10295979 773023689404213 6926885022657766740 o Support Cannabis Law Reform By Voting Green On Thursday

This Thursday sees another chance for us to exercise our democratic right and vote for who we’d like to represent us in Europe. While this isn’t the general election, it’s a means of sending a message to the other parties about the policies we support. More than that, it’s in fact a particularly good time for even those who’ve never voted to take advantage of a unique situation.

Given the usual indifference shown by much of the public when it comes to European elections (just 34.7% of people turned-out in 2009), it’s a huge opportunity for us to capitalise and really make our mark. With some 46 million UK citizens eligible to take part, the total number of votes last election period came in at a mere 15 million. Once you realise that 12 million adults are estimated to have taken illegal drugs, with several million using just in the past year, suddenly making a big impact on politics doesn’t sound too far-fetched. Don’t forget, it’s not just consumers who are in favour of drug law reform, so the pool of potential voters is much larger still.

With that in mind, the key question is to whom do we pledge our vote? The excellent politics blog Another Angry Voice has done a stellar job of detailing the differences between the main parties, both in terms of specific policies (see above), and as shown below, the general ethos and ideology of each. It’s quite clear that the Green Party not only represents our specific wishes on cannabis, but they also provide a genuine alternative to the status quo. Slight aside, but it’s worth noticing how UKIP, the purported ‘shake up the system’ alternative vote, is actually not just more of the same, but an even worse version of the same. They are neoliberals on steroids. Racist, bigoted steroids.

another angry voice political Support Cannabis Law Reform By Voting Green On Thursday

Armed with the above information, I hope and believe you will arrive at the same political decision as me. But if not, that’s perfectly fine; one of the few beauties of our democracy is that we are allowed to vote how we please, and I wouldn’t want to unfairly coerce anybody. If you consider drugs and more progressive, evidence-based approaches to policy to be a key component, then I think there’s only one choice for you and I.

The next step is to actually motivate ourselves and others to vote. I don’t mean that just in a cannabis stereotype-challenging way, but also with regard to the disillusion felt by many, who believe their vote won’t count, or even that the Greens can’t win. Your vote can count, and the votes of our entire community can send shockwaves throughout politics. Not just for the European elections, but when it comes to the general election in 2015. A surge in Green support would increase their profile, attract funding from donors, and even drag some of the old guard towards their ideas. As we’ve seen with the much-maligned UKIP, offering populist ideas has seen the likes of the Tories alter their stance in order to appeal to the electorate. We’d be fools to think that the ultimate goal for many politicians is anything but remaining in power, and overwhelming public support for evidence-based policies will force them to reconsider their stance. We need them to see that the status quo isn’t a safe option, and sticking to it will endanger their chances of regaining power.

If you’re feeling particularly energised, why not take the time to encourage friends and family to vote? As I mentioned at the start of the article, we can take advantage of an apathetic electorate if we really come out in our droves. Feel free to link others to this page to highlight how their wants and ideas are suited to the Greens, or for something more detailed you can point them towards the AAV Euro Election Scorecard, which breaks down each and every area of discussion. Why not organise a social meeting which includes a visit to the polling station? Information on venues and the process can be found here, with ballots typically being cast locally; meaning you and friends/family can vote and be back home within just 15 minutes.

Beyond this, I’d love to see the United Kingdom Cannabis Social Clubs really hit home the idea to their members. If we mobilise with a clear strategy, we’re a force to be reckoned with. Millions united can form a lobby group to compete with any, but we must believe, and we must take a stand at opportune moments such as this. Success in boosting support for our chosen candidates will inspire us and others to be even more involved when the general elections come around next year, so this really is a great and meaningful chance to help us move further along the arc towards justice. Will you get involved?




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primitive man2 e1394477198809 Is Prohibitionism a religious cult?

Having endured years of battling anti-drug campaigners, I’ve noticed that for them, their stance isn’t based on facts or reason, but rather an impermutable moral idea, which has at its core the suggestion that something is simply right or wrong, and nothing else matters. We see people who are less interested in bringing about positive changes than they are in establishing and enforcing rules. Rather than an honest evaluation of the consequences of their proposals, we see them chalk-up drug war casualties as mere collateral damage, while a single casualty caused by drugs is regarded as an absolute scandal. The morality of death and suffering changes depending on whether it suits their own personal narrative. This flop-flopping of ethics reveals to us a mindset which masquerades as genuinely caring and wanting what’s best for us, in an attempt to cloak the underlying nastiness of how far they are willing to go to back their guessed-at morals.

While many in the cannabis movement are likely to reject imposed shackles (given that we’ll evidently ignore the law if we regard it as silly), those who are used to more conservative societies and religious beliefs may well struggle to understand why we just won’t take their word for it. Why won’t we just say no? The real question should be why they won’t just accept the facts. They’ve taken the theistic concept of inventing standards and punishing those who don’t conform, yet in their case there isn’t even any scripture to point towards. Arguably, there’s more written evidence for Noah’s Ark than there is for outlawing cannabis. However extreme the views of the masses, few are so blatantly contradicted by modern science and research as those of the Prohibitionist.

Facts Are Secondary To Their Assertions

The Prohibitionist embodies all the things we dislike about authoritarians. Most living beings understand the importance of considering what’s good for the group/society/community at large, and we have an evolved sense of morality based on our social interactions and empathy for others. These are really primitive ideas which are based on cause and effect, and in our later stages of human development, on research and rigorous evaluation. Faith in outdated, unproven, guessed-at morality is laughable. Only those who share the same animalistic desire to control others would agree to such a thing.

People make the mistake of associating problematic drug use (something which accounts for less than 10% of users) with the drugs themselves, whereas I would suggest that it’s poverty, inner turmoil, depression, and mental illness which lead people to abuse. If you want to stop the abuse of substances, a good place to start is ensuring people have happy lives with good prospects. The correlation between poverty and problematic habits (be they alcohol, heroin, or gambling) is much higher than the correlation between a given vice and the chance it will cause them issues.

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Punishing Non-Believers

Blissfully unaware of the ethical nightmare that is criminalising people for how they enjoy themselves, the Prohibitionist perches atop their pedestal, outrageously accusing others of immoral behaviour. You see, it’s not imprisonment of parents, removal of freedom, or inhibiting access to medicine which is the great immoral act here, it’s the choice to use a non-toxic plant. Ladies and gentlemen, this is your brain on Prohibitionism.

As with the religious zealot, those who’re anti-drugs aren’t really interested in the downsides of their plans. Rather than having carefully evaluated the pros and cons of a solution, all they know is that they are correct, and any harm caused by their views is just one of those things. They aren’t interested in hearing of personal struggles or suffering at the hands of their views. They just know they’re right, and that’s that. Or, it would be that, if they didn’t wish to force their ways on everybody else. For me, this is the worst part. By all means, have your delusion, embrace your prejudices, and live your life however you’ve been indoctrinated, but do not think you can force others to do as you wish.

Remember, this isn’t a friendly leaflet campaign, or even a Sunday morning knock on the door to ask if you’ve heard the bad news… it’s a direct backing of using armed officers to invade your home, steal your equipment, and take your medicine. Again, this is all in the name of morality. It’s for your own good, and you only have yourself to blame. We’ve heard this argument before, although I’m sure even Galileo would be amazed that it still rages on today. There’s absolutely nothing moral about being more interested in the establishment of rules and authority than the consequences of either. This is the stuff of children, with no sense of practicality, and a terrible appreciation of humanity. They would sooner people suffer at the hands of their policy, than have the nation prosper via an alternative policy. The common good is secondary to inflating their ego and sense of worth.

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Selective Reading Of Literature

But, you ask, don’t these guys often reference science in order to back their arguments? Well, yes, in the same way that a proponent of Intelligent Design ‘references’ science, despite the fact it’s fantasy island stuff. Anybody who’s been around the cannabis activism movement for a few years will have spotted the varied tricks, although they centre around the same thing – selective reading of data, and drawing wholly incorrect conclusions from otherwise valid work. To your average person (i.e. somebody significantly more capable than the likes of Mary Brett), it might seem like pointing at science papers gives some credence. But the beauty of science isn’t that it demands you believe it, but rather that it begs to be questioned and taken apart, via the process of peer review and scientific consensus. You can always find the odd bit of research which has poor methodology or improper sampling, but what saves the day is having experts chime in with their opinions and validation.

If you wish to make a case for the world being flat, Intelligent Design, or even Intelligent Falling (gravity is ‘just’ a theory, right, Mary?), then of course you can do so by picking on obscure and unverified articles, and ignoring anything which contradicts your point of view. We see people do this all the time, but it’s especially apparent in discussions which should be science-based. Prohibitionists will look at data, ignore anything which doesn’t fit their beliefs, and instead scream from the hills when they find something which seems (to a non-scientist) like evidence backing their erroneous assumptions. The classic situation has to be pulling out facts about cannabis-related admissions to hospital or treatment centres. This alone is enough to make our Mary grin, and I’m undecided whether she actually can’t understand the difference between correlation and causation, or whether she knows she’s being deceitful, and it doesn’t matter as it seemingly helps to prove her point.

If you go into science looking for an outcome, you are not a scientist. Bias is anti-science. If it were to come to light that cannabis is deadly and cripples humanity, I have to say that I would definitely change my approach to the plant. This is how a reasonable person advances their views, but it’s only in the realms of an authoritarian sense of faith where we see people less interested in the truth, and more interested in feeling correct/their ‘side’ winning. They reduce such things to a childish game of self-aggrandizement, as if they don’t appreciate there are real and serious consequences. For most people of this ilk, it’s a complete ego trip. They love being a crusader for their army, be it god’s or prohibition’s. It gives them purpose and a sense of importance in the world. The mission is almost by the by.

mary brett 300 Is Prohibitionism a religious cult?

Mary Brett – High Priestess of Prohibitionism/awful parent

The Use Of Guilt And Blame

Guilt and blame are two favourites in the arsenal of the imbecile. The absence of facts means that the zealot is forced to appeal to your emotions. This isn’t just underhand, it’s downright sociopathic. Sociopaths know how to control and manipulate others, often genuinely without realising that they’re doing it. To them it’s just a method they use to get people to follow. Given an input X, they achieve an output Y, and this abstract concept becomes a simple formula for their future verse. If they tell lies about how cannabis legalisation would affect kids, they know that most parents will have an immediate bias against the substance. The sociopathic Prohibitionist doesn’t actually care about children. I’ve previously written at length how prohibition actually makes drugs both more dangerous and more readily available to kids, yet they have no interest in my facts, as these facts don’t match their immutable starting position. If you believe that god is great or drugs are bad, you’ll tend to rearrange facts and reality to match this premise. Who cares about the truth when there’s a position to maintain?

Another facet of guilt stems from the individual campaigners who have personal reasons for becoming involved in removing the rights of others. People like Mary Brett have children who they claim have suffered as a result of cannabis, when really it’s more likely down to their poor parenting. Blaming drugs is the easy, cowardly way of explaining behaviour in children. They must know that personality issues and a troubled upbringing are usually at the core, and problematic drug use is a symptom of these things, rather than the cause. Do many people with great lives suddenly throw that all away? Who tries to escape happiness? It’s almost always people with issues in life who seek escapism to such a dangerous extent. If you care about the person you have to care about depression and poverty, not how people choose to react to these states. Prohibitionists effectively blame problematic drug use on drugs, but they never have anything to say about us non-problematic users. Does my responsible use show that drugs therefore aren’t bad? That would be the logical conclusion, if this were ever a topic which saw logic used a precursor.

I feel bad that people such as Mary Brett have to deal with children with issues, but they must realise that their avoidance of personal responsibility cannot be tolerated when it extends into collective punishment for those of us who had nothing to do with how she raised her son. This is when the sympathy stops, and the real character is revealed. How far is she prepared to maintain the charade? To the extent of your freedom and happiness, that’s how far. I’ve seen this blame mentality in action so many times. I attended the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry into drugs some time ago, and there was a lady who bemoaned the fact that all four of her sons had fallen victim to heroin addiction. The logical question is why most people don’t, and yet each and every child raised by this lady had decided it was a suitable path to take. She never once questioned her part in manufacturing minds which craved such dangerous escapism. Again, it feels mean to attack such people, as they are acting out of self-defence (and clearly awful social circumstances), but we can’t let bad parents pretend that we’re the ones in the wrong, and that we must be punished.

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If Prohibtionists really cared about kids, they wouldn’t support prohibition

Using Taxpayer Money To Do Their Bidding

I don’t believe most people appreciate how their tax is being wasted (policing, prison, courts), how they could have more police on the beat, how we could fund public services (up to £10bn per year additional revenue), how industry could benefit from hemp material (which produces multiple times the yield of cotton or paper), or indeed how millions of sick people could receive much better medicine, at a fraction of the cost, without being labelled criminals.

That’s not to mention the negatives that come from having millions with criminals records, who now believe they have little chance of a mainstream career. Do we really want more poor and desperate people on the streets? Perhaps that’s a question best answered after you’ve being mugged. On the surface, the cannabis legalisation movement might seem like it’s just a bunch of people looking to get high, but even if you remove that side of things, it’s actually one of the biggest issues we face. Or rather, the issue which brings about the most gain for the smallest of changes. The only thing needed to undo the aforementioned is to change the law. That is all. There’s no debate about economic strategies, no disagreement over approach to education… it’s just a simple change in the law, which is backed by scientists, experts, most MPs, most peers, and the vast majority of the public.

In the UK there’s only one licence granted for cannabis cultivation, and it’s for GW Pharmaceuticals, who make a product called Sativex, which is a sub-lingual spray made from a complete extract of the cannabis plant (oil), suspended in an alcohol solution. The government is fine with them charging the NHS £20,000 per patient, per year, but it’s illegal for the same patient to grow their own cannabis, which they’d do out of their own pocket. And if that weren’t bad enough, most local trusts (responsible for deciding budgets and treatments) refuse to grant patients access to Sativex, as they believe the price is extortionate. Which leaves something like just 2% of multiple sclerosis users covered by prescription.

I see cannabis regulation as the thin end of a poly-drug legalisation phase. There are approximately zero substances which are safer or better for society when people purchase them on the black market. Even meth, crack, and heroin are safer when controlled and the quality assured. For those those who do suffer at their hands, the chances are higher that they’ll seek help if they don’t fear criminal prosecution.

As for Prohibitionism? The Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes, an angry sky fairy isn’t waiting to punish us, and no, you do not understand the scientific method. The only thing saving these people from total humiliation is the fact they never engage in discourse, and are reduced to a selection of riposte-free soundbites in the media. Oh to debate them… oh day of days…

 

 




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