2012, Cannabis prohibition gets weaker and weaker
2012 has been an interesting year for those of us that have spent most of their adult lives feeling either marginalised or disrespected because we use cannabis for recreational or medical reasons. But there are a lot of reasons why the ‘legalise cannabis‘ groups are feeling happier than ever.
After a decade of hostility towards cannabis the new Dutch coalition government will scrap the ‘weed pass’, perhaps allowing Holland to return to the way it was in the 80’s and 90’s. The Mayor of Amsterdam (also responsible for policing) says that scrapping the weed pass will allow the coffeeshops to remain open for tourists. Amsterdam gets around 7.5 million tourists a year and at least 1.5 million of them visit a coffeeshop. The Mayor recently said that "Banning tourists from Coffee Shops loses all benefits that the coffeeshop model gives us. Those benefits are less disturbance, the possibility to control the quality of soft drugs (Cannabis and Hash), the age of the buyers and the illegal street-dealers”. Common sense wins in Amsterdam.
Spain leads the way with it’s cannabis clubs and medical collectives. Numerous South American countries are flirting with, or actively introducing, weed friendly laws. Even Russia is joining the party, the canna business there is increasingly professional and self-sufficient home-growers are left alone by the authorities.
Legalise weed, especially plants that look like this (Think Different)
The war on drugs has been an expensive way of making the situation worse. It guarantees unimaginable wealth to some of the least deserving people on the planet and of course it is a war that can never, ever, be won. The laws against marijuana have certainly failed to control its use. Today tens of millions of Americans and Europeans use cannabis regularly and completely safely. Around the world so do millions more, many of these grow it themselves and by doing so have completely undermined the organised producers and drug underworld. The biggest danger for these home-growers is not their pot, it is the damage done by police prosecution and a criminal record. The pointless and extremely damaging prohibition nonsense has to stop, and stop soon.
There are two rapidly developing areas which are having an important influence on the continued weakening of prohibition. Here I refer to medical marijuana and the growing number of states in the USA that are passing laws allowing people to use cannabis without criminal conviction.
Firstly take the rise and rise of medical evidence that is emerging in ever growing quantities. This may not be a surprise to most cannabis users, but it is to many other people. Numerous studies all over the world are showing how effective cannabis is in a wide range of medical conditions. Pharmaceutical companies are getting ready to exploit the revenue stream, some have already started. There has never been as much research into cannabis as there is today and all the evidence is showing that cannabis is one of the most effective multi-purpose medicines, 100% organic and natural. Perhaps cannabis will prove to be THE most effective and useful natural medicinal herb. It will certainly be the most widely used in years to come.
Secondly, look at the changing landscape of prohibition in the USA - the place where the ‘war on drugs’ began and where so much anti-cannabis propaganda and influence originally came from. Today there are 17 states (out of a total of 50) that allow the use of cannabis, meaning that over a third of the USA allows cannabis in one way or another. In a few years it will be over half of the USA. Many of these weed-friendly states allow recreational use and tolerate some form of growing for personal usage. Washington DC (often regarded as a ‘District’ rather than a ‘state’) also allows the medical use of weed. And another 3 states are voting soon on the issue of permitting the sale and possession of cannabis.
There is also a very interesting test-case in court coming up where Michael Krawitz takes on the federal Government to get Cannabis reclassified. This is being done because pot is still officially regarded as having zero medical value. That has stopped Krawitz, a military veteran, from getting his medical care from the Veterans medical system – simply because he uses medical marijuana. This increasingly isolated ‘official’ federal view is to be challenged in a court case that will have wide ramifications both within the USA and outside too. Whether we like it or not a lot of non-USA politicians (especially in Northern Europe) have closely followed USA political posturing on cannabis. So every move in the USA has a ripple effect in Europe and elsewhere. As previously reported in this blog, the South American political leaders have already started ignoring USA politics and started implementing their own changes to drug laws.
These are good times for those of us that have spent decades trying to persuade people that the laws on cannabis are unjust and vindictive. Lets hope the prohibition of cannabis really is coming to an end, perhaps the medical arguments will speed up the process faster than we imagine. Maybe a Berlin-wall style collapse of prohibition laws is an overly romantic dream, but it would be a dream come true for all those that want to see an end to the horrible criminalisation of cannabis users that has continued for far too long.
We hope to see a wave of cannabis acceptance that will make life much, much better for those that grow their own cannabis as medicine or simply to enjoy. The amount of medical evidence and public support for relaxing the cannabis laws has never been greater. Lets hope that cannabis gets the break it deserves. We are not criminals.
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