Saturday, January 07, 2006

talking shite on cannabis

Independent columnist Deborah Orr agrees that the proposed re-grading of cannabis back up to Class B is daft.

She points to the supposed motive for the plan - the mounting evidence that cannabis can trigger psychotic episodes in people predisposed to them - and notes that the link seems to be stronger with skunk than with weaker forms. So she concludes, 'I'd be happy to see skunk and hash given different legal classifications.'

Firstly, there is hash made from skunk that's every bit as strong as the simple herbal stuff.

But ignoring that, let's take the point that the stronger forms are somehow more dangerous. Cannabis users do not toke and toke until it's all gone, they hit a point of feeling high enough. Stronger cannabis means the user uses less cannabis to reach that desired level.

As smoking is by far the most common form of ingestion, weaker forms mean more smoking and more smoking-related ailments, ranging from bronchitis to fatal cancer.

Also, herbal cannabis in plant form cannot be cut with adulterants. Resins and processed products, however, have bulking agents added. I'd readily wager that the paraffin wax and plastic and assorted other crap mixed into resin do more harm than smoking pure resin.

She also challenges the idea of 'no victim, no crime'.

so many people are untroubled by the idea of taking part in illegal acts that they perceive as being damaging only to themselves. (Not true, of course, since the international drug trade is so ruthless and pitiless).

Increasingly, people in the UK are growing their own cannabis. Home growers do not process their crop into hash, that's something for those who want to ship it around the world, the ruthless and pitiless people Deborah refers to. This is another way in which herbal cannabis does less harm.

The trap both she and the Home Secretary have fallen into is the presumption that legalisation implies endorsement and encouragement. This would be no more true of legalising cannabis than it was of repealing the Suicide Act.

When cannabis was decriminalised in the Netherlands, use went down for the following six years. Today, despite our different legislative approaches, Dutch people are approximately half as likely to use cannabis as a British citizen.

Legalisation brings the production and distribution under control, thus eliminating the ruthless pitiless gangs from the picture, and the toxic adulterants from the product.

Prohibition increases the damage done by recreational drugs and completely fails at all of its stated objectives.

Even if the evidence of cannabis as a trigger for psychotic episodes in the predisposed does turn out to be absolutely true, it is still no reason to change the legal staus of the drug. As I've said previously;

Millions of us enjoy peanut products every day, but for a few people with undiagnosed latent allergies, peanut use is very damaging, even fatal. There has been a massive increase in peanut allergies in recent years and the government has done nothing, effectively encouraging this dangerous peanut use.

How dare the government be soft on peanuts. How dare these people who use peanuts recreationally - not one of whom truly needs the nuts - want them to be freely available and thus allow those with latent allergies to be exposed to the dire consequences. Pubs and supermarkets across the country are pushing deadly peanuts, profiting from the suffering of innocent children. Those who call for the legalisation of Star Bars and peanut butter M&Ms are calling for peanut-allergic children to fall dead in the playground. Ban these evil peanuts.


Anonymous said...

The whole idea of giving skunk and hash different classifications is flawed.
Yes skunk is higher in THC than hash or natural weed, but if you leave it lying around for long enough, the THC decays. Would it be Class C again then?
Also, hash is lower in THC but higher in the other active ingredients Cannabinol (CBN)and Cannabidiol (CBD). This produces the more balanced high associated with good quality hash. But CBN and CBD are still powerful mind-altering drugs in their own right.
A recent study of UK urban dope growers found that a considerable portion of the domestically produced dope is produced by the same scumbags who cut soap bar with henna, plastic and powdered orphans, so I'd question Merrick's argument there.
Also, production of hash is a noble cultural tradition dating back thousands of years and should not be presented as the handiwork of ruthless and pitiless Dope Peddlars.

Check out the Cannabis Briefing from Kevin Flemen, available as a free download from

merrick said...

Nick, maybe I wasn't clear enough. I didn't say all herbal cannabis
producers aren't beatings-and-guns fuckheads; I said that home growers
aren't. I meant people who grow thier own for their own consumption.

Such people do not involve gangsters, or even the money economy to a
sizeable degree, and as such do very little of anything that could be
called harm.

Yet growing means possessing greater amounts than buying it in teenth
baggies, and if Deborah Orr had her way it'd mean getting a heavier
penalty than for possessing the same quantity of gangster hash.

The point about degrading THC quantity has a further element; when home
growers are raided the police weigh the entire plants which are then given
in court as the amount possessed, even the bits that contain no THC. I'd
like to see anyone smoke the stalks and roots.

Yet the court treats it as if you'd had that weight of premium bud.