Firstly, in reply to Mr Hitchens: He has reiterated that he feels the ‘War on Drugs’ was called off 40 years ago. I of course grasped this point and included it my junglist reply. In my original post, I likened Mr Hitchens’ proposal to that of a conspiracy theory, but, I am unsure how to actually prove that the ‘war on drugs’ has indeed been waged. I don’t believe we should give much mind to this thread of the argument, but I would direct Mr Hitchens to my friends at LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition). Those that have been on the front line of this war should perhaps be listened to. These senior police personnel have lost many colleagues in the line of duty, and have seen such turmoil that they now counter-fight prohibition on both sides of the Atlantic. To say that we’ve had no war is deeply insensitive. Or, we can simply cite Mexico, they have gone for total war. 35 000 dead in nearly 5 years suggests that a war is in full effect; the UK is not except from reaping a similar result.
Whether Mr Hitchens believes that we’ve had a war or not, prohibition still accounts for most health troubles that are aligned with cannabis and other substances. Under prohibition, we have no age checks, a sincere lack of quality control, and no understanding of dosage or potency. Let’s use alcohol as the obvious example: If we were to strip all potency information from packaging, give no clue to users to if they are using spirits, wine or beer, and then provide a pint-glass as a generic measure, most will be able to understand that ignorance is the enemy of health. Cannabis is being used under these blind conditions. On Mr Hitchens’ site, he has even scoffed at the term “Cannabis Indica” - I do question how much he actually knows of the cannabis plant? Is Mr Hitchens aware of the importance of matured cannabis and to closely monitor the trichomes when approaching harvest? When Professor Roger Pertwee of GW Pharmaceuticals (leading cannabinoid specialist) has expressed concerns over prohibition, maybe we should take council from experts on the issue.
The main point in which I addressed in my post were that of morals. Mr Hitchens professes to a moral man and that drugs policy is a moral issue. I disagreed. I believe morals to be far too subjective to base policy upon. To summarise my original points would not further this discussion; I basically disagreed with his set morals and interjected with my own brand. I guess, with two men taking a differing stance on morals, a stalemate would be the result. For this reason alone, I once more believe - as mandated per the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 - we should have an ever evolving drugs policy that is based on science and evidence. Why is this feared? From the Shafer Report, to the Wootton Report 1969, and successive ACMD reports since, we have never had it reported that we need harsher sentencing or stronger judicial measures. To peruse this route would provide the final mockery of existing drugs policy, and render its original application redundant. The harm scale of drugs is supposed to adequately reflect on sentencing. Of course, we have a drugs policy that is in no way in keeping with this premise.
One point that I will summarise; the war on drugs, in real terms, is a war on people. With every harsh measure that Peter Hitchens wishes to pursue, he is directly persecuting and causing misery to those around him who he feels he is trying to protect. It’s not just those who use drugs to feel the strain of current policy. So while Mr Hitchens is a proponent for the war to continue, he is a direct advocate of the pain and misery to which he has fought against. I spoke of concept wars akin to the war on drugs; I used the War on Terror as the example, and it is one in which Mr Hitchens has been vocal in the past. Concept wars are nonsense and only sound good for the sake of a rhetoric. We cannot fight concepts, we cannot fight ‘drugs’, we can only fight people.