On Friday, the LibDems said they’d be promising the legalisation and regulation of cannabis in their 2017 election manifesto. Good idea, we thought; the Tories should pinch that policy. It is, after all the trend in such robust democracies as America and Holland, not to mention Justin Trudeau’s progressive paradise (ahem). And while yielding much-needed tax revenues, the move could also mitigate the scourge of super-strength, psychosis-inducing skunk.
But there’s little hope of that yet, we fear, to judge from Mail on Sunday (and remember, the Sabbath edition is much gentler than its frothing daily sister). True, its chief columnist Peter Hitchens is fanatically opposed to illegal drugs without really understanding the pharmacology – but so, it appears, are the readers.
Consider their reaction to April’s annual, international ‘420’ smoke-in, when thousands of British protestors gathered in Hyde Park to indulge their weakness for weed in defiance of the law. A fortnight later, Hitchens was still fulminating about it; and last week the letter-writers joined in.
‘Why do so many cannabis smokers refuse to acknowledge the danger?’ asked one. ‘Is it because they are afraid of living in the real world?’ More pointedly, another – while ‘sharing Hitchens’ concerns about the tolerance towards cannabis shown by the police’ – went on to express her concern that such leniency has been ‘accompanied by an increasingly draconian prohibition of the smoking of tobacco’.
And there she puts her finger on a logical disconnect between the British government and its health advisers. As she says, recent regimes have allowed ‘unelected lobby groups to impose their will on the public by effectively criminalising legal [tobacco]’ with plain packaging, and bans on small packs and flavouring.
However, she continues, at the same time that our masters are giving serious consideration to a smoking ban in open spaces, such as beer gardens and parks, the more carcinogenic cannabis – often mixed with tobacco – is being tacitly encouraged (and even advocated by the LibDems).
How do politicians get into these logical twists? We would point the finger at the World Health Organisation (WHO), whose coffers get an £18 million annual boost from the ciggy-phobic Bill Gates. This UN-backed agency – to which the UK contributes £100 million a year – is the source of all the lifestyle policy that seeps through lobbies and ‘sock puppet’ charities into national law.
Thus we see the same pantomime around the world: in Canada, for instance, where, while legislators are simultaneously debating the plain-packaging of cigarettes and the legalisation of cannabis, they have yet to agree on any branding limitations for weed. Should it be swathed in sludge-green or labelled with all the exuberance of its alcoholic cousins?
To a free-thinker, less regulation of booze, fags, drugs – hell, yes, even fizzy drinks – would seem the sensible solution. But don’t scare the horses, we’ve got Brexit first.