Should drugs like cannabis be sold in off-licenses? Well, the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner believes so, and Arfon Jones recently came out and called for measures to be taken to regulate the sale of certain prohibited substances.
He wants to see drugs controlled and sold by responsible retailers similar to off-licences that sell alcohol because he doesn’t see the difference between the use of alcohol and the use of cannabis.
The candid former policeman has further come out publicly in the past stating that the current war on drug crime has totally failed, and his opinions have produced a mighty response amongst readers, with many coming out either for or against the suggestion on social media.
Some people have never been weed smokers but totally agree with Arfon on this. The problem is some people are close-minded and they refuse to recognise things from a different perspective. Alcohol is one of the worst drugs there is, yet being drunk isn’t just culturally acceptable, it’s become glamorized.
Pot smokers are far less of a menace to society than drunks, and if you talk to a recovered alcoholic they would personally tell you how much harm drinking does because alcohol abuse can cause Polysythemia, Chronic Pancreatitis and Diabetes.
However, since medicating with cannabis some people say that all their conditions have gone, no more Polysthemia, Chronic Pancreatitis or Diabetes, but there are other people who say that starting off on soft drugs will lead to heroin and cocaine addiction.
People need to look at what’s happening around the world. It’s legal in a number of countries and States of America and Canada joined the long list, so do these countries know something that we don’t?
Portugal embraced a different approach to drug use and now that system is being utilised as a role model for legalisation due to its profound success, and the figures show prohibition doesn’t work, well done Arfon for leading the way on this new approach.
The grown-ups need to do some actual research because children with severe autism are being treated with oils and are able to communicate and play, and elderly people with Parkinson’s disease and people with cancer are being treated with CBD oils and are performing much better.
But ignorance is bliss and being brainwashed is the new hip thing these days.
Of course, cannabis shouldn’t be sold in off-licences because it needs to be controlled, so for medicinal use on prescription would be a good thing because on many occasions it’s been demonstrated as a benefit to a number of people.
At the moment there are numerous people who are purchasing CBD oil on the black market for pain mostly and it’s been seen to work, and it must work to a particular level because it’s really expensive and people wouldn’t buy it if it didn’t work, not at the price it’s being sold for on the black market.
But the United Kingdom, on the whole, are considered too conservative and narrow-minded to make those propitious changes, unfortunately, not only on this subject but other issues as well, and most of us Brits need to think outside the box.
Since Prohibition ended in the 1930s, alcohol has become broadly accessible and culturally accepted by the masses, whereas cannabis has continued to be essentially forbidden and moderately defamed, although these views are slowly starting to change, and there are still numerous people who think that marijuana is more damaging than alcohol.
Most cannabis smokers would oppose this intensely with this view, but is their belief supported?
Alcohol is by far the most easily accessible mind-altering substance on the market. Anybody over the legal drinking age can wander into a shop and purchase enough alcohol to get totally trashed, or stroll into a pub and rack up a substantial tab without issue.
Cannabis is considerably more hard to come by, and in many places it’s still banned, indicating that the only way to get it is on the black market, and even in the many places where weed is allowed, there may be constraints on how much you can get, not to mention the fact that high-quality bud can be prohibitively costly.
Although this has not affected marijuana’s notoriety, and more people are using it now than ever before, it still comes nowhere close to alcohol in terms of who participates and how frequently.
According to the 2015 Survey on Drug Use, a huge 86.4 per cent of adults aged above 18 years had tried alcohol at least once, with 7 per cent confessing to being big drinkers, and in comparison, a survey conducted by Marist College Institute for Public Opinion discovered that just 52 per cent of adults had tried marijuana at least once, and 14 per cent reported that they used cannabis frequently, with frequent use described as at least once or twice a month.
I frequently overhear people saying, let’s go to Amsterdam where we can smoke as much cannabis as we like, well, here’s everything you need to know about marijuana smoking in the Netherlands.
Though deemed a lowbrow kind of entertainment by some, coffee shops play an essential part in Dutch tourism, and figures suggest that 25-30 per cent of people who visit Amsterdam spend time in a coffee shop.
Cannabis is currently prohibited in the Netherlands, but, Dutch legislators approved legislation that would allow the professional cultivation of marijuana, and fans insist it’s a step towards legalisation, which will make the cannabis business more open and increase the degree and quality of the drug for consumers.
Yet, there are many people who believed that smoking marijuana was legal in Holland, but no, they were wrong, and despite the abundance of coffee shops, which sell cannabis over the counter, the drug is not allowed in the Netherlands.
It is, nevertheless, tolerated, indicating the authorities will turn a blind eye to those in possession of 5g or less.
Coffee shops are permitted to store a culmination of 500g of cannabis on the premises at any one time, and growers have not generally in the past been prosecuted if they’re growing five marijuana plants or less, and even though coffee shops are technically forbidden, they’re given licenses to trade by the authorities, are you confused, you’re not the only one because Dutch drug law is a murky old game.
Nevertheless, the laws are crystal on one matter, coffee shops are not permitted to purchase cannabis. Many coffee shop proprietors, therefore, use third-party buyers, who source the cannabis, no questions asked, and bring it into the shop.
Once the weed is through the door, providing it amounts to no more than 500g, it is permitted by the authorities.
If it becomes legal to grow marijuana, coffee shops will no longer have to worry about employing buyers to sneak it through the back door for them, and basically, the new law would make it affordable, easier and safer to run a coffee shop.
It would be a more simple system, and the coffee shop proprietor would be as normal as the proprietor of a pub, and as well as coffee shop owners, the customer would further potentially benefit from the proposed legislation.
The quality of the marijuana will get better, and the cost would not be so high, so in every way, it’s better.
Now imagine the average cannabis smoker, and you will likely be greeted with a far more chilled out mental representation, so based on this, it would be easy to believe that stoners are less of a menace than drunks.
The fact is, both cannabis smokers and drunks can pose a threat to themselves and others because both substances can produce impaired reasoning, coordination, perception, and response times, leading to increased accidents, particularly once they get into a vehicle.
In 2014, 9,967 people died in traffic collisions involving alcohol, a figure which makes up 31 per cent of all driving-related deaths in the United States, and traffic accidents are furthermore widespread in marijuana users than the overall population.
But, the precise figures are unclear for two reasons. Firstly, THC can remain detectable in your system for many days after intoxication, suggesting that you can test positive for weed long after you’ve sobered up.
Secondly, when marijuana is detected after an accident, it’s usually found in a combination with other things, including alcohol, and this fact makes it extremely hard to get accurate information on precisely how many traffic accidents are caused by marijuana alone.
It’s thought that smoking marijuana could raise your probabilities of a deadly accident by as much as 83 per cent. Yet, this is a modest number compared to alcohol, which could boost the chance by a staggering 2,200 per cent.
As well as being a danger on the roads, heavy drinkers further pose a substantial threat to their own well-being in general, as well as an increased risk of injuries, and those who drink massively on a regular basis are raising their chance of severe diseases such as liver cirrhosis and some kinds of cancer.
Alcohol is also extremely addictive, and as many as 15.1 million people (6.2 per cent of the population) are classified as having an alcohol use disorder, indicating that they typically abuse or are reliant on alcohol.
In comparison, around 4 million Americans are thought to suffer from some degree of marijuana use disorder, although this lower figure could be due to more limited access as much as anything else.
Furthermore, an estimated 88,000 people in the United States die every year from alcohol-related causes including diseases and accidents. This figure makes it the third most common preventable cause of mortality, lingering behind tobacco and poor diet coupled with the absence of exercise.
Alcohol is the biggest killer for 15–49-year-olds and estimates for a monstrous 25 per cent of mortality in those aged 20–39.
In contrast, mortality directly associated with marijuana is almost non-existent, and a fatal dose of THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, is estimated to be someplace between 15g and 70g, indicating that to overdose you would need to smoke far more weed than is imaginable, even by a heavy smoker’s standards.
So it seems that smoking cannabis is far more innocuous than drinking in terms of health, but how about other factors such as crime?
Crime is another area where alcohol seems to pose a considerably greater threat to public safety than marijuana, and violent crimes usually involve alcohol as an aggravating factor, and of the 11.1 million victims of violent crime every year, 2.7 million report that their assailant was under the influence of alcohol. That suggests that alcohol was involved in around 1 in 4 incidents of violent crime.
This figure increases for violent offences carried out against an intimate partner or ex-partner to as many as 2 in 3 cases, and 67 per cent of incidences of domestic violence have been linked to alcohol abuse.
In cannabis users, the opposite seems to be true. One study on couples’ marijuana use found that in couples who both used cannabis, the prevalence of intimate violence was reduced significantly over the first nine years of marriage, so these results imply that on the whole, cannabis users pose far less of a threat to their loved ones than heavy drinkers.
Another crime generally associated with alcohol abuse is rape or sexual assault. About 37 per cent of these violations are thought to be alcohol-related, and in 2015, there were 97,000 reports of rape or sexual assault related to alcohol among college students alone, and it’s further thought that alcohol could increase the probability of committing murder, although the precise data on this is unclear.
These facts appear to support the stereotypical view of a placid stoner compared with a violent drunk. Yet, there are always going to be a few exceptions to the rule.
One study on drug use and crime in young, inner-city adults found that those who regularly used marijuana were more inclined to commit weapons offences, attempted homicide, and reckless endangerment than those who abstained from the drug.
The three drugs found to be most dangerous to other people were heroin, alcohol, and crack cocaine, while those most dangerous to the user themselves were heroin, crack, and methamphetamine, but the drug found to be most dangerous overall was alcohol, which scored 72/100 on the researcher’s scale.
This figure could come as a shock to some people, particularly when compared to the next most dangerous drug, heroin, which scored just 55/100. Cannabis ranked much lower on the scale, with an overall harm score of 20/100.
Taking the above criteria into account, researchers believed it to be somewhat more dangerous to the users themselves than it is to others. And just in case you’re wondering, the least hazardous drug was found to be mushrooms, with an overall harm score of only 6/100 and the associated risks being to the user alone.
Neither cannabis or alcohol is entirely harmless, so the statistics imply that pot smokers pose far less of a threat than someone who has been drinking, although both drugs can seriously impair judgement, and for a pot smoker this is more likely to be the result of eating an entire container of Ben and Jerry’s than a drunk starting a fight.
The biggest threat that cannabis smokers pose to public safety is the raised chance of fatal traffic accidents after smoking, although the risk is unquestionably higher if they’ve been drinking as well. So whether you’re a cannabis smoker, a drinker, or both, the message is the same. Know your limits, be responsible, and if you’re intoxicated, please don’t get behind the wheel, for the sake of yourself and everyone else on the road.