Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Some Drugs Driving

A road side warning in Victoria, Australia.It doesnt mean it makes a difference to fatalities or accidents however.
Image via Wikipedia

One of the problems with current drug policy (and is clearly evident in the drugged driving debate) is that drug substitution occurs. This is a two way street. (ask an economist!) Just as one can drive people to more harmful options, so too can we promote less harmful options by simply removing the impediments.

Cannabis is a least harmful option. As much as some folk will gnash their teeth and say, no drugs are good... (and they may even be right) from a social policy perspective, enforcement is a least efficient way to manage the problem and may, as in the case with cannabis, be an impediment to 'credible education messages'.

This is highly evident when one 'models' what would happen if we could eliminate alcohol on the road by substituting with cannabis. Road deaths (and other harms) would plummet. This is not to argue that cannabis should be compulsory, rather it helps us understand that, if a less harmful option is better than a more harmful option, and that leads to less deaths/accidents IT MAY WELL BE that the death that it saved was the very death that some individuals for whom the harm has been acute (and I share their heartache) would not have experienced that grief.

We have an obligation to solve problems with the least amount of invasive procedures as we can. It doesnt stack up, that just because we can (use Police) we must.

Look at how much we have changed societal response to drink driving through social mores around Sober Drivers etc.

Policing/Enforcement doesn't deserve all the credit (as much as they may wish to take that credit to justify continuation of policy enforcement).

Accidents occur without cannabis, there mere presence (in a zero tolerance model) does not make it 'responsible'.

Cannabis consumers (who drive, but not necessarily are stoned) do not make the unwise choices to drive that alcohol drivers make at relative degrees of intoxication. And that is a massive head start in harm limitation.

But that requires a society that has moved beyond intolerance. Regretably our drug laws are structured to enable the very worst in people. Even the ones who make moral (or otherwise) choice not to use cannabis... tiredness, distraction, stress and use of 'legal drugs, prescribed or otherwise' are NO LESS RESPONSIBLE for the outcomes of their behaviors.

It is wrong that we should hide behind our foibles and responsibilities while casting dispersions upon that of which they know little.

A more informed debate, founded in good social science should have been held. It is regrettable that our Expert Advisory Committee (on Drugs) has been expediently weighted by 'enforcement' over health.

No good will come of this.

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

Social Ecologist 'at large'

ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219

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