drugs

In 1979 Keith Stroup, an American pot-using lawyer and founder of NORML (the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) said: “We will use the medical marijuana argument as a red herring to give pot a good name”.

He must be congratulating himself.  Thirty seven years later he can boast that 23 American States and DC have laws making this street drug legal for so-called medical purposes.

Medical, my foot – the ‘prescribed’ marijuana doled out is neither Food and Drug Administration tested or approved. It has no health efficacy but only harms health; it is weed or skunk, no more no less. It stimulates illicit demand and supply and so rolls the drug wagon forward. Drug use in the US has risen* driven by marijuana; perception of risk has fallen, not least amongst teens in those States that have fully legalised it.

In defiance of federal law, but under the benign eye of President ‘CanObama’, four states – Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington – have also made recreational marijuana legal. The costs are just beginning to be computed.

Calls to end the so-called ‘war on drugs’ have proved so successful over the other side of the pond that Mr Putin need have no worries about US power. However low the price of oil, whatever the economic freedom fracking gives, as America implodes under the weight of its dope addiction, global domination will be his. Vladimir must be laughing all the way to the bank as the US forgets the lesson of history – that mass opium addiction paralysed China at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.

He must be laughing too at Britain where luminaries from Baroness Meacher to Joanna Lumley naively believe that dope is quite fine if properly ‘regulated’, i.e. legalised, by the nanny state. Some hope.

Nothing has proved more appealing to the ‘modern liberal mind’ than the punitive, coercive and illiberal war against drugs ‘meme’. Nothing better justifies the fantasies of the ageing reps of the ‘permissive culture’.

It’s hardly surprising to find the pitiful Nick Clegg, as Peter Hitchens describes him, at their beck and call and at the forefront of the  latest legalising campaign on this side of the pond.

It’s the week of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session Reviewing International Drugs Policy, hyped in The Independent as ‘hundreds of global figures calling for the end to the disastrous war on drugs”.

It’s actually the ‘achievement’ of a remarkably small group of dedicated drug policy obsessives centered around Brit Mike Trace, the former disgraced deputy drug czar, financed and backed by the libertarian international financier George Soros (through his various ‘philanthropic’ foundations) and by Richard Branson. For years now, they have been set on destroying the international drug laws (which have the support of the majority of the world’s nations and have held drug use at bay for over a hundred years). If they succeed, the world’s door to BIG DOPE will soon be wide open.

If this sounds too much like a conspiracy theory, you only have to look the number of groups at UNGASS (the UN drug policy review) whose support traces back, directly or indirectly, to Soros’s Open Society Foundation or other ‘philanthropic’ foundations and charities he funds which campaign for the overthrow of current drug laws amongst their other pro abortion and assisted dying ‘causes’.

Now Clegg is running around on their behalf. Last week he announced his membership of the PR outfit they set up in 2011.  This self-styled Global Commission on Drug Policy, backed by a seedy array of past and present Latin American presidents, has proved a past master of spin and misinformation.

To be fair, Clegg may just have been sucked in by their grandiosity, as have others before him.

Be that as it may, he’s been banging their drum on the evils of ‘prohibition’ versus his free drug utopia with anyone who cares to listen – namely the BBC and The Guardian.

Newsnight, with predictable alacrity, lent him its ear and let him loose in Equador – at what cost to the long suffering licence fee payer I have no idea – to argue in effect for the legalisation of cocaine.

Crime is there, he opined, because cocaine is not legal and poor people are being deprived of the chance to grow coca and so on. The situation is little better in the UK where people are ‘forced’ to steal to feed their habit. The answer? Pot and cocaine, free at the point of use, on the NHS? Nick didn’t enlighten us.

Next it was The Guardian’s turn, a paper at risk of drowning in its own circumlocutions on the undeniable dangers of cannabis versus the drug’s victim-free status (really?).

Here Clegg accused the Home Secretary, Theresa May, of tampering with a drug policy report he’d bounced her into agreeing when in Coalition, claiming she tried to alter it when it found no link between tough laws and levels of illegal drug use.

I’d suggest its validity was a matter of speculation from start to finish. Jeremy Browne, the Lib Dem Drugs Minister responsible, got sacked in the middle of the report’s production and subsequently left politics. He was replaced by the much more compliant Norman Baker, an arch legaliser and well-known eccentric. Need I say more?

What should have hit him in the eye was the incontrovertible evidence of rising marijuana use in the United States (by contrast with the UK and most of Europe), driven by the largest cannabis decriminalisation experiment in the world, fastest rising in those States fully to have legalised the drug.

It holds no interest for Clegg. Nor does the mounting evidence that correlates cannabis use with mental illness, with memory and mental performance and violence.

His complacency on this is quite extraordinary. For the last year he and his health spokesman, Norman Lamb, have made much of the need for increased provision of mental health services for which, they must know, cannabis is a key driver. That resulting psychotic illness is resistant to recovery and the costs of permanent brain damage run into billions apparently matters not.

So the former Deputy PM seems happy to see personal freedom restricted instead of enhanced; personal responsibility undermined not promoted. Worse he is happy to encourage government dependency instead of self-reliance. But that is the just the start of the inconsistencies and self-contradictions of the modern liberal mind.

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* In 2014, 27.0 million people in the USA aged 12 or older used an illicit drug in the past 30 days, which corresponds to about 1 in 10 Americans (10.2 percent).1 This percentage in 2014 was higher than those in every year from 2002 through 2013. The illicit drug use estimate for 2014 continues to be driven primarily by marijuana use and the nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers, with 22.2 million current marijuana users aged 12 or older (i.e., users in the past 30 days) and 4.3 million people aged 12 or older who reported current nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers.

The higher percentage of people who were current illicit drug users in 2014 than in prior years appears to reflect trends in marijuana use. The percentage of people aged 12 or older in 2014 who were current marijuana users (8.4 percent) also was greater than the percentages in 2002 to 2013. In addition, the estimate of current marijuana use was greater in 2014 than the estimates in 2002 to 2009 for young adults aged 18 to 25 and in 2002 to 2013 for adults aged 26 or older. www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/…/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf

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