Since the sensible debate on drugs law was raised over a week ago, very little has been uttered by the mainstream press. Understandably, when a government official states ‘there will be no changes to the law’ the press see there to be no story, and move on. It is interesting to note that several official ‘reports’ have emerged recently, from prominent government-led think-tanks, which point back to a prohibitionist stance – and have caused some issues with statistics taken out of context.
The research fellow for centre for policy study, Kathryn Gyngell, has written an open letter to Martin Wolff, who helped deliver ‘the global commission on drug policy‘ which published a reliable and accurate analysis of a disastrous drug policy which could be improved by a contemporary and forward thinking one. Kathryn Gyngell’s letter (appearing in FT’s letters section and is only available to subscribers – can be viewed here) omits the telling motive for pulling apart a justified argument with such petty details (statistical manipulation is petty indeed) – the centre for policy studies is a conservative think-tank (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centre_for_Policy_Studies)
We would hope this would be the only example of policy being recommended and implemented from our own government, but you’d be wrong there. Conservative MP Charles Walker (Broxbourne) and N.I. MP’s Jim Shannon and Health minister Anne Milton add further concern over statistics which have been taken out of context. Citing suicides and linking this to cannabis is like linking drinking water to suicide! So what? Unfortunately (and fortunately for pro-cannabis activists) suicide is a statistic in all parts of society. From young people, old people, drug users, sex workers, city brokers and even MP’s. A little research and the trend for suicide will be linked to poverty, mental illness and criminal activity and arrests/incarceration. Dedicated research about which comes first – mental illness/unfortunate circumstances or cannabis use – has not been carried out and – most importantly – has not been carried out by a third party which has no vested interest to pro-governmental advocacy.
Where the sensible debate will lead us, we don’t know. Few concessions have been made by the government as yet. As further questions are asked it will become clear to society that the prohibition of certain low-risk recreational substances (Cannabis, Ecstacy, MDMA and Mushrooms) is counter productive to enforce and pointless to continue. Other, more pressing discussions will be: How to put the drugs cartels out of business (legislation of Cocaine and Opiates), to regulate and control the dangerous class A drugs and inform and reform the public who use these drugs through clinics funded from their sale at designated government outlets. While this may shock the sheltered prohibitionists, it may surprise them to find out how this may reduce the occurrences of their family and friends getting caught up in underground drug use and the criminal element.
I have spotted one other publication has been publishing writings by the current government and promotes policy set the political status quo; ‘DeHavilland‘. A quick look at their site and my suspicions toward the exclusivity of policy making and agenda for pushing this are confirmed. Similarly, the US-UK Think Tank ‘The Atlantic Bridge‘ gives us more cause for concern.
While this recent debate involving a host of celebrities has ended before it even began, we will find it interesting to see how many more biased think-tanks appear pushing the agenda of the current system. More of the same anyone?