This topic contains 25 replies, has 22 voices, and was last updated by  swissgal 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #4712

    Crud
    Participant

    California has legalised the selling and growing of marijuana. I’ve long believed we should legalise all recreational drug taking.

    My reasons are:

    Violent crime would fall. There is no way to legally recover debts from selling an illegal substance, so violence to recover debts will fall and turf wars will disappear.

    There is no way to stop people taking them, and we may as well admit that. We’ve been trying for centuries and failed. It’s a natural thing that both humans and animals want to do. Anyone who wants drugs can get them easily.

    Most deaths are caused by contaminated or suddenly over strong supplies (two at a festival at the weekend). Legalisation would allow testing and quality control and, better monitoring of users who cause themselves harm (like leg amputation due to ulceration of the veins in the thigh) by injecting, and reduce deaths.

    It would raise a phenomenal amount in sales and income tax, for activities which are currently done on the black. This should be spent on helping those, like alcoholics and gambling addicts, who can’t use drugs sensibly.

    I realise other people will feel differently, but I came to these conclusions after watching ten years of addicts coming through the courts, it’s not a position I take from naivety. What are your thoughts?

  • #4713

    Luke
    Participant

    The cost of policing it is horrific, I think that would be the main benefit to me. That and the reduction in fly tipping hydroponics, insulation and used growing equipment which has risen sharply in the last five years – the cost of clearance is a huge burden for councils and private land owners to bear.

  • #4714

    EmmaS
    Participant

    Yes drugs should be legalised – for all the reasons you said.

    And if people object to this – well then surely they must think that alcohol should be made illegal, and classified as per illegal drugs? Because alcohol is amongst the most dangerous, addictive and damaging drugs out there.

    We all know that would never work… So why is it different for other drugs?

  • #4715

    troll
    Participant

    I think you raise some valid points.

    We’re all killing ourselves with (and getting taxed nicely on) booze, fags and sugar, I think it is massively hypocritical to criminalise plants.

  • #4716

    EricPoints
    Participant

    Legalise and tax!

    A friend of mine used to say that the best way to deal with illegal drugs was to make chewing gum illegal – then everyone would want some!

    However then I think there should be more provision for employers testing workers who appeared to be impaired in the workplace. Would you want your baby looked after by a Nursery worker who had been smoking cannabis the previous evening? Or your money counted in the bank by someone speeding? (Actually perhaps you would if their error was in your favour). Many of those who drive for a living, for example, already have contracts which allow for testing, it is perfectly workable.

    • #4717

      SAFFY
      Participant

      I completely agree with the legalisation, and regulation of all recreational drugs.
      As far as the workplace, I’m sure that already there are people who are under the influence of drugs, just as there are some who have had alcohol. I don’t know that legalisation would worsen this situation tbh.
      The majority of drivers, for example, don’t turn up to work under the influence, and I don’t believe that would change with a change in law. It would still be illegal to use both alcohol and drugs in that setting.
      As far as cannabis, I am sure when my children were younger, they had days in both nursery and school with a teacher with a hangover, from alcohol. Cannabis doesn’t leave a hangover, as far as I am aware, so between the two, I’d rather see alcohol banned completely.

      • #4718

        EricPoints
        Participant

        It does still impair judgement and spatial awareness, I wouldn’t want someone still under the influence picking up a baby! I agree that a hangover can make people very grumpy and you wouldn’t want someone dealing with young children to be in that state.

        I remember that when I was at High School in the 60s, there were teachers who were known to be drinking in school!

        • #4719

          nev
          Participant

          I only realised as an adult that everybody’s favourite teacher was constantly half-cut. Once you realise what ‘that’ smell is, a lot of things make sense.
          He died a few years ago. My mum spoke to a PE teacher, after his death, who said that they all covered for him, hid him in the girls’ changing rooms and all sorts when the headmaster was making his rounds.
          He was one of those inspirational types of teacher that they make films about, beloved by the freaks and geeks, who brought people out of themselves and gave them a voice, indeed he had the nickname ‘Dad’ and we are all singing the songs he taught us over 20 years later. The day he came in covered in shaving cuts and toilet tissue, we didn’t think anything of it

  • #4720

    ester
    Participant

    Yes, I agree, I think they should be legalised and then controlled and taxed. Though I do believe that there would be ‘illegal’ forms of drugs knocking around that hadn’t been approved, so I don’t think it would solve that issue necessarily. But I certainly think that the current system of criminalising drug takers helps nobody.

    The only sticking point for me would be driving…. Presumably the sensible thing would be zero tolerance, but that would be tricky for people who take them to work out, because you can test positive days or even weeks after taking them.

  • #4721

    lucy
    Participant

    Legalise and tax logic says this the way forward .
    However the thought of having deal with the intense boredom that you have to experiance when you are in the company of people smoking marijuana who are without doubt the most boring people on earth, or having to be in the company of the twitching idiot that is someone on cocaine I could go on but I won’t. This makes me step away from thinking encouraging wider drug use by legalising.
    The saving in the policing costs would quickly be cancelled out dealing with antisocial behaviour and all the assiocated fall out from increased drug use , then they would end up in the NHS injured and stuffing from the mental issues that follows along in the wake recreational drugs use.
    Not sure what the answer is but atm the police mainly seem to turn a blind eye to discreet recreational use and that to me seems the least bad way forward atm.

  • #4722

    dingbat
    Participant

    I don’t think they should be legalised. How would I teach my child that drug taking is wrong if it’s legal? It’s known that that cannabis use leads onto more hard drugs and there’s a big difference between having a cheeky cider in the local park to getting stoned on a daily basis. My nephew rolls a joint as soon as he gets up and thinks it’s as normal as having a cigarette. To me it’s more like having a drink first thing and I’d say it affects his life in the same way.

    The two deaths at the weekend were near where I live. Those kids weren’t smoking joints they were popping pills. Should we be making things like Ecstasy and Heroin legal?

    • #4726

      Ali
      Participant

      How would I teach my child that drug taking is wrong if it’s legal?

      In the same way as you’d teach children other things that aren’t illegal are wrong – such as playing with knives, lying (or at least deception for personal gain), adultery, unkindness, selfishness, binge drinking and other self-harm, riding without a hat, not treating animals with respect, etc. etc.

    • #4735

      chiffchaff
      Participant

      There has been speculation that perhaps if a testing station had been made available, and bottled water had been provided for a reasonable price, those deaths may have been prevented. Yes, we should make all drugs legal, and regulated. Often its not the drug, but the strength and purity that does the damage.
      As far as ‘a cheeky cider’, well, there is a massive problem with young teenagers drinking and becoming out of control, so its not really a valid argument that there ids a huge difference between that and drug taking.
      Drunks have the potential to become violent and aggressive, cannabis smokers, not so much.
      Just as alcohol inhibits an individuals capacity to be productive, so can cannabis. However, just as some can enjoy a cheeky cider, many smoke and hold down jobs, college courses and participate fully in ‘normal’ life.
      I personally know 3 young people who smoke regularly. One is in 2nd year of a college course, 100% attendance, unconditional acceptance for next year’s course, and works part time. The other two, both up at five in the morning, working 12 hr days, sometimes 7days a week. Hardly unproductive! None of them use any other drugs, and two of them are tee total. The one who does drink is the only one with a criminal record (if that can be deemed relevant)

  • #4723

    Ali
    Participant

    Given the apparent success of Portugal’s drug decriminalisation (not legalisation) policy, maybe something similar should be tried here? In any case, I think drug use should be considered a public health issue rather than a criminal one.

  • #4724

    cam
    Participant

    I’m not sure what the answer is. I think we’ve all known ‘stoners’ who are either boring as hell and never seem to hold down a job or the ones whose brains got fried and are now psychotic nutters. Neither option seems great to me and hard drugs are not on my ‘to do list’ as they seem only to lead to misery. I think we’ve all seen blank eyed, toothless zombies and/or manically twitching ones hanging round the grimier shopping centres. It certainly puts me off and if it were legal surely we’d have even more people whose lives are ruined? There again, maybe we wouldn’t? I honestly don’t know.

  • #4725

    dabdab
    Participant

    I’ve thought for a long time that people should have perfect dominion over their own bodies.

    John Stuart Mill wrote:

    That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right.

    A substance should not be made illegal, but people should be able to make an informed decision whether or not to consume it.

    Children are not able to make that informed decision, which is why alcohol and tobacco are forbidden to them.

    It’s almost thirty years since I read Marek Kohn’s “Narcomania”. I ought to re-read, but even without doing so I recommend it. From memory, Kohn argues that unadulterated heroin is nowhere near as dangerous as it is made out to be, and that most of the damage caused to society come from the violence around the underworld producers and distributors and the adulteration that damages the health of the consumers; the damage would be enormously reduced if heroin enjoyed a similar legal status to that of alcohol or tobacco.

    I expect that after a substance is legalized, there may well be a “kid in a sweetshop” reaction, where some people over-consume and cause injury and damage, so maybe there should be a gradual relaxing of the law, accompanied by testing, quality standards, education for citizens and of course taxation of regulated products.

  • #4727

    mutt
    Participant

    The people who want to take drugs are already taking them. I don’t think legalising some will make more people take them.
    I lost a family member to alcohol addiction, a very bright, talented person who turned into a violent monster with drink, who destroyed two marriages, alienated four children and put his mother through hell, as well as pee’ing every penny he ever made up against a wall.

  • #4728

    Jen
    Participant

    If drugs are illegal should we make alcohol illegal aswell?

    I know many people whose lives have been ruined, or at least affected negatively, by alcohol – some of them even in my family.
    In fact, in years gone by, I know I definitely had issues with alcohol. I wasn’t dependent on it, but I was regularly drinking far too much (not just at the weekend – think 2 bottles of wine to myself of an evening) to the detriment of relationships, jobs etc. Thankfully I came out of the other side of it relatively unscathed but others are not so lucky. I know of a mother who had her son taken from her due to alcohol addiction.

    I just do not understand these double standards – alcohol is fine legal, but other drugs are not; why is that?

    Ecstasy is one of the safer drugs – the real killers are alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine. I would even support legalisation of those drugs. Just because something is legal, doesn’t mean you have to do it. I know many people who abstain from smoking or alcohol. As long as there is a robust education system to make sure people are making informed decisions, and a robust healthcare system (which could be paid for from revenue gained from these substances being legalised) then I really don’t see how we could possibly be worse off than we are now.
    If a person wishes to take drugs, they will do so regardless of whether they are legal or not.

  • #4729

    amymay
    Participant

    As a nurse I honestly don’t know what I think.

    I know what I see on a regular basis at work. I see those brought in barely breathing after ODing on heroin, then withdrawing rapidly from the reversal agents. I see horrendous aggression and violent behaviour from some under the influence. I see bodies that appear to be eaten from the inside out. I see desperation for the next hit. I see utterly broken families.

    There are the typical older drugs, the heroin, cocaine, and weed. Then we have the newer MDMA, spice and mambas. They all bring different problems. Would those problems be better or worse with changes in the law, I don’t know, I really don’t. I do wish we saw less of those problems.

    • #4730

      candy
      Participant

      I feel like the newer synthetic drugs are even more dangerous than the old fashioned ones (MDMA excluded – this is just the active ingredient in ecstasy which has been around for years).
      Spice/mamba are extremely dangerous. These newer synthetic drugs are actually products of “traditional” drugs being illegal – they were only developed to get through the loophole in the law of “legal highs” (which of course, are now also illegal). The demand for new “legal” substances wouldn’t have been there if “proper” drugs were legal.

      Perhaps the new stuff would have been developed eventually anyway but it’s undeniable that the reason they were first dreamt up was to try to enable people to get high without breaking the law and being prosecuted.

  • #4731

    Clint
    Participant

    I think the argument for legalising drugs is sound and a lot of politicians agree. But it will be a brave political party who suggests it, knocking on doors of middle class suburbs or crime ridden inner city estates saying you intend to legalise heroin raises some interesting images of likely responses.

  • #4732

    redders
    Participant

    I don’t think making recreational drugs legal will suddenly make everyone take them “responsibly”. People don’t drink alcohol responsibly so why would they behave differently using drugs? Whilst it is illegal only those that don’t respect the law or themselves will carry on making it legal will open a whole new market.

    It would still have to be licensed and policed and standards set on grade / strength etc. like alcohol as how do you know what you are buying? That would make it more expensive than illegal sellers so would it actually stop anything?

    I have seen bad effects of regular cannabis use including psychosis at its worst and at its best sapping any drive that person had turning them into a virtual zombie even if it was only at the weekend. These people kid themselves that it’s not having a negative effect.

    Two young people died taking ecstasy last weekend so hardly harmless.

    • #4733

      Crud
      Participant

      I wonder how many people died as a result of alcohol (either directly e.g. liver failure, cancer or other alcohol induced illness or indirectly e.g. fights, getting run over, dangerous driving) over the weekend.

      I’d say, enough that it wouldn’t make it to the news, because it’s so common that it doesn’t make for interesting news.

      • #4734

        redders
        Participant

        Probably plenty but it hardly justifies the opening up of a wider choice of drugs to kill yourself or others with.

    • #4736

      songbird
      Participant

      I have seen bad effects of regular cannabis use including psychosis at its worst and at its best sapping any drive that person had turning them into a virtual zombie even if it was only at the weekend. These people kid themselves that it’s not having a negative effect.

      Two young people died taking ecstasy last weekend so hardly harmless.

      Arguably those people who smoke weed and lose any drive would probably use drink to the same effect if thats all they had available to them. and many, many people lose weekends and evenings to alcohol. Having witnessed both alcoholics killing themselves over a matter of decades (and what it put their families through) and losing acquaintances in the 90s to heroin abuse that led on from the softer drugs I dont think there’s an easy answer but decriminilising does seemed to have ‘worked’ to some extent in Portugal.

      The UK has a massive drink problem imo-its normalised in the media, even on radio stations aimed at young people (god I sound ancient lol). But for me there’s no difference in why someone takes a drink or takes drugs recreationally-they both make you feel better (rightly or wrongly) in the short term. maybe the question should be why people need to feel better ie self medicating other than just wanting a good time that one day.

  • #4737

    swissgal
    Participant

    There is a very “them” and “us” theme running in this thread.
    I’m going to hold my hand up and say I took recreational drugs, way back in my youth. NOT the likes of heroin, even in my crazy youth I had half a brain… but most of the others. This admission will probably come back to bite me on the bum won’t it? I don’t plan on running for PM any time soon, hopefully it won’t matter too much.
    I dare say there are others lurking on this forum who have also taken drugs. Recreational drug use is far more common than many of you would think. It even still surprises me sometimes, finding evidence of it where I wouldn’t expect it. Drugs being illegal is just plain ineffective.

    Anyway, by far the most damaging drug for me was alcohol. I saw sense and came out of the other side, thankfully. Many others aren’t so lucky.

    As for the two that died at that festival over the weekend, apparently festival staff/organisers turned off the free tap-water stations at the festival and were charging £3.50 for a small bottle of water. That is tantamount to corporate manslaughter in a situation in which they know full well there will be people getting dehydrated – not just from drugs, but from the sheer heat and dancing and alcohol. Yes the responsibility lies with these kids for taking the E’s in the first place, but there is no way that the organisers didn’t know there would people doing so on site, and it is their responsibility to make it as safe as possible for people.

    I actually know people who do not take drugs because of the slavery/violence in the countries that produce cocaine. It’s not as if you can get it with a “Fair Trade” sticker on it, is it? Maybe if it were legalised, it would be…
    the thought of wraps of cocaine with those little fair trade stickers you see on bananas has tickled me more than it should have!

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