By Dan J Broadley
A few thousand miles away, on the other side of a huge ditch of water we call the Atlantic Ocean is a land called the United States. In the US, some states have begun thinking about the legalisation of marijuana. Some, like Colorado, have already done so. What does this mean? It means people can use marijuana freely, perhaps as nature intended. However, it also means people are beginning to question whether the entire current attitude of our legislation towards (what are currently) illegal substances are working.
They are, in fact, not.
The law does not prevent people from murdering and beating one another, it simply punishes those who are caught, and rightly so. Similarly though, the law does not prevent people from taking drugs, it simply puts them in jail if they are caught.
The truth is, drugs should not be a law enforcement issue. It should be an education and healthcare issue. That way, people can be educated and be less at risk. Those that become abusers or addicts anyway can be helped rather than thrown in jail, where they will likely get back out and continue to abuse.
This view was outlined by Cpt. Peter Christ, a retired police captain in America.
Some may say that I have a very ‘liberal’ attitude toward this issue. However, I believe I simply have a realist’s perspective. Certain naturally occuring substances have many uses, especially marijuana. Doesn’t it seem a little closed minded to make nature illegal? Did it every occur to anybody that marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms might grow naturally because we are supposed use them? Clearly not to our legislators, that’s for sure.
That is except for the Green Party who, despite them still being in the ‘Other’ category, are the only party to have taken a sensible and mindful approach to this issue as they vow to make the use of drugs a healthcare and education matter.
One of the main problems is that there is a huge bias in the mainstream media, who will always report when a poor teenager overheats at a rave on MDMA or ecstasy. What they didn’t report, is that Nobel Prize winners Francis Crick (the man who discovered the double helix structure that DNA is formed in) and Kary Mullis (who discovered how to amplify certain DNA sequences so that we can view them) were users of lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD.
If that isn’t enough for you, then think about it this way. If the government took this alternative approach to drugs, an entire underworld economy of violence and extortion would be wiped out. If we decriminalised drugs, there would surely be a time in the future where you would no longer be approached by a seedy character trying to sell you salt as cocaine for forty pounds a gram. The streets would be that little bit safer. A lot safer, actually.
I’m not saying let’s all live in a whacky world where everyone is high out of their minds all the time – nothing would ever get done. What I am saying is this: The current laws do not work and they need to change. Whether you agree with my stance on drugs or not, that is the truth.
Dan is an English and Creative Writing student at Manchester Metropolitan University. His interests include music, festivals, bass guitar, writing poetry, having ideas for novels and meditation. Follow him on Twitter @DanJBroadley. Dan’s personal blog is odd dan.wordpress.com