Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Sex and drugs and councillors and blogs.

Having been a teen of the 60s, pictured above, and following Ian Drivers press release, see http://thanetpress.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/thanet-independent-councillor-ian.html and the associated comments, I guess I ought to say something here.

On the whole I would say the way in which drug abuse is managed in this country hasn’t worked that well during the last 50 years.

In a general sense I would say alcohol and cannabis fall into the same ballpark and probably ought to be dealt with in a similar fashion.

I guess the person who has the odd drink and occasionally gets noticeably drunk and the person who has the odd spliff and occasionally gets noticeably stoned don’t do very much harm either to themselves or to anyone else.

On the other hand the pothead and the alcoholic have problems that are probably better addressed by the medical profession than the police.

I guess a large part of the problem is how young people address this one, as presumably most young people, like everyone else, encounter people who have the odd spliff or the odd drink without apparent harm and with apparent pleasure, they are likely to try both.

I guess the law at the moment is saying it’s ok to be an alcoholic, but not ok to have the occasional spliff, which is not perhaps the best of messages, particularly to our youf.

I don’t think the classification of drugs in this country works that well either, I am not sure no crime in possessing a can of beer, five years maximum sentence for possessing cannabis and seven years for possessing heroin, sends out the right message either.

I think a very pertinent point here is that Ian Driver running Thanet’s Citizens Advice Bureau is likely to have a better idea of the both the problems and solutions in this field than most.  

As Simon Moores has pointed out on his post http://birchington.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/viva-los-tigos-spifficos.html we have been discussing this issue and apart from his humorous post I doubt that Simon who experienced post Vietnam American university life will be throwing many stones at the stoned here.

I would guess in terms of problems both trading and living here in Thanet, most drug related, antisocial behaviour, problems I encounter relate to people who are very drunk, a very long way down the line from this are those associated with other drugs.

There is a lot of difference between dealing with a broken shop window caused by an angry drunk and having someone being incoherent towards you.

I guess there is probably a fair bit of crime related to addicts financing their habits but this would relate to addictive class A drugs.   

I will ramble on about this if I get time. 


  1. Legalization (or decriminalization) of soft drugs may be a good idea for some countries, but it would be a disaster for the UK, just as 24 hour licensing has been. I don't know what it is about the British, but take away rules and regulations and they go wild! Even as a FORMER naturist campaigner, I believe that allowing nudity on all public beaches and in parks would be unworkable here, despite being fine for (say) Germany.

    1. Not sure what the answer is here Peter, but as our prime minister has admitted having a spliff and the maximum punishment for this is five years in prison, there does seem to be some incongruity here.

      I can’t think of any other crime carrying this sort of maximum sentence that he could have admitted to and become prime minister.

      There comes a point where the punishment no longer fits the crime and where the message that it is socially acceptable to commit a crime with such a serious maximum punishment sends out the wrong message.

  2. Think I have to agree with Peter here. For whatever reason the Brits, especially Brit youth, don't seem to be able to deal with freedom from rules. I can also sort of see where you Michael are coming from when you say tipsy = stoned. I personally got a better buzz from a couple of pints of mild rather than a joint in my University days, and they were cheaper, but I don't suppose that is the case today.
    There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that long term cannibis use leads to psychosis. Now I would be the first to admit that medical research can point to anything you want (MMR, or the recently published report that says that the smoking ban has had no effect on pubs; try telling that to all the ex-licensees who were forced to close down because their trade died when the smoking ban came in) but I don't think we should legalise any other poisonous chemicals; is it not enough that we already allow the twin poisons of alcohol and the cigarette smoke cocktail? And no, I admit to being an ex-smoker but I do still like a drink.
    Is not the 5 years for possession with intent to supply? I'll admit to being out of touch here but I thought that the law was now a great deal more sympathetic to those caught up in the addiction and a lot less sympathetic to those feeding the addiction; and rightly so.
    What about his views on prostitution? That's not all Billy Piper.

    1. Tim I think it was ever thus, one side of my family were naval officers documented back to about 1700 and there is a consensus of 300 years there that you could trust the British sailor with everything but alcohol.

      £16 per oz in 1971 and beer at about 12.5p per pint so the cannabis was cheaper, i.e. £1 would get about eight people stoned out of their minds, or buy them a pint each. I am pretty sure about the prices here as I did some bar work in the summer, the year of decimalisation.

      I guess you must be much younger than me and the pricing structure was different.

      It’s 14years for possession with intent to supply.

      But no I am not saying that decriminalisation is the solution, just that the maximum punishments are out of proportion, which as everyone who is young knows the odd spliff once in a while is pretty harmless, sends out the wrong message about things that are very harmful indeed.

      Frankly I personally want the police spending their time catching criminals, not chasing university students smoking a spliff.

      Say Cameron had confessed to a bit of GBH when he was younger, I doubt he would be prime minister now.

    2. It's utterly fatuous to suggest that the police have prioritised "chasing university students smoking a spliff" at the expense of "catching criminals", as though there are rapists and murders gambolling gaily past our proud bobbies who are hamstrung filling out forms about Jacasta and Piers caught puffing on a giggle stick by the Student Union. It's a cretinous, sub-Daily-Mail editorial comment and adds nothing to the debate.

      The fact is that both alcohol and cannabis are liable to make someone who's a bit of a dick into a complete arsehole. I'm sure you can relate to both.

  3. There never was a war on drugs in the UK. A very simple trade to stamp out in an island country if only the politicians who run this country could get a grip on the issue. Drugs are epidemic in prisons of all places which just shows how useless the Labour/Tory governments are.

    Ian Driver wants to legalise prostitution - So presumably he would have no problem if his daughter became a prostitute, or is it more of the case he`s in favour of other peoples daughters becoming prostitutes? What a nice chap from the council.

    1. Also his son (or other people's sons) becoming prostitutes too.

      I guess legalizing prostitution and the sale of drugs will at least help solve the unemployment crisis!

    2. Politics is perfectly legal yet I wouldn't want my son to be come a local politician - imagine the shame that would bring on the family !!

    3. It could be worse - a TDC councillor!

    4. Anon 10.21
      Your failure (or unwillingness) to understand or even be interested in the implications of criminally organised and run industries like prostitution and drugs (which are closely related) is not only symptomatic of your ignorance of the subject.
      You are so consumed by a compulsion to slag off another person at any opportunity that you are prepared to sacrifice reasonable debate and even common decency.

  4. University in 1972 Michael. I have to confess to having no idea how much cannabis was; frankly it wasn't that widely available. I'm also pretty hazy on how much beer cost - I suspect if you can remember it's because you didn't drink enough of it.

    1. Funny really Tim skintitus was the and I believe is still the most acute disease down graduate lane and the various costs of mind altering experiences a matter of considerable interest and debate.

      I think it was decimalisation that fixed this particular time and its prices in my mind, there was a certain irony that the new decimal coinage also doubled as imperial weights that were widely used to weigh cannabis 16 half Ps 8 Ps or 4 2 Ps weighing an ounce very convenient with something costing £16 per ounce.

      At decimalisation beer was about half a crown or 12 and a half P a pint.

  5. I think that something has to give... 30 years and nothing has changed much to reduce the amount of drug taking going on, in fact I would say it is much, much worse. Given then that it has increased anyway why not change tactics and look into legislation, regulation and taxation?

    Why not sell a pack of 10 joints? or get a pack of 4 ecstacy tablets manufactured by Glaxo or Pfizer? how about capsules of Cocaine? All these things have been legal in their lifetime and often presecribed by the medical profession, cannabis was a by product of rope and fabric manufacture up until the late 1930's... it was even cultivated on plantations owned by the founding fathers of the US and even Presidents! Or we could just keep doing what we are doing and not see anything change.

    Yes there may be an increase in usage but personally working with 14+ Monday to Friday they already turn up stoned anyway and there isn't much we can do about that short of sending them home and notifying their parents... so you have to consider the alternates, I'd rather know they are buying from a regulated source where a percentage of the price is taxed than some inner city scumbag whose runners double up as muggers when they aren't out flogging resin or grass!

    1. Rob there was a time when one could buy Rothwoman cigarettes, with as it were a little extra kick, in London nightclubs.

      But no I agree, this is no new thing, if you visit the recently restored Cutty Sark you may notice that Nelson’s opium pipe is on display.

      Oddly enough when I was at school one could buy cannabis tincture quite legally over the counter at chemists, bunion ointment, it produced a rather soggy joint.

      I am not sure that either legalisation or decriminalisation are the solution, we do however have a serious problem with drugs, including alcohol, which is legal.

    2. If you don't consider decriminalisation or legislation then in effect you are supporting the status quo and therefore doing nothing. We can all say "we have a serious problem" and shake our heads and make tutting noises when you catch a whiff of a grass joint walking passed a group of teens or mumble about the "yoof of today" when wading through the discarded cans and bottles of an impromtu piss up in the park and then do nothing or we can actually try different things... and that is my position, I'm fed up of watching successive Governments and Police Forces spend billions of pounds actually doing very little when that money along with tax from the sale of regulated products could be better used in education.

      It is time to do something, and I'm up for trying legislation... because doing what we did yesterday, last week, last month, last year, last decade and last century has made absolutely no difference.

    3. Rob I said legalisation not legislation, frankly at the moment drinking on the streets and in other public places seems to be more of a problem than smoking in public places, regardless of what is being smoked.

      But no I am not really sure what the answers are, not even sure I know what all the options are and I guess some of the options would need piloting to see if they work in practice.

      Another problem individual to cannabis relates to testing and the time it remains in the system.

      But as you say we have serious problems and I agree we need to seek solutions, I guess one advantage we have now is the most of the adult population have some experience of illegal drugs.

  6. Legislation/legalisation it's the same thing in my book sorry if I didn't make that clear.

    I believe strongly in legalising the vast majority of currently illegal drugs, having them made by regulated companies and sold through regulated shops with proper information and taxed accordingly.

    As you said I have first hand experience having "opted out" of mainstream life for about 5 years in the late 80's and early '90s.... so for anyone wondering... yes, I spent most of that time "off my proverbial box" on nearly every drug you can think of with the exception of heroin, although I hung around with people who did us it.

    I am like many millions who did the same thing who ended up becoming another normal person, missus, kids, house, responsible job.. everything I rebelled against when I was in my late teens just like kids are doing today.

    The pull of societal norms are very strong we nearly all come round in the end... and that's another reason why legalising drugs doesn't bother me, we don't all go to work drunk yet we could because alcohol is so readily available, we don't sit in offices smoking anymore as it's against the law to do so... so making things legal won't affect the majority, it will start to straighten out the fall out from years of criminal elements in society holding all the cards in the poker game that is "the war on drugs".

  7. oh... and kids drinking on the streets.. well they've been doing that for decades, you want them to stop then give them a purpose and fill that time with something THEY consider worthwhile... how many clubs, activities, skateparks etc could we build with the billions spent last year on fighting drugs?

    1. Bring back National Service!

    2. Make exercise compulsory: no gym, no benefits!

    3. You seem to have missed the point about creating something that THEY CONSIDER WORTHWHILE... if you dictate then they will rebel... just like kids have been doing for as long as I've known.

      Also don't think you had 13 year old kids in National Services back in the 1950s... and if you wish to build Gymnasiums where kids can go and work out then I support your decision to do so as I'm pretty sure the % of our youth into Free Running would be grateful for somewhere to practice their art form safely and in all weather.

  8. I`ve seen young children in Ramsgate smoking drugs. Many young people smoke the stuff, it`s a mental health timebomb.

  9. A time bomb that has been ticking in certain parts of the world for centuries and one that has been ticking in this country for many decades.... will it ever explode or is the arguement just an easy disposable response to prevent true debate on the subject of drugs?

    You are missing the point on legalisation and regulation though. At present we are paying to fight a war that is being lost and then paying for rehabilitation, legalisation and taxation would go some way to providing finances to help pay for that help... just like smokers paying billions into the tax coffers and only having 1/3 or 1/2 of that spent back on them by the NHS.

    As I have said continuing the war appears pointless and shrugging your shoulders is worse than sitting quietly and ignoring the issue.