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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘pragmatic

Proposition 19. Just Say Now!

with 3 comments

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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Criminal Deception

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In a cold hearted, clinical and utterly callous way, we must bring “Sir” Fred Goodwin to heel, to the gutter, to grovel and to ignominy as he richly and deeply deserves.

There are many ways that the government can do this.  I suggest that the most effective is simply not to pay him and let him sue.  This is a shred2pragmatic and commercial approach but, irrespective of its outcome, simultaneously we must prosecute this fundamentally evil individual with all the vigour that honourable and decent society can muster.

If we force him to sue for the rewards of failure then he will have to make his case and I do not believe he wil be able to under the overriding doctrine of “reasonableness”.

However, in the interests of justice, denying him money is insufficient.  Nothing less than criminal punishment will suffice.  Surely,  if our tradition of common law has any relevance, it must be able to sanction his behaviour.

Lawyers must consider whether there is a case for criminal negligence, for conspiracy, for perjury or for any derivative of theft.  Our Judges must package his offences in a way that can produce serious and effective penalties.

Without doubt though this “man”, this “Sir” has deceived.  He lied to the Select Committee saying that he had received no compensation for loss of office.  He has cheated us all.  Whether he retains his obscene pension or not he must be jailed.  Only then will justice be done.