Comment: why a harmless spliff is not so harmless

Watford Observer: Comment: why a harmless spliff is not so harmless Comment: why a harmless spliff is not so harmless

Forget Tupperware or Ann Summers parties. Event organisers in the American state of Colorado have ditched their peep-hole bras and air-tight biscuit boxes in favour of handing round elegant silver cases containing carefully rolled marijuana joints.

A month after Colorado became the first US state to legalise recreational use of the drug, the new place to be seen is the "cannabis-friendly" party, where like-minded guests can eat, drink and smoke with impunity.

Last week, tickets costing the equivalent of £80 sold out for a drinks party organised by a "ganjapreneur" in an upmarket art gallery in Denver.

Guests ranged in age from 20-somethings, to professionals in their 30s and 40s and grandparents in their late sixties.

At this so-called "Edible Event" (suffice to say that the canapés weren’t the usual smoked salmon on blinis or prunes wrapped in bacon), fine wines and gourmet "munchies" were served to expensively dressed people as they admired the modernist paintings on the walls: what you might call cannabis for the chattering classes.

If you have just read the preceding paragraphs and think that I’m glamorising or condoning recreational drug use, then think again.

Actually, I’m appalled and depressed by it.

I never did smoke cannabis, partly because I preferred to be in with the out-crowd and mainly because all the "users" I knew (and in the late 70s and early 80s I knew plenty) were frankly, rather boring company.

When they were "sober" they were snappy, sulky and withdrawn and when they were "high" they either giggled uncontrollably at things the rest of us didn’t find remotely funny, or were so laid-back they couldn’t get up off the floor.

Admittedly, most of them emerged unscathed from the cannabis haze of their youth, but then the stuff they smoked was as baby food compared with the skunk available today.

But they were the lucky ones; chillingly, not everyone gets away with it.

Just as the well-heeled and glamorous citizens of Colorado started to give cocktail parties in order to "normalise cannabis", an inquest last week in Bournemouth heard that a young mother of three was killed by the level of cannabis in her blood, the first woman in Britain known to have died directly from cannabis poisoning.

In one report, a friend described the 31-year-old as "full of fun and a good mother to her children", but I wonder.

Addicts of all kind are notoriously difficult to live with, with their mood swings, anxiety attacks, outbursts of anger and foul language, so much so that family members can feel like strangers in their own home.

Most of all and least well documented are the on-going depression and mental health problems, including paranoia and psychosis, that prolonged use of cannabis can cause, says Elizabeth Burton-Phillips, founder and chief executive of the family support charity DrugFAM and a Family Member of the Government’s Recovery Committee.

"Use and abuse can cause all sorts of problems," she says.

"Week after week we see between 60 and 70 families in our support groups who are worried sick about the effects of cannabis and skunk on their families, the break-down of relationships and the denial of the addict as to the damage it’s causing them and their families."

And she should know; Mrs Burton-Phillips set up the family support charity DrugFAM in March 2004, following the death of her 27-year-old son from drug abuse. The charity now runs six weekly groups for families and carers of addicts in High Wycombe, Chesham, Slough, Reading and London.

"My son Nicholas was groomed from the age of 13 by drug dealers, [which marked] the beginning of a long journey from cannabis to heroin.

Watford Observer: Spliff

"People know nothing about the conditions in which drugs are made and their possible contamination.

"We could have an ageing nation of people with serious mental health issues through the long-term use of cannabis and skunk. We see it all the time," she says.

One man who knows all about cannabis addiction from the inside is former user Steve Byrne, 50, who now runs No Need 4 Weed, a support group for those who want to give up, which meets every Tuesday evening at Watford Fire Station.

"I started at 15 and at my worst, I spent about £100 per week on it. I did anything to get it - lie, cheat, steal," he recalls.

"I got angry, I wasted my time, my money and my relationships because I was having an affair with cannabis," he says.

Byrne finally kicked the habit last year when he was diagnosed with emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which he says have put half of his lungs beyond repair and means he cannot walk upstairs without huffing and puffing.

He believes the dangers of cannabis are under-rated by comparison with Class A drugs.

"Once you’re hooked, it’s just as bad as the others," he says.

Of course as a committed non-user, (some would say goody-goody), I’m biased against recreational drugs.

I fully acknowledge one joint doesn’t turn you into an addict, any more than one drink makes you an alcoholic, but that doesn’t mean there is room for complacency, not even if - in fact especially not if - you have been smoking the stuff for decades.

Drug growers and dealers are as imaginative and resourceful as the next guy with a product to sell and profit from.

Liberal parents should remember that today’s marijuana is up to four times stronger than it was in the 1980s - which in turn gave a far more powerful hit than it did in the 1960s.

Take note, all you broad-minded grannies out there who might be tempted to offer a "harmless spliff" to your teenage grandchildren.

For drug and alcohol treatment and support in Herts:

Spectrum

Tel 0800 652 3169 (out of hours)

Tel 01923 222889 (Mondays - Fridays and Saturday mornings)

No Need 4 Weed support group

www.noneed4weed.org.uk

Tel Steve Byrne on 07582 133431

For family support groups in Bucks, Berks and London:

DrugFAM.co.uk

Tel 0845 883853 (out of hours)

Tel 01494 442777 (office hours)

www.DrugFAM.co.uk

Comments (22)

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1:55pm Fri 7 Feb 14

not a regular says...

Oh look it's another person sticking their nose in on a subject they know nothing about and doesn't affect them. Now I'm not a drug user (if you exclude alcohol) but I dabbled in it a few times on the continent and decided it wasn't for me, at least not back home where it was prohibited.

The only argument you seem to put forward is that you can't always know what goes into the stuff you end up with. Legalisation, taxation and regulation would eradicate that argument instantly as Tesco and the like would supply stuff suitable for human consumption. After all, we trust them to not put horses in our burgers.

The dealers would go out of business (how often do you buy a bottle of vodka off a guy on a BMX?) and actually most of the addictions are formed through fear of the dealer themselves - at least that's the first part of it before the chemical dependency.

Your article could apply to alcohol, gambling, online gaming, whatever. Yet none of these are banned or spoken about quite so scathingly as you have. There will always be addicts just as there are with alcohol and gambling. The difference is that they generate enough money from taxes for rehabilitation and education.

Why do you want to punish the responsible users due to a handful of a cases that you've searched for?

Personally I get the feeling that Kathy Miller feels as though she missed out during her youth, and the only way to vindicate that feeling is to ensure the next generation don't get the opportunity either.
Oh look it's another person sticking their nose in on a subject they know nothing about and doesn't affect them. Now I'm not a drug user (if you exclude alcohol) but I dabbled in it a few times on the continent and decided it wasn't for me, at least not back home where it was prohibited. The only argument you seem to put forward is that you can't always know what goes into the stuff you end up with. Legalisation, taxation and regulation would eradicate that argument instantly as Tesco and the like would supply stuff suitable for human consumption. After all, we trust them to not put horses in our burgers. The dealers would go out of business (how often do you buy a bottle of vodka off a guy on a BMX?) and actually most of the addictions are formed through fear of the dealer themselves - at least that's the first part of it before the chemical dependency. Your article could apply to alcohol, gambling, online gaming, whatever. Yet none of these are banned or spoken about quite so scathingly as you have. There will always be addicts just as there are with alcohol and gambling. The difference is that they generate enough money from taxes for rehabilitation and education. Why do you want to punish the responsible users due to a handful of a cases that you've searched for? Personally I get the feeling that Kathy Miller feels as though she missed out during her youth, and the only way to vindicate that feeling is to ensure the next generation don't get the opportunity either. not a regular

2:17pm Fri 7 Feb 14

TheBusheyHornet says...

If you take what the daily mail says for gospel you are worse than these appalling drug users! I myself am not a smoker anymore down to money reasons but this article is just so wrong. The coroner attributed cause of death to cannabis as it was the only thing in her body so assumed it was that. If you researched properly you would know its literally impossible for cannabis to cause death and not a single death in medical history has ever been down to weed.

The stuff you are saying about it being a gateway drug is down to the individual, there is nothing in the chemical makeup of thc which will cause the user to look for a bigger high.

Again with the things you write about it causing long term mental health issues, these have been proven to be false. It can bring out underlying psychological issues but cannot ever cause them. Those people were likely to develop them later in life anyway.

Spend you time writing articles about the millions alcohol and cigarettes kill each year rather than a harmless plant
If you take what the daily mail says for gospel you are worse than these appalling drug users! I myself am not a smoker anymore down to money reasons but this article is just so wrong. The coroner attributed cause of death to cannabis as it was the only thing in her body so assumed it was that. If you researched properly you would know its literally impossible for cannabis to cause death and not a single death in medical history has ever been down to weed. The stuff you are saying about it being a gateway drug is down to the individual, there is nothing in the chemical makeup of thc which will cause the user to look for a bigger high. Again with the things you write about it causing long term mental health issues, these have been proven to be false. It can bring out underlying psychological issues but cannot ever cause them. Those people were likely to develop them later in life anyway. Spend you time writing articles about the millions alcohol and cigarettes kill each year rather than a harmless plant TheBusheyHornet

2:29pm Fri 7 Feb 14

garston tony says...

How ironic reading your post that you started it off moaning about someone who didnt know what they were on about. Pot and kettle spring to mind.

Firstly legalising the stuff wont necessarily make its contents 'better', you yourself mentioned the horse meat scandal and i'm pretty certain no consumer queried the content of the burgers and ready meals they were buying before that all kicked off. Shops could just as easily be selling substandard stuff for a variety of reasons.

You then say the dealers will go out of business. Yeah, right. I can just see the thousands of people making their living from drug dealing just shrugging their shoulders and getting an office job if these drugs were made legal. Seriously, they would still be in business just like people are in the business of bootleg booze and fags etc despite those substances being legal.

Yes alcohol, tobacco etc are legal. But why do those that call for drugs to be legalised think two wrongs make a right? Just because those harmful substances are legal doesnt mean another raft of harmful substances should also be legalised. Quite rightly point out the hypocracy but the campaign should be to get booze and fags made illegal not drugs legal.

Every so called 'responsible user' is greatly outnumbered by the swarm of those that are not or can not be responsible. For every person that claims they are not affected there are hundreds that are. Even 'soft' drugs can have a tremendous negative impact on someones mental and physical health and that has the knock on effect of destroying family and friendships.

Legalising drugs will also not stop the burden on the state (and therefore the tax payer) of dealing with those taking them. You're still going to have people unable to work due to their habits, still going to have people turning to crime to fund their habits, still going to have people clogging up police, court, NHS time and resources because of their habit.

And of course this is even before we get onto the whole matter of soft drugs often being a gateway to stronger stuff where the negative impact on individuals, the society they live in and all of us expands dramatically.

The one thing that strikes me time and again when I see someone try to argue that drugs should be made legal is that they are to a person in denial over how harmful they are to the majority of users. They also almost to a person use the argument that two wrongs make a right. I've seen first hand how destructive drugs of all levels are, there is no way they should be made legal no way at all
How ironic reading your post that you started it off moaning about someone who didnt know what they were on about. Pot and kettle spring to mind. Firstly legalising the stuff wont necessarily make its contents 'better', you yourself mentioned the horse meat scandal and i'm pretty certain no consumer queried the content of the burgers and ready meals they were buying before that all kicked off. Shops could just as easily be selling substandard stuff for a variety of reasons. You then say the dealers will go out of business. Yeah, right. I can just see the thousands of people making their living from drug dealing just shrugging their shoulders and getting an office job if these drugs were made legal. Seriously, they would still be in business just like people are in the business of bootleg booze and fags etc despite those substances being legal. Yes alcohol, tobacco etc are legal. But why do those that call for drugs to be legalised think two wrongs make a right? Just because those harmful substances are legal doesnt mean another raft of harmful substances should also be legalised. Quite rightly point out the hypocracy but the campaign should be to get booze and fags made illegal not drugs legal. Every so called 'responsible user' is greatly outnumbered by the swarm of those that are not or can not be responsible. For every person that claims they are not affected there are hundreds that are. Even 'soft' drugs can have a tremendous negative impact on someones mental and physical health and that has the knock on effect of destroying family and friendships. Legalising drugs will also not stop the burden on the state (and therefore the tax payer) of dealing with those taking them. You're still going to have people unable to work due to their habits, still going to have people turning to crime to fund their habits, still going to have people clogging up police, court, NHS time and resources because of their habit. And of course this is even before we get onto the whole matter of soft drugs often being a gateway to stronger stuff where the negative impact on individuals, the society they live in and all of us expands dramatically. The one thing that strikes me time and again when I see someone try to argue that drugs should be made legal is that they are to a person in denial over how harmful they are to the majority of users. They also almost to a person use the argument that two wrongs make a right. I've seen first hand how destructive drugs of all levels are, there is no way they should be made legal no way at all garston tony

3:38pm Fri 7 Feb 14

not a regular says...

I'm assuming that comment is aimed at me Tony; I won't quote it as it'll just clog up the page.

- Yes shops often fail us. But at least there's an audit trail and someone's name on the line. Let's face it, who is more likely to tamper with a product and pad it out with glass beads? I'm guessing illegal drug dealers, not Sainsburys.

- Yeah, because Britain is flush with bootleg booze when you can buy a bottle of wine for £2 or some Ragabovski vodka for a fiver.

- Exactly. Most of the gripe is the hypocrisy. But then I don't see why you want to implement a nanny state where people can't choose what to do with their own body in their own home. As long as it doesn't interfere with YOUR life then what's the issue?

- You have absolutely no evidence that there are hundreds more irresponsible drinkers/smokers than responsible drinkers/smokers. Unless you're saying only 1% of the country can enjoy a beer without throwing up and hitting an old lady.

- Legalising drugs would lower the burden on the police force and customs, as well as generating tax revenue. This would free up the real criminals such as murderers, fraudsters, tax evaders and boring people. Tell me, would you rather your taxes go towards drug rehabilitation or have it funded via proceeds of recreational drug use?

- You're right. Addicts would remain as addicts. Would we get MORE addicts? Possibly, but anyone with an addictive personality is likely to already be on cigarettes or alcohol. Again, funded by tax on the drug itself.

- No proof that "soft drugs" lead to "harder stuff". Just like a glass of wine doesn't lead to doing a line of coke off a hooker's breast, or passing your driving test doesn't lead to drag racing down the A41. If you're inclined to do those activities you're going to do them illegal or not.

- I'm certainly not in denial as I'm not a drug user. What I am an advocate of is letting people do whatever they want as long as they don't cause harm to others or to their community. It's like when parents give their kids a beer at home, because they'd "rather he do it where I can supervise". Let people smoke weed if they want to, it's a road some people want to take. Legalisation is just turning the street lights on they can see where they're going.

You say you've seen how destructive drugs are. Is it the drugs, or is it the underground drug culture? It's almost impossible to tell.
I'm assuming that comment is aimed at me Tony; I won't quote it as it'll just clog up the page. - Yes shops often fail us. But at least there's an audit trail and someone's name on the line. Let's face it, who is more likely to tamper with a product and pad it out with glass beads? I'm guessing illegal drug dealers, not Sainsburys. - Yeah, because Britain is flush with bootleg booze when you can buy a bottle of wine for £2 or some Ragabovski vodka for a fiver. - Exactly. Most of the gripe is the hypocrisy. But then I don't see why you want to implement a nanny state where people can't choose what to do with their own body in their own home. As long as it doesn't interfere with YOUR life then what's the issue? - You have absolutely no evidence that there are hundreds more irresponsible drinkers/smokers than responsible drinkers/smokers. Unless you're saying only 1% of the country can enjoy a beer without throwing up and hitting an old lady. - Legalising drugs would lower the burden on the police force and customs, as well as generating tax revenue. This would free up the real criminals such as murderers, fraudsters, tax evaders and boring people. Tell me, would you rather your taxes go towards drug rehabilitation or have it funded via proceeds of recreational drug use? - You're right. Addicts would remain as addicts. Would we get MORE addicts? Possibly, but anyone with an addictive personality is likely to already be on cigarettes or alcohol. Again, funded by tax on the drug itself. - No proof that "soft drugs" lead to "harder stuff". Just like a glass of wine doesn't lead to doing a line of coke off a hooker's breast, or passing your driving test doesn't lead to drag racing down the A41. If you're inclined to do those activities you're going to do them illegal or not. - I'm certainly not in denial as I'm not a drug user. What I am an advocate of is letting people do whatever they want as long as they don't cause harm to others or to their community. It's like when parents give their kids a beer at home, because they'd "rather he do it where I can supervise". Let people smoke weed if they want to, it's a road some people want to take. Legalisation is just turning the street lights on they can see where they're going. You say you've seen how destructive drugs are. Is it the drugs, or is it the underground drug culture? It's almost impossible to tell. not a regular

3:51pm Fri 7 Feb 14

TheBusheyHornet says...

Well said not a regular. Economically it's ludicrous that nothing has been done to legalise, tax and regulate it. We must remember how old fashioned our government is and I fear nothing will be done about it anytime soon..
Well said not a regular. Economically it's ludicrous that nothing has been done to legalise, tax and regulate it. We must remember how old fashioned our government is and I fear nothing will be done about it anytime soon.. TheBusheyHornet

3:57pm Fri 7 Feb 14

CaptainPC says...

not a regular wrote:
I'm assuming that comment is aimed at me Tony; I won't quote it as it'll just clog up the page.

- Yes shops often fail us. But at least there's an audit trail and someone's name on the line. Let's face it, who is more likely to tamper with a product and pad it out with glass beads? I'm guessing illegal drug dealers, not Sainsburys.

- Yeah, because Britain is flush with bootleg booze when you can buy a bottle of wine for £2 or some Ragabovski vodka for a fiver.

- Exactly. Most of the gripe is the hypocrisy. But then I don't see why you want to implement a nanny state where people can't choose what to do with their own body in their own home. As long as it doesn't interfere with YOUR life then what's the issue?

- You have absolutely no evidence that there are hundreds more irresponsible drinkers/smokers than responsible drinkers/smokers. Unless you're saying only 1% of the country can enjoy a beer without throwing up and hitting an old lady.

- Legalising drugs would lower the burden on the police force and customs, as well as generating tax revenue. This would free up the real criminals such as murderers, fraudsters, tax evaders and boring people. Tell me, would you rather your taxes go towards drug rehabilitation or have it funded via proceeds of recreational drug use?

- You're right. Addicts would remain as addicts. Would we get MORE addicts? Possibly, but anyone with an addictive personality is likely to already be on cigarettes or alcohol. Again, funded by tax on the drug itself.

- No proof that "soft drugs" lead to "harder stuff". Just like a glass of wine doesn't lead to doing a line of coke off a hooker's breast, or passing your driving test doesn't lead to drag racing down the A41. If you're inclined to do those activities you're going to do them illegal or not.

- I'm certainly not in denial as I'm not a drug user. What I am an advocate of is letting people do whatever they want as long as they don't cause harm to others or to their community. It's like when parents give their kids a beer at home, because they'd "rather he do it where I can supervise". Let people smoke weed if they want to, it's a road some people want to take. Legalisation is just turning the street lights on they can see where they're going.

You say you've seen how destructive drugs are. Is it the drugs, or is it the underground drug culture? It's almost impossible to tell.
That's how gary gliiter started.
[quote][p][bold]not a regular[/bold] wrote: I'm assuming that comment is aimed at me Tony; I won't quote it as it'll just clog up the page. - Yes shops often fail us. But at least there's an audit trail and someone's name on the line. Let's face it, who is more likely to tamper with a product and pad it out with glass beads? I'm guessing illegal drug dealers, not Sainsburys. - Yeah, because Britain is flush with bootleg booze when you can buy a bottle of wine for £2 or some Ragabovski vodka for a fiver. - Exactly. Most of the gripe is the hypocrisy. But then I don't see why you want to implement a nanny state where people can't choose what to do with their own body in their own home. As long as it doesn't interfere with YOUR life then what's the issue? - You have absolutely no evidence that there are hundreds more irresponsible drinkers/smokers than responsible drinkers/smokers. Unless you're saying only 1% of the country can enjoy a beer without throwing up and hitting an old lady. - Legalising drugs would lower the burden on the police force and customs, as well as generating tax revenue. This would free up the real criminals such as murderers, fraudsters, tax evaders and boring people. Tell me, would you rather your taxes go towards drug rehabilitation or have it funded via proceeds of recreational drug use? - You're right. Addicts would remain as addicts. Would we get MORE addicts? Possibly, but anyone with an addictive personality is likely to already be on cigarettes or alcohol. Again, funded by tax on the drug itself. - No proof that "soft drugs" lead to "harder stuff". Just like a glass of wine doesn't lead to doing a line of coke off a hooker's breast, or passing your driving test doesn't lead to drag racing down the A41. If you're inclined to do those activities you're going to do them illegal or not. - I'm certainly not in denial as I'm not a drug user. What I am an advocate of is letting people do whatever they want as long as they don't cause harm to others or to their community. It's like when parents give their kids a beer at home, because they'd "rather he do it where I can supervise". Let people smoke weed if they want to, it's a road some people want to take. Legalisation is just turning the street lights on they can see where they're going. You say you've seen how destructive drugs are. Is it the drugs, or is it the underground drug culture? It's almost impossible to tell.[/p][/quote]That's how gary gliiter started. CaptainPC

5:05pm Fri 7 Feb 14

LSC says...

@not a regular:
What is telling for me on the debate is the amount of people who use cannabis AT THE PRESENT TIME, and there are a lot.

First of all, they could face prosecution, but obviously the drug is so important to them that they feel it is a risk worth taking. That is a little worrying.

Secondly, everyone knows that at the moment, drug supply is run by criminal gangs (by definition) who 99 times out of 100 have their fingers in other criminal pies. They are, after all criminals. That means anyone who buys some weed is KNOWINGLY helping feed prostitution, smuggling, violent crime, people trafficking and a million other related crimes. And yet the buyers don't seem to care about that.
Don't you find that worrying?
As long as they get their drug of choice, their morals go out the window?

I would not sit and have a beer with someone I know drives home drunk, because that person obviously has no social conscience, and I don't like people like that. The same can be said for cannabis users while it is illegal. They are obviously very selfish people, which tells me all I need to know about becoming friends with them.
@not a regular: What is telling for me on the debate is the amount of people who use cannabis AT THE PRESENT TIME, and there are a lot. First of all, they could face prosecution, but obviously the drug is so important to them that they feel it is a risk worth taking. That is a little worrying. Secondly, everyone knows that at the moment, drug supply is run by criminal gangs (by definition) who 99 times out of 100 have their fingers in other criminal pies. They are, after all criminals. That means anyone who buys some weed is KNOWINGLY helping feed prostitution, smuggling, violent crime, people trafficking and a million other related crimes. And yet the buyers don't seem to care about that. Don't you find that worrying? As long as they get their drug of choice, their morals go out the window? I would not sit and have a beer with someone I know drives home drunk, because that person obviously has no social conscience, and I don't like people like that. The same can be said for cannabis users while it is illegal. They are obviously very selfish people, which tells me all I need to know about becoming friends with them. LSC

8:52am Sat 8 Feb 14

Dr Martin says...

not a regular wrote:
Oh look it's another person sticking their nose in on a subject they know nothing about and doesn't affect them. Now I'm not a drug user (if you exclude alcohol) but I dabbled in it a few times on the continent and decided it wasn't for me, at least not back home where it was prohibited.

The only argument you seem to put forward is that you can't always know what goes into the stuff you end up with. Legalisation, taxation and regulation would eradicate that argument instantly as Tesco and the like would supply stuff suitable for human consumption. After all, we trust them to not put horses in our burgers.

The dealers would go out of business (how often do you buy a bottle of vodka off a guy on a BMX?) and actually most of the addictions are formed through fear of the dealer themselves - at least that's the first part of it before the chemical dependency.

Your article could apply to alcohol, gambling, online gaming, whatever. Yet none of these are banned or spoken about quite so scathingly as you have. There will always be addicts just as there are with alcohol and gambling. The difference is that they generate enough money from taxes for rehabilitation and education.

Why do you want to punish the responsible users due to a handful of a cases that you've searched for?

Personally I get the feeling that Kathy Miller feels as though she missed out during her youth, and the only way to vindicate that feeling is to ensure the next generation don't get the opportunity either.
how often do you buy a bottle of vodka off a guy on a BMX?

Alcohol that is sold via unofficial trades/dealers about £1.2bn

https://www.gov.uk/g

overnment/uploads/sy

stem/uploads/attachm

ent_data/file/212738

/Alcohol_Fraud_consu

ltation.pdf

£1.2 billion
[quote][p][bold]not a regular[/bold] wrote: Oh look it's another person sticking their nose in on a subject they know nothing about and doesn't affect them. Now I'm not a drug user (if you exclude alcohol) but I dabbled in it a few times on the continent and decided it wasn't for me, at least not back home where it was prohibited. The only argument you seem to put forward is that you can't always know what goes into the stuff you end up with. Legalisation, taxation and regulation would eradicate that argument instantly as Tesco and the like would supply stuff suitable for human consumption. After all, we trust them to not put horses in our burgers. The dealers would go out of business (how often do you buy a bottle of vodka off a guy on a BMX?) and actually most of the addictions are formed through fear of the dealer themselves - at least that's the first part of it before the chemical dependency. Your article could apply to alcohol, gambling, online gaming, whatever. Yet none of these are banned or spoken about quite so scathingly as you have. There will always be addicts just as there are with alcohol and gambling. The difference is that they generate enough money from taxes for rehabilitation and education. Why do you want to punish the responsible users due to a handful of a cases that you've searched for? Personally I get the feeling that Kathy Miller feels as though she missed out during her youth, and the only way to vindicate that feeling is to ensure the next generation don't get the opportunity either.[/p][/quote]how often do you buy a bottle of vodka off a guy on a BMX? Alcohol that is sold via unofficial trades/dealers about £1.2bn https://www.gov.uk/g overnment/uploads/sy stem/uploads/attachm ent_data/file/212738 /Alcohol_Fraud_consu ltation.pdf £1.2 billion Dr Martin

11:35pm Sat 8 Feb 14

profondo asbo says...

i'm not a user but cannabis omg...it's soooooo great.

our lives are so hollow and empty we need to escape the mundanity of our own existence yeah. high five me regular user
i'm not a user but cannabis omg...it's soooooo great. our lives are so hollow and empty we need to escape the mundanity of our own existence yeah. high five me regular user profondo asbo

1:57pm Mon 10 Feb 14

garston tony says...

@Not a regular

You really need to check your facts out, as someone else pointed out the illegal alcohol trade is worth £1.2billion a year, illegal tobacco £500million. Its not a fantasy to think that their would be a considerable illegal drugs trade (and associated violence etc) even if those substances were made legal.

And peoples habits DO affect us all, every time they need medical assistance because of their habit it costs us all, every time someone commits a crime to fund their habits it costs us all, every person who cant work because of their habit and is therefore supported by the state costs us all. And thats before we get to the cost to friends and family of dealing with someone whose mental and physical health as well as character is adversely affected by their drug taking habit.

That last point alone for me means no amount of revenue raised through taxes should the stuff be made legal is worth the human tragedy cost on society. Once again, just because alcohol and tobacco are legal (and you seem well aware of their cost to society) doesnt mean other harmful substances should also be made legal. And even if legal there is still going to be a burden to the NHS, police and welfare state of dealing with users.

And sorry but how deluded are you? Theres plenty of people who started off on 'soft' drugs who moved onto harder stuff to get their fix. If they hadnt started on the 'soft' stuff, they wouldnt have needed to go onto the harder stuff to get their fix when the effects of the softer stuff didnt do it for them anymore. Open your eyes regular.
@Not a regular You really need to check your facts out, as someone else pointed out the illegal alcohol trade is worth £1.2billion a year, illegal tobacco £500million. Its not a fantasy to think that their would be a considerable illegal drugs trade (and associated violence etc) even if those substances were made legal. And peoples habits DO affect us all, every time they need medical assistance because of their habit it costs us all, every time someone commits a crime to fund their habits it costs us all, every person who cant work because of their habit and is therefore supported by the state costs us all. And thats before we get to the cost to friends and family of dealing with someone whose mental and physical health as well as character is adversely affected by their drug taking habit. That last point alone for me means no amount of revenue raised through taxes should the stuff be made legal is worth the human tragedy cost on society. Once again, just because alcohol and tobacco are legal (and you seem well aware of their cost to society) doesnt mean other harmful substances should also be made legal. And even if legal there is still going to be a burden to the NHS, police and welfare state of dealing with users. And sorry but how deluded are you? Theres plenty of people who started off on 'soft' drugs who moved onto harder stuff to get their fix. If they hadnt started on the 'soft' stuff, they wouldnt have needed to go onto the harder stuff to get their fix when the effects of the softer stuff didnt do it for them anymore. Open your eyes regular. garston tony

2:08pm Mon 10 Feb 14

TheBusheyHornet says...

The human tragedy cost on society, do you realise how weed actually effects you. You lot are going on about it as if its some soul destroying drug that will ruin your life if anyone takes it. I was smoking a spliff or two a day for most of my twenties. I still worked the 9-5 in the city every day, it's just nice to come home and have one and it never effected my health or mood

The guy that said buying an 1/8th is therefore giving money to criminal gangs who also commit crimes such as prostitution and trafficking, please tell me you are joking? You have been reading too much of the daily mail my friend. 99% of every dealer I've ever had to buy from is a fellow user who wants to grow their own plant for use and to make some money. Not some huge criminal gang?!?!

A few of you go on about the cost it will bring to the NHS.....WHAT COST? the only thing I can think of is a few more fatties around because more people are getting the munchies. You lot are literally living in a 1950s anti weed advert, jesus christ.
The human tragedy cost on society, do you realise how weed actually effects you. You lot are going on about it as if its some soul destroying drug that will ruin your life if anyone takes it. I was smoking a spliff or two a day for most of my twenties. I still worked the 9-5 in the city every day, it's just nice to come home and have one and it never effected my health or mood The guy that said buying an 1/8th is therefore giving money to criminal gangs who also commit crimes such as prostitution and trafficking, please tell me you are joking? You have been reading too much of the daily mail my friend. 99% of every dealer I've ever had to buy from is a fellow user who wants to grow their own plant for use and to make some money. Not some huge criminal gang?!?! A few of you go on about the cost it will bring to the NHS.....WHAT COST? the only thing I can think of is a few more fatties around because more people are getting the munchies. You lot are literally living in a 1950s anti weed advert, jesus christ. TheBusheyHornet

3:09pm Mon 10 Feb 14

garston tony says...

@Bushey, good for you but I know people who've been smoking the stuff for years including someone who I went to school with who have been adversely affected by their habit. Their mental and physical health has deteriorated as have pratically every relationship with friends and relatives they have had due to the effect it has had on their character also.

Having helped out a number of people over the years who have had drug habits and seen the effects it has had on them I know for certain that if your habit had no affect on you then you are one of the lucky ones. Oh, and by the way the people I have had contact with who smoked weed have had to rely on the NHS for a lot of treatment due to the effect on the health and wellbeing their habits had over the years.

Also whilst you may have been buying your drugs from people that home grew many drugs dont come from such sources and do involve a heck of a lot of criminality along the chain. I believe they found yet another mass grave in Mexico this last weekend, full of people murdered by a drug cartel and LSC is right people who think their habit doesnt harm anyone havent a clue. As to home grown stuff I met a new client of mine a couple of weeks ago who had rented out a house he owns to someone who 'home grew', the mess they left the property in, the damage caused as well as unpaid rent means this guy is out of pocket to the tune of several thousands. Hardly organised crime maybe, but still a cost to someone isnt it.

You're living in weed tinted bubble bushey
@Bushey, good for you but I know people who've been smoking the stuff for years including someone who I went to school with who have been adversely affected by their habit. Their mental and physical health has deteriorated as have pratically every relationship with friends and relatives they have had due to the effect it has had on their character also. Having helped out a number of people over the years who have had drug habits and seen the effects it has had on them I know for certain that if your habit had no affect on you then you are one of the lucky ones. Oh, and by the way the people I have had contact with who smoked weed have had to rely on the NHS for a lot of treatment due to the effect on the health and wellbeing their habits had over the years. Also whilst you may have been buying your drugs from people that home grew many drugs dont come from such sources and do involve a heck of a lot of criminality along the chain. I believe they found yet another mass grave in Mexico this last weekend, full of people murdered by a drug cartel and LSC is right people who think their habit doesnt harm anyone havent a clue. As to home grown stuff I met a new client of mine a couple of weeks ago who had rented out a house he owns to someone who 'home grew', the mess they left the property in, the damage caused as well as unpaid rent means this guy is out of pocket to the tune of several thousands. Hardly organised crime maybe, but still a cost to someone isnt it. You're living in weed tinted bubble bushey garston tony

3:21pm Mon 10 Feb 14

TheBusheyHornet says...

So legalising would get rid of that criminal aspect to it.... The amount of money that is wasted on minor arrests for possession and such is staggering, these people are not harming anybody they just want to smoke weed to chill out. They are not staggering home drunk from the pub and beating their wife like is common among alcohol addicts. I don't know about you my friend but I would much rather that money was being better spent on people committing actual crimes to other people.

You say people have been relying on the NHS for treatment as they are weed smokers. Can you tell me how this is possible as research by medical professionals states it causes next to no harm to your body and is even used medically. How can something that is so destructive be used to help people please?

I know i'm preaching to somebody that is very clueless about the actual benefits of cannabis and you think because I used to smoke a lot I am blind to seeing the negative sides of it, but I simply cannot see enough wrong with it for it to remain illegal, costing the government money that could be better spent. Maybe read up both sides of the argument to get a better understanding like I did rather than be so stubborn in your thinking Tony & remember 0 deaths from cannabis since records began :)
So legalising would get rid of that criminal aspect to it.... The amount of money that is wasted on minor arrests for possession and such is staggering, these people are not harming anybody they just want to smoke weed to chill out. They are not staggering home drunk from the pub and beating their wife like is common among alcohol addicts. I don't know about you my friend but I would much rather that money was being better spent on people committing actual crimes to other people. You say people have been relying on the NHS for treatment as they are weed smokers. Can you tell me how this is possible as research by medical professionals states it causes next to no harm to your body and is even used medically. How can something that is so destructive be used to help people please? I know i'm preaching to somebody that is very clueless about the actual benefits of cannabis and you think because I used to smoke a lot I am blind to seeing the negative sides of it, but I simply cannot see enough wrong with it for it to remain illegal, costing the government money that could be better spent. Maybe read up both sides of the argument to get a better understanding like I did rather than be so stubborn in your thinking Tony & remember 0 deaths from cannabis since records began :) TheBusheyHornet

3:59pm Mon 10 Feb 14

LSC says...

"it's just nice to come home and have one and it never effected my health or mood*

If it never effected your mood, why smoke it?

As to home grown, that depends on the level. To grow enough to sell is a big operation, where do you draw the line on what counts as 'home grown'?
In Bushey alone we have had around 3 or 4 local factories busted in the last few months. In every case they were looked after by an illegal immigrant, usually from Vietnam, who had their passport removed from them by their 'employers'. That is people trafficking.
Real human misery for your little spliff that you claim didn't do a lot for you anyway.
In every case electricity was being stolen. In every case, tax was not being paid on a business.

And although not documented, I'd bet a year's salary that if other suppliers moved in the area it wouldn't be quite like Sainsburys versus Tescos with healthy competition.

Bones get broken, or worse.

That is a price you are willing to pay for your little spliff that YOU say didn't matter to you much anyway?
What sort of person are you?
What if you found out Tippex cost lives to produce and distribute? Would you say it it worth it rather than you having to re-type a whole page if you made a mistake?
How selfish would that be?
"it's just nice to come home and have one and it never effected my health or mood* If it never effected your mood, why smoke it? As to home grown, that depends on the level. To grow enough to sell is a big operation, where do you draw the line on what counts as 'home grown'? In Bushey alone we have had around 3 or 4 local factories busted in the last few months. In every case they were looked after by an illegal immigrant, usually from Vietnam, who had their passport removed from them by their 'employers'. That is people trafficking. Real human misery for your little spliff that you claim didn't do a lot for you anyway. In every case electricity was being stolen. In every case, tax was not being paid on a business. And although not documented, I'd bet a year's salary that if other suppliers moved in the area it wouldn't be quite like Sainsburys versus Tescos with healthy competition. Bones get broken, or worse. That is a price you are willing to pay for your little spliff that YOU say didn't matter to you much anyway? What sort of person are you? What if you found out Tippex cost lives to produce and distribute? Would you say it it worth it rather than you having to re-type a whole page if you made a mistake? How selfish would that be? LSC

4:07pm Mon 10 Feb 14

TheBusheyHornet says...

LSC I don't want to waste my time arguing with such a moron, obviously I mean it never negatively affected my health. It helped me sleep sometimes when i was suffering from insomnia and I have a relative in american who has MS and it significantly changed his quality of life. (Look it up if you don't believe me http://www.medicalne
wstoday.com/articles
/267161.php)

If you had read what I had written that I bought my weed from a local who grew it himself you wouldn't need to preach to me about illegal immigrant workers etc.

I AGREE that all this needless crime is not a positive thing at all, hence why I think it should be legalised, regulated and taxed. It should be upto people if they want to smoke or not, not the government

Listen to what I'm saying stop trying to make this into an argument of morals
LSC I don't want to waste my time arguing with such a moron, obviously I mean it never negatively affected my health. It helped me sleep sometimes when i was suffering from insomnia and I have a relative in american who has MS and it significantly changed his quality of life. (Look it up if you don't believe me http://www.medicalne wstoday.com/articles /267161.php) If you had read what I had written that I bought my weed from a local who grew it himself you wouldn't need to preach to me about illegal immigrant workers etc. I AGREE that all this needless crime is not a positive thing at all, hence why I think it should be legalised, regulated and taxed. It should be upto people if they want to smoke or not, not the government Listen to what I'm saying stop trying to make this into an argument of morals TheBusheyHornet

4:21pm Mon 10 Feb 14

LSC says...

TheBusheyHornet wrote:
LSC I don't want to waste my time arguing with such a moron, obviously I mean it never negatively affected my health. It helped me sleep sometimes when i was suffering from insomnia and I have a relative in american who has MS and it significantly changed his quality of life. (Look it up if you don't believe me http://www.medicalne

wstoday.com/articles

/267161.php)

If you had read what I had written that I bought my weed from a local who grew it himself you wouldn't need to preach to me about illegal immigrant workers etc.

I AGREE that all this needless crime is not a positive thing at all, hence why I think it should be legalised, regulated and taxed. It should be upto people if they want to smoke or not, not the government

Listen to what I'm saying stop trying to make this into an argument of morals
But, at present, it IS an argument of morals. And thanks for the moron comment, nice touch.
I merely repeated what you said, word for word, yet I'm the stupid one?
But let us gloss over that. You said it didn't effect you and now you say it did. Cannabis is famous for effecting mood swings and a little aggression when not on it, so I'll let it go.

Sadly you have not read what I have said. I never once raised the issue of whether it SHOULD be legal, I simply pointed out that it isn't and people still use it despite full knowledge that doing so is literally costing people their lives.

That fact, in my opinion, makes it a dangerous drug, legal or not.
I'm sure you are a moral person most of the time, I don't know you. But when you die illegal drugs, people die. You know that. And you don't appear to care.

Call that as Daily Mail as you like (I don't read it) but if that is what they say, they are apparently correct for once.
[quote][p][bold]TheBusheyHornet[/bold] wrote: LSC I don't want to waste my time arguing with such a moron, obviously I mean it never negatively affected my health. It helped me sleep sometimes when i was suffering from insomnia and I have a relative in american who has MS and it significantly changed his quality of life. (Look it up if you don't believe me http://www.medicalne wstoday.com/articles /267161.php) If you had read what I had written that I bought my weed from a local who grew it himself you wouldn't need to preach to me about illegal immigrant workers etc. I AGREE that all this needless crime is not a positive thing at all, hence why I think it should be legalised, regulated and taxed. It should be upto people if they want to smoke or not, not the government Listen to what I'm saying stop trying to make this into an argument of morals[/p][/quote]But, at present, it IS an argument of morals. And thanks for the moron comment, nice touch. I merely repeated what you said, word for word, yet I'm the stupid one? But let us gloss over that. You said it didn't effect you and now you say it did. Cannabis is famous for effecting mood swings and a little aggression when not on it, so I'll let it go. Sadly you have not read what I have said. I never once raised the issue of whether it SHOULD be legal, I simply pointed out that it isn't and people still use it despite full knowledge that doing so is literally costing people their lives. That fact, in my opinion, makes it a dangerous drug, legal or not. I'm sure you are a moral person most of the time, I don't know you. But when you die illegal drugs, people die. You know that. And you don't appear to care. Call that as Daily Mail as you like (I don't read it) but if that is what they say, they are apparently correct for once. LSC

4:28pm Mon 10 Feb 14

TheBusheyHornet says...

You were completely nit picking when you said if it doesn't effect you why smoke it? Obviously I was getting high, I was talking about the negative effects. Don't be so pedantic.

Your high street clothes are made in factories in which children are forced to work, Is that immoral because its cheap? or is it only drugs that are so unbelievably immoral because you were never into the drug scene as a youngster?

You seem a bit obsessed with the moral side of things so what is your solution to the problem? As you know full well people will not stop smoking weed ever.... surely the way to stop this gang warfare and SO MUCH DEATH is if the government are in control of the market, no?
You were completely nit picking when you said if it doesn't effect you why smoke it? Obviously I was getting high, I was talking about the negative effects. Don't be so pedantic. Your high street clothes are made in factories in which children are forced to work, Is that immoral because its cheap? or is it only drugs that are so unbelievably immoral because you were never into the drug scene as a youngster? You seem a bit obsessed with the moral side of things so what is your solution to the problem? As you know full well people will not stop smoking weed ever.... surely the way to stop this gang warfare and SO MUCH DEATH is if the government are in control of the market, no? TheBusheyHornet

4:44pm Mon 10 Feb 14

LSC says...

No.
I've seen plenty of the drug scene, and it has been 90% negative. As an employer I have had to dismiss staff because of their behavior and tardyness, entirely down to cannabis use.
I have seen old school friends degenerate into wobbly messes. Maybe they would have anyway, but cannabis is always about in their history.
Always.

But your argument makes little sense. Make it legal because it is going to happen anyway...
Do you feel the same about car theft? I can't see that stopping anytime soon, so do you think it should be legalised and taxed? Licensed car thieves, perhaps.
Ridiculous thought, isn't it?
So that is a non-argument on simple principal. Just because people do it, doesn't make it ok.
No. I've seen plenty of the drug scene, and it has been 90% negative. As an employer I have had to dismiss staff because of their behavior and tardyness, entirely down to cannabis use. I have seen old school friends degenerate into wobbly messes. Maybe they would have anyway, but cannabis is always about in their history. Always. But your argument makes little sense. Make it legal because it is going to happen anyway... Do you feel the same about car theft? I can't see that stopping anytime soon, so do you think it should be legalised and taxed? Licensed car thieves, perhaps. Ridiculous thought, isn't it? So that is a non-argument on simple principal. Just because people do it, doesn't make it ok. LSC

4:59pm Mon 10 Feb 14

TheBusheyHornet says...

No, make it legal as it is a burden on police time and compared to alcohol and tobacco is completely harmless. Comparing it to car theft is ludicrous, millions smoke weed and in some countries isn't a crime. Stealing is always a crime. The president of Uruaguay is up for a nobel prize for being bold enough to make it the first country in the world to legally sell marijuana

We're gonna have to agree to disagree as you cannot see any other point of view other than your own, I get where you are coming from but I feel it should be left upto the individual as to whether they take it or not and the taxation of cannabis would bring in billion to the economy

Nice chatting :)
No, make it legal as it is a burden on police time and compared to alcohol and tobacco is completely harmless. Comparing it to car theft is ludicrous, millions smoke weed and in some countries isn't a crime. Stealing is always a crime. The president of Uruaguay is up for a nobel prize for being bold enough to make it the first country in the world to legally sell marijuana We're gonna have to agree to disagree as you cannot see any other point of view other than your own, I get where you are coming from but I feel it should be left upto the individual as to whether they take it or not and the taxation of cannabis would bring in billion to the economy Nice chatting :) TheBusheyHornet

6:10pm Mon 10 Feb 14

LSC says...

Yes, good debate is always fun. But less of the 'moron' comments would be nice.
The president of Uruaguay isn't up for a prize because of his drug stance. He is a remarkable man who gives most of his wages to charity and lives in a farmhouse, like most of his people do. That is why he is up for a prize.
Yes, he might have legalised drugs.
So did Colorado in the USA, and you can also legally carry an AK47 Assault Rifle in a shopping centre there. Sound sensible to you?
Legal doesn't mean sensible or right. :)
Yes, good debate is always fun. But less of the 'moron' comments would be nice. The president of Uruaguay isn't up for a prize because of his drug stance. He is a remarkable man who gives most of his wages to charity and lives in a farmhouse, like most of his people do. That is why he is up for a prize. Yes, he might have legalised drugs. So did Colorado in the USA, and you can also legally carry an AK47 Assault Rifle in a shopping centre there. Sound sensible to you? Legal doesn't mean sensible or right. :) LSC

12:11am Fri 14 Feb 14

TheGuyFromCassio says...

In response to LSC, 'Legal doesn't mean sensible or right', sensible or right is SUBJECTIVE, everyone has different views, for example one may think it is alright to murder someone for a specific reason whereas another may condemn it, so your point about the AK47 is moot.

I think that cannabis should be legalised as the pros outweigh the cons. There will be more tax revenues and it will be taxed and also they can regulate it so it isn't too strong or anything. Also, another point on cannabis, cannabis is only dangerous when smoked for the same reasons as smoking tobacco, consuming it isn't detrimental in any way to your health (no study has been conclusively proved to show that cannabis CAUSES any mental health effects, it may however expose it however the people this affects would have an underlying condition that will have come up at a later date.) I'm not sure whether you have heard of a vapouriser but this is a contraption in which the cannabis is heated at a certain temperature so that the THC (what gets you high) is released but isn't a high enough temperature so that smoke is produced thus eliminating the risk of anything associated with smoke.

I for one believe that cannabis should be legal as it would reduce drug abuse in general (look at Portugal's drug use since legalising all drugs and Holland's cannabis usage is actually LESS than the UK's, what does this show?)
In response to LSC, 'Legal doesn't mean sensible or right', sensible or right is SUBJECTIVE, everyone has different views, for example one may think it is alright to murder someone for a specific reason whereas another may condemn it, so your point about the AK47 is moot. I think that cannabis should be legalised as the pros outweigh the cons. There will be more tax revenues and it will be taxed and also they can regulate it so it isn't too strong or anything. Also, another point on cannabis, cannabis is only dangerous when smoked for the same reasons as smoking tobacco, consuming it isn't detrimental in any way to your health (no study has been conclusively proved to show that cannabis CAUSES any mental health effects, it may however expose it however the people this affects would have an underlying condition that will have come up at a later date.) I'm not sure whether you have heard of a vapouriser but this is a contraption in which the cannabis is heated at a certain temperature so that the THC (what gets you high) is released but isn't a high enough temperature so that smoke is produced thus eliminating the risk of anything associated with smoke. I for one believe that cannabis should be legal as it would reduce drug abuse in general (look at Portugal's drug use since legalising all drugs and Holland's cannabis usage is actually LESS than the UK's, what does this show?) TheGuyFromCassio

6:28pm Sat 15 Feb 14

Dr Martin says...

I appreciate your post was a response to LSC but there are 2 points I would like make in response to your post
In relation to Portugal’s drug use (I assume you mean illicit) has had mixed results since illegal drugs were decriminalised however illicit drug usage has risen not fallen.
http://www.spiegel.d
e/international/euro
pe/evaluating-drug-d
ecriminalization-in-
portugal-12-years-la
ter-a-891060-2.html
If you go by Wikipedia’s figures then yes, however it should be noted the figure for Netherlands is rather old (2005), for a more up to date figure you need to trawl through EMCDDA website http://www.emcdda.eu
ropa.eu/stats12#disp
lay:/stats12/gpstab2
a which shows a figure of 7.0% for the Netherlands and 6.8% for England and Wales
I appreciate your post was a response to LSC but there are 2 points I would like make in response to your post In relation to Portugal’s drug use (I assume you mean illicit) has had mixed results since illegal drugs were decriminalised however illicit drug usage has risen not fallen. http://www.spiegel.d e/international/euro pe/evaluating-drug-d ecriminalization-in- portugal-12-years-la ter-a-891060-2.html If you go by Wikipedia’s figures then yes, however it should be noted the figure for Netherlands is rather old (2005), for a more up to date figure you need to trawl through EMCDDA website http://www.emcdda.eu ropa.eu/stats12#disp lay:/stats12/gpstab2 a which shows a figure of 7.0% for the Netherlands and 6.8% for England and Wales Dr Martin

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