Pubdate: Sun, 22 Aug 1999
Source: Observer, The (UK)
Copyright: Guardian Media Group plc. 1999
Guardian Newspapers Limited 1999
Author:  William Garland 
Note: headline by MAP


Approaching my thirtieth anniversary as a daily dope-smoker, I am one of
many from the hippie generation to have retained my preference for this
life-enhancing herb over all other forms of self-administered stimulus, and
am convinced that it has enabled me to avoid the slippery slope into
alcohol-dependency that characterises this back-to-front society of ours.

Recently detained by Wiltshire police after my first arrest in this country
for possession of a small amount of hash, I was visited by the (Asian)
police doctor who chatted to me for three minutes, declined to examine me
or even take my pulse, and pronounced 'You look pretty well on it.' Which I do.

So I am one of thousands of long-term users who can be accessed to
undermine the wearisome traditional politicians' response to repeated calls
for the decriminalisation, if not the full legalisation, of cannabis: that
there is 'no medical research' to justify such liberalism. Official
research has long been blocked yet you have only to ask and examine
dope-smokers of all ages to discover exactly how beneficial or deleterious
it really is. Compare us with daily boozers of similar longevity, and the
results will show unanswerable proof of dope's superiority.

Two-and-a-half cheers, then, for Charles Kennedy, who has immediately
proved what we have all suspected for years: that somehow a fully rounded
human being has risen to political prominence in this benighted country.
The other half-cheer will be earned when he has sampled the stuff for
himself. I'm off for my first puff of the day. Keep banging the drum. Name
and address supplied

Twenty years ago, I allowed myself to be seduced by the drugs culture and
experimented with cannabis. As I did not smoke, I ate the drug instead. The
experience was a nightmare with terrifying hallucinations. I also suffered
flashbacks months later, which eventually caused a mental breakdown. It
took years to recover from this, costing me a place at college and
hindering severely my then future job prospects.

So it was with great sadness, that I read the clarion calls in The Observer
(Comment, last week), for the decriminalisation of this drug. As for
Charles Kennedy's stance on this issue, may I just say that as a voter in a
Con/Lib Dem marginal seat, he is not helping to win my vote at the next
general election.

 William Garland Southampton

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MAP posted-by: Thunder