back to article Home Secretary goes crazy on drugs... policy

As an example of the brain-gobbling stupidity that affects those who dabble with drugs, you really cannot beat Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's announcement that cannabis is going to be upgraded again, from a Class C drug to a Class B one. This is the sort of drivelling idiocy more normally associated with decades on peyote rather …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Sensible Article

    Nice to see a sensible and balanced article on the subject, it's more than the newspapers and government can manage.

    I've not smoked cannabis in years other than in Amsterdam, they have the system right there. (Go sign, for the right to smoke pot)

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Police Attitude Unchanged

    Still can't see me local plod changing their actual response. They like it when it gives them a convenient excuse to arrest someone so they can see what spills out, but that would be for an associated reason rather than for smoking weed. Remove the weed, warn the pot head, then abscond with weed for later home testing. That will continue to be the state of affairs for possession for the foreseeable future.

    The penguin, cos he is clearly suffering from reefer madness. On the desktop? Your having a laugh.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Hear hear !

    Well said, spliffs are on me !

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And to what purpose? What will actually be achieved by this?

    The nominally left wing labour party will appeal to nominally right wing voters.

    All this gumpf about harm etc, is irrelevant, it's a political exercise designed to appeal to the voters they think are most likely to switch to the tories.

    The only way the 3 million will make an impact is by mass protest, but the demographic they come from means that :-

    - They're stoned, so can't be arsed getting off the sofa.

    - They're young and don't vote anyway.

    - They tend to be left leaning and so loads of them will actually vote for the party that wants to lock them up.

  5. Ben Smith

    Wonderful article

    but sadly it seems with the cannabis debate that no matter how many of us know that the Government stance is pointless nothing will change, regardless of whoever is in power.

    We are doomed to be locked into some sort of "groundhog day" on this issue - futile government action, mild public reaction, nothing changes...we'll still be having this "debate" in 20 years, just wait and see...

  6. Thomas Guymer
    Thumb Up

    Good Article

    Good article, well written and a decent logical argument.

    Keep up the good work.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    @Sensible Article

    Amsterdam...? Oh, you mean the place where they've admitted that a comprehensive strategy is needed to ameliorate the social and personal effects of their previously liberal drugs policy?

    And Tim:

    > That even after you've been found not guilty they still take your money on the basis of an "almost"?

    Read your own article... he wasn't found "not guilty", the verdict was "not proven". If you don't understand the meaning of the "third verdict" under Scots Law, you need to bone up on what is undoubtedly a better legal system than the one that exists in England & Wales.

  8. Spleen

    Excellent article

    The government are lying to us. They are ignoring even the scientists that are in their pocket. And now they are "announcing plans" - announcing plans! - most dictatorships at least pretend subtlety! - denying us the right to a fair trial, plunging us straight back into the Third World.

    All in favour of actually doing something?

    Thought not.

  9. Robin Layfield
    Dead Vulture

    Excellent article

    This is the kind of measured journalism that is making me turn to El Reg for a balanced view of society rather than the beeb or one of the newspapers. Keep up the good work.

    Vulture 'cos it neatly represents where our civil rights seem to be going...

  10. Stuart Morrison

    WARNING: May Contain Nuts*

    *(but no balls, obviously).

  11. Aron A Aardvark

    The govt does not care about you or your health..

    The govt is only concerned with making itself look good. Moving drugs in and out of various slightly arbitrary categories does absolutely nothing to solve any of the problems alleged to stem from Cannabis use. More to the point, most, if not all of the problems arise because Cannabis is illegal but these politicians don't get it. i.e. kids getting hold of the stuff and the lack of QA on the 'product'.

    You know, there is some research that concludes that the mental health problems are not caused by the plant itself but the heavy metals contained in the fast-grow hydroponic kits used by most domestic 'cannabis farms'. Has Smith and rest of these moralising idiots ever looked into that? No way. This whole process is about getting The Facts to fit the conclusion. Screw data that might upset the apple cart.


    Did I hear Smith say that Cannabis is bad cos nasty people are involved in its cultivation and distribution. D'uh Jackie, could it possibly be because decades ago, one of your predecessors decided, without any evidence, to make a friken plant illegal and create all the necesary conditions for a vast organised crime network to take root. But thats good huh Home Sec? Don't hear you talking about them those top level mafia types? Or the massive and sanctioned network that can only exist with tacit official consent to keep the habit well fed. Don't see you hitting out at official corruption Smith. Like I said, it's all about the govt making itself look good.

    If you wanted to stop kids getting it, you'd make it legal. Would anyone seriously suggest we stop kids getting hold of vodka by making it illegal?

  12. b

    Do what though?

    I'm in favour of doing something, but what though?

    Apart from voting for the yoghurt weaving greens which I can do with a clear conscience knowing that Labour will be getting stuffed at the next election.

  13. Nomen Publicus

    Keep prisons drug free - release all the druggies

    If we released from prison all the people convicted of bogus "dealing" charges (these don't need evidence of dealing - if you have sufficient drugs you are resumed to be dealing - apparently the government has never heard of bulk discounf :-) ) there would be space to lock up the occasional terrorist, if we could find any.

  14. Liam
    Black Helicopters


    1 - there are quite a few more people in the cuntry than there used to be - so a % increase cannot be done

    2 - maybe drs KNOW more about psychosis than before - therefore more readily to diagnose rather than chucking someone in the nut-house

    3 - stress levels are wayyyyy up over the last few years - a massive contributer to any mental illnesses

    4 - weed DOES give paranoia... but what type of paranoia? mine has only ever been that i might get raided... therefore the LAW creates paranoia rather then the drug itself (fear of being caught)

    5 - you hear it in the news all the time.. some youths who have been drinking and smoking cause some trouble. weed is blamed! erm... hello... they also drank alcohol (stella and vodka NEVER EVER seen youths drinking alcopops!!!), which is proven to cause bad behavior - weed itself would just make them sit onthe swings saying 'weeeeee' and giggling

    cannabis has been known to affect a certain low percentage of the populus. these people are boarderline schitzophrenic anyway. the same people that will probably be violent on alcohol etc

    the problem with classing pot the same class as amphetamines (which i think are still class B) is that people think they offer the same danger. years ago far more people were hurt from speed than e - yet one was B one was A - totally illogical. surely all class B's are the same danger???? </sarcasm>

    and surely shouldnt Jacqui Smith now be charged? i mean if i can get done why cant she? they are looking at charging amy winehouse for something she did in the past? surely an MP guilty of a crime deserves to be punished too? surely the same with all the other politicians too?

    and i will also let you know that pot ISNT any stronger than pot was 15 years ago. you could still get northen lights and hydro weed back then - NL having well above 20% THC.

    also hasnt anybody raised the issue that homegrown is MUCH better for you physically than resin? resin was often re-blocked with vinyl and other shitty plastics (i know, i used to know the people that did it!!! thats why i stopped smoking resin about 10 years ago!)

    also sinsemilla is just weed with no seeds, that has not been germinated! thats it! if you get seeds the person growing knows fuck all about what they are doing! (erm... remove the male plants asap!!)

    i am seriously worried about a government that can force people to behave the way it wants (i.e drinking lots and paying plenty in taxes, getting so pissed you forget gordon and his cronies are gang raping your arse)

    i am also in favour of doing something. but what can we do? protest? thats illegal under our gov :( send the PM and email? (so they can bust me or think of some trumped up charges? or think im brazillian and have an accident?)

    i just dont know where to go on this one!

  15. Dean

    Let's pick on someone

    GORDON: "Quick, we've lost voters. We need to pick on somebody quickly to prove we're strong!"

    JACQUI: "We've already put the boot in on car drivers, drinkers, fatties and smokers"

    GORDON: "Not all the smokers..."

    JACQUIE: "Time for a U turn?"


    JACQUI: "I don't know who we're going to pick on next time"

    GORDON: "There's always someone...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stronger, better weed...

    ... means it costs more to buy. You pay for the quality.

    When you're buying 1/8 at £30 of the green herb, you tend to calm down on the amount you put in. Kind of like buying a bottle of Glenfidich or Lagavulin; you wouldn't shovel it down your neck like a bottle of Tesco Paint Thinner.

    Having said that, though, the people who say that "skunk" is more potent than resin are talking out of their ass; Take them over to The 'Dam and get them a portion of Moroccan Black.

    That one dude who died of smoking ganj has a lot to answer for... Idiot.

  17. Wize

    Ban tobacco

    Well, they are claiming a bit of blow is a lead in to harder drugs, so smoking B&H is a lead in to smoking mary jane.

    The one with the packet of fags and skins in the pocket.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    I'm living in Amsterdam and let me tell you the streets are just littered, LITTERED with the bodies of people who have been smoking lethal varieties of weed...

  19. Geoff Johnson

    How much did they pay for the advice they then went on to ignore?

    And can I have that much of my tax back please.

  20. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Comment rejection note

    Folks, I'm personally totally with you in your lack of warm feelings for the Home Secretary, but if you could find creative ways to lambast her that stop a mite short of fervent wishes for bad things to befall her, I won't have to reject them and the debate can rage on.

    I do hope she doesn't get what she would like for Christmas, though.

  21. Anonymous Coward


    So are the government trying to get the message across that amphetamines and barbiturates are no more dangerous than cannabis?

  22. Tim Worstal

    Sarah Bee

    Umm, could you email me privately those very interesting things that they are suggesting for the Home Secretary? One blog has already argued for the use of especially sharpened cockroaches (!?) and I'm just wondering if readers here are even more inventive?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tough on things that are easy to get tough on...

    Tough on the things that are easy to get tough on.

    Tough on the causes of the things that are easy to get tough on.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Distinctly nonplussed...

    Very disappointed about the government's decision. How can we trust them to make any common sense decisions if they have messed this one up.

    I wish they'd just legalise it actually (i'm sure I'm not the only one). With all that fuss about skunk being strong. Skunk is all you can get these days. If it was more like Amsterdam you'd be able to have a choice of weed. I prefer a nice mellow herb or hash, but all I can get currently in the UK is skunk.

    Not that I'd vote for Labour anyway, but I have even less respect for them now.

  25. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Sarah Bee

    Ah, it wasn't that interesting, Tim. Just violent. Actually I have to say it represents one of my own worst fears, but fortunately I live in a ground floor flat.

    I think fleas would be a good start. Maybe bedbugs. They're pretty nasty beasties.

  26. Stephen Adam
    Thumb Up

    Awsome article

    Couldn't agree more, was kinda pissed off and resigned when I heard about this but now i'm ANGRY!

    It really makes no sense and is cheap points scoring, what realyl sucks is the Tories are backing them on this.

    When will this damn drug war be over!!

  27. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Tough on things that are easy to get tough on...


  28. Anonymous Coward

    @AC (and I'm staying that way too)

    "Amsterdam...? Oh, you mean the place where they've admitted that a comprehensive strategy is needed to ameliorate the social and personal effects of their previously liberal drugs policy?"

    Oh yeah.. and nothing to do with the Shiny Tory Tits who are in charge here now, since anti-immigrant racism now gets you votes here in Holland.

    They hate the fact that this policy has manifestly worked,the only place it has failed is in their heads; so through the inexorable process of spin they are trying to manipulate people around to their view of the 'facts'.

  29. Pete

    If mental illness has increased under this government...

    Shouldn't we be locking those bastards up?

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Re: heavy metals

    @Aron, Firstly your average garden center compost will contain vastly more heavy metals then even the cheapest hydro nutrient.

    When you grow with soil/compost most of the water used evaporates from the soil surface. The reason people grow with hydro is simply that it uses less water for the same yield. Less water = Less money on nutrients = more profit/cheaper own smoke.

    The really troublesome growers fill a three bedroom house, lining the floor with plastic sheeting, and dumping *Compost* directly on the floor, then enslave/pay some poor sod to be a human watering can.

    Secondly, almost every tomato/cucumber/lettuce/etc that you've bought in the last 10 years from a UK supermarket will have been grown with hydro methods, (organic, my aunt fanny).

    There does seem to be some evidence to suggest that heavy metals are widely present in the populations food supply, however no-one has yet suggested that you can ingest them via smoke inhalation.

    Hydro is not the problem, the illegality of production is the problem.

    A previous poster has it spot on, people self medicate with weed, not to mention it's easier to arrange an appointment with a dealer than a doctor.

    As an example, I once accidentally put a 3" nail through the fleshly part of my thumb, I rolled a small strong joint, smoked it, had a vodka shot and pulled the nail out with my teeth, bandaged it and went about my day. Total time from fsckwit to fixed 15mins, A & E waiting time, well you get the point.

    Anon as at work.

    Tux because you know he likes a toke

  31. Mono Ape

    Amsterdam spin...

    (one of the) Anon Cowards: "Amsterdam...? Oh, you mean the place where they've admitted that a comprehensive strategy is needed to ameliorate the social and personal effects of their previously liberal drugs policy?"

    Perhaps your evidence-free assertion has something to do with the localised problems in Amsterdam where a large quantity of the planet congregate in order to smoke a joint in peace? Problems exacerbated by the lure of prostitutes and low level crims who congregate to take advantage of all those stoners? Or maybe the problems in Amsterdam are just a problem relative to the rest of chilled out Holland?

    Excellent article which shines a bright light on the political expediency at play here. The science-free, Daily Mail thinking of Smith+Smith and dishonest justifications are all we expect, know and love from the average vote-grubbing politician.

    When do we get to vote them out?

    P.S. Can The Reg add a doobie icon to the post selection?

  32. Stuart

    The other side

    I do not smoke weed or fags and probably never will, they are just not my cup of tea, but strongly disagree with the government on this one. I think the biggest dangers from weed come from the lack of control in both production and retail. Having no guarantees that it hasn't been cut with something dodgy or that your dealer might decide his 0% finance package suddenly expired would be of far more concern to me.. Legality and therefore control would (in my opinion) greatly reduced the dangers associated with Canabis, making the numbers of those negatively affected by it drop even further below that of alcohol.

    Also you hear a lot of talk about the path from soft to hard, from weed to heroin but again I don't see canabis as being the problem... Using the same logic you could ban football - If you play football as a child and have some friends who enjoy it then you might end up going to a game and then the next thing you know you in the middle of a scene from football factory..

    I do not know how you get to see this side of the argument but I hope one day somebody works it out before it's too late.

    Well done Tim for voicing some of the lesser heard points of the great canabis debate!

  33. Chris Lovell

    And Gordon wonders...

    ...why Labour took such a hammering at the polls recently?

    It's precisely this kind of policy twaddle that's making me ponder emigrating.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Last I heard...

    Seroxat (the 'anti'-depresent) was responsible for more people than that committing suicide per year.

    Somewhere around 15% of those that take it suffer from depression so bad they start self harming, and around 2% kill themselves, if my memory serves correctly.

    Now that's some statistic... Doctors still prescribe it when to quote bill hicks "marijuana shouldn't be legalised, it should be MANDATORY" as taking life a little less seriously would stop half these people requiring anti-depressants in the first place.

    And don't get me started on the long term affects of other drugs doctors hand out like candy... But to name a few;

    Ritalin - highly addictive, taking a child off this drug often leads to suicide (shown in under 8 year olds!!!!)

    Co-codomol - highly addictive, responsible for reciprocal pain where the actual pain has stopped but a requirement for more painkiller occurs, because the user feels ghost pains.

    Prozac - sends women nuts after a while, especially during times of bleeding.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course the Tories are backing them

    Labour, Tories. Same politics, different snouts.

    What we need to do is stop voting for the same snouts year on year. Let's start with four years of Tory then switch for four years of lib dem, then maybe just maybe labour will be fit for four years. It's like the saying goes, politicians are like nappies. Both need changing regularly for the same reason.

  36. Elmer Phud


    I feel sorry for those who started smoking dope and got addicted to nicotine. But one is highly addictive, can bring on deadly diseases and collects huge amounts of tax while the other doesn't do any of those things and is shat on by HM Gov inc.

    It'll drive me to drink - let's see, Tesco are doing bogofs this week on booze.

    Shouldn't there be some form of test before people apply to become M.P.'s?

    (No, not an IQ test as that's no indication of intelligence) Or is it a case of leaving one's balls outside if you want to 'be someone' in the party.

    Bunch of two-faced piss-heads.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Sensible Article - RE: Not Proven

    OK, I'll bite.

    Not proven = not guilty.

    Although not proven and not guilty are different in perception, in actuality they are technically the same thing - being both not actually guilty and not allowing for a re-trial under double jeopardy rules.

    In more detail, not proven means there is not sufficient evidence of guilt to find guilty but also not sufficient evidence of innocence to find not guilty.

    Now, do I need to remind you of the guilt beyond all reasonable doubt in order to be guilty bit?

    So in summary:

    not proven = not guilty. This may not be the same as "not guilty" but it is definitely *not* "guilty"

    So, you get your assets seized on teh basis of not being guilty of an offense. Be afraid, be very afraid.

  38. Peter W


    an article I agree with by Tim Worstall.

    What gets worse is the sheer stupidity of Labour putting this into place when Labout normally get the majority of youth votes: ie, they're putting policies in place that hurt their constituency and will lose them votes.

    Not only stupid scientifically and morally but also politically. Bravo Jacqui & Gordon! A triple own goal!

  39. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Never trust a junkie

    Er, no, Chris, sorry. You can't call her that out loud. Try again.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Class B

    It seems madness to me for the governemt to reclassify canabis to a class B. C'mon Mr Brown GHB is less harmfull than canabis (yet only a class C). Tell that the 19 year old date rape victim.

    If it is because of the harm caused then why are cigerattes and alcohol not classified in the same way. Surely they both should be Class A, as both of these drugs are contributers to the deaths of millions every year. How many deaths has cannabis be contributaory factor?

    We need to follow Hollands lead on the whole drug situation and have 2 classes, hard drugs and Soft Drugs. Hard being things like Alcohol, cocaine, heroine (the really bad ones) Soft like Mushrooms, canabis etc.

    Following their lead will free up thousands and thousands of police hours leaving them free to catch the real criminals like those diving 33mph in a 30mph limit.

  41. Risky
    Thumb Down

    Tally-ho all over again.

    Standard Gov Behaviour

    1. Order report from emminent experts

    2. Wait for them to report

    3. Check the focus groups/polls

    4. Do whatever you want and ingore the report.

    Same as for hunting as I recall.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    utterly bang on

    this article is so spot on i salute you el reg. someone needs to get that stupid little woman out of office - in fact the whole government needs to go as well as all the opposition parties. i love you el reg for saying so succinctly how it really is.

  43. Liam
    Black Helicopters


    @ Re: heavy metals

    "When you grow with soil/compost most of the water used evaporates from the soil surface. The reason people grow with hydro is simply that it uses less water for the same yield. Less water = Less money on nutrients = more profit/cheaper own smoke."

    wrong! hydro uses MAYYY more water actually (ive grown in both) and to be honest i find soil much easier to grow in and only slightly less yielding! plus hydro usually have annoyingly noisy pumps. they also use WAYY more nutes. growing in soil a plant (v big one) needs about 3 litres every 2 days. also you can go away for a few days with soil and plants dont die - if the hydro setup needs water your plants die v quickly as they rely on the hydo keeping the roots moist and oxygenated

    also - organic CAN be hydro. its just the nutes you use. there are plenty of nutes that have organic NPK in them.

    i can tell you that the weed grown in soil is no worse than hydro - if you know what you are doing. 3 plants do me and the mrs very well :) i also grow different varieties, its always nice to have some very mellow weed as well as some 'skunk' (pfft) such as northern lights thats a bit more mongy. my personal pref is for strains lower in THC - then i can smoke more doobies :)

    as mentioned above - if this was all legal you can go and buy/grow mellow strains like FLO (well worth a try :)) as its very mild and more like resin from old (giggly not rooted to the couch). the problem is if you were to grow commercially (and i will point out that i dont sell ANY of mine...) you would go for the Northern Lights and other high yielding strains - not caring about the strength, unfortunately NL and blueberry etc are high in THC

    also, the fact i smoke weed means im a nicotine addict :( i have tried smoking pure weed, bongs etc (no tobacco) but the lure of a joint brings you back (smoking lots of pure joints isnt good m'kayyy :). now, if i could grow a 3% strain (easily done if i could setup a lab or something) i could smoke that pure and dump the tobacco :)

  44. Maliciously Crafted Packet

    Too much money involved?

    Could it be that there is too much money being made out of keeping cannabis and other drugs illegal? And some of that money is finding its way to those in power.

    That's the only explanation I can think of for the current status quo.

    Nothing else makes sense.

  45. Eddie

    I wonder..

    Back a few years ago, Larry Flynt threatened to publish all details he had on Congressman's sexual indiscretions if the impeachment of Bill Clinton for his shenanigans with Monica Lewinsky went ahead (I don't know if he followed through on this though)

    It would be fun to start a register of all known MP tokers - to join Jacqui "few spliffs" Smith, Boris "tried cocaine but I sneezed, and yes there were a few joints" Johnson (both personal admissions, so nothing actionable there), David "I had a normal student life" Cameron.

    As for Gordon Brown - well would you sell anything to a student that looked like this?

    Skull, to represent my solidarity with this governments view on lethal herbs....

  46. Anonymous Coward


    This is nothing to do with the dangers of the use, if it was then the Government wouldn't be ignoring their advisors. This is purely pandering to readers of the Daily Mail and Daily Express.

    Mine's the jacket with a henry in the pocket

  47. Anonymous Coward

    El Reg talks Sensi

    Mine's the one with the ripped packet of blue Rizla in the pocket.

  48. Squits

    I've said something about this before.

    I was once depressed, doctors pills = bad, you can't enjoy anything, I quit work twice and had nearly ten years off so far through depression.

    Things are much better in my head now because of Mary, stopped me drinking myself into an early grave to be honest.

    So weed is a bad thing because it saved this life.

    /Real life

  49. Danny Silver badge

    Prisons are Junky Factories

    I've heard this both from prisoners and prison warders. This government introduced mandatory random drug testing for prisoners. Cannabis is easliy detected for weeks after by these tests but prisoners can clear signs of heroin from their bodys the next day. This has turned a herbally self-sedated prison population to become junkies.

    I know one prisoner who was imprisoned for having a tiny amount of cannabis, and who never used hard drugs outside, who became a junky due to this testing. He says now if he is released he will have to turn to petty crime to fund his habit so is expectant of spending most of his life in prison. He is typical rather than atypical.

    This governments drug policy seems designed to create as big a market for Afghanistans main export as possible. The old Dutch policy of tolerance was the best but mainly suffered because it was one country in isolation.

    Ten years ago Amsterdam did have a large junkie population but mainly immigrants from other developed countries who were junkies before they arrived. They traditionally support themselves by stealing bikes and reselling them for a pittance on Junky Bridge. If someone steals your bike, just go to Junky Bridge and buy it back for 25 guilders or whatever that is in Euros. It was a minor inconvenience compared to being mugged in Scotland for cash for a fix. Dutch people smoked less dope than here and the only trouble I witnessed was with foreign tourists over indulging.

    I know one schitzophrenic who smokes skunk, but he is the only one and was crazy before skunk arrived here. In the old days the dope we got here was mixed with crap like motor-oil to bulk it out, which must have been causing more serious health problems than skunk does.

  50. Anonymous Coward

    @not proven

    Er, yes: not proven means there wasn't sufficient evidence to prove you did it. It does NOT mean you did it. It means exactly what it says - the crown could not prove its case.

    As for why J Smith is doing this - a combination of Puritanism, a distressingly common trait amongst G Brown's supporters, and naked appeal to the Daily Mail brigade. Sad.

  51. Pete

    Women cry for it...

    Men die for it. Governments lie for it. Reefer madness.

    May the Home Secretary never find a pair of matching socks when she needs them!

  52. Pete

    Weed is addictive

    which is why it usefully feeds an addictive personality. If you have an addictive personality, it is one of the better ways of quenching it, especially if you don't fancy becoming a gym-junkie.

  53. Steve Evans

    I say....

    ...they do a random drug test on the contents of the house... Although they'd have to pick a suitable day with a high turnout.

    How about when they are all voting for this new bill...

    Everyone that votes for the reclassification, go through the green door, roll up your sleeves, then a publicly published hypocrite list comes out the other side.

  54. Ben
    IT Angle


    I can't believe I haven't seen this symbol yet - what is this doing on an IT news site?

  55. Harry Stottle

    The only point Missing from this excellent summary

    is the rather important observation that the authoritarian practices Tim correctly describes are merely following in the well trodden footsteps of the Police State of America.

    In the opening to my chapter on the Drug War I make the following points, which I think Tim's description fully vindicates:

    There are two forms of Cannabis Psychosis. The first is a treatable clinical condition which affects about 3% of the young (largely) male users of the drug who tend to overindulge in their teenage years. Those most at risk are those who have a genetic predisposition to psychosis, particularly if they have inherited two copies of a specific genetic variation. Fortunately, in most cases, if they stop consuming, the symptoms clear up without further treatment.

    The second form causes far more long term damage. It is an untreatable social condition which affects about 25% of those who have never consumed Cannabis. It is a deeply rooted sub-clinical phobia usually triggered by a religiously inspired fear of the liberating effects - in other people - of intoxication. This is often combined with a monomaniacal desire to control the behaviour of other people. The net result is a dangerous form of anti-social behaviour which has produced a form of low level warfare within society between those who wish to consume Cannabis and other recreational drugs and those whose mission in life is to stop them. This warfare - commonly referred to as "The War On Drugs" has been going on since - at least - the 1920s. Here we seek to explore this psychotic behaviour.


    If you want to read the rest, you'll find it minding its own business right here:

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cost of schizophrenia....

    From :-

    "In the UK, in economic terms: some 80 million working days are lost each year at a cost of £3.7 billion; the NHS spends around £1 billion on treatment and personal social services another £400 million."

    So total about 5 billion quid. 3 million tokers have to provide 1667 quid a year in tax or 32 pounds per week. To cover the entire UK costs of schizophrenia from any cause.

    Treatment alone, would come in at 1.4 billion, or 467 a head or 9 pounds per week.

    Of course this doesn't take into account the money saved from the reduction of illness and injury from lowered alcohol consumption.

    Seems fairly plausible given how cheap the base product is....

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    > Labour, Tories. Same politics, different snouts.

    Same New Insect Overlords pulling the strings, changing the puppets over from time to time. WHO ARE THEY? And HOW TO BE RID of them?

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Either way, if you use mind altering drugs including booze it just means that you can't enjoy life sober, which sucks for you :D, i smoked and drank everyday for years only ot realise in the end that i was missing out on my own creativity and imagination whilst monotinously following the next high, whatever the government does, Cannabis, Booze, Ritalin etc, they are all just poor excuses for having a real peronsality.

  59. Adrian Jooste

    If society is in any real danger from this "lethal" drug...

    ...then why has no change been made to the punishment for those distributing this evil menace to society? I thought the idea of fighting drug related crime was to bring the source down. This change has so many hypocritical holes in it that even stoners can see the fundamental flaws it has. How can they make 24hr liquor licensing legal and then do this is to Mary J after all the deaths and hospital visits we know alcohol causes in this country every day?

    Luckily I've got a trip to the 'Dam at the end of this month. Anyone else going to PinkPop? The grass IS greener on the other side!

  60. Steve

    Re: Re: Never trust a junkie

    So, Sarah, if we can't call her a junkie, can I call her an "ignorant, disingenous, authoritarian douche who would be of far more use to the country if someone nailed her face to a tree"?

    It might also be going to far if I called her an "intellectual whore who will lie to your face and endager your life and liberty with her desperate schemes to retain power"?

    Fortunately, those are both speculative questions rather than statements so I don't believe they are libellous.

  61. Chris Miller

    Not entirely stupid

    While I agree with the main thrust of the article, I think there is a case to be made for the confiscation of assets gained (prima facie) through illegal activity. Criminal law (quite rightly) demands a very high standard of proof before a 'guilty' verdict can be passed - 'beyond a reasonable doubt', often said to equate to 98%. Civil law operates on the balance of probabilities, 51% is more than good enough.

    Now, if someone has a stack of money with no reasonable explanation of where they (legitimately) could have obtained it, and can be shown to have probably (>50%) been involved with highly profitable illegal activities, I can see no reason why the state should not be able to confiscate their ill-gotten gains, even if there is insufficient evidence to bring a criminal case. We already see this where those found not guilty of murder or other violent acts are being pursued for damages in civil cases.

    PS Nothing here to worry Sarah, 'cos I can't think of a worse fate than being Jacqui Smith.

  62. Matthew

    Wrong Tim!

    I think you'll find that rather than "Toryite social paternalism", as Labour has been in power for waaay too long, this is "Labour Nanny Statism".

  63. Danny Silver badge

    @Kirk and MCPacket

    >Either way, if you use mind altering drugs including booze it just means that you can't enjoy life sober, which sucks for you :D

    You LOL at the thought of someone elses life sucks ? Proving the only person nastier than an addict is a reformed addict

    Most mornings I pull on a pair of trousers, but I'm not really addicted to trousers. I can still experience pleasant trouserless mornings.

    Dope is addictive in the same way chocolate is addictive or sex is addictive, not the same way alcohol and nicotine are addictive. The strongest skunk in the world has far fewer health risks, societal damage or mind-warping effects than the cheapest whisky. Yet one is legal and taxed and the other is emblazoned on footballers clothing. Straight people are crazier than stoners.

    In answer to 'Maliciously Crafted Packet' wondering if money is behind dope being illegal, yes it is. The legislation was introduced after lobbying by the timber and cotton industries which viewed hemp as a commercial rival. Read the history or listen to Jello Biafras 'Grow More Pot' from his album 'I Blow Minds For a Living' ( he is not a smoker himself ).

  64. Ash

    Thank you

    For providing a rational (a dirty word in politics it seems) analysis of Cannabis reclassification. The most frustrating thing for me is that the two main parties are both advocating the same thing, this country is fucked :(

  65. Anonymous Coward

    Dutch Coffee Shops

    Just for the record my favourite Dam shop - please feel free to share your own.

    The Dampkring you can google it, lovely place for a coffee or a orange juice and a fine selection of weed and solids. Some of the most expensive solids I have seen in Dam we are talking EU30/gram if my hazy memory is anything to go by. The solid stuff here blows NuLab argument about "skunk" out of the water. What I don't get is that they were happier with "soap" that amalgam of rubber tires, diesel, plastics and some actual resin that used to be sold in vast quantities in the UK 15 years ago. That shit was highly toxic, but obviously class C as it rarely even got you stoned, just left you with a throbbing head ache.

    All those planning a Dam trip (I am a canal!) you now can't buy a beer in a coffee shop, but the mushrooms are still worth the assault on your sanity.

    @Kirk Bannister - or maybe an indication that you have an addictive personality and need to be aware that you have a preponderance for over doing things. Hey, some people have no awareness of moderation. Just as liking a beer doesn't make you a drunk, having a spliff does not make you a druggy. Anyway, whoever told you "you have a personality now?" may have been lying. Or is this a subjective assessment ? If so, what score did you give yourself and what were the positive elements you drew from this review? What were the negatives ?

    Tux .. cos I saw him in there, he had this huge spliff and a very small coffee. Hmmmm ?

    For sure it was him, can't miss a penguin in a coffee shop.

  66. Eugene Goodrich

    Welcome to America.

    Where it's already _exactly like this_.

  67. Liam


    @ JonB

    im confused... do you expect me to pay for all the schitzos out there? wtf? for all you know the % that smoke herb is probably quite low..

    so as a person who probably has a drink occasionally how many millions are you paying for all the alchohol related problems?

    i might have gotten the wrong gist (and i apologise if i have) but to speculate that potheads should pay for all the mental deficients out there is just ridiculous.

    @ kirk

    "they are all just poor excuses for having a real peronsality." - let me tell you mate - a lot of the potheads i know are some of the largest characters ive ever known - and we are generally very amiable people (compared to people who drink daily) :)

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    So if it was guns and not cannabis

    So, 3 million hand gun owners, partake in a little shooting (paper targets,grey squirrels,seagulls - you know, nothing offensive) that'll be OK. When 480-odd go postal and start shooting humans is the government going to say 'well, it's only 0.0013 per cent of gun owners so we wont ban hand guns' or are they going to do a typical knee-jerk reaction and ban everyones pleasure ?

    Same as cannabis, it's all fine and dandy until someone drives over a baby whilst under the influence of cannabis then it all goes pearshaped.

    Won't somebody please think of the children.

    Paris, cos she's thinking of children

  69. peter

    The usual

    If only the Labour Home Secretary would take notice of the rising GHB/GBL problem, according to the EU EMCDDA report on GHB and one of it's precursors GBL the sale is steady at around 3-7% of illicit drug use.

    GBL is sold legally in the EU for cleaning chrome, car wheels, part of nail care products but metabolises into GHB once drops are ingested. The conversion rate and the short time for testing , (around 18 hours for urine, 8 for blood is the time limit for detection) mean it can be used as a date rape drug the same as GHB or a recreational drug because it basically is GHB. The human body does the chemistry.

    Even the UK ACMD report on "Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault" which includes all drugs such as alcohol, says as the first point.

    1) A proposal for the ACMD to examine measures for restricting the availability of

    gamma butyrolactone (GBL) and 1, 4-butanediol.

    Although nobody needs "1, 4-butanediol" when most sales according to the BBC in Dec 2007 are now GBL instead of GHB so the market is using it straight.

    Gallons of GBL can be purchased easily and resold for a massive profit, the lack of joined up thinking with the Home Secretary on cannabis and failing to follow the advice given, will I hope not be the case with GBL.

    Let's get industrial chemists to add dyes, unpleasent tastes and smell and even cause vomiting and nausea to people who try to ingest GBL or use it to commit date rape, sexual abuse and so on.

    Of course this involves some work, not just talking to journalists over coffee while completely ignoring the advice of those who have worked hard to provide a clear report such as ACMD, EMCDDA etc.


  70. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Re: Never trust a junkie

    No, Steve, that wasn't the word I nixed your comment for. Doesn't offend me but can't put it up here.

  71. Anonymous Coward

    Re: I've said something about this before.

    Exactly the same situation here, tried prozac, tried seroxat (horrible), tried lithium, jus tmade me numb (No emotions. Ever.), which after a little while is worse than depression.

    During this time I lost all my friends, dropped out of school, destroyed my relationship with my parents, became an alcoholic and one day cut both my wrists.

    Anyway, you can appreciate this wasn't the happiest chapter in my life.

    Long story short, I tried cannabis. It was like a veil had been lifted, I felt happy for the first time in a long time. Anyway, I became something of a regular smoker.

    I got my social life back, kicked the booze, made up with my parents, got a decent job, and have considered myself a happy person ever since. I now smoke maybe two or three spliffs a week, and though I rather enjoy it, don't imagine I'll be a smoker much longer.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >im confused... do you expect me to pay for all the schitzos out there?

    No, I was observing that a relatively low level of tax would comfortably pick up the tab for all the damage that is claimed.

  73. Danny Silver badge

    @Peter - Drugs as weapons

    Adulterating GHB and GBL aren't the solution as it would still be dangerously incapacitating. There is already the technology to prevent date-rape crimes:

    So if the government can introduce legislation criminalising millions of citizens, why can't it legislate to force clubs and pubs to provide these coasters to stop the genuinely horrific and widespread crimes ?

  74. Ishkandar

    @Tim Worstall - Re. Nut allergy

    The message - May contain nuts - does NOT have sufficient coverage !! E.g. it is not clearly displayed in both the Houses of Parliament !! Or the National Union of Teachers, either !!

    @So if it was guns and not cannabis >>until someone drives over a baby whilst under the influence of cannabis<< I DO NOT condone cannabis but this statement is too extreme to let pass without comment.

    What is the percentage of babies killed by skunked drivers compared to those killed by drunk drivers or those killed by joy-riders ?? Or those killed by drivers smoking or using a mobile phone while driving ??

    I know Jacqui Smith resembles a lobotomised rabbit but she does not have to act like one !!

  75. Jason Lane

    To much time?

    Is all this pointless, farcical, inane policy making just a confirmation that this government has way too much time on their hands?

    Keep 'em fucking busy ACTUALLY running *gasp* the country to a decent level and may be, just may be they will stay out of meddling with our lives.

  76. Sean Aaron

    Sounds like another page from the US lawbooks...

    Seizure of assets of dealers upon arrest without benefit of conviction in the States is pretty much SOP now along with jail sentences for multiple possession arrests that make 5 years look like a gift.

    Read "Reefer Madness" by Schlosser (the man who brought us Fast Food Nation) for a preview of where we could be heading if the UK continues to ape the worst policies of the USA...

  77. Anonymous

    I'm an expat currently living in the Netherlands, and the rest of the world's drug laws has me shaking my head. Most Dutch don't even smoke the stuff. Outside of Amsterdam the coffee shops more like small pool halls. Smoking weed is just an unremarkable thing that some people do.

  78. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Do they or don't they? Does it or doesn't it?

    Do the Tories, Lib Dems and Others support reclassification? And does the proposal require a vote to carry it?

  79. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    "Buggered if I know ..."

    Same goes for me. But full marks to Gordon "I really will listen to the electorate" Brown and his team for demonstrating exactly what he thinks listening means. Then again, it's just a continuation of a long line of ludicrous policy so no one should be really surprised, or popular vote appears to have them firmly dumped in third place.

    Pars : Better looking and far brighter than Brown. I'm sure she'd do no worse at running Britain than New Knee-Jerk Headline-Seeking Labour does.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Same as cannabis, it's all fine and dandy until someone drives over a baby whilst under the influence of cannabis then it all goes pearshaped.

    Won't somebody please think of the children."

    Yes, because nobody ever hurt another person by drving drunk, and we banned alcohol all that time ago....

    It's called self control and common sense. Don't drive on any drug, if you do then you deserve jail.

    Weed should be legalised, regulated and taxed like booze.

  81. Matthew Hale

    5 years? Oh no!

    Ooooh....guess we should all stop then! Ahahaha.... Right. Like before, I wasn't worried about being arrested by a police force comprised largely of individuals who didn't go out of their way to enforce the law on this issue anyway. Secondly..

    5 years not 2... Wow. So what, I was up for the idea of being locked up/bed and breakfast for two years (Fuck, may as well get SOMETHING in return for all that tax I've paid to line the pockets of these vipers and thieves over the years - I don't consider bombing tinpot third world countries as a return) but FIVE years?? Oh shit, you know what, I think I'd better stop... After all, I don't want to get locked up for FIVE years. But two was FINE. Yea....Mmmmkay....

    Also, for the record, if you are just break the law for thrills, then it's probably worth getting drunk and mowing a few people down on the road - you'll probably only get a fraction of the sentence you will receive for being in posession of the `lethal` skunk (

    ). Do these people ever breed outside of their own shallow end of the genetic pool? Is that what makes them so retarded? Really, what is it with these zealots?

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a proposal...

    In light of claims that the number of admissions to mental hospitals has risen by 85% under Labour, I propose we upgrade Labour to class B with immediate effect.

  83. trackSuit

    Yo Homie, spark another 'Owl

    What Pearls of Wisdom are these, if ignored? Police unhappy, numerous voters annoyed - 'owls of protest. Is that the way Forwards and what Purpose will this law / lore be For?

    The scientists which The Prime Minister and his chosen Home Secretary have chosen to ignore are professionals and people of good faith. Why ignore them? Better their opinion than that of a 'dis'-ingenuous lobby-group/thinkTank or dodgy 'paid to prove' type Pseudo Scientist. Or would you beg to differ?

  84. Schultz Silver badge

    Dangerous Britannia

    Uncounted thousands of terrorists and millions of drug criminals

    ... It's fun to watch from the other side

  85. Pete

    Sober/straight people don't cause crashes

    I worry about the babies run over by people who are neither drunk nor stoned.

    Surely the penalty should be far more harsh for sober/straight people, I mean what excuse have they got for their actions?

  86. Danny Silver badge

    @Pete again - On behalf of the Dutch tourism board

    There is Scottish comedy show with a regular sketch where someone confesses to the most awful deeds to everyones horror. Then they suffix the statement with 'but I was drunk' and suddenly everyone laughs as dismisses the offence.

    It works the other way around in the Nederlands. After trying to acclimatise myself socially one evening, I went into work the next day with severe red-eye, at the poshest employer on earth. The dutch aren't diplomatic at all so I was asked to explain why my my eyes looked like roadmaps. I explained to my boss I get bad hayfever, to which he replied 'Ah, yes. The hay is very strong here'. The trick to staying employed is not giggling.

    Do you all realise if you take a job that has been advertised in the Nederlands for the past six months then you don't have to pay any tax ? I didn't until I worked with people who did and so earned twice as much as me.

    Something else, they don't put points on driving licences you just get fined or imprisoned. The Dutch made me change my British driving licence for a Dutch one, which meant when I came back to the UK and got that replaced I had lost my 9 penalty points.

    Last top tip. The very best dope in Europe is found in the outskirts of Amsterdam and in the provincial towns, and only in Moroccan coffeeshops, and it is genuine Moroccan keef. It is not necessarily the strongest per Euro or gram but it is the best dope hit you will ever have. It is the sort of dope and the sort of location that requires you are accompanied by someone you trust who is straight. It won't make you try to fly out of a tall window, but it has been known to make you want to try to swim home. I rigorously tested them all, and the single best coffee shop is a subterranean Moroccan run cafe in Utrecht. It is so good I can't remember it's name.

    I heart Alkmaar.

  87. luke
    Black Helicopters

    Excellent article

    ... looks like the facts speak for themselves.

  88. Richard Hebert

    Just legalise

    Imagine the drop in criminality if the gov instead of trying to throw us

    all in jail would instead sell us the stuff ..

    Can you see the new roads , schools and additional health care

    funding ? ...

    I certainly can .. heck .. can't anyone think in government ?

  89. Ign R. Amis
    Thumb Down

    As an American, I'd like to apologize

    Apparently the drug war hysteria that's been so prevalent over here is contagious. I always viewed England as a country that was far more rational than the US (chavs notwithstanding). I guess I was wrong.

  90. Anonymous Coward

    Ultimate hypocracy

    They lied in their manifesto to get elected.

    They cause the death of large numbers of civilians in the middle east,

    They cheat their way to their own party funding,

    They waste billions of pounds of our hard earned money on international projects, while neglecting causes at home that cost a fraction of that amount such as paying teachers, nurses etc a decent amount - they even choose to let the sea consume our coastal regions rather than spend the necessary millions it would take to protect them.

    Now again they will spend the money we pay them to criminalise millions of normal working people who want to unwind with a Joint after a long day.

    It is utterly sickening that the money that this will cost is not being spent on education and rehabilitation instead.

    We are in hard times right now, and the last thing people want to see is things like this consuming government effort and money when there are so many real problems that need addressing. In the face of recent tax changes, it is laughable.

    Once property prices have risen - which probably won't happen until this government is gone, I will leave this foresaken hell hole for pastures new. I am a freelancer and half my clients are oversees anyway.

    I've travelled around and worked abroad - and compared to many countries, this place feels more and more like a facist state, and now it look's like we've truly got the leader to go with it. For a while there at the beginning of the Blair reign, things did feel like they were on the up, but sadly no....

    Fire, because I'm lighting up right now, and because Guy Fawkes had the right idea.

  91. Anonymous Coward


    I think people who think there are no issues with Cannabis and the mind are blinded, and living in a dream world, Theres not just two ends of the scale either "Ive been smoking for 20 years and it hasnt effected me" and people being schizophrenic, The middle of the scale is things like Memory loss and extreme paranoia to name but a few, Dont fool yourself into thinking its a harmless drug because your not helping the cause.

    Being someone whos smoked it since I was 14 up untill now (26) I can honestly say ive sufferd with some of the above problems due to smoking it, Looking a little deaper in to it ive realised that the time when my "problems" started was when I was 16 and smoking about an ounce of soild/slate/brown/what ever you want to call it a week, This was all that was on the market and it was "watered down" with all sorts of horrible things, Plastic bags/horse hair/oil/etc, While I dont blame these things alone for my problems, Im sure it didnt HELP!

    In the last few years ive found "skunk"-weed available everywhere, And I switched to that and I dont feal so bad anymore, Sure the damage is done but its managable now.

    So to the point, Ive seen the highs and lows of smoking this drug (lolpun), These so called super strains may be strong but they have less effect on your mind that what was past and a lot of legal drugs, and yet our micky mouse government is using that as reason to reclass it as a class b drug? Thats madness so yeah what are they smoking, can I have some?

    And all this "pathway drug" to harder things is nonsence, Ive sufferd problems with this drug but I can honestly say ive never touched another ilegal drug, If you want to snort a line of ajax thats down to your personality nothing else.

    I dont know the real reason they take this stance, but there must be some reason for it, I think its clear the government dont care what we think (and dont kid yourself thinking any other "major" party will take another stance) They dont care what we think.

    We are living in a dictatorship really, No not like North Korea thats an extreme, But the second the state remove your freedom, over one thing without real ryme or reason, what else do you call it?

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lol PT 2

    my my arn't we all a little defensive, i never said i don't drink or smoke anymore, i just do things in moderation, well i don't smoke but i have a beer every evening or so sometimes i don't have any booze for a month. If we're talking addictive personalities here, don't we all share the facit of addiction, do you go to work everyday ?

    are you forced or addicted to it, consuming goods addicted or not ? everybody is addicted to something, even if it's the gym. What i find interesting is how everyone seems to be swooping in on anyone who has something bad to say about cannabis, why are you all so protective of it ? For me sitting in the sun stoned is no where near as good as sitting in the sun just thinking you know, of course we are all addicted to serotonin and vitamin D, so maybe thats the reson for a sunny disposition.

    I really don't mind people smoking themselves to death but we should regulate, restrict and tax it just as we do with other legal drugs, more importantly we need to bring in measures along side it to make sure that people who are susceptable to psychosis are either found earlier or tested for it at a young age so that they know and so that cannabis retailers know not to sell to them .

  93. Anonymous Coward

    @"4. Do whatever you want and ingore the report."

    No, that's not how it goes at all, it goes like this:

    4. Regardless of what the report says, do whatever the headlines in the Murdoch press are currently screaming about.

  94. Pete

    Age matters

    I reckon alot of males experience some degree of mental illness at some stage between the ages of 14-24, regardless of drug intake.

    It makes a kind of sense that after you have worked through the physical childhood illnesses, you make a start on one or two of the mental ones for 10 years or so.

    Things generally even out after then. The good news is you should be able to get back to a paranoia-free toke by the age of 30 or so.

  95. Danny Silver badge


    " i just do things in moderation"

    'Moderaion is for monks - Robert Heinlien

    Still, you don't have to be a smoker to see the sense in decriminalising weed. In fact that is rather brainwashed thinking, I actually defy anyone to explain the justice in outlawing a plant. I fully understand the true reason dope is illegal - it is because noone can copyright a naturally grown plant. It seemingly has counterintuitive health benefits. It helps restore memory in Alzheimers patients and it is surpresses coughs. Apart from all the well known health benefits to people with MS etc.

    "What i find interesting is how everyone seems to be swooping in on anyone who has something bad to say about cannabis, why are you all so protective of it ?"

    Because tens of thousands of innocents have been criminalised unfairly and many prisoners turned into junkys from existing 'drug war' legislation. Opinions are deadly important now legislation is about to get more repressive.

    "Nothing is more surprising to those, who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than to see the easiness with which the many are governed by the few; and to observe the implicite submission with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we enquire by what means this wonder is brought about, we shall find that, as force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. ‘Tis therefore, on opinion only that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and military governments as well as to the most free and popular." –David Hume

    "For me sitting in the sun stoned is no where near as good as sitting in the sun just thinking you know, of course we are all addicted to serotonin and vitamin D, so maybe thats the reson for a sunny disposition."

    That and genes and latitude. Good malt whisky is sometimes described as 'liquid sunshine', and some Scots are decribed as 'one drink under' meaningly they are really only verbal once they've had a drink. There was a recent article in New Scientist linking suicide clusters to times when the earths magnetic shield is weakest, and this would affect people closer to the poles more. Helsinki is a helluva Friday night if you can afford the booze and don't mind taking risks.

    "I really don't mind people smoking themselves to death but we should regulate, restrict and tax it just as we do with other legal drugs, more importantly we need to bring in measures along side it to make sure that people who are susceptable to psychosis are either found earlier or tested for it at a young age so that they know and so that cannabis retailers know not to sell to them ."

    Skunk shouldn't worry you half as much as the fact criminalising it is about to fill your street with junkies. I think all drugs should be legalised after ten years of drug eductaion in schools. If you tax them, then provide the social care the victims require. Last time I checked there were only two beds for junkies in Glasgows NHS. There are honestly more than two junkies in Glasgow requiring medical attention.

  96. Nexox Enigma

    Just wondering...

    If there exists today a single national governing body that isn't completely ass backwards in most of their decisions? Seems like probably no. Good thing countries are run by popularity contests instead of sound reasoning. I really need to start my own country one of these days. At least if I was dictator I wouldn't have to worry about whether my citizens (If I decide to have those) like me!

    In any case, I wish a visit from Twoflower's Luggage on Jacqui.

  97. Spider

    so actions follows stats...

    if government policy must follow stats on "health" grounds then we need to investigate the correlation between high blood pressure in the population and stupid feckin politician spouting absolute guff. Surely there is a case for putting them down on public health grounds alone, or at the very least allowing mild relaxants on demand, such as.... well...

  98. Simon Noble

    Mass protest

    Here in Christchurch NZ, there is a yearly gathering in the city center, people just turn up and smoke to promote decriminalisation. how about 100000 people out side #10 all smoking. it would be so easy to crash the justice system.

  99. Anonymous Coward

    re: pffft

    As a (obviously not any more ociffer) practising gardener myself,

    Obviously how much water you use depend on how big you grow the plants.

    I like Xmas tree style plants myself.

    My experience of soil/compost grows were 3 BB plants under a 600 HID, a 3 month veg then nine weeks flower.

    By the time flowering was induced plants were 3.5 feet tall and drinking dry three 5l feeds every day per plant.

    By the last week of flowering they were 4.5 foot tall and drinking 20L a day apiece. Final yield was 5-6 bone dry Os per plant.

    With a self contructed "bubbler" system (couple of buckets, some clay pebbles, airstone, 40 watt air pump with mutiple outlets and job's a good un) I went down to 20L of water a *week* per plant.

    The hydro plants seemed to be ready a day or two earlier but otherwise the same,

    same strain from same mother, same number of plants, same veg time, same nutrients, resulting in very minimal difference in yield or quality.

    As for organic nutes, I'm aware that the likes of biocanna exist.

    My point was actually that it's much cheaper to write an extra seven letters on a packet than do anything different vis a vis pesticides etc.

    b) Hydroponics is used widely in conventional agri-business and the heavy metals are found in lower levels in hydroponic produce then in soil grown produce.

    Heavy metals interfere with E.C. measurements (basically concentration of the nutrient mix), as such decent manufacturers of hydro nutrients (*cough canna/ *cough) use food grade additives and have minimal amounts of heavy metals in their products.

    Get a water quality report from your local water board, I'll wager you the best bud from the top of the best plant, you'll have more heavy metals coming out of your tap then you'll find in a bottle of hydro nutes.

    As for heavy pumps, don't bother, 40 watts/hour air pump from any aquarium shop will do, they're pretty reliable, bosh an air stone on the end and that'll do.

  100. Tim Worstal


    "Regardless of what the report says, do whatever the headlines in the Murdoch press are currently screaming about."

    It's really The Mail, Rothermere press we're talking about here. No, this comment not prompted by the fact that I sometimes write for The Times.

  101. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Fantastic article

    Every point was well put - made me want to leave our shores forever though.

    Every time I read an article like that I realise how bad our country is becoming and how many freedoms we are losing - and the newspapers cry out for more and more.

    There was some quote from a fiction book (quote was probably made up) describing paranoid people making a cage out of their fears and then crying out for their freedom afterwards.

    Apt description - except it is newspapers and certain older generations putting us in a cage of their fears and sweeping our crys for freedom under the rug of what they think is best for us.

  102. Steve

    Re: Mass protest

    You'll need to ask for permission first and then the police will use that as an excuse to arrest you to prevent the commission of a crime - if you're planning to have more than one person turn up it'll probably be a conspiracy charge as well.

    Of course, if you, Howard Marks and a camera crew walk into a police station reception, blaze up and ask to be arrested, they won't do anything.

  103. Anonymous Coward

    @ Danny

    Lol i agree with most of what you said, nice to see somoene still reads David Hume. However this qoute "Moderation is for monks - Robert Heinlien" is a rather poor piece of sophistry from Heinlien. The reason for this is that in reality the majority of christian monks to whom Heinlien is referring were in no way moderated, they were either incredibly over zealous, or incredibly bawdy by most medieveal accounts before the dissolution. Therefore one would counterpose that "Monks abhore moderation". I for my part am addicted to moderation when it comes to chemicals, it's bad enough i conusme ten times my weight in hydrocarbons every year... but hey who wants to live forever.

    I am all for the "Because tens of thousands of innocents have been criminalised unfairly and many prisoners turned into junkys from existing 'drug war' legislation. Opinions are deadly important now legislation is about to get more repressive" part except that trying to belittle the potential dangers of cannabis and those who argue there are potential dangers stifles the debate. I think you'll find that most of us who realise cannabis is dangerous to a certian demographics mental health still agree that what the governement is doing is authoritarian and when taken in perspective along with the extreme porn laws, breathalising of youngsters, creation of community police with no legal mandate to enforce the rule of law is clearly double plus un-good.

  104. Liam
    Black Helicopters

    cant we

    just burn the daily hail offices down :) that would stop a lot of the bollocks laws we have now.

    to be honest the press are ruining this country. the daily hail, express, sun mirror et all seem to control the country more than the gov!

  105. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Puritanism: the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

    -- H.L. Mencken.

  107. Spleen
    Black Helicopters

    Re: Mass protest

    "how about 100000 people out side #10 all smoking. it would be so easy to crash the justice system."

    Well, you couldn't fit 100,000 people in Downing Street, so let's say you protested in Hyde Park. They'd ignore you. They might drag off a few people to make an example, but overall they'd just let you let off steam (no pun intended).

    If you go to a protest to "let your voice be heard", you might as well stay at home. The government doesn't care what you think. Why should it? Do you have thousands of trained soldiers? at your command? No. Millions of people protesting couldn't stop the Iraq war. It couldn't even stop the Hunting Act, for God's sake! 100,000 sounds like a very big number but 100,000 times nothing is still nothing. When you see protests working, as they did in Georgia and Ukraine, it was because they were a threat. They were actually willing to do more than wave banners to get what they wanted, the protest was just letting the government know that and giving them a chance to give in before it got to that point. Protests only work as a means, not as an end.

    @Liam: "can't we just burn the daily hail offices down :)"

    Careful. That sounds like actually doing something to me. You can probably be prosecuted for suggesting it, even in jest.

  108. Anonymous Coward


    If Brown & Co. thinks Skunk is lethal they obviously don't remember "Hash Oil" so high in THC it had to be kept airtight in the fridge. There was also, Red Leb, Durban Poison, Temple Balls, Thai Sticks, Malawi, Rocky Gold Seal, Aghan Black, etc. those were the days (late sixties early seventies)

    BROWN: What do you know about "Skunk"?

    OLD HIPPY MATE: That's lethal s**t man

  109. Mark

    Re: hmmm

    So liam, do you think that there is no cost to arresting weed smokers? That when in jail they cost nothing to keep there? That having been fired for smoking weed that they will not turn dependant on the state? That the manager will fill the post with another person rather than make a cost saving and get their ex-coworkers to cover?

    If you're ONLY worried about the cost of looking after the small fraction of a percent whose problems extant are made worse (this is what you said), then there are more costs in attempting to remove weekd smoking through a War On Drugs.

  110. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Quite right, only violent protest will work in Britain.

  111. Dominic Richardson

    I never thought I'd say this but...

    Vote Liberal! Given the Labour government are s_h_1_t_ing themselves about GB's sliding poll ratings, aren't they just dragging any old crap out of the bag in order to clinch back votes?

    This is (I suspect) what's going down. Unfortunately for our clueless cabinet, it would seem tory government is not too far away at all. Again, unfortunately the pin-striped brigade are hardly likely to swap back to class-C. Right, I guess it's time to go to the shop for some baccy and skins. I will be sure to wave my driving license to all the CCTV cameras in my area, then I can be correctly identified and tracked by the five 0 and they can prosecute me at will.

    Oh sorry I forgot, they don't actually use CCTV footage, it's obviously used as a deterrent to stop me going to the shop :(

    I did not inhale...

    Dom -x-

  112. Aron A Aardvark

    Motivation for keeping drugs illegal

    "Could it be that there is too much money being made out of keeping cannabis and other drugs illegal? And some of that money is finding its way to those in power.

    That's the only explanation I can think of for the current status quo.

    Nothing else makes sense"

    Yes that is one major factor. People tend to forget and politicians tend to ignore that since OTC drug sales of Diamorphine, Cocaine, Cannabis et al became progressively more illegal since the 1920s in the UK, a vast octupus-like global drug network has emerged. I've noticed that the 'Mr Big' element is rarely discussed in the media while politicians generally only talk about penalising the user and dealer. Someone don't want independent dealers siphoning off drug profits.

    Several journalists have tried to investigate and expose govt-sponsored drug trafficking and met with dubious ends. See Gary Webb's Dark Alliance book for example and Barry Seal's connections to the Bush family. A certain well-known US politician, WJC, has been alleged to be deeply connected to the Cocaine business. His brother said as much in an interview with Sunday Telegraph years ago. The reaction from the media? Not a peep. They know what's going on but are afraid to investigate and expose because of the power of the gangsters.

    There does appear to be some media disinformation on the subject. Are we really meant to believe that a few poor and desperate women from Colombia with a gut full of condoms are responsible for supplying the UK's coke habit for example?

    On the contrary, the drug business, apparently the biggest industry on the planet, must have an extensive and robust distribution network to import sufficient amounts of 'product' to the market. I suspect but cannot prove that this would involve the complicity of cells within govt agencies e.g. Customs for one. One just cannot keep importing kilo and kilo of coke walking thru customs at Heathrow without someone on the inside ensuring you don't get checked. Periodically you could expose a few kilos and some dupe to the authorities as a diversion.

    Celeb flights into the UK are, I understand, rarely if ever subject to passport/customs inspections so that would be another great way to bring it. But about the most secure way would be to use military bases. Land, taxi to a remote hangar, unload to fedex whatever and off to the 'distribution center' you go.

    A retired Detective admitted to me that he was aware that cops were confiscating drugs then selling them on out the back door. And that's just low-level scumbaggery but still an abuse of power and massively corrupt.

    Next time you hear a dumb MP standing up to denounce drugs, ask yourself - are they saying they prefer the vast web of narco gangsters who don't give a rats ass about quality control to a peacefulish coffee shop style culture? I/D which politicians and officials are sleeping with the enemy while publicly denouncing drugs and the whole house of cards would start to collapse. I cannot see how you stop people using drugs but you can mitigate the worst problems by converting a corrupt black network to a transparent legal retail market with competent manufacture, QA and retail in 'off-licenses' to O18s only.

  113. Adam White

    RE: So if it was guns and not cannabis

    Better criminalize cars then AC, since they're involved in 100% of fatal car crashes. And horse riding too, because that's involved in 100% of fatal horse riding accidents.

    Better criminalize electricity because it's involved in 100% of electrocutions.

    Better criminalize immersion in water because it's involved in 100% of drownings.

    With all due respect, you're a loony.

  114. bambi

    teenage tokers

    How many of these people who are adversely affected by the use of cannabis are acutally minors?

    How many of the great British public would be outraged if they decided to make alcohol illegal because of teenagers were getting drunk at the weekend? Did I hear someone say 'you cant count alcohol as a drug' wtf not? Oh cos the government would loose too much revenue and the health service would collapse.

    Simple answer, classify cannabis in the same group as alcohol, tax it and improve our national Health Service with the proceeds. It only needs some politicians with balls to do this but they wont cos they would loose the white middle class ignorant vote.

  115. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    My Choice To Abuse Drugs

    The above is the title of a free book available from It's a good argument. I did not write it, but I recommend reading it.

  116. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jello Biafra once mentioned the concept...

    instead of Jonny Appleseed we have Johnny Potseed, planting marijuana in public parks, gardens, lawns etc until there is so much of the stuff growing that it would be impossible to get rid of it all

    I'm game if you are!

  117. Liam
    Black Helicopters

    pffft :)

    @ mark:

    yes there is a MASSIVE cost involved in arresting people that are doing nothing wrong - this is one of my points! weed does make a lot of people lazy - but im a working professional IT manager. im not even sure a company CAN fire you for getting stoned the night before. fair enough if you are hammered at work but a cup of coffee in the AM and im ready to go :) . i work in the construction industry - everyone drinks a lot (i dont drink much at all these days) - so many co workers are often hung over - which seems acceptable - odd eh?

    @ re: pffft:

    wtf? 20ltr a day (thats 2 buckets of water EACH!!)! for little 4 foot plants? thats impressive! i hope you arent on a water meter :) (when i used to grow ;)) mine generally get over 6ft :) but that WAS in a cupboard rather than in more space. and 3 weeks from seed i flowered :) im also lucky enough to live in a good PH area. need no PH alterations :)

    "Simple answer, classify cannabis in the same group as alcohol, tax it and improve our national Health Service with the proceeds. It only needs some politicians with balls to do this but they wont cos they would loose the white middle class ignorant vote." - interesting. i wonder if the ignorant white middle class people know their kids smoke? or how they would feel seeing their friends kids go to jail. im sure most dont even realise how many people smoke!

  118. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ Jello Biafra once mentioned the concept...

    we have 10 just groeing in the wild a few miles from my house.

    if it works i have 2 bags full of seeds (1 hermie plant lol!) that i plan to scatter all over the county :)

    so, next xmas lincolnshire might be quite interesting :)

  119. Seán

    Rise up

    Kill everyone, unless you're able to smoke a joint.

    It's the only language these people understand.

    IT Angle

    Less Criminal than Victim making Machine.

    Harsh penalities bring crowd of poor law enforcement, leaving 13 years of public school wasted fluff compared to afternoon of experimentation is NOT right.

    So Far NO One has Died from Marihuana Useage, inspite of Hon Browns opinion.


  121. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Worthless gobshites

    When governments push through laws with spurious value, to try to regain popularity, without heeding to all the relevant scientific advice, and go with what the daily whale says, you've got a recipe for dictatorship.. They've missed a pretty big trick here, if a legalised coffee shop model was employed, along with strict controls forbidding sales to minors, ie sell to somebody under voting age, go to jail, do not pass go, coupled with a tax on every gram sold, then there would be a sort of parity with alcohol, and I'd be willing to bet that random street crime would fall as more people would switch from alcohol to the herb, but adoption of this model won't happen as most breweries/distilleries are owned by large multinationals (mainly american owned), and since cannabis was downgraded from B to C, the government has been under constant state department pressure to re-classify it back again, so what's next, the death penalty restored, oh sorry it's already here, just look a bit shifty/arabic/brazilian, or carry a table leg, you'll soon find out...

  122. John

    Top Class Article

    Just spent quite a while reading the article & comments so far.

    I must say it's by far the most accurate and unbiased article I've read on the subject for a long time, one of the main reasons I love this site.

    @liam - well said, couldn't agree more about the paranoia :)

    I found this one most interesting...

    "Simple answer, classify cannabis in the same group as alcohol, tax it and improve our national Health Service with the proceeds. It only needs some politicians with balls to do this but they wont cos they would loose the white middle class ignorant vote." - interesting. i wonder if the ignorant white middle class people know their kids smoke? or how they would feel seeing their friends kids go to jail. im sure most dont even realise how many people smoke!"

    To me that seems the most logical action, it's always seemed weird to me that alcohol should be legal whilst cannabis is illegal, seriously which causes more health problems!? But we all know they aren't about to make alcohol a class C drug, people wouldn't stand for it for one thing.

    So I find myself asking why a natural herb which has many genuine medical uses and does no harm to anyone except the odd predisposed nut-job (who would likely go off the rails on alcohol etc anyway) shouldn't be legal!?

    I could go on but this is turning into an article in itself, I've smoked it for around 12 years, no ill-effects, if anything the opposite is true as it's the only thing I've ever found that helps keep my stress levels in check, not to mention I used to be an insomniac and now enjoy... no, REALLY enjoy... a full nights sleep every night.

    I'm with the others that said something needs to be done, but again... what?

    To openly declare ourselves as cannabis smokers would most likely lead to the police paying us a visit etc, and as a lot of us have family responsibilities it's a risk we can't take, but something has to be done, and I hope one day an opportunity arises to really show the government how strongly a large proportion of the population (probably a whole lot bigger than the government suspects) feels about this issue once and for all!!

  123. Neil Stansbury

    Per usual - Idiot Politicians & Civil Servants

    So weed makes you go mad and encourages other drug use? Really.....

    ~30 years ago the Dutch de-criminalised (not legalised) marijuana so lets examine some real anthropological evidence....

    The Dutch should have higher incidents of mental illness

    ...but they don't

    The Dutch should have higher incidents of "Class A" usage

    ...but they don't

    So after 30 years there is basically no evidence to support the the government assertions whatsoever.

    I do wish the talentless idiots we call Politicians would they read some of their own Scientific reports:

    Finally, lets just suppose excessive weed smoking does make you mad... so what? Excessive chocolate eclair consumption will give you diabetes, and excessive fry-up consumption will cause heart disease. Should I tell my local cafe to expect a "black pudding & bacon" raid soon?

    God I hate Politicians - they truly are a bunch of mindless talentless incompetent idiots.

  124. I.P. Freely

    Stop bashing GHB

    FYI, GHB is an endogenous substance naturally found in small amounts in the human body. For this reason it is not possible to argue that there is not a safe level of GHB consumption for humans. Unfortunately, just as in the case of our beloved Cannabis, the fact that GHB cannot be patented makes it a threat to the pharmaceutical companies and their aggressive marketing strategies.

    In my humble experience, GHB is one of the most wonderful sleep aids known to man. It actually facilitates entry into REM sleep making your dreams more vivid and can help you receive a full night's rest whenever you have 5 hours to spare even if your sleep schedule is hopelessly muddled with deadlines and stress. The pharmaceutical competition however will only get you to sleep state 4 with no dreams and no mind-healing rest even if you are under for 10 hours.

    So upset is the pharmaceutical industry with the efficacy of their natural competition that in the US the non-toxic sleep-aiding amino acid L-tryptophan was removed from store shelves for almost a decade by action of the FDA after one bad batch was manufactured from Japan via an untested practice. This provided their pretext to sabotage big pharma's competition with little fanfare. To add insult to injury, manufactures of supplements like GHB and L-tryotophan cannot print their clinical results on the packaging as fact but must instead say for example "may reduce heart disease" when in fact it demonstrably does so.

    Granted, GHB does cause dependence and withdrawl when used chronically. So do most useful drugs and medicines.

    As a recreational substance, GHB provides mood-elevation and silliness similar to alcohol, except that the hangover and feeling of being stupid are totally absent. When I first went to university and dealt with the pervasive, ubiquitous alcohol culture there I used GHB to help me share in the socialization of the alcohol users without incurring the same negative effects.

    In fact, GHB is such a good drug that they are telling an updated version of the same lie that they told about Cannabis in the 1930's to have it banned "It makes girls have sex when they would not otherwise do so." I do concede that persons have used GHB as a date rape drug and this is terrible. But the media campaign "against" this practice here in the US is riddled with negligent distortions which only make the occurrence more likely. Again and again I have read (or even heard from university officials) that GHB is "colorless, odorless, tasteless substance."


    I tried for many months to find something to mix it with for personal use and the only option we found is orange juice. Even then you will have to hold your nose to get it down. There is no vodka so bad that you could confuse it with GHB. In fact the taste is so bad that after awhile my body started to have a nausea response merely from thinking about it. (That was 10 years ago and I have not taken GHB since in part because the quality on the black market is not good).

    For this obvious reason alcohol and rohypnol are used 100x more in date rapes than GHB is. The "death toll" for GHB is similarly misrepresented. The few dozen cases that could be scrounged together of GHB fatalities also involved consumption of alcohol. No case involved GHB alone. The medical literature describes a life-threating dose as being 100x the active dose, a higher margin of safety than almost any non-herbal drug. (That's 300g of Na-GHB you have to eat to die, how absurd!)

    Perhaps all it would take to end this madness is some politician's child to go on a hunger strike until their daddy stops abusing the sick and vulnerable with lies and violence. Indeed to arrest, pilfer, and ostracize men for the use of natural medicines is the most vicious sort of profit-driven violence.

    If you would have any love for liberty and posterity vote against this bullocks with your voice, your work, your currency, and (what's that other thing, oh yeah) those damn Diebold election-stealing satanic voting booths...

    If you really are ready to die for liberty, are you ready to tell your parents that they're the problem and you won't eat until they stop? The real revolution starts at home. Fight it.

  125. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Dutch should have higher incidents of mental illness

    The problem with your assessment is that the Dutch aren't like us, they're very conservative, smoking cannabis is broadly frowned upon and smokers are broadly considered a bit chavvy.

    It means that usage amongst the local population is generally low.


    >To openly declare ourselves as cannabis smokers would most likely

    >lead to the police paying us a visit etc

    Given that the police recently ignored a 999 call that shortly preceded three houses being blown to bits, I doubt that they're likely to show up.

  126. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Sanity Check...

    ...if we can't trust someone as senior as the Home Secretary to handle basic statistics in a logical way, how can we trust the people who appointed her to handle the national budget?

    BTW, there is always "old skool" stuff out there that kicks the arse of any skunk around. Every dope smoker knows that and then probably thinks HMG must be full of utter morons or complete liars.

    Vote? What's the point? Didn't someone say that politics is just acting for ugly people?

    Paris Hilton cos there's something lacking in credibility here

  127. BitBotherer

    Gloucester under siege

    Heres one way to get the police around next time you need them, tell them you are about to cut your own car in half, FFS talk about an over reaction 5 police cars and ten plod plus the fire brigade.

    Think of all the children left unprotected.

  128. Anonymous Coward

    The war, on drugs

    If you are unfortunate to suffer from a full-blown schizophrenic breakdown your chances of full recovery, living in Nigeria, is about 66%. If you live in the USA it's 33%.

    Drugs don't treat schizophrenia, people do.

  129. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Leon - Sanity Check..

    >Vote? What's the point? Didn't someone say that politics is just acting for ugly people?

    This is why they shit all over the pot heads to curry favour with the

    more conservative middle classes.

    >Every dope smoker knows that and then probably thinks HMG must be full of utter morons or complete liars.

    And why would a government care about what non-voters think?

  130. Anonymous Coward

    @ JonB

    Point taken. Do you have a solution when all politicians, whatever shade, flavour or colour they may be are basically the same?

    How about THC in the water to educate those conservative middle class voters?

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