Pair lock horns over legalisation of cannabis

thisisoxfordshire: Peter Hitchens, left, and Howard Marks Peter Hitchens, left, and Howard Marks

FORMER drug smuggler Howard Marks and Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens locked horns last night to debate the legalisation of cannabis.

An audience of about 70 people were at Waterstones in Oxford to listen to each argument before firing questions at the pair.

Mr Marks, once called “the most sophisticated drug smuggler of all”, said: “Over two thirds of voters aged in their early 20s use cannabis. The war against drugs has failed to reduce supply and it has failed to reduce demand.”

He said this had fuelled the black market, allowing gangs to make vast sums of money and meant it was often mixed with potentially dangerous substances.

Mr Marks added: “The prohibition of cannabis is an extremely dangerous failure and should be dismantled as soon as possible.”

Arguing that drug laws should be stronger, Mr Hitchens, author of The War We Never Fought, said: “The most successful agricultural product in the UK today is cannabis, even though it is illegal. Mental health is not a clearly measurable thing.

“What we can say is that there is a powerful correlation between cannabis and mental illness.”

He added: “If we legalise a drug, it is fantastically difficult to close the door again.”

Voting at the end of the debate showed the audience was split in their view of the issue.

Comments (20)

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11:06am Fri 19 Oct 12

Babs Stanley says...

We need to stop this stupid and unwinnable war against cannabis. It is causing far more harm to our communities than it prevents. If we had a properly regulated system of production and supply we'd have no more illegal cannabis farms, instead we'd have thousands of new jobs. We'd have no more dealers on the streets. Cannabis would be available to adults only through licensed outlets and we'd have some control over the THC and CBD content.

Doctors would be able to prescribe one of the most effective medicines that has no serious side effects at all. At the moment the government has given GW Pharmaceuticals an illegal monopoly on cannabis so they make millions out of a medicine that you can grow in your greenhouse for virtually nothing.

If we introduced a legally regulated system we would solve nearly all the problems around cannabis. Science proves how much safer it is than tobacco, alcohol, prescription medicines and all other recreational drugs. If anyone does have a problem with it they could get help without having to confess to a crime.

CLEAR published independent, expert research last year which shows that a tax and regulate policy on cannabis would produce a net gain to the UK economy of up to £9.3 billion per annum.

It is a scandal that our government, our judges, our courts, our police and our newspapers keep misleading us about cannabis. Find out the truth for yourself and wake up to the lies you have been told.
We need to stop this stupid and unwinnable war against cannabis. It is causing far more harm to our communities than it prevents. If we had a properly regulated system of production and supply we'd have no more illegal cannabis farms, instead we'd have thousands of new jobs. We'd have no more dealers on the streets. Cannabis would be available to adults only through licensed outlets and we'd have some control over the THC and CBD content. Doctors would be able to prescribe one of the most effective medicines that has no serious side effects at all. At the moment the government has given GW Pharmaceuticals an illegal monopoly on cannabis so they make millions out of a medicine that you can grow in your greenhouse for virtually nothing. If we introduced a legally regulated system we would solve nearly all the problems around cannabis. Science proves how much safer it is than tobacco, alcohol, prescription medicines and all other recreational drugs. If anyone does have a problem with it they could get help without having to confess to a crime. CLEAR published independent, expert research last year which shows that a tax and regulate policy on cannabis would produce a net gain to the UK economy of up to £9.3 billion per annum. It is a scandal that our government, our judges, our courts, our police and our newspapers keep misleading us about cannabis. Find out the truth for yourself and wake up to the lies you have been told. Babs Stanley

11:34am Fri 19 Oct 12

Alasdair1111 says...

“What we can say is that there is a powerful correlation between cannabis and mental illness.”

This statement is without foundation. cannabis use has increased until recently year on year and yet the is no corrosponding increase in mental health problems connected to it use.
“What we can say is that there is a powerful correlation between cannabis and mental illness.” This statement is without foundation. cannabis use has increased until recently year on year and yet the is no corrosponding increase in mental health problems connected to it use. Alasdair1111

11:48am Fri 19 Oct 12

handytrim says...

Peter Hitchens plays on peoples, as do all Daily and Sunday Mail journalists, fears so I can see how the audience were split, as some obviously succumbed to his make believe tales of an epidemic of crazy people just waiting to explode onto the streets.

Even though research has proven that cannabis, in any guise, is 'safe' for those over 18. I would say safe as long as it is also used responsibly and safer still if consumed by either vaporiser or by consuming via an edible.

Mr Hitchens of late has, without realising it, been fighting hard for the end of prohibition as all his supposed nightmare scenarios can be avoided by controlling and regulating cannabis.

Yet he also wrongly seems to think that a more authoritarian approach like they have in human rights hell holes is a better option. Places where corruption is rife and as long as you have the money all vices are still readily available and it is only the poor who suffer. Not much different than the system we already have I guess.

A more sensible and practical solution is to reform our outdated and ridiculous drug laws and actually protect people from misusing all substances and stop people being victimised for using substances other than those recommended by our joke of a home office.

People like Peter Hitchens can continue to stand in the corner waiving their banner of abstinence and puritanical virtues, as is their right to do so, while the rest of us get on and live in the real world, whilst hopefully being protected from harm by those who are supposed to, but at present choose to ignore the facts and science in favour of prejudice and persecution.
Peter Hitchens plays on peoples, as do all Daily and Sunday Mail journalists, fears so I can see how the audience were split, as some obviously succumbed to his make believe tales of an epidemic of crazy people just waiting to explode onto the streets. Even though research has proven that cannabis, in any guise, is 'safe' for those over 18. I would say safe as long as it is also used responsibly and safer still if consumed by either vaporiser or by consuming via an edible. Mr Hitchens of late has, without realising it, been fighting hard for the end of prohibition as all his supposed nightmare scenarios can be avoided by controlling and regulating cannabis. Yet he also wrongly seems to think that a more authoritarian approach like they have in human rights hell holes is a better option. Places where corruption is rife and as long as you have the money all vices are still readily available and it is only the poor who suffer. Not much different than the system we already have I guess. A more sensible and practical solution is to reform our outdated and ridiculous drug laws and actually protect people from misusing all substances and stop people being victimised for using substances other than those recommended by our joke of a home office. People like Peter Hitchens can continue to stand in the corner waiving their banner of abstinence and puritanical virtues, as is their right to do so, while the rest of us get on and live in the real world, whilst hopefully being protected from harm by those who are supposed to, but at present choose to ignore the facts and science in favour of prejudice and persecution. handytrim

12:05pm Fri 19 Oct 12

AB3 says...

Somehow it just does not make sense to punish victimless cannabis users or growers (for own use), and it certainly does not make sense to try to enforce a ban of growing what Mr Hitchens describes as "successful agricultural product in the UK today" at massive cost - billions of pounds every year - to the taxpayer.

Peter is correct, "Mental health is not a clearly measurable thing. ", especially by journalists, but I must ask - with him calling for more severe laws - why on earth would he want to send somebody to prison if they are suffering from mental illness whether or not they have used cannabis - if there is a risk of them hurting themselves or others (or history of it) then surely they need doctors, not policemen and prison officers.

And, for that matter - what sense in punishing any cannabis users unless they harm others - where is the justice in that?

What Peter Hitchens calls for just not make sense - in the name of Justice the law on cannabis need to be changed to stop the punishment of users that have done no harm and start giving them the same level of protection (consumer rights) as those that drink booze
Somehow it just does not make sense to punish victimless cannabis users or growers (for own use), and it certainly does not make sense to try to enforce a ban of growing what Mr Hitchens describes as "successful agricultural product in the UK today" at massive cost - billions of pounds every year - to the taxpayer. Peter is correct, "Mental health is not a clearly measurable thing. ", especially by journalists, but I must ask - with him calling for more severe laws - why on earth would he want to send somebody to prison if they are suffering from mental illness whether or not they have used cannabis - if there is a risk of them hurting themselves or others (or history of it) then surely they need doctors, not policemen and prison officers. And, for that matter - what sense in punishing any cannabis users unless they harm others - where is the justice in that? What Peter Hitchens calls for just not make sense - in the name of Justice the law on cannabis need to be changed to stop the punishment of users that have done no harm and start giving them the same level of protection (consumer rights) as those that drink booze AB3

12:23pm Fri 19 Oct 12

Win Matthews says...

Seems that prohibitionists don't remember the good old days, 1920 -33, and it didn't work then for the drug alcohol, and it's not working with cannabis. I really think Peter Hitchens if he listens to Howard, and takes on board what he's saying, then he cannot keep such draconian views, unless he's getting paid to spread propaganda, by the drug companies who enjoy the monopoly on the trade for drugs used recreationally , spiritually or medical use.
He would have people locked away, who are using a substance, safer than caffeine, our childrens fave drug.
Shame on Peter's ignorance and lets see if he can be educated to our side soon.
Seems that prohibitionists don't remember the good old days, 1920 -33, and it didn't work then for the drug alcohol, and it's not working with cannabis. I really think Peter Hitchens if he listens to Howard, and takes on board what he's saying, then he cannot keep such draconian views, unless he's getting paid to spread propaganda, by the drug companies who enjoy the monopoly on the trade for drugs used recreationally , spiritually or medical use. He would have people locked away, who are using a substance, safer than caffeine, our childrens fave drug. Shame on Peter's ignorance and lets see if he can be educated to our side soon. Win Matthews

1:04pm Fri 19 Oct 12

clive10 says...

It all make me wonder if th eruling elite are involved in the illicit drug trade. The poppy crop in Afghanistan is much much bigger since our army got there, and remember Oliver North. It is not fiction that the CIA are involved in drug trafficing
It all make me wonder if th eruling elite are involved in the illicit drug trade. The poppy crop in Afghanistan is much much bigger since our army got there, and remember Oliver North. It is not fiction that the CIA are involved in drug trafficing clive10

1:49pm Fri 19 Oct 12

Microbooster says...

I myself am a medical user it block my sizures i have grand mal epilepsy No medication from doctor's controll them fully but cannabis does stop them. The skunk is the bad weed as it has low to no CBD the CBD is there for reasons and is needed and i do agree you children and teens shouldent use it while there brain is still developing but we have no control stopping our kids getting hold of it as the ID for a kid to a dealer is a twenty pound note. Just my opinion.
I myself am a medical user it block my sizures i have grand mal epilepsy No medication from doctor's controll them fully but cannabis does stop them. The skunk is the bad weed as it has low to no CBD the CBD is there for reasons and is needed and i do agree you children and teens shouldent use it while there brain is still developing but we have no control stopping our kids getting hold of it as the ID for a kid to a dealer is a twenty pound note. Just my opinion. Microbooster

5:14pm Fri 19 Oct 12

Teebsy says...

My fear about legalisation is an increase in use among children. Myself and almost everyone I grew up with smoked cannabis regularly before we were sixteen. This, I believe was due to the fact that we had nothing to fear from police as arrests for possession were unheard of and there was no strong authoritative voice telling us it was wrong and harmful. Two of my friends developed schizophrenia and others, in my opinion, are shadows of what they could have become if it was not for their long term use of cannabis. I think that legalisation would accelerate this trend and create a dangerous atmosphere of permissiveness and more young lives would be affected, not less. I respect everyone's opinion but I cannot share the pro-legaliser's position due to my personal experience of that (in my opinion) extremely harmful drug.
My fear about legalisation is an increase in use among children. Myself and almost everyone I grew up with smoked cannabis regularly before we were sixteen. This, I believe was due to the fact that we had nothing to fear from police as arrests for possession were unheard of and there was no strong authoritative voice telling us it was wrong and harmful. Two of my friends developed schizophrenia and others, in my opinion, are shadows of what they could have become if it was not for their long term use of cannabis. I think that legalisation would accelerate this trend and create a dangerous atmosphere of permissiveness and more young lives would be affected, not less. I respect everyone's opinion but I cannot share the pro-legaliser's position due to my personal experience of that (in my opinion) extremely harmful drug. Teebsy

5:17pm Fri 19 Oct 12

Wilma1 says...

If people who use cannabis choose to do so in their own home then at least they are not wasting tax payers money for ambulances, police and hurting other people like the drunken yobs that are out on the streets do every weekend in our cities !!!!!
Alcohol and tobacco are just as dangerous if not more so.
If people who use cannabis choose to do so in their own home then at least they are not wasting tax payers money for ambulances, police and hurting other people like the drunken yobs that are out on the streets do every weekend in our cities !!!!! Alcohol and tobacco are just as dangerous if not more so. Wilma1

6:02pm Fri 19 Oct 12

Alfie Nokes says...

I would like the up-coming candidates for the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner to state how they will be advising the force on this issue.
I would like the up-coming candidates for the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner to state how they will be advising the force on this issue. Alfie Nokes

6:23pm Fri 19 Oct 12

jway87 says...

How can Mr Hitchens say that "The most successful agricultural product in the UK today is cannabis, even though it is illegal" as an argument to *keep* it illegal?

Surely that's overwhelming proof as to the FAILURE of the prohibition!

Prohibition doesn't end demand, all it does is direct that demand towards ILLEGAL suppliers instead of LEGAL suppliers. And that's a really bad thing for parents because Drug Dealers Don't Card, Supermarkets Do.
How can Mr Hitchens say that "The most successful agricultural product in the UK today is cannabis, even though it is illegal" as an argument to *keep* it illegal? Surely that's overwhelming proof as to the FAILURE of the prohibition! Prohibition doesn't end demand, all it does is direct that demand towards ILLEGAL suppliers instead of LEGAL suppliers. And that's a really bad thing for parents because Drug Dealers Don't Card, Supermarkets Do. jway87

6:25pm Fri 19 Oct 12

jway87 says...

I keep hearing about this "legalizing cannabis for recreational use", but what it appears that they're really trying to do is legalize cannabis as a far safer alternative to alcohol.

According to the CDC, alcohol kills 80,000 people every year in the U.S. while cannabis kills none. And cannabis's addiction potential is about on par with coffee. Since cannabis is far safer and far less addictive than alcohol, we could GREATLY reduce the amount of harm and addiction in society by giving people the right to switch from the more harmful drug, alcohol, to the less harmful drug, cannabis. And that would be a good thing.

The only thing is, people can't switch to cannabis if cannabis is illegal.
I keep hearing about this "legalizing cannabis for recreational use", but what it appears that they're really trying to do is legalize cannabis as a far safer alternative to alcohol. According to the CDC, alcohol kills 80,000 people every year in the U.S. while cannabis kills none. And cannabis's addiction potential is about on par with coffee. Since cannabis is far safer and far less addictive than alcohol, we could GREATLY reduce the amount of harm and addiction in society by giving people the right to switch from the more harmful drug, alcohol, to the less harmful drug, cannabis. And that would be a good thing. The only thing is, people can't switch to cannabis if cannabis is illegal. jway87

6:31pm Fri 19 Oct 12

Teebsy says...

jway87 wrote:
I keep hearing about this "legalizing cannabis for recreational use", but what it appears that they're really trying to do is legalize cannabis as a far safer alternative to alcohol.

According to the CDC, alcohol kills 80,000 people every year in the U.S. while cannabis kills none. And cannabis's addiction potential is about on par with coffee. Since cannabis is far safer and far less addictive than alcohol, we could GREATLY reduce the amount of harm and addiction in society by giving people the right to switch from the more harmful drug, alcohol, to the less harmful drug, cannabis. And that would be a good thing.

The only thing is, people can't switch to cannabis if cannabis is illegal.
I think even in moderation, cannabis is potentially harmful but in the case of alcohol, moderation is a guarantee of harmlessness.
[quote][p][bold]jway87[/bold] wrote: I keep hearing about this "legalizing cannabis for recreational use", but what it appears that they're really trying to do is legalize cannabis as a far safer alternative to alcohol. According to the CDC, alcohol kills 80,000 people every year in the U.S. while cannabis kills none. And cannabis's addiction potential is about on par with coffee. Since cannabis is far safer and far less addictive than alcohol, we could GREATLY reduce the amount of harm and addiction in society by giving people the right to switch from the more harmful drug, alcohol, to the less harmful drug, cannabis. And that would be a good thing. The only thing is, people can't switch to cannabis if cannabis is illegal.[/p][/quote]I think even in moderation, cannabis is potentially harmful but in the case of alcohol, moderation is a guarantee of harmlessness. Teebsy

6:33pm Fri 19 Oct 12

Teebsy says...

jway87 wrote:
How can Mr Hitchens say that "The most successful agricultural product in the UK today is cannabis, even though it is illegal" as an argument to *keep* it illegal?

Surely that's overwhelming proof as to the FAILURE of the prohibition!

Prohibition doesn't end demand, all it does is direct that demand towards ILLEGAL suppliers instead of LEGAL suppliers. And that's a really bad thing for parents because Drug Dealers Don't Card, Supermarkets Do.
Mr Hitchens would argue that this is a result of the abandonment of prohibition, not prohibition itself.
[quote][p][bold]jway87[/bold] wrote: How can Mr Hitchens say that "The most successful agricultural product in the UK today is cannabis, even though it is illegal" as an argument to *keep* it illegal? Surely that's overwhelming proof as to the FAILURE of the prohibition! Prohibition doesn't end demand, all it does is direct that demand towards ILLEGAL suppliers instead of LEGAL suppliers. And that's a really bad thing for parents because Drug Dealers Don't Card, Supermarkets Do.[/p][/quote]Mr Hitchens would argue that this is a result of the abandonment of prohibition, not prohibition itself. Teebsy

6:37pm Fri 19 Oct 12

Babs Stanley says...

Teebsy wrote:
jway87 wrote:
I keep hearing about this "legalizing cannabis for recreational use", but what it appears that they're really trying to do is legalize cannabis as a far safer alternative to alcohol.

According to the CDC, alcohol kills 80,000 people every year in the U.S. while cannabis kills none. And cannabis's addiction potential is about on par with coffee. Since cannabis is far safer and far less addictive than alcohol, we could GREATLY reduce the amount of harm and addiction in society by giving people the right to switch from the more harmful drug, alcohol, to the less harmful drug, cannabis. And that would be a good thing.

The only thing is, people can't switch to cannabis if cannabis is illegal.
I think even in moderation, cannabis is potentially harmful but in the case of alcohol, moderation is a guarantee of harmlessness.
Absolute rubbish Teebsy, cannabis is the least harmful psychoactive substance known to man and all the scientists agree on this.
[quote][p][bold]Teebsy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jway87[/bold] wrote: I keep hearing about this "legalizing cannabis for recreational use", but what it appears that they're really trying to do is legalize cannabis as a far safer alternative to alcohol. According to the CDC, alcohol kills 80,000 people every year in the U.S. while cannabis kills none. And cannabis's addiction potential is about on par with coffee. Since cannabis is far safer and far less addictive than alcohol, we could GREATLY reduce the amount of harm and addiction in society by giving people the right to switch from the more harmful drug, alcohol, to the less harmful drug, cannabis. And that would be a good thing. The only thing is, people can't switch to cannabis if cannabis is illegal.[/p][/quote]I think even in moderation, cannabis is potentially harmful but in the case of alcohol, moderation is a guarantee of harmlessness.[/p][/quote]Absolute rubbish Teebsy, cannabis is the least harmful psychoactive substance known to man and all the scientists agree on this. Babs Stanley

6:37pm Fri 19 Oct 12

Babs Stanley says...

Teebsy wrote:
jway87 wrote:
I keep hearing about this "legalizing cannabis for recreational use", but what it appears that they're really trying to do is legalize cannabis as a far safer alternative to alcohol.

According to the CDC, alcohol kills 80,000 people every year in the U.S. while cannabis kills none. And cannabis's addiction potential is about on par with coffee. Since cannabis is far safer and far less addictive than alcohol, we could GREATLY reduce the amount of harm and addiction in society by giving people the right to switch from the more harmful drug, alcohol, to the less harmful drug, cannabis. And that would be a good thing.

The only thing is, people can't switch to cannabis if cannabis is illegal.
I think even in moderation, cannabis is potentially harmful but in the case of alcohol, moderation is a guarantee of harmlessness.
Absolute rubbish Teebsy, cannabis is the least harmful psychoactive substance known to man and all the scientists agree on this.
[quote][p][bold]Teebsy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jway87[/bold] wrote: I keep hearing about this "legalizing cannabis for recreational use", but what it appears that they're really trying to do is legalize cannabis as a far safer alternative to alcohol. According to the CDC, alcohol kills 80,000 people every year in the U.S. while cannabis kills none. And cannabis's addiction potential is about on par with coffee. Since cannabis is far safer and far less addictive than alcohol, we could GREATLY reduce the amount of harm and addiction in society by giving people the right to switch from the more harmful drug, alcohol, to the less harmful drug, cannabis. And that would be a good thing. The only thing is, people can't switch to cannabis if cannabis is illegal.[/p][/quote]I think even in moderation, cannabis is potentially harmful but in the case of alcohol, moderation is a guarantee of harmlessness.[/p][/quote]Absolute rubbish Teebsy, cannabis is the least harmful psychoactive substance known to man and all the scientists agree on this. Babs Stanley

6:47pm Fri 19 Oct 12

SuperSilverSourDiesel says...

Teebsy wrote:
My fear about legalisation is an increase in use among children. Myself and almost everyone I grew up with smoked cannabis regularly before we were sixteen. This, I believe was due to the fact that we had nothing to fear from police as arrests for possession were unheard of and there was no strong authoritative voice telling us it was wrong and harmful. Two of my friends developed schizophrenia and others, in my opinion, are shadows of what they could have become if it was not for their long term use of cannabis. I think that legalisation would accelerate this trend and create a dangerous atmosphere of permissiveness and more young lives would be affected, not less. I respect everyone's opinion but I cannot share the pro-legaliser's position due to my personal experience of that (in my opinion) extremely harmful drug.
I understand your fears, and a short message in a comment thread wont give you a greater understanding of the dangers of prohibition, ill leave that to you to find out. But i will comment on what you said about cannabis and mental illness.

Cannabis use rises and falls, yet rates of said mental illness stays flat, and is declining. Professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Dr Grinspoon studied both cannabis and schizophrenia for over 40 years, says cannabis cannot cause said mental illness. You have a higher chance developing psychotic symptoms and psychological disorders with causal alcohol use, which puts cannabis in perspective. Also, GWpharma grow thousands of cannabis plants in Kent, as medicine. 10 times stronger than street weed, 10 times more expensive. Yet in the list of side effects, no mention of mental illness.

Schizophrenics may seek out relaxants like cannabis to cope with their condition. But that doesn't mean cannabis gave them schizophrenia, and in fact the CBD found in cannabis is an anti psychotic. In countries that legally regulate cannabis, people with said mental illness, or other psychological disorders such as 'psychosis', PTSD, Anxiety disorders and so on, are prescribed cannabis Rich in CBD. The CBD helps to reduce symptoms and improve mood.

''I think that legalisation would accelerate this trend and create a dangerous atmosphere of permissiveness and more young lives would be affected, not less.''

Sorry, but the statistics show that when a country legally regulate cannabis, less young people use it and age of first use goes up. In Holland for example, less people use cannabis than in the UK. Their age of first use is around 20, in the UK its 15. Young people should not use cannabis while brain is developing.

Cannabis is not extremely harmful, prohibition is. Cannabis is safer than aspirin, alcohol, tobacco and many legal drugs, and its addictiveness is on par with tea and coffee. Anything abused has a potential for harm, but thats not why cannabis is illegal.

Not all laws are there to protect or help us. Many reasons why cannabis was prohibited. Mostly vested interested and the fear of hemp production for logging companies in America, and Cotton farmers in Egypt. A lot of why it was outlawed had a lot to do with control, prejudice and racism. It had nothing at all to do with the effect from smoking cannabis. Alcohol prohibition had built an infrastructure, so when prohibition came to an end, many people including Harry Anslinger where going to be out of work. So working together with William Randolf Hearst, (a racist, owner of a huge chain of newspapers and had invested heavily in the timber industry to support his newspaper chain and didnt want to see the development of hemp paper in competition) they started the 'reefer-madness' campaign.

Years and years of lies and propaganda have left the public misinformed and scared. The 'reefer madness' propaganda still exists, we see it in the Daily Mail all the time. So cannabis wasnt outlawed because it may have a small potential for harm when abused by an underdeveloped brain, it was everything to do with Money, vested interest and lies, and nothing to do with harm reduction. In fact, prohibiting cannabis has caused many more problems, harms and dangers than the cannabis itself. Simply by disallowing regulation gifting the control to the only people in society will taking to take a risk for freedom, criminals.

Last but not least, the benefits from using cannabis far outweighs the negatives. If you want to talk about personal experiences, my Uncle nearly died from alcohol use (not abuse), but i would never put my anecdotes in front of scientific evidence and expert advice, and i wouldnt let my personal experience confuse me into believing this drug should remain in the 'control' of organized crime.
[quote][p][bold]Teebsy[/bold] wrote: My fear about legalisation is an increase in use among children. Myself and almost everyone I grew up with smoked cannabis regularly before we were sixteen. This, I believe was due to the fact that we had nothing to fear from police as arrests for possession were unheard of and there was no strong authoritative voice telling us it was wrong and harmful. Two of my friends developed schizophrenia and others, in my opinion, are shadows of what they could have become if it was not for their long term use of cannabis. I think that legalisation would accelerate this trend and create a dangerous atmosphere of permissiveness and more young lives would be affected, not less. I respect everyone's opinion but I cannot share the pro-legaliser's position due to my personal experience of that (in my opinion) extremely harmful drug.[/p][/quote]I understand your fears, and a short message in a comment thread wont give you a greater understanding of the dangers of prohibition, ill leave that to you to find out. But i will comment on what you said about cannabis and mental illness. Cannabis use rises and falls, yet rates of said mental illness stays flat, and is declining. Professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Dr Grinspoon studied both cannabis and schizophrenia for over 40 years, says cannabis cannot cause said mental illness. You have a higher chance developing psychotic symptoms and psychological disorders with causal alcohol use, which puts cannabis in perspective. Also, GWpharma grow thousands of cannabis plants in Kent, as medicine. 10 times stronger than street weed, 10 times more expensive. Yet in the list of side effects, no mention of mental illness. Schizophrenics may seek out relaxants like cannabis to cope with their condition. But that doesn't mean cannabis gave them schizophrenia, and in fact the CBD found in cannabis is an anti psychotic. In countries that legally regulate cannabis, people with said mental illness, or other psychological disorders such as 'psychosis', PTSD, Anxiety disorders and so on, are prescribed cannabis Rich in CBD. The CBD helps to reduce symptoms and improve mood. ''I think that legalisation would accelerate this trend and create a dangerous atmosphere of permissiveness and more young lives would be affected, not less.'' Sorry, but the statistics show that when a country legally regulate cannabis, less young people use it and age of first use goes up. In Holland for example, less people use cannabis than in the UK. Their age of first use is around 20, in the UK its 15. Young people should not use cannabis while brain is developing. Cannabis is not extremely harmful, prohibition is. Cannabis is safer than aspirin, alcohol, tobacco and many legal drugs, and its addictiveness is on par with tea and coffee. Anything abused has a potential for harm, but thats not why cannabis is illegal. Not all laws are there to protect or help us. Many reasons why cannabis was prohibited. Mostly vested interested and the fear of hemp production for logging companies in America, and Cotton farmers in Egypt. A lot of why it was outlawed had a lot to do with control, prejudice and racism. It had nothing at all to do with the effect from smoking cannabis. Alcohol prohibition had built an infrastructure, so when prohibition came to an end, many people including Harry Anslinger where going to be out of work. So working together with William Randolf Hearst, (a racist, owner of a huge chain of newspapers and had invested heavily in the timber industry to support his newspaper chain and didnt want to see the development of hemp paper in competition) they started the 'reefer-madness' campaign. Years and years of lies and propaganda have left the public misinformed and scared. The 'reefer madness' propaganda still exists, we see it in the Daily Mail all the time. So cannabis wasnt outlawed because it may have a small potential for harm when abused by an underdeveloped brain, it was everything to do with Money, vested interest and lies, and nothing to do with harm reduction. In fact, prohibiting cannabis has caused many more problems, harms and dangers than the cannabis itself. Simply by disallowing regulation gifting the control to the only people in society will taking to take a risk for freedom, criminals. Last but not least, the benefits from using cannabis far outweighs the negatives. If you want to talk about personal experiences, my Uncle nearly died from alcohol use (not abuse), but i would never put my anecdotes in front of scientific evidence and expert advice, and i wouldnt let my personal experience confuse me into believing this drug should remain in the 'control' of organized crime. SuperSilverSourDiesel

11:37pm Fri 19 Oct 12

jockox3 says...

Interesting. The audience in here doesn't seem particularly split in their view!
Interesting. The audience in here doesn't seem particularly split in their view! jockox3

10:23am Sat 20 Oct 12

Teebsy says...

SuperSilverSourDiese
l
wrote:
Teebsy wrote:
My fear about legalisation is an increase in use among children. Myself and almost everyone I grew up with smoked cannabis regularly before we were sixteen. This, I believe was due to the fact that we had nothing to fear from police as arrests for possession were unheard of and there was no strong authoritative voice telling us it was wrong and harmful. Two of my friends developed schizophrenia and others, in my opinion, are shadows of what they could have become if it was not for their long term use of cannabis. I think that legalisation would accelerate this trend and create a dangerous atmosphere of permissiveness and more young lives would be affected, not less. I respect everyone's opinion but I cannot share the pro-legaliser's position due to my personal experience of that (in my opinion) extremely harmful drug.
I understand your fears, and a short message in a comment thread wont give you a greater understanding of the dangers of prohibition, ill leave that to you to find out. But i will comment on what you said about cannabis and mental illness.

Cannabis use rises and falls, yet rates of said mental illness stays flat, and is declining. Professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Dr Grinspoon studied both cannabis and schizophrenia for over 40 years, says cannabis cannot cause said mental illness. You have a higher chance developing psychotic symptoms and psychological disorders with causal alcohol use, which puts cannabis in perspective. Also, GWpharma grow thousands of cannabis plants in Kent, as medicine. 10 times stronger than street weed, 10 times more expensive. Yet in the list of side effects, no mention of mental illness.

Schizophrenics may seek out relaxants like cannabis to cope with their condition. But that doesn't mean cannabis gave them schizophrenia, and in fact the CBD found in cannabis is an anti psychotic. In countries that legally regulate cannabis, people with said mental illness, or other psychological disorders such as 'psychosis', PTSD, Anxiety disorders and so on, are prescribed cannabis Rich in CBD. The CBD helps to reduce symptoms and improve mood.

''I think that legalisation would accelerate this trend and create a dangerous atmosphere of permissiveness and more young lives would be affected, not less.''

Sorry, but the statistics show that when a country legally regulate cannabis, less young people use it and age of first use goes up. In Holland for example, less people use cannabis than in the UK. Their age of first use is around 20, in the UK its 15. Young people should not use cannabis while brain is developing.

Cannabis is not extremely harmful, prohibition is. Cannabis is safer than aspirin, alcohol, tobacco and many legal drugs, and its addictiveness is on par with tea and coffee. Anything abused has a potential for harm, but thats not why cannabis is illegal.

Not all laws are there to protect or help us. Many reasons why cannabis was prohibited. Mostly vested interested and the fear of hemp production for logging companies in America, and Cotton farmers in Egypt. A lot of why it was outlawed had a lot to do with control, prejudice and racism. It had nothing at all to do with the effect from smoking cannabis. Alcohol prohibition had built an infrastructure, so when prohibition came to an end, many people including Harry Anslinger where going to be out of work. So working together with William Randolf Hearst, (a racist, owner of a huge chain of newspapers and had invested heavily in the timber industry to support his newspaper chain and didnt want to see the development of hemp paper in competition) they started the 'reefer-madness' campaign.

Years and years of lies and propaganda have left the public misinformed and scared. The 'reefer madness' propaganda still exists, we see it in the Daily Mail all the time. So cannabis wasnt outlawed because it may have a small potential for harm when abused by an underdeveloped brain, it was everything to do with Money, vested interest and lies, and nothing to do with harm reduction. In fact, prohibiting cannabis has caused many more problems, harms and dangers than the cannabis itself. Simply by disallowing regulation gifting the control to the only people in society will taking to take a risk for freedom, criminals.

Last but not least, the benefits from using cannabis far outweighs the negatives. If you want to talk about personal experiences, my Uncle nearly died from alcohol use (not abuse), but i would never put my anecdotes in front of scientific evidence and expert advice, and i wouldnt let my personal experience confuse me into believing this drug should remain in the 'control' of organized crime.
A very thought provoking response. I find particularly interesting the lack of a corresponding increase in mental health problems with the increase in cannabis use. I do think though, that it is slighty disingenuous to compare our country with Holland. There is a marked cultural differenc ebetween us and the Dutch, along with other continental countries. The scenes we see in town and city centres in England as a result of excessive drinking are not seen to anywhere near the same extent in Holland. I think this can be applied to cannabis use as well. I don't think there is a 'one size fits all' approach to drug use that is workable in every culture. I don't think legislation would see a drop in cannabis use in children because there would simply be more of it about and a signal would have been sent to young minds that it is permitted by the state.
[quote][p][bold]SuperSilverSourDiese l[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Teebsy[/bold] wrote: My fear about legalisation is an increase in use among children. Myself and almost everyone I grew up with smoked cannabis regularly before we were sixteen. This, I believe was due to the fact that we had nothing to fear from police as arrests for possession were unheard of and there was no strong authoritative voice telling us it was wrong and harmful. Two of my friends developed schizophrenia and others, in my opinion, are shadows of what they could have become if it was not for their long term use of cannabis. I think that legalisation would accelerate this trend and create a dangerous atmosphere of permissiveness and more young lives would be affected, not less. I respect everyone's opinion but I cannot share the pro-legaliser's position due to my personal experience of that (in my opinion) extremely harmful drug.[/p][/quote]I understand your fears, and a short message in a comment thread wont give you a greater understanding of the dangers of prohibition, ill leave that to you to find out. But i will comment on what you said about cannabis and mental illness. Cannabis use rises and falls, yet rates of said mental illness stays flat, and is declining. Professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Dr Grinspoon studied both cannabis and schizophrenia for over 40 years, says cannabis cannot cause said mental illness. You have a higher chance developing psychotic symptoms and psychological disorders with causal alcohol use, which puts cannabis in perspective. Also, GWpharma grow thousands of cannabis plants in Kent, as medicine. 10 times stronger than street weed, 10 times more expensive. Yet in the list of side effects, no mention of mental illness. Schizophrenics may seek out relaxants like cannabis to cope with their condition. But that doesn't mean cannabis gave them schizophrenia, and in fact the CBD found in cannabis is an anti psychotic. In countries that legally regulate cannabis, people with said mental illness, or other psychological disorders such as 'psychosis', PTSD, Anxiety disorders and so on, are prescribed cannabis Rich in CBD. The CBD helps to reduce symptoms and improve mood. ''I think that legalisation would accelerate this trend and create a dangerous atmosphere of permissiveness and more young lives would be affected, not less.'' Sorry, but the statistics show that when a country legally regulate cannabis, less young people use it and age of first use goes up. In Holland for example, less people use cannabis than in the UK. Their age of first use is around 20, in the UK its 15. Young people should not use cannabis while brain is developing. Cannabis is not extremely harmful, prohibition is. Cannabis is safer than aspirin, alcohol, tobacco and many legal drugs, and its addictiveness is on par with tea and coffee. Anything abused has a potential for harm, but thats not why cannabis is illegal. Not all laws are there to protect or help us. Many reasons why cannabis was prohibited. Mostly vested interested and the fear of hemp production for logging companies in America, and Cotton farmers in Egypt. A lot of why it was outlawed had a lot to do with control, prejudice and racism. It had nothing at all to do with the effect from smoking cannabis. Alcohol prohibition had built an infrastructure, so when prohibition came to an end, many people including Harry Anslinger where going to be out of work. So working together with William Randolf Hearst, (a racist, owner of a huge chain of newspapers and had invested heavily in the timber industry to support his newspaper chain and didnt want to see the development of hemp paper in competition) they started the 'reefer-madness' campaign. Years and years of lies and propaganda have left the public misinformed and scared. The 'reefer madness' propaganda still exists, we see it in the Daily Mail all the time. So cannabis wasnt outlawed because it may have a small potential for harm when abused by an underdeveloped brain, it was everything to do with Money, vested interest and lies, and nothing to do with harm reduction. In fact, prohibiting cannabis has caused many more problems, harms and dangers than the cannabis itself. Simply by disallowing regulation gifting the control to the only people in society will taking to take a risk for freedom, criminals. Last but not least, the benefits from using cannabis far outweighs the negatives. If you want to talk about personal experiences, my Uncle nearly died from alcohol use (not abuse), but i would never put my anecdotes in front of scientific evidence and expert advice, and i wouldnt let my personal experience confuse me into believing this drug should remain in the 'control' of organized crime.[/p][/quote]A very thought provoking response. I find particularly interesting the lack of a corresponding increase in mental health problems with the increase in cannabis use. I do think though, that it is slighty disingenuous to compare our country with Holland. There is a marked cultural differenc ebetween us and the Dutch, along with other continental countries. The scenes we see in town and city centres in England as a result of excessive drinking are not seen to anywhere near the same extent in Holland. I think this can be applied to cannabis use as well. I don't think there is a 'one size fits all' approach to drug use that is workable in every culture. I don't think legislation would see a drop in cannabis use in children because there would simply be more of it about and a signal would have been sent to young minds that it is permitted by the state. Teebsy

10:40am Sat 20 Oct 12

Teebsy says...

Babs Stanley wrote:
Teebsy wrote:
jway87 wrote:
I keep hearing about this "legalizing cannabis for recreational use", but what it appears that they're really trying to do is legalize cannabis as a far safer alternative to alcohol.

According to the CDC, alcohol kills 80,000 people every year in the U.S. while cannabis kills none. And cannabis's addiction potential is about on par with coffee. Since cannabis is far safer and far less addictive than alcohol, we could GREATLY reduce the amount of harm and addiction in society by giving people the right to switch from the more harmful drug, alcohol, to the less harmful drug, cannabis. And that would be a good thing.

The only thing is, people can't switch to cannabis if cannabis is illegal.
I think even in moderation, cannabis is potentially harmful but in the case of alcohol, moderation is a guarantee of harmlessness.
Absolute rubbish Teebsy, cannabis is the least harmful psychoactive substance known to man and all the scientists agree on this.
I think that in the cases of both cannabis and alcohol, excessive use is harmful. I certainly don't think it is harmless to binge drink every weekend, an activity that can cause mental and serious physical damage. I do, however, think that in moderation, alcohol is less harmful. A couple of glasses of wine will not have a great effect on the mind whereas even a weak joint has a profound effect on the user's cognitive ability and thought processes. I remember when I was a regular user and there was a "drought" in my village. Me and my friends had to go without cannabis for a week, maybe two weeks but when we smoked it again after our tolerance had been reduced we would feel totally zonked after only sharing a joint. This to me shows that even small amounts of cannabis smoked regularly can effect the mind more profoundly than drink taken in moderation. Also, the nature of cannabis use is conducive to habitual smoking of cannabis. Out of all of the users I know, none of them limit themselves to 1 joint on a Saturday night, more often than not they smoke at least a couple of joints every night. This to me is not moderation considering the powerful effect cannabis has on the mind. Drink is potentially harmful but the vast majority of drinkers do not get drunk every night because they don't want a hangover every morning. The lack of a hangover with cannabis use, in my opinion, lulls people into thinking that regular use is completely harmless and so the vast majority of users smoke cannabis on a daily basis and are 'zonked' much more often than they realise and certainly much more than the average sensible drinker.
[quote][p][bold]Babs Stanley[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Teebsy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jway87[/bold] wrote: I keep hearing about this "legalizing cannabis for recreational use", but what it appears that they're really trying to do is legalize cannabis as a far safer alternative to alcohol. According to the CDC, alcohol kills 80,000 people every year in the U.S. while cannabis kills none. And cannabis's addiction potential is about on par with coffee. Since cannabis is far safer and far less addictive than alcohol, we could GREATLY reduce the amount of harm and addiction in society by giving people the right to switch from the more harmful drug, alcohol, to the less harmful drug, cannabis. And that would be a good thing. The only thing is, people can't switch to cannabis if cannabis is illegal.[/p][/quote]I think even in moderation, cannabis is potentially harmful but in the case of alcohol, moderation is a guarantee of harmlessness.[/p][/quote]Absolute rubbish Teebsy, cannabis is the least harmful psychoactive substance known to man and all the scientists agree on this.[/p][/quote]I think that in the cases of both cannabis and alcohol, excessive use is harmful. I certainly don't think it is harmless to binge drink every weekend, an activity that can cause mental and serious physical damage. I do, however, think that in moderation, alcohol is less harmful. A couple of glasses of wine will not have a great effect on the mind whereas even a weak joint has a profound effect on the user's cognitive ability and thought processes. I remember when I was a regular user and there was a "drought" in my village. Me and my friends had to go without cannabis for a week, maybe two weeks but when we smoked it again after our tolerance had been reduced we would feel totally zonked after only sharing a joint. This to me shows that even small amounts of cannabis smoked regularly can effect the mind more profoundly than drink taken in moderation. Also, the nature of cannabis use is conducive to habitual smoking of cannabis. Out of all of the users I know, none of them limit themselves to 1 joint on a Saturday night, more often than not they smoke at least a couple of joints every night. This to me is not moderation considering the powerful effect cannabis has on the mind. Drink is potentially harmful but the vast majority of drinkers do not get drunk every night because they don't want a hangover every morning. The lack of a hangover with cannabis use, in my opinion, lulls people into thinking that regular use is completely harmless and so the vast majority of users smoke cannabis on a daily basis and are 'zonked' much more often than they realise and certainly much more than the average sensible drinker. Teebsy

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