On the Verge… Of Legalisation
Wednesday 21st October 2015 | Cais
This week it looked as if the United Nations was about to call for a world wide end to the war on drugs. Although the measure was ultimately rejected, we’ve made a list of reasons we all need to shake things the fuck up! Here is a list of places that have changed the laws and how they've benefited and some other's who are about to.
Portugal is every legalisation advocates wet dream. 1999 was a rough year for Portugal. Heroin addiction was going from bad to worse. The spread of AIDS from needle sharing was rising to the highest in the EU and Portugal was becoming a popular port of call for traffickers. In 2001 the Portuguese said enough is enough and virtually overnight they decriminalised everything. Not only that but they shifted their efforts from prosecuting drug addicts to helping them recover. More than a decade later the results have been amazing.
Drug-induced deaths in Portugal since 2001
While cannabis is decriminalised in most US States and carries roughly the same decriminalisation penalties that we see in the UK, over the past two years the US States of Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, have legalised the sale and use of Marijuana.
In keeping with America’s tradition of often making no sense at all, their federal government is still cracking on with the Reagan era war on drugs. They’d do well to pay attention though because while Mexican drug cartels sneak piles of marijuana across their southern border, Colorado raked in a cool 76 million dollars in tax revenue in 2014 alone by growing and selling it themselves.
Amsterdam, need we say more? While drugs are still technically illegal in The Netherlands, Dutch society as a whole has taken an extremely relaxed approach to drug use and because of that remains a top destination for anyone looking to kick back and toke up.
Yes, you read that correctly. Marijuana is even legal in fucking North Korea and you can buy a grocery bag full of it for less than the price of a cup of coffee. Tourists returning from the reclusive country report that you can sit just about anywhere and roll a joint and nobody will care.
To be clear, we are in no way implying that the UK should be more like North Korea for if you’re caught with something like meth for example, chances are you’ll still be lined up against a wall and shot. But yea, if you go to North Korea you’ll be followed around by a state appointed, propaganda spewing minder who will still probably spark a joint with you.
About 80p Worth of North Korea's Home Grown
So maybe flying to Denver, Colorado and certainly Pyongyang, North Korea is a bit of a stretch but it just goes to show that even the strictest of players in the war on drugs, the United States, is finally caving to the undeniable truth that criminalising the use and sale of this plant is ridiculous and that putting millions of young people in prison cells for relaxing by toking up at home instead of passing out down the pub during a game of darts like their parents and grandparents did is equally as crazy.
Canada is already a brilliant place and this past week they elected a new Labour Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who is widely expected to try to legalise cannabis. Trudeau, a former snowboard instructor in British Columbia and son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau rode an avalanche of votes to victory just a week after former Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that Marijuana is ‘infinitely worse than tobacco.’
Right, sure it is.
The world knows what he said is bullshit, which is why Harper and much of his party are out of the job.
Yes, the Americans made the list again due to the fact that although some seriously mind blowing progress has been made in a few states, several others are still locking people up in record numbers. Whether for medical use or not, the USA is filling its prisons with young people and it's obvious to see that minorities are even more likely to be caught and imprisoned. In many cases, these individuls would otherwise have just gotten up the next morning and gone to work.
Although the Tory landslide in the UK is still fresh in our minds, newly elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn seems willing to take the Tories to task over the legal status of cannabis and it is set to be brought up for debate before the end of 2015.
If recent events are a sign that the tide is finally turning and that we’ll soon taste victory with a peach flavoured blunt then what’s next on the legalisation agenda? Maybe in 2016 we can push for Prime Ministers Questions to begin with a passing of the spliff? If it did, I’d watch every Wednesday.