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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘drug laws

Alcohol And Cannabis. Putting Drugs In Perspective.

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I am not a fan of embedding YouTube clips unless they’re about films or music.  I’ll make an exception for these two though.  They make a very important point very powerfully.

The first is a very short US TV commercial with an anti-drugs messsage.   The second is a witty, incisive stand-up routine that knocks the pomposity, arrogance and stupidity of our drug laws for six.

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Written by Peter Reynolds

September 17, 2010 at 11:29 am

“No More Obvious Waste” Than UK’s £19 Billion War On Drugs

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A Wise Lady

In the House of Lords on 15th June 2010, Baroness Meacher announced a “radical shift of policy” from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.  The UN’s “war on drugs” has been an abject failure creating an illegal trade worth £320 billion and financing civil war in South America for the last 25 years.  British soldiers die almost every day in Afghanistan fighting an enemy financed by the illegal opium trade.

The UK spends £19 billion annually on the costs of drug law enforcement.

According to Baroness Meacher there is “no more obvious waste” of public money.  When will our leaders have the courage to grasp this nettle, to liberalise our pointless, self-defeating laws and free up billions of pounds of our money for more sensible purposes?

Video here.  Text here.

In addition, expert research indicates that a legalise, regulate and tax regime could contribute at least £6 billion annually in additional tax revenue. How can we afford to ignore these huge sums of money which we could make available to the country at little more than the stroke of a pen and with only a beneficial effect on the health of the nation?

Dying For A Stupid Law

Five years ago, while campaigning for the Tory party leadership, David Cameron called for “fresh thinking and a new approach” towards drugs policy and said that it would be “disappointing if radical options on the law on cannabis were not looked at”. Nick Clegg has promised to repeal “illiberal, intrusive and unnecessary” laws and to stop “making ordinary people criminals”. There can be no better example of this than the laws against personal use and cultivation of cannabis, particularly for medicinal reasons.

The coalition government’s new Your Freedom website launched only this morning is already inundated with proposals to legalise cannabis and to end the futile war on drugs. The site is crashing under the strain of a massive outcry from British people for the state to back off and give us back our freedoms.

We don’t just want our freedom back.  We want our money back too.

It’s Not Drugs, It’s Drug Laws That Killed the Bradford Girls

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Forced Here By The Law

If heroin was legally available on prescription the three Bradford prostitutes would be alive today.  It is our discredited, ludicrous policy of prohibition that has led these women to their terrible deaths.  Cowardly, self-serving politicians who will not address the real issues about drugs policy have blood on their hands.

Today we also learned that the sensationalist, exploitative treatment of the death of two young men in Humberside “linked with mephedrone” was nothing but hysteria.  See the story here.  Humberside Police shares responsiblity with the media for leaping on a bandwagon, seeking kudos or some unknown advantage through lies, propaganda and misinformation.  Trying to look tough.

It’s not a good idea to use heroin or mephedrone but criminalising users and creating a lucrative black market for criminals to exploit is an absurd idea.  It’s exactly what America did with alcohol in the prohibition era when, in fact, it created organised crime.

Created By The Law

For those who become addicted to illegal drugs there is very little help available.  Almost all street crime is related to feeding a drug habit.  If, instead of the unwinnable “war on drugs” we put our money into a regulated supply and treatment facilities we would massively reduce the harm that current laws cause.

The girls in Bradford, the poor people of Jamaica, our young heroes who are dying in Afghanistan, the young man who is selling his body right this minute in Manchester, Baltimore, Hamburg or Singapore, the downtrodden people of Columbia.  They are all victims of our absurd, self-defeating drug laws.  When will our politicians and leaders stop chasing cheap political points (and expensive bribes) and face the facts?

Fighting For The Law

Legalise, regulate, tax – you pull the rug from under organised crime, you eliminate the need for most street crime, you have the resources to address the issue as a public health problem.

Transform Drug Policy Foundation has the answer.

I Weep For Jamaica

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Ocho Rios

The events unfolding in Jamaica are disastrous for the country, its reputation, tourist industry and economy.   They give an impression that is completely false.  In reality it is a wonderful place, full of kind, warm, generous people.  I was astonished on my first visit to find the countryside lush and green, rather like Cornwall or Wales and the people more friendly than anywhere else I have ever been.

I was very privileged to be introduced to Jamaica by a Jamaican.  It was no all-inclusive tourist resort for me.  There the poor Brits hunker down and never move anywhere.  They seem to believe that right outside the gates are a bunch of Uzi-toting crack dealers but it’s simply not true.  I’ve been back several times and I love the place.  I recommend Ocho Rios on the north coast of the island.

True, the murder rate is one of the highest in the world but it all happens in a very small area of Kingston.  The rest of the island is peaceful and probably safer than London.  I have been through the Tivoli Gardens and Trench Town districts where all the trouble is.  It’s not a good place.  You lock the car doors and windows and you don’t stop but it is tiny.  According to my memory it’s not much bigger than, say, Regent’s Park so it’s easy to avoid.

My Local

Undoubtedly at the root of these problems is high level corruption and I wouldn’t be surprised if that extended to US officials as well as Jamaican.  The cocaine trade is a huge curse on the country but while the world continues with its ludicrous, discredited policy of prohibition it will never solve the problem.  Drug laws support and encourage organised crime and corruption.   If we stay on our present course things will only get worse.

I weep for Jamaica and its wonderful people.  Without radical international action, I have no idea how this problem can be solved.