Brown pressing the right buttons on cannabis reclassification

Gordon Brown, it appears, is a Daily Mail reader, or at least you could be forgiven for believing it if his recent announcement are anything to go by.

A series of announcements on housing, super casinos, acting tough on the international stage and now effectively reversing Tony Blair's reclassification of cannabis might have been written by the Mail, were the journalists capable of writing something that hadn't already been prepared for them in a Tory press release.

But in this case, as he was over super casinos, Gordon Brown has judged the general public well and is appealing to all those voters in what is called middle England and is at the same time re-assuring those Tories who came over to new Labour in the 1990's that he is a safe pair of hands.

I think I am in general agreement with him over reclassifying cannabis as a category B drug, particularly given the more virulent strains of the drug now available but I hope there will be a fresh look at the problems of MS sufferers and others who are criminalised for taking the drug in order to ease their medical symptoms.

So overall, another really well judged policy from Brown and one which will make it more difficult for "Call me Dave" Cameron to paint Gordon Brown as a dud and someone who is in need of replacement.


a radical writes said...

Fact, you can't directly die from Marijuana (being stoned and doing dumb things can obviously but rarely does)
Fact, Marijuana is far less dangerous to human health than alcohool or ciggarrettes.
these were the findings of a scientific study done under the reagan administration (although the proposals were rejected in order to appeal to white middle america).

legalising cannabis will cut crime and give the police more time towards doing things that actually matter. It is no surprise gordon Brown is so close to daily mail readers as he actually has regular meetings with the editors and owners of that specific paper.

This may be a good move for you but its rubbish for the police and anyone actually affected by it.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I accept that people will disagree with me.

The problem is with skunt and other types of marijuana that are not more directly linked to neurological disorders.

The problem is the policing, which is difficult at the best of times.

It's a difficult area, but I thought it as well that I made my poistion clear so that people could understand any bias in my argument.

Tom Papworth said...

If you ever refer to it as "Skunt" in front of your pupils they're gonna' eat you alive :oD

Seriously, though, I'm not convinced by the link with nurological disorders. There are two problems as far as I can see:

1) Cause and effect: in my experience of people with psychologicial illnesses, their condition drives them to drugs, including alcohol and illegal narcotics;

2) Every time one hears a sad story of a person whose life ended due to cannibis, it quickly transipres that other, harder drugs were involved too. This lead to...

3) The gateway arguement is flawed because one cannot prove a causal link. Most probably drank alcohol and smoked cigarettes before smoking cannibis. Are they gateway drugs? Is hanging around in groups a gateway activity, and should we ban it?

Until a direct, causal link is proven between a drug and health problems, there is no excuse for banning it. Even where it is, I would argue that people have a right to decide what harmful substances they take into their bodies.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Your points are well made Tom, as ever.

Yes, my spelling was poor last night. I was VERY tired.

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem with modern cannabis is that its still illegal to grow your own.

At the moment criminals grow on a massive scale, using lots of chemicals to get the crop ready as fast as possible. I fel that most of the problems with UK cannabis are because of this need to use chemicals to speed up the process.

Try smoking some organic grown weed in Holland and it's a totally different experience.

The solution is to legalise cannabis, take the profits away from criminals and allow people to grow 1-2 plants at home.

Aaron Trevena said...

Sorry Nick - what is your position and bias on this?

There is a proven CAUSAL link between alchohol abuse and psychosis, and equal evidence of a link between alchohol abuse and shizophrenia as a link between cannabis abuse and schizophrenia - i.e. no evidence of cause, plenty of evidence that people with schizophrenia have abused cannabis, alchohol and other drugs before or after becoming ill.

Have you actually read the numerous reports on the impact of criminalisation ? If you had you'd see that Gordon's move was astute politically but morally corrupt in the face of the scientific evidence.

Aaron said...

There is no causal link between cannabis and schizophrenia, and the research into the link at all is skewed by comparing very different social groups (and other issues : http://hashbangperl.livejournal.com/29402.html).

Skunk isn't actually 25 to 30 times stronger at all (http://www.guardian.co.uk/drugs/Story/0,,2041749,00.html) in fact in 1978 you could get skunk as strong as the strongest skunk available now.

David Anthony said...

GB has done a few things that I agree with lately. Cannabis, Casinos, etc...

...but I hate the way he does it with such blatantly 'planted' questions in PMQs.

I thought the era of spin was over! ;)