Well who’d a thunk it! A high-rankingUK police officer -Tim Hollis, chief constable of Humberside police no less – has called for possession of small amounts of cannabis. He said that the current approach to policing drug trade and drug use could offer only a “limited” solution to the UK’s drug problem, a tacit admission that prohibition has failed. So now he wants cannabis decriminalized, and the money saved to be used instead in the “war” against “hard drugs”.
Before we put Hollis on a podium and announce him the saviour of dope smokers everywhere, it’s worth remembering that Hollis has been a policeman for a very long time, and is the chair man of ACPO’s drugs committee – and he has only recently decided to back decriminalization. So for years he has backed the current “war” on drugs and its sentencing guidelines. Hollis isn’t doing this because of some “road to Damascus” revelation -he has seen the spread of decriminalinalization of cannabis spread across the EU, and he doesn’t want to be seen as some kind of Luddite nay-sayer when the debate starts here (in the UK).
But whatever his motives may be: good luck Hollis. If a few more “respectable” figures publicly called for decriminalization, maybe things would change. Both David Cameron (the Prime Minister) and Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister) have wondered whether the current policies are at all effective. Cannabis has been discreetly decriminalized in Portugal; and the “long term experiment” of semi-legalization in Holland has brought with it a decrease of theft and the dealing of hard drugs.
It should be pretty obvious to anyone with half a brain that prohibition will work. Look at the US experience: banning alcohol just lead to a semi-“underworld” of speakeasies, and helped a bunch of unscrupulous “businessmen” like Al Capone make a lot of money very quickly. A lot of the monied families in the USA owe their wealth to bootlegging during Prohibition. And the prohibition of drugs in the UK is having a similar effect. A number of shadowy figures are getting very rich by selling us what we want at hugely inflated prices. If prohibition came to an end, these gangsters would have no income stream, and the simple honest cottage-industries of growing and preparing cannabis would be open to the average joe with room for a few plants (as long as the cigarette corporations can be left out; which is to everyone’s advantage, methinks).
So what do you think about this? Should Hollis be revered or reviled? Sure, he’s saying nice stuff about dope now – but what about all the crap he’s spewed on the subject before? Use the Comments to tell us what you think.
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