A woman detained in the UAE after drinking wine on an Emirates flight has been released.
Ellie Holman from Kent was arrested after accepting a complimentary glass of wine on her flight to Dubai. She says she was mistreated while in custody: she and her daughter were refused permission to go to the toilet for some time.
She was finally freed “on Sheikh Mohammed’s orders” and told she was welcome to go back to the UAE at any time.
Such mistreatment eh! She’s not allowed to go to the toilet! In the meantime, local criminals are getting flogged for alcohol consumption. And that’s far from the worst that can happen: for some crimes you can expect to get death by stoning.
Maybe pampered tourists who cry when they can’t use the toilet should go on holiday somewhere else? Maybe by going to the UAE and other countries under Sharia law, they are tacitly encouraging these medieval punishments? Then again, maybe not. If you want to go to the UAE and expect to be immune from the local laws, you’ll probably be okay. Western tourists aren’t usually punished for these crimes. Or at worst expect to be deported. Locals can expect the full fury of the law. But that doesn’t matter, does it? As long as you can enjoy a drink without any inconvenience…
At last, at long last, an American president has not only admitted to smoking marijuana, he’s thinks it’s better than booze!
Of course that was the Clinton “did he inhale?” question. But that was weak. Obama equated pot with cigarettes:
“As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life,” he is quoted as saying in a New Yorker magazine article. “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”
So there we have it: Obama has told his two daughters that smoking marijuana is “a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy”, but he hasn’t tried any of the “gateway drug” and “reefer addicted rapists”. He disapproves of dope because of its inherent dangers (for example, the risk of lung cancer that goes with smoking just about anything) but at the same time he disapproves of alcohol – in fact, it seems he disapproves of alcohol far more than pot!
Some US states are considering decriminalizing pot use. From the Guardian:
Marijuana remains illegal in the United States under federal law, but 21 US states allow or are about to allow medical marijuana use, and Colorado and Washington have decriminalised use of pot entirely. Alaska and the District of Columbia are considering following suit.
The Obama administration said last year that federal law enforcement will not target users in Colorado and Washington, as long as they comply with their respective states’ laws. The Department of Justice says it will not interfere with states’ efforts to regulate and tax marijuana provided they are able to meet a set of requirements, including keeping it from children and restricting its flow into other states.
Obama believes smoking marijuana is a “bad habit” but thinks legal penalties now fall disproportionately on minorities and that states legalising pot should go ahead with their plans, but he sees problems ahead for Colorado and Washington legislation. He’s leading from the front: but he knows that there are a lot of puritanical prohibitionists who will be difficult to get on board. Obama recognizes the anti-pot propaganda for what it is – a load of BS – but there are a lot of folk out there who still believe 60 years of demonisation of the issue. But don’t give up Obama: this could be the best thing to come from his lack-lustre presidency!
According to the Guardian, a minimum price for alcoholic drinks is on the cards… and it might be more than 40 pence per unit!
The government claim it’s to tackle binge drinking. But you’d have to be pretty dense to swallow that one whole. Sure, there is a problem with some people “pre-loading” with a bottle of vodka or something before they hit the town. But these drinkers aren’t going to be affected by this minimum price. They’ll still be buying their Smirnoff or whatever. It’s the poor who will be really affected by this. It’s those on fixed incomes who buy the “budget booze” – and a 40p per unit minimum price will make the supermarkets’ cheapest vodka cost £11.20 a bottle. Not a problem for most folk, but a pretty drastic hike for those on fixed incomes – those who could really do with a drink after all the other crap that’s been thrown at them by our Con-Lib government.
Oh, and before anyone says this plan will help stop underage drinking – well duh! there’s already a way to stop that. It’s called enforce the laws we already have. In the UK it is illegal to sell booze to anyone under 18, and most places ask to see ID of any alcohol customer who looks under 25. Hitting poor adults in the pocket is no solution to the problem of children drinking.
Come on, Cameron, give us all a break! You want to take benefits away from the poor, now you want to make it impossible for them to even have a drink more than once a month. The figures being bandied about might seem small change to those who aren’t poor. But believe me, this will make a big difference to a lot of people!
Three advisors to the UK government on drugs policy resigned yesterday in protest at the sacking of Professor David Nutt as chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). This means a total of 6 out of 31 advisors have now quit after home secretary Alan Johnson sacked Prof Nutt for claiming that cannabis is less harmful than tobacco and alcohol.
Prof Nutt said that the government had made a mistake when it decided to reclassify cannabis from Class C to the more allegedly-harmful Class B. He questioned the evidence that cannabis causes mental illness in a large number of users, and disagreed with the hypocrisy of sanctioning prosecution for the possession of a substance that he considers less harmful than the legal, government-approved drugs tobacco and alcohol.
The advisors who resigned yesterday are: Ian Ragan, director of a consultancy for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, CIR Consultancy Ltd; John Marsden, a research psychologist at the Institute of Psychiatry; and Simon Campbell, a synthetic organic chemist and former head of Worldwide Discovery and Medicinals R&D Europe at Pfizer. All three argued for the reinstatement of Prof Nutt before resigning, claiming that government belittled and interfered with their advice. The scientists in particular wanted assurances their reports and recommendations would in future be taken seriously, and sought an agreement over how their advice was handled by ministers.
Dr Les King, the former head of the drugs intelligence unit of the Forensic Science Service, and Marion Walker, the clinical director of Berkshire Healthcare NHS foundation trust’s substance misuse service, resigned in the immediate aftermath of Nutt’s sacking.
Prof Nutt’s dismissal shows that the government doesn’t really care how its policies reflect on objective reality. The reclassification of cannabis was a political act, based on questionable scientific evidence. And the resignations further demonstrate the government’s lonely position relative to truth and honesty.
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