Legalise Drugs?

Should this be done? Never done anything myself but think this should be implemented for at least weed. Would be good for the economy, bad for criminal gangs and limit chances of someone's life being unnecessarily damaged by criminal justice system intervention.

I think most of them should be. 
 

And available on prescription with verified quality. 
 

It would remove enormous amounts of dark money, money laundering and crime from the world and ensure the safety of users from poor product. And relieve huge pressure off law enforcement and prison systems. 
 

Portugal’s decriminalisation program has been very successful really. 

The only reason I say on prescription is so that people could have a basic health check up for blood pressure, heart disease etc before taking them and be given a proper warning on health and side effects. 
 

 

And alcohol and cigarettes are some of the least fun and most damaging drugs possible and yet they are legal and can be purchased without any control other than ID. 
 

surely scientists can come up with a fabulous pill you could pop on a weekend that gives you all the good feels and none of the bad side effects.  Why haven’t we done that yet?  Seriously? Why are we still poisoning our bodies with first century technology sugar fermentation/ yeast piss? 

Legalise it all. Huge increase in tax revenue, huge reduction on crime. Liberty and autonomy over one's self.

I think it's a balance of harm- so wouldn't legalise the worst stuff.

Mugen interesting re LSD why would that potentially be on your ban list?

Cheers LB- bad enough on the booze!

We've known since the 60's that this is actually the solution.  Imagine what we'd be able to do with the billions we've spent on the war on drugs over the last 60 yeras.

Transform, the drug policy charity, proposes that drugs should be regulated according to their harms.

On that principle, they propose that:

1. Crack should remain illegal

2. Heroin should be dispensed to registered addicts on prescription (this was the pre-Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 model, when there were almost no heroin addicts in the UK  - the Misuse of Drugs Act turned these addicts into dealers as they needed to raise funds to buy drugs on the black market)

3. Cocaine, amphetamines, LSD, MDMA should be rationed and sold in plain packaging by pharmacies - each registered purchaser is allowed to purchase a specified amount a month. Secondary dealing would be illegal (in the same way that it is illegal to resell prescription pills)

4. Cannabis and magic mushrooms should be regulated like alcohol. 

Legalisation has worked in Portugal.

Just a point of fact, Portugal's policy is one of decriminalisation of personal use, not legalisation. All drugs remain illegal there. 

It was implemented because at the time, Portugal was suffering a terrible wave of heroin addiction and all the related social problems. They consulted on what was actually likely to work in addressing the problem. 

Broadly it has been successful, although there is some debate over the interpretation of the stats. Deaths have declined from most drugs and are below the EU average since decriminalisation, HIV infections, and imprisonment have plummeted. People in treatment programmes have more than doubled. Culturally, drugs don't seem all that prevalent at all there. 

 

Lisbon was terrible.  I went there on a boat in 1995 and after we left we called the place "Hello hash?" as that is what had been shouted at us by most passers by.  Admittedly we were in the commercial docks but one guy shouted that at us across a car park in town.

I would support legalisation for drugs that cause least harms. Decriminalisation of users for harder drugs with emphasis on their treatment/rehab.   

I don't see why LSD warrants different treatment than mushrooms though. The govt's own research puts them at almost the same level in terms of harms, i.e. the lowest level. Psychedelics aren't generally drugs of abuse because they are not addictive and their effects reduce v. rapidly with consecutive use. 

  

Yes indeed Johnny. Which is why I used the term decriminalisation and highlighted how successful it has been. 
 

But I think drug policy should go further than Portugal has done. I think further harm reduction can be obtained through full legalisation, regulation and promotion of healthy drug use. 
 

I think we should actively develop and promote party drugs that have better safety and health outcomes. 
 

We should be drug positive. The only reason I’m alive today is through copious amounts of prescription drugs.  
 

why do we limit drug use just for health and not recreation? 
 

Ancient man has always used drugs for spiritual/religious/mind expansion purposes.. then we made it illegal and drank ourselves into a booze/ depression hell. 

 

"Lisbon was terrible.  I went there on a boat in 1995 and after we left we called the place "Hello hash?" as that is what had been shouted at us by most passers by.  Admittedly we were in the commercial docks but one guy shouted that at us across a car park in town."

Downtown Lisbon does still have a number of street dealers in a couple of areas aiming to tourists, primarily. Often scammers I believe. Beyond that, Portugal is not the new Amsterdam some international press stories would have you believe.   

Decriminalisation didn’t come into effect until 2001.. so in 1995 it was still the full height of the drug problem there. 
 

I travelled there in early 2018 I didn’t see any drugs, nor was I offered any. 

“so wouldn't legalise the worst stuff“

Per Johnny’s chart, would you ban alcohol then? 

And LSD / mushrooms are about the safest recreational drug out there. Why would you treat those differently?

Drug criminalisation has got to be the most moronic policy choice made by mankind in the last 100 years. It is so, so stupid, destructive and wasteful. Literally trillions of dollars wasted globally on attempted enforcement, lost tax revenue and financing of criminals. All because, er, “drugs are bad, mkay?”. And that’s without even touching on the harm reduction (/benefit increase) potential for individual users 

Everything will be legal and regulated in 30/40 years (assuming the world has ended by then) and everyone will look back on this period and think want a bunch of stupid aunts we all were (albeit with this being one of many reasons for that view). 

But I think drug policy should go further than Portugal has done. I think further harm reduction can be obtained through full legalisation, regulation and promotion of healthy drug use. 

Pretty much on board with that, Scylla. I would draw the line at the most addictive and harmful drugs (heroin/meth/crack) being legal, however and go for decriminalisation + supervised treatment/access to tackle the harms and crime stemming from those drugs.   

Pleased to see that there is such broad consensus on this - that most/all drugs should be decriminalised and that some drugs, particularly cannabis, ought to be legalised.

 

Per Johnny’s chart, would you ban alcohol then? 

The genie's too far out of the bottle for that and it's way too embedded in our culture...but yeah, it is the most harmful and abused drug by a country mile.

We should try and move away from our binge drinking culture, but govt suffers from regulatory capture by the drinks industry, needs all that lovely tax revenue, and is terrified of restricting booze in some way or increasing pricing due to it being a huge vote loser.  

I also agree with there being issues around the drugs of greatest harm. 
 

but I cannot morally say they are any different.  Yes those drugs are/can be awful and have huge addiction issues.  But so does alcohol. 
 

Often users end up on those drugs because they are unable to access other drugs of choice. 
 

I think we would all be very surprised and find out that taking away the ‘forbidden’ nature of drug use would actually lower overall consumption. 
 

like teenagers in Amsterdam who thing smoking weed is for loser tourists and have one of the lowest consumption rates in the world. 

Some people are misunderstanding that graph. It is based on a subjective scoring system which does not take into account user numbers so alcohol comes out top even though, for example, smoking is objectively far more dangerous for the user (the full data is on the drug science website). 

Alcohol is wonderful. It is safely used recreationally by tens of millions of people in this country and is an important part of many cultures.  The argument for decriminalising other drugs does not need to rely on fallacious comparisons with alcohol. 

I think we would all be very surprised and find out that taking away the ‘forbidden’ nature of drug use would actually lower overall consumption. 
 

like teenagers in Amsterdam who thing smoking weed is for loser tourists and have one of the lowest consumption rates in the world. 

Let's not forget that Amsterdam has not legalised anything, it just decriminalised personal use and tolerates coffee shops. But yeah, I have heard the same about how the local youth view it. 

Interestingly however, although overall usage has increased somewhat in the US and Canada since legalisation, youth usage rates have not

 

Some people are misunderstanding that graph. It is based on a subjective scoring system which does not take into account user numbers so alcohol comes out top even though, for example, smoking is objectively far more dangerous for the user (the full data is on the drug science website).

Fair point Nihil, I hadn't really appreciated that tbf.

Alcohol is wonderful. It is safely used recreationally by tens of millions of people in this country and is an important part of many cultures.  The argument for decriminalising other drugs does not need to rely on fallacious comparisons with alcohol. 

"Wonderful" is a bit of a stretch, especially if one has come into contact with any raging alcoholics or struggled with overuse oneself. I do accept that whataboutery re alcohol is overused by those who advocate for drug policy reform, however.    

Alcohol is wonderful.

It is a factor in a large percentage of violent crime, accidents, hospital admissions, domestic violence incidents, sexual assaults, depression, obesity, child neglect, unwanted pregnancies, suicides, relationship breakdowns and preventable deaths. It is carcinogenic, addictive and fatal in surprisingly small doses. It kills thousands a year.

It is one of the most difficult and dangerous drugs for severe addicts to quit, as the withdrawal symptoms themselves can be fatal (c.f. heroin and cocaine).

The "high" that it confers is, frankly, pathetic in comparison to almost any other drug apart from tobacco, and comes at a very high "morning after" cost. 

That is a curious definition of "wonderful".

 

It is safely used recreationally by tens of millions of people in this country and is an important part of many cultures.  

Most people who drink alcohol have at least one story, if not several of vomiting, passing out, wetting themselves, shitting themselves, losing personal possessions, getting into a fight, having an accident, getting arrested, or getting into an argument with a friend, family member or random stranger as a result of alcohol use.

Long term alcohol use at surprisingly low levels causes significant damage to the body - skin, liver, eyes, and most people who drink only moderately but then quit for a few weeks describe noticeably improved health and appearance. 

On that basis, it isn't "safely" used by tens of millions of people at all - they are just prepared to accept the harm that it causes them.

As for being an important part of many cultures, the same is also true of cannabis, psilocybin (i.e. magic mushrooms) and coca leaves, and not all things that are part of many cultures are good, e.g. (racism, sexism, homophobia). Equally not drinking alcohol is an integral part of Islam and abstinence from alcohol is a common virtue in European and Asian cultures.

Just about the only thing that alcohol has going for it is that it is legal and socially acceptable.

Neither of those are intrinsic to alcohol, and both of them would be true of any drug that was legalised. 

Wot Johnny said. There is no correlation between legalisation of cannabis and increased teenage use. In fact the balance of evidence is to the contrary. This is because:

1. Once legal, it is not "daring"

2. Legal businesses care a lot more about not selling to teenagers than black market dealers.

3. Black market supply is uncertain - you cannot predict being able to purchase a black market drug 2 years from now. That makes it harder to choose to delay first consuming a drug (because who knows, you might never get the chance again). Once cannabis is legalised, teenagers can safely wait to adulthood knowing that if they want to try cannabis, they know exactly where to get it.

The "high" that it confers is, frankly, pathetic in comparison to almost any other drug apart from tobacco, and comes at a very high "morning after" cost. 

The high from tobacco is fun but much shorter lived and fades over time.  Nothing ever beats the first drag of the first cigarette when you haven't had one for a while.  After that beer is better value for the buzz it creates.

What HB said about alcohol. 
 

How someone can justify drinking the by products of fermented sugars…as a wonderful cultural experience…  and yet have a problem with cannabis or magic mushrooms is beyond me. 
 

Both cannabis and magic mushrooms have proven medical usages and benefits in humans. From helping cancer patients tolerate chemo better to positive treatements for depression and PTSD. 
 

The safest use for alcohol is to sterilise medical instruments before they go in your body. 

my worry would be - what will the criminal gangs turn to to fill the cash gap?

I guess the mafia did get really into fruit and veg

The "high" that it confers is, frankly, pathetic in comparison to almost any other drug apart from tobacco, and comes at a very high "morning after" cost. 

The high from tobacco is fun but much shorter lived and fades over time.  Nothing ever beats the first drag of the first cigarette when you haven't had one for a while.  After that beer is better value for the buzz it creates.

Just to be clear, I was saying that the high from tobacco is even shitter than the alcohol high. And no, the first drag of a cigarette after a long time is not better than coming up on MDMA.

I also don’t advocate to ban alcohol or cigarettes. 
 

my view is people should be free to put whatever they like into their own bodies.  
 

But I do not see why alcohol and cigarettes are currently legal given all the harm they do cause.. while other drugs that can have significant and positive benefits land you in jail. 

my worry would be - what will the criminal gangs turn to to fill the cash gap?

Right. So we have to keep gangsters in the drug trade, because otherwise they would have to go back to fencing stolen goods?

The fact is that there is no more lucrative market than the drug black market. If you legalise drugs, you just take cash permanently out of the black market. Gangsters will never be able to make as much money out of anything else as they can from illegal drugs. And without all that money to be made, you won't have anything like the level of violence.

The only reason that people go into drug dealing is because it is possible to make thousands and thousands a week as a young person with no other skills. 

Gangsters are the way they are largely because they are in the drug trade. No drug trade, less gang violence, less gangsters, less crime.

The first drag of a cigarette after you haven’t  had one in awhile is AWFUL. 
 

It tastes like shit and you remember exactly why you quit. 
 

It’s the second drag that gives the buzz. 

I also believe people should have the right to access euthanasia drugs  through the same process. 
 

 

Though given they could also be used for murder a few more restrictions to ensure personal use only may be in order. 

Transforms policy looks good except that 3 would be rendered useless by immediately resulting in an illicit re-sale market. 

I and many others mentions alcohol in this context to point out the utterly bat sh*t contradiction in many people’s views on criminalisation of other, much less harmful drugs. My point is certainly not to suggest alcohol should be banned - quite the opposite. The point is that if you are ok with alcohol being legal, it it is utterly bonkers for you not to be ok with, for example, mushrooms or ketamine being legal, which are far safer and less harmful (not to mention less anti-social; the world would without doubt be a better, less violent place if everyone did some mushrooms or ket every now and again). 

Amsterdam / the Netherlands generally - which have been mentioned above - is indeed somewhat instructive here. Never mind the weed: ecstasy is widely available in extremely pure form at very low prices, and is de facto decriminalised for personal possession. Young people drink far, far less than in the U.K., and many will go out, take a bit of (pure) E, dance all night, drink nothing but water / soft drinks, and go home feeling great. Which is better? That, or the binge drinking culture in the U.K.?

Of course, there are other factors playing into differences in drinking culture between countries. But it is still instructive. 

And what HB said re the “my worry would be - what will the criminal gangs turn to to fill the cash gap?” query from Clergs. 

Some currently illegal drugs (psychedelics and MDMA) will likely be prescribed as medicine in the near future (for depression and addiction etc.). Can you imagine any doctor now prescribing alcohol as medicine? Shows how confused UK drugs policy is. 

It’s not “a batsht contradiction” for ordinary people, who are regularly lied to and campaigned at, to be comfortable with risks they know but uncomfortable with embracing new unknowable risks.  
Rather than presenting misleading graphs, exaggerating the harm of alcohol and despairing at the stupidity of our fellow voters it is more effective to talk loudly and often about Amsterdam, Portugal etc. 

I would disagree with your statement that the graph misrepresents the harm caused by alcohol. 
 

The graph accurately portrays the overall current social harm caused by alcohol vs other drugs.  It simply does not then recalibrate the data on a per user data. But if we are looking at total overall harm why should it? 
 

The fact remains that alcohol causes enormous harm and social issues both for the user and others.
 

It is not simply a ‘wonderful cultural experience’ enjoyed by millions.

 

Also why do to have such an issue with people criticising alcohol use but have NOTHING to say about drug policy itself? 
 

 

No, the misleading graph doesn’t show overall current social harm. If it did, tobacco and alcohol would dwarf all others because of the enormous disparity in number of users. 

Instead, it shows the cumulative scores of experts judging each drug in various categories based on their harm relative to other drugs.  The authors acknowledge that their methodology has a bias against legal drugs. 

I agree with you on drugs policy but I disagree on how to persuade others and I disagree on the benefits v harm of alcohol. 

Well I disagree with you fundamentally about alcohol.
 

I personally find it to be one of the most dangerous and harmful of all the substances I’ve used,  or that I’ve seen family and friends use. 
 

 

 

To keep the hoi polloi happy, masses of drugs are necessary, due to most people being unhappy. Anyone who gets regularly tanked up past the age of 25 is self-medicating.