Pubdate: Mon, 28 Jul 2003
Source: Press and Journal, The (UK)
Copyright: 2003: Northcliffe Newspapers Group Ltd.
Author: Peter Webster
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


SIR, - Ian Oliver wrote (July 23) that we should let science settle the 
"cannabis controversy". But considering the way "scientific results" are 
today bought and sold like any other product of industry, "science" might 
not be a sufficiently sharp tool for deciding anything even slightly 

On the contrary, we should let history settle the question of cannabis 
prohibition. A study of the history of modern prohibition reveals that it 
has been brought to us by a remarkably small coterie of messianic 
do-gooders. They were a small band of true believers who foisted 
prohibition on the world as if it were the long-lost 11th Commandment.

Alcohol prohibition in the US was one of their finest achievements: so 
successful it had to be repealed.

The prohibition on cannabis was brought to us by Harry Anslinger who, in 
the 1930s, had just failed as one of alcohol prohibition's great enforcers.

He played upon the racist attitudes of southern Americans against Mexican 
farmworkers who, at the time, along with jazz musicians, were about the 
only cannabis users.

As for cannabis being dangerous and mind-altering, so are a couple of 
pints, and it is a generally recognised principle of free societies that 
the danger inherent in any given activity shall be the basis for the 
stringency of its regulation. On this basis, tobacco should be far more 
severely regulated than cannabis, and hard liquor as well.

Prohibition is never an appropriate or effective means of regulation, as 
has been "scientifically" and historically proved down through the ages: 
from the immediate failure of that very first one against apples to today's 
monumental blunder called the war on drugs.

Peter Webster, Review editor, International Journal of Drug Policy, 
Quartier Les Vignes, Auvare, France.
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