The Stirrer

news that matters, campaigns that count

for Birmingham, the Black Country and beyond

BROWN’S CANNABIS POLICY RUNS OUT OF PUFF

05-04-2008

Spliff

The Prime Minister is set on reclassifying cannabis as a Class B drug, even though – as Mick temple argues – it runs counter to the recommendations of his own advisory committee. Has he been on the wacky baccy wonders Mick Temple?

If there was ever any doubt that this government is more concerned with short-term electoral gain than producing policies which might improve the lives of all citizens, we’ve seen it this week.

Gordon Brown’s apparent insistence on reclassifying cannabis as a Class B drug has absolutely no relation to a coherent or workable policy on ‘dangerous drugs’.

The government’s own advisory committee has recommended that cannabis retains its status as a Class C drug. They point out that cannabis use has actually decreased since David Blunkett’s downgrading of the drug in 2004.

So why has Brown decided on this change of ‘policy’? The cynics among us can only assume that he is attempting to demonstrate to the voters of Middle England his hard-line on drugs. The Daily Mail lapped it up, with the views of the advisory committee’s members slated and plenty of anecdotal evidence of (admittedly heart-rending) stories of cannabis-induced descents into hell.

If the prime minister really cared about the effects drugs have on society he’d listen to a much wider range of views. Instead, the essentially prescriptive and judgemental character of this ‘Son of the Manse’ colour his approach to all societal problems.

New Labour has retained at least one feature of Old Labour thinking - the desire to control our lives from the cradle to the grave – except of course, in areas where its new paymasters from business and the media require a more open and market-based approach.

Given this, you might think Brown would consider the benefits of a market approach to the problem. Legalise all drugs, require drug companies to produce clean drugs and impose a levy on sales which is dedicated to research and the funding of treatment centres. Let drug-users pay for the consequences of their addiction.Publicise factually-based information on the consequences of drug use. You could do the same things for those other, more virulent, scourges on society, alcohol and tobacco – both of course legal.

When was the last time you were threatened by a cannabis-crazed hooligan? Never. And if you were, he’d only be after your Maltesers. When was the last time you were threatened by a booze-sodden thug? If you like a night out, probably quite recently.

Brown’s increasingly inane smile whenever a camera hovers near (‘try and look human, Gordon, for God’s sake’ hisses his new spinner, Stephen Carter) is the look of a man who’s been at the wacky baccy.

He hasn’t, but a few puffs on a bong, rather than the puff of publicity from the bongs on News at Ten, might produce a saner policy than any so far emerging from the bunker-mentality of Number Ten.

In short, treat us as adults.

Is the government right t reclassify cannabis from Class C to Class C? Leave a comment on The Stirrer Forum.

The Stirrer Forum

The Stirrer home

©2007 The Stirrer