Cannabis

Marijuana poster. Source: Wikipedia

US government poster from 1930s

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a stoner. I've never even smoked cannabis before. But the issue of its legalisation (or, more recently, reclassification) has always pissed me off somewhat. The simple truth is that cannabis is no more harmful than alcohol or tobacco. In fact, it is probably much LESS harmful, both to the individual and society at large.

I was reading that the Tories pledge to reclassify cannabis to a Class B drug if they win the election (haha). I'd always thought there was a massive folly in arguing over whether stoners should be sent to prison whilst binge drinkers are just given a night in the cells, a slap on the wrist, a "don't beat up your wife again, sonny", and sent on their way. So I decided to start reading a bit about the effects of pot, trying to find sites with an unbiased perspective. Here's what the BBC's "One Life" has to say about hash:

Well suck my cock and call me Andrew. Smoking cannabis can "damage the lungs", you can become "psychologically dependent" on it, and mixing drugs can have "unpredictable effects". Does this sound familiar to anyone? Doesn't sound at all like smoking tobacco does it? Doesn't sound EXACTLY THE SAME as smoking tobacco by any stretch of the imagination, eh?

But what of the psychological damage that cannabis supposedly causes? Contrary to popular (e.g. legislative) belief, the majority of studies performed on cannabis use and subsequent psychological damage have either found no correlation, or their methodology has been laughably flawed. Or incredibly biased. What's more, the suggestion that cannabis leads to mental illness can easily be turned round to say that mental illness leads to cannabis uptake, because as of yet there is no proof that one effects the other. But even if it is taken as granted that some damage may be sustained from cannabis (which it shouldn't be), it is safe to say that smoking tobacco causes a fucking lot of problems - cancer, impotence and infertility, heart problems - the list is endless. Drinking alcohol in large quantities isn't going to do your liver any favours either.

The short term effects of cannabis are nothing in comparison with the total loss of control that comes with a typical night on the tiles. Whereas alcohol can make you behave aggressively, throw up everywhere or generally act like a total cunt, what does stoning do? Mellows. If there were ever a danger to societal well being in the 21st century, surely it is pot! The simple fact is that cannabis makes you lethargic and light-headed - stoners do not go out and pick fights with other stoners, police officers, or teenage chavs. They just sit in their hovels and watch Neighbours.

Of course, the government aren't going to outlaw fags or booze. Not only because the idea is so objectionable it would be completely rejected by the public, but also because Gordon Brown has an addiction (pun necessary) to the lucrative amounts of tax he puts on them. So why aren't they going to legalise cannabis? Even though it's a Class C drug, if you're caught dealing you could get 14 years in the slammer. The answer is: who knows? Remember; cannabis was initially made illegal not because of overwhelming scientific evidence that it was the "the most violence-causing drug known to man", but because it was allegedly making the workforce less productive. Like hangovers don't.

I've bothered to write this because of the stupid hypocrisy I see in a society that worries over the problems binge drinking and lung cancer, whilst simultaneously allowing the causes of such problems to continue unchecked and banning a drug that is far less dangerous. Why make such a fuss about binge drinking and then promote the introduction of 24 hour licensing for pubs? Why delay banning smoking in public when passive smoking becomes a bigger cause of cancer every year? It simply makes no sense. If the so called modern day problems are to be addressed, then maybe the focus should be on THEIR causes rather than an inconsequential drug which doesn't really do anything.

These sites are the ones I read; the first being of particular interest.

Permalink || Posted 22/4/2005 by Pete

18 comments »«

  1. tim - 27/4/2005 - 3:16pm

    you say cannabis is probably much less harmful than tobacco, then later go on to say the negative effects are exactly the same as tobacco. you also ask why public smoking isn't yet banned.

    generally, your rant comes across as viewing cannabis in a more favourable light than cigarettes. but what specifically makes cigarettes so much worse?

    yours sincerely,

    tim

  2. The Natflap - 27/4/2005 - 4:58pm

    I don't think I'm trying to put cannabis in a more favourable light Tim. I'm just saying that it doesn't make sense for one to be illegal when the other isn't.

    But I suppose you could argue that tobacco is worse. After all, passive smoking is bad enough, not to mention all the shitty tar and resins that clog up the lungs. Cannabis is a carcenogen but that, according to research, is all it is.

  3. tim - 27/4/2005 - 5:03pm

    ah, fair enough

    i agree with the overall point

  4. Dan - 27/4/2005 - 5:13pm

    Did my site inspire you?

  5. The Natflap - 27/4/2005 - 5:16pm

    Undoubtedly.

  6. Chris B - 27/4/2005 - 9:50pm

    A little alcohol is good for you - but a glass a day, not 20 rounds in the boxing ring, er, pub. Moderation is the key. Except that there are always stupid twats who can't control themselves and ruin it for the rest of us with projectile vomit and a couple of dead cyclists at the end of the night. Congratulations! You've won the undying respect of NOBODY.

    Cigarettes piss me off. I wouldn't mind if there was no such thing as passive smoking, but there is, so don't enforce your habit on me. Personally I can't wait for B&H to produce a new type with added chloroform.

    n.b. on the continent there is 24-hour drinking, but they don't drink 24 hours a day, if that makes sense.

  7. daveman - 28/4/2005 - 11:38pm

    there was an article in the new scientist i read today about how the government were considering reclassing cannabis back to B because of a recent study showing regular weed smokers suffer more from schizophrenia. HOWEVER, they also concluded from the study that it was most likely that people suffering from schizophrenia were more likely to do pot... coz that risk is much bigger than anything related to alcohol abuse.

    mentalists

  8. Noodle - 29/4/2005 - 7:07pm

    If they legalised cannabis it would take the money away from the dealers, which funds other more serious crimes like sex-slavery and hard-drug dealing, and he'd tax the hell out of the legal sellers and put it into schools and that.

  9. tim - 30/4/2005 - 4:20pm

    has the current government actually stated they want to reclassifly it as class B or is that just rumoured? i thought that was a tory policy

  10. The Natflap - 1/5/2005 - 2:56pm

    No I don't think the government have any plans to reclassify. They only changed it a few months ago.

  11. daveyboi - 2/5/2005 - 8:09pm

    but the tories do want to reclassify it to class B, oh well

  12. Smartass - 6/5/2005 - 3:18pm

    I smell

  13. Hollie's Mum - 19/5/2005 - 4:56pm

    Whats a CHAV

  14. Holly - 24/5/2005 - 8:55pm

    I'd just like to say that if anyone knows about drunken behavior (especially on their 18th birthday) it would be pete.....wouldn't it my bear hugging, toe crushing, sex commenting buddy :)

  15. The Natflap - 31/5/2005 - 5:37pm

    Yes Holly... yes it would.

  16. Stephen Reynolds (used to be Stephen Prince) - 19/6/2005 - 11:11pm

    listen Peter, i have been smoking cannabis for 3 years now and i havent noticeksheef jrjt gbmtrkjh nšN:Gvzu k

  17. Phizzy - 13/8/2005 - 6:54pm

    What's a 'sheef'?

  18. Stephen Reynolds(used to be Stephen Prince in 8S) - 19/8/2005 - 11:32pm

    a sheef is a small, oval device made of titanium and cheese. you use it to scrape bile out of cows arseholes. but on a full moon night you have to be careful you dont get sucked into the arsehole and end up in a world covered in shit and chavs known as...earth

    p.s. PETER, when u see this give me an e-mail, i havent spoke to you for a while. wanna see how ure doing and i wanna write some random bullshit for your lard-arse site

    cheers

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