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Pennine Ten Foot Drifts

The War On Drugs - is it 'working', and why is it a 'war' anyway ?

Drugs - is the current approach the best approach ?  

48 members have voted

  1. 1. Is the war on drugs working ?

    • Yes
      2
    • No
      47
  2. 2. Should all drugs be legalised and availability and quality managed by the government

    • Yes
      31
    • No
      17


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The cannabis and mental illness link isn't proven by any mean, yes there is a risk. But I would much prefer a system where people are educated properly about drugs, have the risks explained and let them choose whether to take said substances, much like alcohol and tobacco. Alcohol and tobacco are far, far more damaging to health, would you like to see these restricted too?

 

The idea that if cannabis was legal, suddenly everyone would be a stoner is complete nonsense. Look at the evidence. Portugal has decriminalised EVERYTHING, and both drug use and drug-related illnesses have dropped.

Thirty years of treating clients says otherwise Nick and letting them make choices is all well and good but these lifestyle choices cause misery and devastation for the families of those who for whatever reason decide to take the addiction route, also comparing other countries to the UK is counter productive as each country has a different set of values and outlook on life. It's amazing the number of armchair experts who have an opinion on this whilst ignoring the empirical evidence of us professionals.

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Thirty years of treating clients says otherwise Nick and letting them make choices is all well and good but these lifestyle choices cause misery and devastation for the families of those who for whatever reason decide to take the addiction route, also comparing other countries to the UK is counter productive as each country has a different set of values and outlook on life. It's amazing the number of armchair experts who have an opinion on this whilst ignoring the empirical evidence of us professionals.

As I've argued on this thread before, I agree that 'let individuals decide' is flawed rhetoric in relation to cocaine, speed, crack, meth, heroine etc but I'm not sure that is particularly relevant to cannabis, maybe even ecstacy.

With all due respect Sir how many patients have you treated? How many are treated each year in specific relation to cannabis?

Because...

(Let's call the population o the UK 70 million so it's easier Maths)

31% say they have taken drugs, 19% frequently do.

88% have smoked cannabis before (of the 31% who have taken something or do take things)

So we could assume that 88% (or thereabouts) of the 19% who frequently use are smoking cannabis. Probably taking other deugs too but that's irrelevant for the point I'm making.

So 88% of 19% of 70 million is about 12.2 - 12.5 million something like that (someone can use a calculator if people want to be precise).

So how many are treated for mental disorders in relation to 12 million who smoke it?...

Never mind the fact that a fair few of that 12 million will take harder stuff which will also contribute to mental disorders....

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And surely those treated are heavy users of cannabis? Much like everything else in the world, moderation is the key. The odd spliff every now and again surely won't cause a descent in mental illness? Much like a few pints at the weekend isn't going to destroy your liver.

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Thirty years of treating clients says otherwise Nick and letting them make choices is all well and good but these lifestyle choices cause misery and devastation for the families of those who for whatever reason decide to take the addiction route, also comparing other countries to the UK is counter productive as each country has a different set of values and outlook on life. It's amazing the number of armchair experts who have an opinion on this whilst ignoring the empirical evidence of us professionals.

HP, I wouldn't altogether describe myself as an armchair expert - having spent a career in the police service, part of which was on the county drug squad and dealing with drugs, their direct and indirect effects frequently, albeit I am not an academic or a medical expert, I feel that my 'front line' experience of this subject gives me and somewhat valid view and in the position to speak with some authority on the subject.

 

I have commented several times on this thread via posts #2, 6, 35, 48, 50, 57, 58 and others.

 

My basic view is that as a society we are NOT winning the war on drugs - it is an illegal industry left in the hands of criminal gangs whose whole object is to make easy money without any conscience or responsibility towards their clients/victims.

 

This leads to 'turf wars' between rival gangs which go as far as murder and causing serious injury with sometimes innocent people getting caught in the cross fire.

 

A fair number of people have died from drugs either because there is no indication as to their strength or because the drugs have been adulterated with noxious substances.

 

In addition we have the indirect results of illegal drug taking and that is that a high number of the seriously addicted people who do not work because of their habit, steal to feed it and this has a significant effect on the overall theft related crime figures,

 

Whatever we do there will always be a core of people drawn into taking drugs so we have no hope of eliminating it altogether so to me the option of bringing this whole 'industry' into state control where there is proper medical supervision in relation to the 'clients' and quality control of the drugs used is a viable option - this over time will do much in squeezing out the criminal element connected with this trade, especially if tackled on a global basis with international co-operation where the production, distribution and sale of such drugs could be supervised from start to finish and governments will be able to administer taxes to cover the costs of these and rehabilitation centres.

 

It is unlikely that this would be achieved overnight but in my view this should be the eventual aim which will result in benefits for society as a whole and a framework for dealing with and helping those addicted.

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You only have to look at the recent case with several people dying after taking contaminated ecstasy to realise that our current approach is dangerous. If people choose to take drugs, then surely harm reduction is the best way to go? Otherwise, people are going to dice with death when they have no idea what is in the substance they are taking. 

 

And let's not forget, not everyone who uses drugs is an addict or a "stain on society".

Edited by Nick L

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You only have to look at the recent case with several people dying after taking contaminated ecstasy to realise that our current approach is dangerous. If people choose to take drugs, then surely harm reduction is the best way to go? Otherwise, people are going to dice with death when they have no idea what is in the substance they are taking. 

 

And let's not forget, not everyone who uses drugs is an addict or a "stain on society".

Yes, I noticed that story. There are websites which highlight such threats. Drug report.com (or something similar) enables you to see all the reports of dodgy batches and check it all, so you eliminate some risk.

I've not taken MDMA etc but many of my close friends have and they thoroughly check whatever they are getting, they try to get it from Amsterdam as it's legal there so hence good quality/more pure etc not cut with dangerous other amphetamines.

Yes, not everyone is taking it all the time. Either they do it at a rave or on a Friday/Saturday night.

People like a couple glasses of wine, some like a cigar, some like a joint... Some even like a couple lines of coke.

Unfortunately, I do think the state has some moral obligation to protect its citizens. Thus, it can't condone the harder stuff.

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Yes, I noticed that story. There are websites which highlight such threats. Drug report.com (or something similar) enables you to see all the reports of dodgy batches and check it all, so you eliminate some risk.

I've not taken MDMA etc but many of my close friends have and they thoroughly check whatever they are getting, they try to get it from Amsterdam as it's legal there so hence good quality/more pure etc not cut with dangerous other amphetamines.

Yes, not everyone is taking it all the time. Either they do it at a rave or on a Friday/Saturday night.

People like a couple glasses of wine, some like a cigar, some like a joint... Some even like a couple lines of coke.

Unfortunately, I do think the state has some moral obligation to protect its citizens. Thus, it can't condone the harder stuff.

 

Ecstasy isn't legal in Amsterdam. Cannabis isn't even legal, it's just decriminalised and selling it is tolerated in coffeeshops. When I've been to Amsterdam I've been offered coke and ecstasy plenty of times by street dealers.

 

I'm not condoning harder stuff either, I just don't think slapping someone with a criminal record for possession solves anything. The government's own report even says that harsher penalties do sod all.

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Thirty years of treating clients says otherwise Nick and letting them make choices is all well and good but these lifestyle choices cause misery and devastation for the families of those who for whatever reason decide to take the addiction route, also comparing other countries to the UK is counter productive as each country has a different set of values and outlook on life. It's amazing the number of armchair experts who have an opinion on this whilst ignoring the empirical evidence of us professionals.

 

I know a fair few people who habitually smoke the stuff - even I am prone to an occasional joint. The argument you are making here can be applied to a number of legal substances, like alcohol. It's easy for people to allow alcohol to consume their lives, but most of the time this is related to underlying psychological issues, and not necessarily the substance itself.

 

Drugs became dangerous when people take them to mask other problems in their lives. Cannabis is one of the least harmful substances - and unlike alcohol, people do not (usually) become aggressive when high. Drunks cost the country millions each year and take up A&E time - yet nobody argues for alcohol to be made illegal, despite it being highly addictive and also potentially lethal in large doses (whereas cannabis is almost never lethal), not to mention one of the largest home wreckers in the country, responsible for domestic abuse and general violence alike. I wonder how many people are killed each year due to alcohol - whether directly, as a result of liver disease, or indirectly, as a result of alcohol-induced violence? All it takes is one punch..

 

Different set of values? Hardly. The UK has one of the highest levels of lifetime drug use in Europe, and also one of the highest levels of drug abuse. Drugs being illegal doesn't really make much difference to people using them, and it certainly doesn't prevent people becoming addicts. It does, however, make people more likely to buy dodgy stuff laced with things that will kill them (like dodgy ecstasy pills that float around).

Edited by cheese

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This report backs up my claim that attitudes to alcohol have changed/are changing.

People drink less frequently now but more heavily when they do so

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/ghs/opinions-and-lifestyle-survey/drinking-habits-amongst-adults--2012/sty-alcohol-consumption.html

Shows that younger people drink less overall but more heavily when they do. Middle-aged people just seem to drink a lot of wine throughout the week.

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Shows that younger people drink less overall but more heavily when they do. Middle-aged people just seem to drink a lot of wine throughout the week.

Yeah, I should have made it more clear that I was comparing my generation (around 20 years old) and those nearing pension age let's say so 60+...

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Since it was a story mentioned on the national news tonight I thought it deserved a post...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11414605/Super-strong-cannabis-responsible-for-quarter-of-new-psychosis-cases.html

I'd argue that those with a family history of schizophrenia an other mental issues are the overwhelming number concerned. As surveys have found someone with psychosis is 10 times more likely to have a family history of it than someone who doesn't (if both smoke weed).

The stronger potencies are a concern, especially to those with that 'weakness', the stronger strains bringing it out in more people.

Everything in moderation I suppose...

Ironic how today also saw the formation of a pro cannabis legalisation political party cista (I think that's its name) stands for cannabis is (something) than alcohol ie less dangerous they would argue.

Can't remember what the 'something' stands for...

Anyway, thought it was worth a post, especially to ensure objectivity and balance ;)

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Since it was a story mentioned on the national news tonight I thought it deserved a post...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11414605/Super-strong-cannabis-responsible-for-quarter-of-new-psychosis-cases.html

I'd argue that those with a family history of schizophrenia an other mental issues are the overwhelming number concerned. As surveys have found someone with psychosis is 10 times more likely to have a family history of it than someone who doesn't (if both smoke weed).

The stronger potencies are a concern, especially to those with that 'weakness', the stronger strains bringing it out in more people.

Everything in moderation I suppose...

Ironic how today also saw the formation of a pro cannabis legalisation political party cista (I think that's its name) stands for cannabis is (something) than alcohol ie less dangerous they would argue.

Can't remember what the 'something' stands for...

Anyway, thought it was worth a post, especially to ensure objectivity and balance ;)

 

The largest pro-legalisation group are CLEAR who are currently consulting with the government on medicinal cannabis, which hopefully isn't far off.

 

Regarding the report, I haven't had chance to read it. But I still maintain that people should still be able to make their own decisions based off factual information. I'm pretty sure booze and fags are bad for you too!

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The largest pro-legalisation group are CLEAR who are currently consulting with the government on medicinal cannabis, which hopefully isn't far off.

 

Regarding the report, I haven't had chance to read it. But I still maintain that people should still be able to make their own decisions based off factual information. I'm pretty sure booze and fags are bad for you too

Agreed.

The new political party must be tiny as I couldn't even find it through google just saw it in Facebook being shared by someone.

Exactly, if you said drink heavily (everyday) and drink strong stuff so 8% beers of whatever and then see what damage is done, I'd be pretty confident the effects of alcohol would be worse than the effects of weed.

Of those who do suffer from phycosis from weed (I note that firstly, nobody gives an approximation of how many % we are talking here of everyone who smokes weed and secondly, what is 'heavy' smoking?)

15% don't recover even I they stop, so in other words of the minority who do develop mental issues due to the drug, 85% can recover by stopping, leaving us with a pretty small number who do smoke.

Frankly, I'd rather see surveys conducted in Colorado than from a London Uni.

I'm sure there is something in that report and it does highlight potential threats, weed isn't totally harmless but I think it's less severe than other legal 'drugs'.

A bit like when they run a story saying a girl was killed by ecstacy or whatever and then slip in at the end that she took 6 or 10 and had no clue what she was doing or snorting 20 lines of coke...

Most people recoil in shock and horror and then denounce the drug whereas, if you said 'person does after consuming 6 litres of vodka' everyone would be like that was stupid, why did nobody do something to stop them etc

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Agreed.

The new political party must be tiny as I couldn't even find it through google just saw it in Facebook being shared by someone.

Exactly, if you said drink heavily (everyday) and drink strong stuff so 8% beers of whatever and then see what damage is done, I'd be pretty confident the effects of alcohol would be worse than the effects of weed.

Of those who do suffer from phycosis from weed (I note that firstly, nobody gives an approximation of how many % we are talking here of everyone who smokes weed and secondly, what is 'heavy' smoking?)

15% don't recover even I they stop, so in other words of the minority who do develop mental issues due to the drug, 85% can recover by stopping, leaving us with a pretty small number who do smoke.

Frankly, I'd rather see surveys conducted in Colorado than from a London Uni.

I'm sure there is something in that report and it does highlight potential threats, weed isn't totally harmless but I think it's less severe than other legal 'drugs'.

A bit like when they run a story saying a girl was killed by ecstacy or whatever and then slip in at the end that she took 6 or 10 and had no clue what she was doing or snorting 20 lines of coke...

Most people recoil in shock and horror and then denounce the drug whereas, if you said 'person does after consuming 6 litres of vodka' everyone would be like that was stupid, why did nobody do something to stop them etc

 

Agreed. The benefits of legalising (social, economic and health-wise) far outweigh the potential risks. Besides, as seen in Colorado and other areas, legalising/decriminalising does not lead to a spike in usage. So the argument that everyone is going to become a mentally ill stoner is a nonsense.

 

And ecstasy itself is a relatively safe drug in sensible doses. It's the incredibly harmful stuff it's cut with by dealers that's the most dangerous part of it. Just one of the many dangers of prohibition.

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Agreed. The benefits of legalising (social, economic and health-wise) far outweigh the potential risks. Besides, as seen in Colorado and other areas, legalising/decriminalising does not lead to a spike in usage. So the argument that everyone is going to become a mentally ill stoner is a nonsense.

And ecstasy itself is a relatively safe drug in sensible doses. It's the incredibly harmful stuff it's cut with by dealers that's the most dangerous part of it. Just one of the many dangers of prohibition.

Yep, a bit of casual use (like alcohol) or infrequent heavy use won't do much harm IMO, if you abuse it (like all substances) then you an get into trouble but by the same token weed is one of the few drugs which can have fairly little effect. By that I make refence to Snoop Dog, Wiz Khalifa and co who smoke 50 blunts a day (Wiz used to spend $40,000 a month on weed before he paid I scientist to make his own hybrid of weed haha)

And they seem pretty unaffected. Sure, tey are major league stoners but actually are totally functional on it (that's quite unique though) but more importantly haven't shown any signs of real problems. Obviously they are pretty young (late twenties/early thirties) but smoking that much will surely through up problems if there was a real mental danger with weed...

I await more evidence

The weed epidemic that is going on in America and its culture will be an interesting one to watch, the initial effects have been overwhelmingly positive but it is early days...

Agree about ecstacy, just overdosage and overuse are the problems. If you have someone who knows what they are talking about you'll be fine.

My sources tell me that it is usually known what the ecstacy pill is cut with, especially if you have a good relationship with your dealer, you can also go on 'pill report' and see which pills are dangerous for example the yellow UPS are triple strength and to be avoided (any UPS is dodgy ATM). People who aren't me, took some cut with speed, apparently it was good, you just need to be very careful.

For example, buy a packet of chewing gum as the gurning is pretty severe... So I'm told

Edited by SW Saltire

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Yep, a bit of casual use (like alcohol) or infrequent heavy use won't do much harm IMO, if you abuse it (like all substances) then you an get into trouble but by the same token weed is one of the few drugs which can have fairly little effect. By that I make refence to Snoop Dog, Wiz Khalifa and co who smoke 50 blunts a day (Wiz used to spend $40,000 a month on weed before he paid I scientist to make his own hybrid of weed haha)

And they seem pretty unaffected. Sure, tey are major league stoners but actually are totally functional on it (that's quite unique though) but more importantly haven't shown any signs of real problems. Obviously they are pretty young (late twenties/early thirties) but smoking that much will surely through up problems if there was a real mental danger with weed...

I await more evidence

The weed epidemic that is going on in America and its culture will be an interesting one to watch, the initial effects have been overwhelmingly positive but it is early days...

Agree about ecstacy, just overdosage and overuse are the problems. If you have someone who knows what they are talking about you'll be fine.

My sources tell me that it is usually known what the ecstacy pill is cut with, especially if you have a good relationship with your dealer, you can also go on 'pill report' and see which pills are dangerous for example the yellow UPS are triple strength and to be avoided (any UPS is dodgy ATM). People who aren't me, took some cut with speed, apparently it was good, you just need to be very careful.

For example, buy a packet of chewing gum as the gurning is pretty severe... So I'm told

 

I have never touched ecstasy or anything like that so I can't really comment, and I doubt I ever will to be honest.

 

But cannabis legalisation is only going one way, and as it gains momentum you can't really see it stopping. Especially as other places see the success it has been in Colorado etc.

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The largest pro-legalisation group are CLEAR who are currently consulting with the government on medicinal cannabis, which hopefully isn't far off.

 

Regarding the report, I haven't had chance to read it. But I still maintain that people should still be able to make their own decisions based off factual information. I'm pretty sure booze and fags are bad for you too!

 

Here's a different slant on it:

 

http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2015/02/16/what-media-reports-on-the-new-cannabis-study-aren-t-telling

 

I would smoke hash again if it was legalised, I don't smoke it any more as it's not really the done thing at my age when you've got a job, a wife and kids. I would definitely smoke if it was legal and regulated though. Even when I did smoke a lot I never liked the strong stuff, I'd always have resin if I could get it. I liked being able to function on it, just used to enjoy feeling fuzzy at the edges. I used to love going for a walk and having a wee joint on the way round, but never liked getting totally wasted on it. I can remember getting some proper strong grass from a guy who grew it himself, that stuff would leave you dead, what's the point once you get to that stage? I suppose it's a bit like someone enjoying the beer buzz you get after a couple of beers?

 

There has to be a distinction between different drugs and different types of the "same" drug. Remember that if alcohol was discovered today it would be at least a Class B drug and instantly banned from sale.

Edited by CatchMyDrift

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Here's a different slant on it:

 

http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2015/02/16/what-media-reports-on-the-new-cannabis-study-aren-t-telling

 

I would smoke hash again if it was legalised, I don't smoke it any more as it's not really the done thing at my age when you've got a job, a wife and kids. I would definitely smoke if it was legal and regulated though. Even when I did smoke a lot I never liked the strong stuff, I'd always have resin if I could get it. I liked being able to function on it, just used to enjoy feeling fuzzy at the edges. I used to love going for a walk and having a wee joint on the way round, but never liked getting totally wasted on it. I can remember getting some proper strong grass from a guy who grew it himself, that stuff would leave you dead, what's the point once you get to that stage? I suppose it's a bit like someone enjoying the beer buzz you get after a couple of beers?

 

There has to be a distinction between different drugs and different types of the "same" drug. Remember that if alcohol was discovered today it would be at least a Class B drug and instantly banned from sale.

 

Regarding your last line...In an ideal world, different cannabis strains would be sold with approximate THC/CBD strengths on the labelling. Much like we have for alcohol with ABV percentages.

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Here's a different slant on it:

 

http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2015/02/16/what-media-reports-on-the-new-cannabis-study-aren-t-telling

 

I would smoke hash again if it was legalised, I don't smoke it any more as it's not really the done thing at my age when you've got a job, a wife and kids. I would definitely smoke if it was legal and regulated though. Even when I did smoke a lot I never liked the strong stuff, I'd always have resin if I could get it. I liked being able to function on it, just used to enjoy feeling fuzzy at the edges. I used to love going for a walk and having a wee joint on the way round, but never liked getting totally wasted on it. I can remember getting some proper strong grass from a guy who grew it himself, that stuff would leave you dead, what's the point once you get to that stage? I suppose it's a bit like someone enjoying the beer buzz you get after a couple of beers?

 

There has to be a distinction between different drugs and different types of the "same" drug. Remember that if alcohol was discovered today it would be at least a Class B drug and instantly banned from sale.

Good post (and link) Catch :)

I was going to ask for a clarification on hash but I got it from the article, it's just that really what you and the author of that link you posted call hash is really 'brick weed' circa 8-12% THC

Whereas, actual hash (sometimes called hashish) is like 30% THC and you 'dab' it, you don't conventionally smoke it as it's so strong.

Many strains are very strong now, we had some brick weed and I enjoyed it but we had to smoke a lot before we felt 'high', whereas, strains such as 'northern lights' are very potent. Blown away after 1 jay.

I see your point Catch, I don't like getting blazed on just weed, I hate the self-doubt/paranoia that it brings, I much prefer being drunk and then getting destroyed on it as it's just euphoria as opposed to any other thoughts.

I've read that a lot of people who complain about paranoia get told take a break and once they do it's fine. If you abuse it, then you run the risk of screwing yourself over.

Interesting point you raise about age, I wonder if my friend group will still smoke in the future but I doubt it. If I'm honest we'll take stimulants on a Friday/Saturday night I suspect. Maybe 1 night a week a bit of weed with a few drinks or something (if my partner smokes it) but I reckon just alcohol or cocaine or ecstacy or speed ect.

Yeah, having THC levels written on would be good, sometimes you pick up a bag and smoke a fair bit and google it and it's 12% and can function fine. Other times, we've picked up and we find out it's 22% THC and we're dead

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Yep, a bit of casual use (like alcohol) or infrequent heavy use won't do much harm IMO, if you abuse it (like all substances) then you an get into trouble but by the same token weed is one of the few drugs which can have fairly little effect. By that I make refence to Snoop Dog, Wiz Khalifa and co who smoke 50 blunts a day (Wiz used to spend $40,000 a month on weed before he paid I scientist to make his own hybrid of weed haha)

And they seem pretty unaffected. Sure, tey are major league stoners but actually are totally functional on it (that's quite unique though) but more importantly haven't shown any signs of real problems. Obviously they are pretty young (late twenties/early thirties) but smoking that much will surely through up problems if there was a real mental danger with weed...

I await more evidence

You omitted B-real of Cypress Hill, the biggest self proclaimed stoner of them all, and his mental faculties seem in order aged 44.

http://m.ocregister.com/articles/city-650380-marijuana-lottery.html

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You omitted B-real of Cypress Hill, the biggest self proclaimed stoner of them all, and his mental faculties seem in order aged 44.http://m.ocregister.com/articles/city-650380-marijuana-lottery.html

Yeah, there are lots of videos of him on YouTube in the 'smokebox' where he chats to different well known artists. Although, he admits he doesn't stay high all day long but probably smokes everyday.

Each to their own but I'm just not convinced the 'mental issues' with cannabis are anywhere near the damage done by alcohol to your liver etc (even alcohol needs some serious abuse to become a problem).

Edited by SW Saltire

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Scandalous!  :)

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-31876632

 

Scottish party leaders admit taking cannabis
 
Three of Scotland's four main political party leaders have said they had taken cannabis when they were younger.
 
Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson both said it had made them feel sick.
 
Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said he had taken it "in his youthful days".
 
Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy told the Glasgow University debate between the party leaders that he could not remember, but later clarified that he had never taken drugs or sniffed glue...
 
...The leaders were commenting on research by the Institute for Social and Economic Research which said up to £900m a year could be raised through taxation of a regulated cannabis market, and were asked if they had tried the drug.

 

 

 

 

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Is this really newsworthy? Just get on with legalising it already.

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Is this really newsworthy? Just get on with legalising it already.

 

That's actually what I quite liked about it. The fact that they all happily admitted they had tried it when young as part of discussions and didn't worry about saying that. It shouldn't* be scandalous news and it wasn't.

 

Apart from Labour's Jim Murphy of course who, ahem, 'couldn't remember'. Classic Jim / Labour; when put on the spot not sure whether he should have tried it or not in terms of gaining perceived political advantage. 'Erm, I don't remember if I've tried it. Let me ask my spin doctors whether I tried it or not, then I'll get back to you'.

 

---

 

*EDIT

 

Typed should initially when I meant shouldn't. But then such things often are portrayed as scandalous when that's just silly.

Edited by scottish skier

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