Sunday, 12 August 2012

Reefer madness

The real defeat in government's policy on drugs is the point of diminishing returns on milking alcohol has been reached.

Alcohol is the only legal drug in Britain.  By overtaxing and demonizing it though the government is decreasing its net revenues and increasing the health risks as people are pushed into illegal alcohol.  A bit like the quality of cocaine went down over time, so will the quality of alcohol decrease for a large segment of consumers priced out by the government policies.

The absurdity of the mood enhancing policies has reached a new height, but the government record shows even this may be overpassed.  Generic labels, hidden shelves and marketing restrictions will only make things worse.  Just as with fully prohibited drugs, the current alcohol policy increases profits for criminals and poses health risks on users.  Alcohol abuse may be a consequence of restrictions on cannabis and the likes, to a large degree.

An open, transparent debate about substances should take place, and people should have a real choice.  If people could use alcohol, cannabis and other relatively safe drugs in moderation, they and the policy makers would be better informed and everyone would just take it easy.  Binge drinking at weekends is a consequence (among many other traits) of the fact that alcohol - and only alcohol - is legally available and that weekends are perceived as the time to "recoup" for the week's restrictions.

There will always be abusers of food, drinks or herbs.  The government should minimize the risky behaviour through policies directed towards the heavy users.  And just let the great majority harmlessly enjoy their lives, while collecting taxes along the way.

Hypocritical, irrational, untargeted blanket policies do not work.  But who has the political courage to instil the change?

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