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Cannabis law in the UK


SpursRiot2012
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Cannabis law in the United Kingdom  

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Cannabis law in the UK is under the microscope today following the cases of two young boys who were using cannabis oil (apparently effectively) to combat frequent seizures. One of the boys had his supply of oil confiscated at the border as he and his family tried to bring some back from Europe, leading to the boy's seizure frequency to shoot right up. Following something of an outcry, today the government has promised to "review" the use of cannabis in a medicinal capacity, though the home secretary has said that recreational use will remain banned.

I don't actually smoke weed anymore, but it's long been a bit of a bugbear for me, the UK's position on cannabis. We seemed to be making some progress when, years back, it was rescheduled from a Class B (which includes amphetamines, barbiturates and some opiates) to a Class C (which includes benzos, GHB and anabolic steroids) drug. It was then, unfortunately, reclassified into the Class B section after some studies indicated that high-strength "skunk" weed (essentially, weed with very high THC content) could have an adverse effect on mental health, especially on those predisposed to that. Actually, one of the reasons I stopped smoking weed years ago was because I found it was giving me terrible anxiety, and I have suffered with various mental health issues over the years.

But here's the thing. Because cannabis is illegal, it's left in the hands of organised criminal groups who produce this high strength, high THC content weed that causes the problems. We - that is, those who currently get their weed on the street or, less so, on the darknet - have no idea what the product is being treated with. In a system where THC vs CBD levels can be controlled, I do not believe that we would see an explosion of mental health issues in the general population. In a system where the government (or, perhaps, a private company that the government tenders it out to) control the strength or potency of what is available, there is no more harm in smoking a spliff than there is drinking a pint. It might not be great for your health, but is by no means the worst thing out there - and there are certainly plenty of things that are currently legal that do far more harm to a person than a low THC variety of cannabis will.

And that's not even talking about the boost to police resources that will occur as a byproduct of not having to worry about some dudes smoking weed, or the massive amount of money that could be raised by taxing the shit out it. And these are all arguments for the recreational use of cannabis. The medicinal benefits are pretty well established. I am, in many ways, shocked that the United States is so far ahead of the game on this as compared to us. We only need look at Colorado or California or any other US state that legalised either medicinal or recreational use. It isn't Mad Max out there.

So, I guess you can see that I am very, very pro-full on legalisation for recreational use. I am generally fully behind, at least, the decriminalisation of all drugs. I believe drug use should be treated as a public health issue, not a criminal justice one.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Given the news today, I thought it might make an interesting subject for discussion on here. I had a limit on the number of poll questions I could add, but I do have one more. Should cannabis be legalised for recreational use and taxed, but left in the hands of private businesses to sell? So, have at it! If people could explain the reasoning behind their vote, that would be good.

Edited by SpursRiot2012
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I'm leaning towards making it all legal, but age restricted.  Petty drug crime drops through the floor overnight.  Take some of those police resources and use them to strongly enforce new drug legislation, e.g. very strict laws with regard to selling on to kids, drug driving etc.

Edited by johnnyboy
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16 hours ago, SpursRiot2012 said:

there is no more harm in smoking a spliff than there is drinking a pint

Is that true? It makes sense that 'consuming' the THC in a spliff vs the alcohol in a pint are comparable but surely the smoking element of the spliff is much more harmful than the mixture of sugar, water etc that's in a pint? Our lungs don't respond well to being full of smoke, irrespective of that smoke being from cannabis, tobacco, burning care tires etc.

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21 minutes ago, Chunk said:

Is that true? It makes sense that 'consuming' the THC in a spliff vs the alcohol in a pint are comparable but surely the smoking element of the spliff is much more harmful than the mixture of sugar, water etc that's in a pint? Our lungs don't respond well to being full of smoke, irrespective of that smoke being from cannabis, tobacco, burning care tires etc.

That may be true, actually, but there are so many ways of consuming cannabis that don't include smoking it. The crazy amount of different, awesome sounding edibles in the US, for example. You can also vape. But yeah, smoking anything isn't going to be great for your lungs but we know that isn't the thing holding the government back from legalisation.

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Legalisation will happen, the UK will just be one of the last to do it. As soon as France and/or Ireland legalise & Spain moves from their model of casual decriminalisation to full recreational the flow of products into the UK will force the Government's hand. Plus, after Brexit we'll be scrapping around for anything to bolster the economy & provide jobs. There's only so long the weed £b's can be kept in the black market.

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23 minutes ago, Sergio Mendacious said:

Anyone that smokes/ingests a weed should be shunned.

You laugh, but one boy injected three marijuanas and his brain fell out through his eyes.

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As quite a militant anti-smoker, one of my pet hates is having to walk past or behind someone smoking a cigarette and instantly stinking of fags for the rest of the day. I’m sure this a ridiculously stupid question, but If legalised, could a spliff be smoked in a public place or just at home?

If cannabis is legalised, it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest as people who wish to use it can do so as they please. But the moment I have to walk past someone at the entrance to Morrisons puffing away on a spliff, making me smell of weed, I’ll have a big problem with it.

Anogher huge problem I have is when you see parents with really young children walking along smoking a fag. Those poor kids are probably addicted to nicotein the moment they get to school. Everyone then scratches their head when said children are “difficult” at school (possibly due to nicotine wirhdrawl?), and it would make me quite angry if we start to openly see innocent kids being dragged behind parents smoking a joint.

I’m very naive when it comes to drugs, so any kind and respectful insight into this aspect of it would be hugely appreciated 👍

Edited by scratchdj
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11 minutes ago, scratchdj said:

As quite a militant anti-smoker, one of my pet hates is having to walk past or behind someone smoking a cigarette and instantly stinking of fags for the rest of the day. I’m sure this a ridiculously stupid question, but If legalised, could a spliff be smoked in a public place or just at home?

If cannabis is legalised, it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest as people who wish to use it can do so as they please. But the moment I have to walk past someone at the entrance to Morrisons puffing away on a spliff, making me smell of weed, I’ll have a big problem with it.

Anogher huge problem I have is when you see parents with really young children walking along smoking a fag. Those poor kids are probably addicted to nicotein the moment they get to school. Everyone then scratches their head when said children are “difficult” at school (possibly due to nicotine wirhdrawl?), and it would make me quite angry if we start to openly see innocent kids being dragged behind parents smoking a joint.

I’m very naive when it comes to drugs, so any kind and respectful insight into this aspect of it would be hugely appreciated 👍

I'm pretty sure there are rules in places in the US where it has been legalised that state it can't be smoked around schools and such. In terms of just walking past somebody smoking a joint, that may be unavoidable. I mean, that happens to me on a daily basis already, so making it legal won't make much difference to me on that front.

I'm not sure how much merit there is to your theory that "difficult" kids at school may be suffering from nicotine withdrawal. It's possible, I suppose, but I can't imagine it's that widespread. Also, I really, really doubt that there would be this huge uptick in the number of people smoking or using weed. I think the estimate is about 2.2m users currently in the UK - it's simply about decriminalising those people and taking that profit out of the hands of organised criminals and, preferably, into the Treasury to be distributed to, say, the NHS. I don't think legalisation is going to lead to another million or two people suddenly taking up cannabis. There might be more people willing to experiment with it, sure.

If and when legalisation happens here, my prediction is that there will be rules around where it can and cannot be consumed. In your own home, cannabis clubs (similar, maybe, to the coffee shops in Holland). I don't think it's going to be a free-for-all of weed smoking in the street all over the country (although maybe, on the first day, there might be a lot of it just because).

Edited by SpursRiot2012
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@SpursRiot2012 The whole kids/nicotine thing was quite a flippant remark to be honest, but it’s something my sister suggested a while back.

She works in a school and one of the teachers raised it once. My sister said it was like a penny had dropped around the staff room. Anicdotal, but it’d be interesting if it were something that would be examined and tested one day.

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I'm 100% for full legalisation and regulation. I see no difference between the uses and effects (individually and socially) of illegals and those of today's culturally embedded recreational drugs.  Licenced premises, strict but sensible regulation and quality control, and voluntary implementation of employment policy by businesses. Legalisation won't suddenly create a nation of listless addicts, and may even help with the stigma that comes with drug addiction by making the support of public services available. The economic benefits would be worthwhile, and it would shift of the focus of criminalisation from customers to the sharks and enablers that put abusers and misusers at increased risk. I'm obviously coming from my own background free of drug problems and only positive drug experiences (from weed to party drugs to hallucinogenics, with plans for a proper DMT trip later this summer), but I struggle to see valid negatives to legalisation.

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I'm coming at it from the opposite end of the spectrum, @CavemanLynn. I didn't ever have a problem with weed, but I've certainly had my problems with substances and still do to this day. But I can say with some certainty that bringing drug use and, yes, abuse and dependence out into the open and treating the whole thing as a public health issue, rather than simply either locking people up or shunting them into an underfunded treatment program that has far too much to deal with, with far too little. Imagine the money we could invest in treatment programs if we introduced say, the Portugal model? I'd be willing to bet an awful lot that we'd see a drop in drug use, not a rise. But it'll be a long time coming, I'm afraid.

Anyway, I've gone slightly off topic. Let's get cannabis decriminalisation and legalisation into the political mainstream before we start talking about being actually progressive on drugs. I'd be interested in hearing from those who voted that the current law is fine and should stay the same. Not as an attack, just genuinely interested in the thinking behind that.

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