prohibited substance I have used.

        pjmcneill

        February 7, 2011 at 11:35 pm

      • You asked what ‘natural’ actually means. My take on ‘natural’ is literal – of Nature.

        With food, for instance, I would consider natural foods those which the body has adapted itself to utilise over the millennia, and I suppose I would have to include certain animal products.

        I consider synthesised chemicals unnatural because the body has not adapted to use them, and thus could have detrimental effects.

        Man has been in a loving relationship with the hemp plant since the dawn of ‘civilisation’, and Peter’s highlighting of this shared chemistry is proof of this. It may be that the human organism found the chemistry in hemp useful for moderating its processes, and began to engineer its own versions when there was no access to the plant.

        Other psychoactive plants obviously have a long connection with the human race, and I would similarly describe the opium poppy, the coca plant, psilocybin-bearing mushrooms, salvia divinorum and various cacti as ‘natural’. But not their processed, concentrated derivatives.

        pjmcneill

        February 8, 2011 at 12:03 am

  22. if we take the £110 billion a year spent on prohibitin and spent it on a system of regulation based on a scale of harm , wheres their evidence saying it wont work ,as there is plenty of evidence showing prohibition has never worked , it looks to me like this money thats not getting the job done is funding these con men and they will do what ever they can to keep it that way , concidering they have the power and money to do so

    the wise men return

    February 15, 2011 at 11:51 pm

  23. That was a great post and I agree with all your points. I would like to add that we could also make efforts to get police officers on our side. With the coming cuts to the Police budget there will be a lot fewer police around. They will have to decide on what to police and what to tolerate. We may even end up with an de facto policy of tolerance like they have in Holland (where it is just as illegal as it is here). History is on our side; but no harm in speeding it up. I have lived for many years in Amsterdam and have only been back in the UK for 2 years. I’m planning to return there as the quality of product is so low in the UK and I miss smoking (or vaping) openly with friends in public. It somehow seems seedy and illegal here, which it should never be. But if the UK were ever to change its mind, I would be happy to return here for good. On another note, anti prohibitionists could use Twitter to organise ad hoc events (like UKUncut) and have a group of volunteers routinely posting comments to the Indy etc. Keep up the good work.

    Jeremy

    May 30, 2011 at 1:36 pm


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