Following the Home affairs committee's declaration today that the UK’s war on drugs is not effective and that it criminalises a huge proportion of British society, you would be forgiven for thinking that the UK's Drug Policy may change. Trumpeting Portugal's decriminalisation and the positive effect it had on recovering addicts the committee called for a Royal Commission to investigate the war on drugs in general and assess all the evidence, including that of the recent legalisation of cannabis for Washington and Colorado. All good news, however the Home Office immediately shot them down saying that it has no plan to change, investigate or even consider other options in their War. Theresa May and her department have sited the “falling number of heavy drug users” as there authority to ignore the mounting research saying that this system must consequently be working. Something that seems in direct conflict with the increasing use of “Legal Highs amongst Teens” many of which are much worse for your Health than Cannabis. There is also a heavy rise in prescription Drug abuse amongst the older portion of British Society. It would appear in fact that the war on drugs isn’t actually working, its just shifting the Drug abuse to legal and often more dangerous alternatives.
With my rant over, I present you with
Alexandre Rodriguez's 5 Main Reasons, which are by no means exhaustive, as to why cannabis will not be made Legal in the UK.
With the effects of the Leveson inquiry still reverberating throughout the UK and Parliament. The role of the tabloid press in the UK is being called into question. Their lack of internal regulation and ability to call an over night Witch Hunt, the Daily Mail being experts at it, has lead to the press wielding huge amounts of power to which it flaunts and uses to scaremonger in the never ending quest for sales and ratings. A popular topic on their agenda is drugs, criminalising anyone who would seem to change policy as a drugie and a hippy. This has paralysed a lot of people within the political sphere as the tabloids legion of devoted followers will happily follow the cause to crucify any politician. The idea of Cannabis after all scares parents and many other people who have not experienced it, and fear sells papers.
The Oxford trained, ex conservative party chairman has a lot of the blame to face for the sustained criminalisation of 1 in 5 people in the UK. Theresa May has made it abundantly clear that she will not consider a different approach to drugs. But why would she as a Conservative who would prefer to ere on the side of prison, she is distinctly unconcerned with issues that are associated with those who are not in the higher echelon of society. Perhaps if someone explained to her how much money the UK would save and make if it Cannabis was legal she might change her opinion. Though something tells me she hasn't evaluated or changed her silver spooned opinions in a long time.
The assorted religions of the UK also have something to answer for in this debate. With threats of hell upon cannabis users and a hate the sin not the sinner hypocrisy, leads a lot of the UK's religious populations to accept an attitude of superiority to cannabis users as well as the view of them as criminals. It allows the opinion of a jail sentence for users to be continued to be considered acceptable. This of course seems ridiculous when the original reason for criminalisation, “to protect the public from harm”, is considered. Which would mean were sending people to prison and giving them a criminal record to protect them. If the Church of England changed its stance, which is very unlikely, the UK would be one step closer to the end of prohibition.
Class also comes into the anti Cannabis equation. It is an uncomfortable truth that cannabis is considered to be the pursuit of the lower and “therefore criminal classes”. This is simply not the complete case as Cannabis is used across the classes. There is a key difference however, the higher classes with money to spare rarely face drug convictions. The poorer members of society who rely on legal aide, however are convicted at a much higher rate. It is a sad but true fact that if Theresa May's friends and their children where facing a criminal record for a little bit of cannabis, she would probably consider things differently.
Finally we come to the MPs. 77% of the members of parliament in the UK think that drug law should be re-examined, particularly with regards to cannabis. So why aren’t they doing anything. Well there's the press and the Home Secretary, but also party lines. The heads of the political parties are too afraid to consider backing the legalisation of cannabis as the potential backlash could make them unelectable. Therefore many back benchers do not openly demonstrate their support through fear of Political Suicide. A referendum would be key before many of the MPs would consider open support.
There are bound to be important reasons that I’ve missed.
If you can think of some please comment.