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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘no brainer

Proposition 19. Just Say Now!

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It looks as if, on 2nd November 2010, a small but very significant part of the world will at last come to its senses and legalise cannabis.

On that date, California voters look likely to approve Proposition 19 on the state-wide ballot that legalizes various marijuana-related activities, allows local governments to regulate these activities, permits local governments to impose and collect marijuana-related fees and taxes, and authorizes various criminal and civil penalties.  Currently the polls show that about two-thirds of voters are in favour.

Over the age of 21 it will be legal to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and to cultivate an area of up to 25 sq ft on private property.  The state estimates it will collect about £1.4 billion pa in new tax revenue.  save $200 million pa in law enforcement costs and generate an additional $12 – $18 billion pa for California’s economy, with 60,000 to 110,000 new jobs.   As the Americans say, with one of their most unpleasant expressions, “It’s a no brainer”.

In America they finally seem to have got past listening to the stupid scare stories and propaganda about the cannabis plant.  The misinformation has ranged from the idea that marijuana makes white women promiscuous with black men to the suggestion that it causes psychosis in adolescents.  Both of these ideas are as impossible to prove as each other.  America also  recognises the huge medicinal benefits of cannabis with medical marijuana legal in 14 states and planned in 15 more.   As a recreational drug,  cannabis use is almost never associated with the sort of anti-social behaviour that alcohol causes.   It produces an essentially peaceful, happy and soporific effect.

Instead of insulting and ignoring their scientific experts as we do in the UK, Americans are now more interested in the facts and a pragmatic approach to drugs policy.  The “war on drugs” is now universally recognised as having been an abject failure.  We should, of course, have learned from the experience of alcohol prohibition in the early 20th century.  That created the whole idea of gangsters and organised crime.  We managed to repeat the same mistakes all over again with drugs.

In ironic appreciation of Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say Nc” campaign, those in favour of Proposition 19 have adopted the slogan “Just Say Now”.  In addition to the direct financial benefits, the state expects to be able to focus police priorities on violent crime, cut off funding to violent drug cartels and better protect children, road users, workers and patients from illegal, unregulated use.

The UK will eventually follow down this inevitable path.   The only questions are how many lives will we ruin and how much time and money will we waste before we finally get there?

See here for the latest updates and news on Proposition 19.

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Eenie, Meanie, Minie, Mo – Drugs Policy? That’ll Be Lib Dem!

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Only now is the depth and breadth of David Cameron’s coup becoming clear.  He has swept aside all the old politics and we voted for exactly what he has given us.  Hail to the Chief!

It’s true that now he can dump those old Tory policies that no one really wanted and we can take the good ones from the Lib Dems –

God's Herb

none more so than their drugs policy.

The Lib Dems are very, very close to the Transform Drug Policy Foundation which, however it describes itself, promotes a radical right wing solution to the drugs problem – legalise, regulate, tax.

This might seem a second tier, lower priority issue until you consider that most organised crime and virtually all street crime is caused, promoted and maintained by the illegality of drugs.

Legalise all drugs, regulate and tax their supply.  You pull the rug  from under organised crime and you take away the need for nearly all street crime.  You massively reduce the harm caused by drugs.  You take perhaps £10 billion out of the black economy.  You save several billion more on law enforcement costs.

It’s a no brainer for anyone who has the courage and common sense to think about it.  I hope Theresa May is listening – and thinking.