We can all learn something from California right now. After many years of ridiculous drugs laws that fill the prisons with moderate drugs users (limiting space needed for violent and dangerous criminals) the state of California is finally proposing to legalise Marijuana and taxing it
It has taken years of conservative arguments, pushing back any progress for an evolved society to deal with its consumption and self-inflicted hedonism, relegating the use of mild hallucinogens to be a criminal act. Patiently pot smokers have calmly presented medical facts illustrating the safe, non-harmful (and even beneficial) aspects of the ‘drug’ (I prefer the term ‘herb’). But unfortunately, conservatism always wins against liberalism. Conservative values tend to become indoctrinated into liberalism also. Which is why we see so many so called ‘liberals’ who have contradictory traits in them.
Part of a liberal socialist system would give people the choice to do what they want to themselves. This should include euthanasia (along with legal signed consent) for any persons suffering a low-quality of life. Any control of the government by laws would present what is known as a ‘nanny state’. Surely the scared, conservative masses can perceive the retaliation and non-workability of the prohibitionist approach that has NOT been working in the U.S.A. and the U.K. for so many years.
Should the new laws be passed I would be delighted to see the approach adopted by many more forward thinking countries. I have seen a pilot scheme in the U.K. that de-criminalised cannabis. This scheme was successful (much UNlike the way in which it was portrayed by the conservative press http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/1870365.stm) and I witnessed relaxed youth in Brixton who were too carefree to bother approaching me for the usual robbery tactics I get when I see gangs of kids up to no-good. The problem with the sheltered classes which control so much of the policy that gets implemented is that they don’t get a chance to see what the poorest, least privileged of the social classes get up to. They will be on the streets come what may. They will be up to no good unless they are able to entertain themselves much like any toff who can engage in their usual socio-cultural activities. For many of Britains youth, cannabis smoking is the equivalent of the cafe chat with friends, the visit to the V&A, the dinner at a fancy restaurant. You don’t like the fact that young people will smoke cannabis? Tough. We don’t like the fact that you can afford such luxuries as high-living and socialising with other priveldged individuals and yet we tollerate them. What if I told you that by perpetuating the luxury of such lifestyle and the confidence that comes from an established status quo you are promoting values that are detached from the real world. The Budda/Jesus fought such battles years ago to illustrate a way to make the world more peaceful and balanced (that’s as far as I’ll go into a religious debate at the moment!)
When Brian Paddick decriminalised cannabis in Lambeth in 2001, he allowed us to get a glimpse of how the priority of law enforcement should be turned to things that protect society from dangerous criminals. Part of that is taking the control of hallucinogens away from criminal gangs and into the hands of the establishment (god help us!). Even though I am anti-establishment I can see the sense in that.
People two generations back have gone on for years about the 60’s and how harmless the odd spliff is. With the exception to those who are extremely prejudiced (Debra ‘Bell’ Woodbridge) and extremely sheltered (any of your known MP’s) and cannot discern hereditary mental illness showing its true face under a mild psychotropic herb most can see the face of drug laws changing for the better, for the good of society. I certainly hope so!