Would the legalisation of cannibis help reduce the drug problem in Derry (and elsewhere)?

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Right, I have no personal interest in pushing this line (‘if you’ll forgive the pun’). In other words I don’t do illegal drugs. That may be a result of the happy accident of never having really smoked and on the few occasions I’ve been offered canibis (a long long long time ago), it made only me splutter…

A second deterrent was the connection it implies to a vast underworld that survives and gets by in an unregulated and brutal criminal world. Yesterday’s news from Mexico was a pretty shocking insight as to just how brutal…

Closer to home we’ve had the usual to and fro on the morality of a summary justice that seems to be popular in some Northern Irish communities, not least in Derry… Inhabitants of those communities afflicted by the outworkings of an illegal drugs trade live in state of misery.

So what if cannibis were to be made legal? Sounds farfetched perhaps. But in the case of cannibis, it would not take much change from the Health Minister to deliver it

If Policing seems to be failing (for a basket of reasons, most of which are political and therefore beyond the police’s capacity can do something about it) perhaps there are other areas of policy that might be used to open up another front on what will whilst it remains criminal be a difficult issue to tackle?

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  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    No direct experience of cannibis, cigarettes or alcohol but here’s a comment from Ireland’s National Documentation Centre on drug use in 2004:

    The gateway theory holds that, although most cannabis users do not progress to other drugs, cannabis primes the user into taking other illicit drugs, either through a physiological mechanism or through personality and social factors. Among the factors which have been identified as increasing the probability of further harm are early onset of cannabis use, family and other problems, and exposure to other illicit drug markets, and alcohol and tobacco consumption. Age and gender are also important factors.

  • http://andrewg.wordpress.com Andrew Gallagher

    Nevin,

    … which of course suggests that by removing cannabis distribution from the gangs, the gateway into harder drugs can be reduced.

    The question we should be asking is: what are we trying to achieve by prohibition? We collectively understand that prohibition of alcohol or tobacco would cause more problems than it would solve. Is the difference merely because alcohol and tobacco are more widespread and therefore socially acceptable?

  • BIGK

    To answer the question it probably would but our nanny state would never allow it. Were would the authorities recruit their touts from?. The local hoods would loose their revenue stream and that would not do at all. The local executioners would have to find some other excuse to exersise their trade. So probably wont happen in the near future. Too many vested interests.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Andrew, it’s possible that tobacco and alcohol are also gateways. I suspect a better route that prohibition would be the promotion of more satisfying lifestyle choices.

  • http://andrewg.wordpress.com Andrew Gallagher

    Nevin,

    I dare say they are. But you miss my point. Surely the current debate about drugs begs the question?

  • tacapall

    Too much alcohol, cigarette’s, sugar, chocolate, salt, food even, can kill or seriously affect your health but we don’t hear of anyone being executed or punished for selling them. Simply because cannabis is banned by the government should not mean people with strong moral opinions on the dangers of where continued use of cannabis could lead for some people, be allowed to dictate to the rest of society what we should and should not be allowed to do. The truth of the matter is its a source of revenue, untraceable money for those who ply their trade on the black market which is pretty much everyone including governments, Helmand’s poppy fields being guarded by British and American soldiers while the fields are being tended is evidence that the drugs trade is controlled by the rich and powerful. I don’t believe organisations like RAAD want to shoot teenagers who peddle a bit of cannabis, its cocaine and meph or even herioin which is becoming more available in our areas, drugs like these have to be a factor in the high suicide rates in our areas especially West Belfast and they are a common factor in the majority of cases where youths have been involved in anti social activities.

    On the one hand I believe Cannabis should be legalised and controlled like cigarettes, warnings advising caution or overuse and comparing with a legal to buy pack of cigarettes which contain toxic substances added to the cigarette by manufacturers to addict us and cause serious illnesses that can be fatal, cannabis is way ahead in the moral argument. But on the other hand I know its uncontrollable and impossible for society to predict the consequences of what the cost would be to each and every individual, could our society function normally.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Of course it should be legalised and controlled along with most other illegal drugs. But there are too many vested interests at stake. Cops, drugs squads, task forces, eejits who have feck all to do except ring radio talk shows and moan – you name it, it’s a zero sum game but politicians pander to them all and pump more money into fighting an unwinnable fight.

    The main loser is Joe Public who has to pay for the so called war on drugs with his or her taxes. There’s also the health risk for the users, most of them occasional because something like cannabis isn’t quality controlled – just like the poison alcohol that was sold during prohibition USA, drugs sold on the street contain some really toxic stuff to bulk it up including your average block of hash which can literally contain shit as well as glue, soil and much worse.

    As for the gateway stuff, cannabis can be a gateway drug usually because if you don’t GIY, you get it from a dealer who more often than not has other product lines or if he doesn’t – he knows where to send you to.

  • Alias

    Most cannabis sold today is “skunk” which has been genetically modified to deliver an extremely high level of mind-altering THC. It’s a very different drug than the trendy early cannabis and brings a whole new level of social and mental health problems with it.

  • andnowwhat

    Alias

    That skunk thing is an GB problem. I’ve never seen or heard of anyone smoking it in the north.

  • carl marks

    Should we legalise pot,(does the use of the word pot make me seem old fashioned)
    I think its certainly something we should look at, about 15 years ago a law student i knew put this forward as his thesis.
    He interviewed police officers, judges, social workers and drug users, nearly all were in favour of the idea the main concerns were issues of safety as regards to operate equipment driving etc at the time use of cannabis could only be proved with expensive lab testing nowadays there are tests that police can use at the roadside to detect drivers under its influence.
    Most (by a large majority) thought it would remove the drug from the control of the criminal gangs involved and most regarded it as a gateway drug simply because the people selling it had a interest in creating a market for the drugs that made the real money.

  • http://andrewg.wordpress.com Andrew Gallagher

    Another thing to consider is that unlike most drugs, cannabis is relatively easy (and safe!) to produce at home with minimal equipment – it is only the need to evade detection that has driven the adoption of advanced hydroponics. If cannabis were legalised, the market for it would not just clean up, but shrink.

  • tuatha

    The dangers of skunk intoxication are a pure meeja beat up – it hasn’t half the THC of decent hash – but the real problem is the chemicals used to grow it, hydroponically, indoors to evade detection, coz it’s illegal.
    If it weren’t, anyone could grow a fine bush with the praties and the entire network of crime, corruption & infringement of civil liberties would cease overnight.
    It should also be noted that ”stop & search” became the norm in the UK in the late 60s to “solely to counteract the drug menace”… and hasn’t been abused or extended at all.

  • Mark

    According to various news outlets , the Vietnamese have cornered the market in the Skunk production industry in the South . Alias is correct when he talks about the TCH content . It can be up 5/6 times stronger than what was previously available . In some quarters ( colleges ) , it has become the drug of choice because of the recession . I’ve never seen a gang of stoned lads turn into violent thugs but I’ve seen plently of drunken louts turn …… Some say the reason there was little football violence the last time the Netherlands hosted the Euros ( 2000 ? ) was because all the firms were sitting in the cafes stoned .

    When Thaksin Shinawatra came to power in Thailand , it was on a promise that he would sort out the drug problem , clean up the country . So he told the army to start killing the dealers . The army went beserk and shot anyone they deemed involved in drugs …….dealers , users , friends of users . They got rid most of the dealers and the drug use virtually stopped . It went undergroud but the Thais don’t mind grass , they grow it they just dont advertise it but they wont tolerate speed which is the real problem in Thailand . The army killed about 2500 people in about 3 years and most of them were yaba ( speed ) dealers but the problem with yaba is some say that a neighbouring country is producing the tablet and then smuggling it into Thailand .

    The Dutch Government don’t seem to have a problem with their own citizens getting stoned but aren’t that keen on Johnny Foreigner smoking their pot . They’re talking about bringing in a license scheme for the locals to use the cafes . Can’t see that working as that’s the second most popular thing to do in Amsterdam after a canal ride .

  • http://fitzjameshorselooksattheworld.wordpress.com/ fitzjameshorse1745

    I have no direct knowledge of drugs but part of the myth seems to be that it is a young persons “thing”. Some years ago, I recall a conversation with colleagues and most (people in their 40s and 50s) seemed to have experimented when younger.
    The current young cannabis users are in some casaes second and third generation.
    Thr interesting thing about drug siezures is the quantities available for local use………which indicates that there is a “market” rather like there is for dodgy cigarettes and dodgy petrol.
    I dont drink alcohol myself and I actually think of it as in need of more control that the habit of choice of hippy folk.
    It seems to me that alcohol (certainly) and tobacco (thru illness) is a bigger killer.

    Yet there is simply two seperate worlds. Those of us who dont know about such things. And those who do.
    About a decade ago, we were called on by a man doing some kinda follow up census. And after we had answered his questions, he asked if he could talk to the only (then) teenager in the house…my second son.
    He called him over to his laptop, pointed to a question on the screen and asked him to answer one or possibly two questions by indicating A, B C whatever on the screen.
    And this without reading out question or discussing with parents (Mrs FJH was in the room). When my son answered, he thanked us all and left.
    When he left we asked our son what the question/s was and we were a little taken aback to discover that the question/s related to illegal drug use.
    My recollection now some ten years later is that one question was certainly…..if my son knew where to obtain illegal drugs “yes Daddy…..everybody at school knows” and there was possibly a second question about whether he had ever taken illegal drugs.

    I remain rather surprised that the census man did not discuss this issue with parents first. Our reaction to him asking if he could speak to our son was bemusement and even a little pride (if thats the right word) that our son was old enough to have an opinion for the census man. Our assumption of course was that it was something vaguely to do with schools, hospitals, recreation whatever.

    As a parent I have always believed in “no surprises”, that nobody should know more about my children than I do. Frankly I felt undermined. If “everybody knows” were drugs are bought sold, then it should not be left to a quasi-confidential statistical agency.
    Im still pretty angry about it.

  • Harry Flashman

    The army killed about 2500 people in about 3 years and most of them were yaba ( speed ) dealers but the problem with yaba is some say that a neighbouring country is producing the tablet and then smuggling it into Thailand .

    Mark would that neighbour be a big archipelago to the south where they call it ‘shabu-shabu’?

  • ForkHandles

    People take recreational drugs not because of any deprived social factor, not because they are driven into it to escape their horrendous family circumstances or any of that totally made up media hysterics. They take recreational drugs because of the enjoyable effects. It’s the mind expansive effects, increased musical appreciation, unbelievably brilliant nights out, crazy experiences, laughing until your stomach is sore, and wide variety of great feelings are flip’n great :)
    There is no gateway drug, this is a phrase made up by the anti-drug ‘community’ to scare people. What really happens is the same thing as when you try beer for the first time. You realise that this is quite a nice experience and you are not afraid to try other drinks. No big deal, just common sense and knowledge over ignorance.
    There are no drug pushers, nobody is cornering people and forcing them to swallow an E.
    Dealers offer to sell drugs and people seek out dealers because they want to buy drugs. We want to buy drugs because the experiences are very enjoyable. It’s that simple. There is no drugs menace, any one with half a brain can see that ‘menace’ is used to scare people without actually specifying what the scary thing is.
    It’s so daft that people who have never tried recreational drugs come out with such ridiculous phrases and attempts to explain drug use as if it is something people don’t really want to do, but other factors force them into it. Such laughable nonsense. It’s like walking into a bar and saying “those poor people driven into having a few pints and then suffering the terrible effects of having to go for a pee every half an hour.” total nonsense!

    The problem with drugs these days is quality control. The low quality drugs today that are full of crap would disappear if they were legalised and sold in shops. The government could tax them and make some much needed revenue.

  • ForkHandles

    by the way, skunk is just a type of strong grass. there are many types of strong grass. because its strong, people only need to smoke less to get the desired effect. again, there is a silly media hype about some terrible type of grass. laughable…

  • babyface finlayson

    Forkhandles
    By and large you may be right.
    But I presume you accept there is such a thing as an acoholic. And there is a societal problem with alcohol abuse in general. So it’s not just people having a few pints…
    In the same way, some people do become addicted to drugs, and it is not a risk free activity.
    I agree with the argument for legalising cannabis by the way. Addiction then becomes a health problem rather than a legal one.

  • tacapall

    Babyface the point is its legal to buy cigarettes that are designed to be addictive and with continued use will probably more than possibly kill you, but its illegal to buy and use a product that if used correctly will do no harm. I don’t believe its a gateway drug anymore than reading a porno mag leads you to committing rape its down to the individual and people who deviate from the norm cannot be classed as the general population. Using the word abuse when referring to people who over indulge is quite dramatic and deliberately associated to indicate violence or harm which in the case of cannabis is quite untrue, we never say people are cigarette abusers or those who are addicted to any other legal to buy product that if overused can lead to serious health problems as abusers, you only have to Google the dangers of drinking diet soda that’s sold to man woman and child to see what abusing your body is.

  • ForkHandles

    Baby, there will always be people who go too far with anything. driving too fast, drinking too much. even drinking too much water will kill you. that aspect is related to peoples behaviour which they are responsible for themselves. we dont let speeders deprive the majority of road users of the ability to drive and enjoy driving.
    recreational drugs should be legalised and regulated and taxed. they are used socially, this is hardly a crime.

  • JR

    I stayed clear of drugs growing up but I have had plenty of friends who indulged. The biggest long term side affect of drug use that I have seen has been underachievment. I wonder have there been any studies on that. Most of the people I knew in school who got into regular drug use are currently unemployed. I have also seen first hand people with quite a bit of sporting talent become complete couch potatoes.

  • Mark

    Same product different name Harry …the country I was refering to would be a northern neighbour where recent elections took place .

    A friend imports furniture from Java though and says shabu shabu is quite popular amoungst the locals as well . Most countries in that neck of the woods would experience the same problem .

    JR , this may sound a little bizzare but many combat sports people incl boxers , tri athletes , jujitsu and mixed martial artists etc would smoke a couple of joints before training . Former athletes have giving interviews stating this and in a recent MMA World Title fight between Nick Diaz and Carlos Conduit , Diaz tested positve for grass but it turns out he has a medical license from Calafornia so there is a debate going on in the states to see whether he will be banned or not .

    There is also a sexual element to taking drugs which can enhance one’s feelings …………that’s what I read in the dentist’s waiting room anyway .

  • BIGK

    I use petrol in my car,cant afford to sniff it anymore so the sooner they legalise cannabis the better. As for the issue of taxing it do yous not think we are being taxed enough or are you all working in the public sector?.

  • Harry Flashman

    Probably all controlled by the same cartels Mark, I didn’t realise the generals were partial to the stuff.

    Shabu-shabu is definitely the party drug of choice for the hip and happening scene in Jakarta (as you can imagine from my terminology I wouldn’t include myself) and the party scene is huge in the Big Durian.

    Recently we’ve had a spate of airline pilots being busted with the stuff and given the already chronic nature of the Indonesian air transport system that is not something to take lightly.

    To a certain extent it confirms that people will simply opt for the recreational drug of choice, booze is expensive and often hard to come by in Indonesia, where there isn’t a great tradition of drinking anyway, but ecstasy and shabu-shabu can be got in any club with no bother.

    Drunkenness is very much frowned on while getting speeded up isn’t regarded as that much of a deal.

    Funny old world.

  • a quiet man

    if anybody cares to look into it cannabis is already legal in the uk it has a trade name of sativex and is produced by G,W, pharma , it has all the side effects and possible risks listed on the information document and guess what it is non addictive does not cause any psychosis. the gateway theory if you are interested is a fantasy the first exposure to breast milk is the gateway to all addictions and you would run less risk of being sold hard drugs if only licensed dispensary’s were allowed to sell the stuff. please do not ignore the fact that any kid with 20 pounds can buy a bag of weed right now. we need to remove this drug from the blackmarket and start to educate everyone and let the adults enjoy the one substance that has caused no deaths ever and does not cause streets of blood every weekend. please look at some of the truthful information about cannabis and stop with the 1930s style phohibition talk and NON-SCIENCE that fills most of these comments check out CLEAR U,K or any group like NORML for some truthful info on cannabis

  • babyface finlayson

    tacapall
    As I said, I do agree with legalisation of cannabis and indeed other recreational drugs.
    The point I was making is that ForkHandles seems a bit complacent about the risks. It’s all a bit of fun, Everybody has a good time. That is not always the case
    So let’s not demonise them but no need to eulogise about them either.
    It used to be conventional wisdom that dope was not physically addictive. Do you know is that still the case now with new more potent strains?

  • a quiet man

    babyface the new strains you wonder about are not the problem. the problem happens because the plant is being harvested before the important anti psychotic component of the the plant C,B,D has not yet formed the early harvest is because the growers do not care about the plant only the profit the plants that are used by G,W pharma for the legal sativex are of the strongest skunk type and they have done all the science all this is on their own website it is NON addictive.

  • Mark

    Harry ,

    It’s funny you should mention Airline pilots because before Thaksin came to power , yaba was used by alot of taxi drivers , long distance truck drivers , hotel porters etc mainly to staying awake ( I’m sure a few took it for the buzz ) . Once Shinawatra started to clean house the price went from 10 baht to 500 baht in 12 months for one tablet .

    Re the lack of booze , maybe it’s not a bad thing . In one weekend in Thailand while I was there , over 450 people were killed on the roads due to drink driving and I think it got a quick mention on page 10 of the Bangkok post . Practically most people who drink wouldn’t think twice about getting behind the wheel . As we all know , there’s drink driving and there’s drink driving but I’ve seen locals being carried to their car and place in it . Nearly most of the young people I met could point to an injury they received from a motorbike accident when they were drunk .

    It is a funny old world alright .

    Getting back to the legal argument , when the head shops opened down here , it took alot of business away from the dealers who within months had fire bombed a couple of shops ( one on Capel st ) . The Govt shut most of them down but appartently alot of stock had been bought so it had to sold one way or another . It just made it’s way back onto the streets with the illegal stuff . When chemists examined the legal highs that the shops were selling . they found that most of the ingredients in the drug could be found under your kitchen sink . And it sent people who took it cuckoo for days .

    For anyone who’s seen the film American Beauty with Kevin Spacey and Annette Benning , there’s a scene when spacey is buying grass from his daughter’s boyfriend . The boyfriend is giving Spacey the lowdown on which grass is better and why . When he comes to the price of the grass they happen to be smoking at the time , he tells Spacey that the Govt / Army had ” grown ” it and that’s why it’s two grand instead 200 bucks for that ” Mexican shit ” .

    It could work but the underworld being your biggest rival …..

  • changeisneeded

    tapacall
    “I don’t believe organisations like RAAD want to shoot teenagers who peddle a bit of cannabis”

    Well your wrong there. I know of someone who has been shot for exactly that and I know someone else who had to leave the country for the same thing.

    Alias (profile) says: 15 May 2012 at 6:22 pm Most cannabis sold today is “skunk” which has been genetically modified to deliver an extremely high level of mind-altering THC. It’s a very different drug than the trendy early cannabis and brings a whole new level of social and mental health problems with it

    The classic daily mail line, and completly incorrect.

    andnowwhat (profile) says: 15 May 2012 at 6:31 pm Alias

    That skunk thing is an GB problem. I’ve never seen or heard of anyone smoking it in the north.

    Wrong…. Skunk is one breed of plant, there are hundreds, some stonger some weaker than skunk, its the good quality high thc hydro stuff thats appeared on the market more recently and theres plenty 15% + hydro on the NI market ..And all it means is you smoke less of it..

    The drug laws are the reason young people are being shot , through their promotion of ignorance fear and lies about a fucking plant.

    See what happened to David Nutt, thats what your up against.

  • changeisneeded

    And nice one Mick for bringing this one up. A lot of people are thinking exactly the same as you…
    Well done.

  • carl marks

    Harry Flashman

    My how things have changed, when i was in NTT and PNG from 82-86 betel nut was the drug of choice everywhere but Bali.
    One granny in the kampong I lived in for a while would regularly get stoned and wonder of into the bush, the whole kampong would all go looking for her, when she was found she was given a very gentle ticking off by the headman but it made no difference a couple of days later of she went.
    Let me tell you carrying out a search in a tropical rain forest at night is no fun.

  • tacapall

    changeisneeded while I dont doubt there has been people who just push cannabis shot or ordered to leave they were more than likely a wee bit more than a kid who would get an few grams and sell it on to his mates so that he ends up getting his bit for free.

  • changeisneeded

    Tacapall
    The guy in question who got shot was caught along with 2 others in a PSNI road check after coming over the border. They had just bought an ounce of grass, the cops arrested them and their names went in the paper. From this paper the Raad boys got their name and visited the family homes…i can go on…anyway one of them got an oz visa before his charge went through and one of them just got shot in the legs and will never be able to travel to OZ or the US again.
    Nice one PSNI.. [Watch your language - mods]

  • changeisneeded

    should have said the one that got the oz visa went there straight away out of fear, and the 3rd guy is still hiding..
    Over what was a tiny personal bit of weed. Its a complete disgrace and the politicians police and their laws are the root cause of all this.

  • tacapall

    changeisneeded If thats the truth then the reaction was totally over the top, although with the PSNI involved am not surprised at the deliberate public exposure of this minor incident, its like showing a red flag to a bull.

  • changeisneeded

    tacapall

    there is online evidence to prove my story, but im not putting it up..

  • babyface finlayson

    Changeisneeded
    It’s one thing to campaign for a change in the law but if I get caught breaking that law in the meantime then I am an idiot. Not much point calling the PSNI wankers. They don’t make the laws.

  • Alias

    “The classic daily mail line, and completly incorrect.” – changeisneeded

    Which part is wrong? That most cannabis sold in the UK is skunk?

    The Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs says that:

    “The majority of cannabis sold in Britain is ‘skunk’, so-called because it has a very strong smell. It is green dried plant material rather than brown solid cannabis (hashish) which was more popular in the 80s and 90s (it was then imported mainly from Morocco). The strength of skunk now averages around 10% THC, but it can exceed 18%, whilst its CBD content is very low. Even so, it is impossible to get a toxic overdose of THC by taking cannabis in typical ways.

    There is still quite a lot of imported cannabis, (herbal or hash) about but the market has changed considerably in recent years. Skunk is now the main form of the drug available – it is grown in the UK and so reduces the risk for large-scale dealers in importing the drug. It is grown under artificial light in small cannabis factories, often empty houses or disused factory spaces. Last year the police shut down over 7,000 of these factories.”

    The devastating effects of skunk cannabis on the nation’s mental health are revealed here for the first time, showing where the drug has hit hardest around the country.

    Or is it the mental health problems part?

    According to The Independent:

    “Some areas have suffered a tenfold increase in people mentally ill from using the drug.

    Nationally, skunk smokers are ending up ill in hospital in record numbers, with admissions soaring 73 per cent. The number of adults recorded as suffering mental illness as a result of cannabis use has risen sharply from 430 in 1996 to 743 in 2006.

    The government data shows how the damaging effects of the drug have swept across England.”

    According to the BBC:

    “People who smoke potent skunk are more at risk of psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia than those who use other types of cannabis, scientists suspect.

    According to new research, regular users double their risk of psychosis but heavy skunk users increase theirs seven-fold.

    UK experts have a theory it is down to skunk’s composition – it contains more of the chemical that gets users stoned.

    The work is published in British Journal of Psychiatry.”

  • Harry Flashman

    My how things have changed, when i was in NTT and PNG from 82-86 betel nut was the drug of choice everywhere but Bali.

    In fairness Carl things might not have changed that much, the lovely people of NTT and PNG are hardly comparable to the “sophisticates” of the Jakarta party scene.

    he tells Spacey that the Govt / Army had ” grown ” it and that’s why it’s two grand instead 200 bucks for that ” Mexican shit ” .

    Was this not based in actual case history where the Canadian government decided to build a pharmaceutical plant to produce “medical marijuana”? They spent millions to produce foul stuff that no one would even take for free while eighteen year olds in their basements were turning out the real McCoy with no financial assistance whatsoever.

    A massive argument in favour of private enterprise over state intervention if ever there was one.

  • changeisneeded

    Alias

    “Most cannabis sold today is “skunk” which has been genetically modified to deliver an extremely high level of mind-altering THC. It’s a very different drug than the trendy early cannabis and brings a whole new level of social and mental health problems with it.”

    Its is not skunk, this is where you and those clowns in government are getting a false story from what is trumpeted in the media
    Its is what is known as hydroponically grown grass and it is not genetically modified and most common strains have been around for 30+ years, see high times magazine if you want to learn more.
    THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the active ingredient and in the pot clubs in California (where it is regulated, controlled and taxed)you can buy your weed in whatever strength you want from 5%-20%.
    The difference between now and in the past is that more people have turned to a locally grown high quality product (mainly because imported growing equipment and seeds are easy to get) rather than imported brown hash or bush weed via your local paramilitary from spain or morocco. The skunk story is bullshit.

    as for
    “People who smoke potent skunk are more at risk of psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia than those who use other types of cannabis, scientists suspect.”
    If they can’t get their basic facts right calling hydro “skunk” then I don’t have much time for their suspicions.

    More people died last year from eating peanuts than smoking weed.
    Im not playing down the fact that it may have effects on mental health but the scaremongering that is going on is disgraceful.
    Look up what David Nutt has to say and ask yourself why he was sacked for telling the truth.

  • Alias

    I see. Now I have a dilemma. Do I take the word of an annonymous poster on the Internet who obviously has a pro-drugs agenda or do I defer to the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs that I quoted above?

    The majority of cannabis sold in Britain is ‘skunk’, so-called because it has a very strong smell. It is green dried plant material rather than brown solid cannabis (hashish) which was more popular in the 80s and 90s (it was then imported mainly from Morocco). The strength of skunk now averages around 10% THC, but it can exceed 18%, whilst its CBD content is very low. Even so, it is impossible to get a toxic overdose of THC by taking cannabis in typical ways.

    There is still quite a lot of imported cannabis, (herbal or hash) about but the market has changed considerably in recent years. Skunk is now the main form of the drug available – it is grown in the UK and so reduces the risk for large-scale dealers in importing the drug. It is grown under artificial light in small cannabis factories, often empty houses or disused factory spaces. Last year the police shut down over 7,000 of these factories.”

    As you might notice (on second reading) that the source is the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs and not “those clowns in government are getting a false story from what is trumpeted in the media.”

    OKay… it’s not really a dilemma.

  • changeisneeded

    Hey Alias Im not trying to push one line or the other… I just see the harm sensationalism and irrationality can cause to people on the street.
    I appreciate at least a sensible debate about the subject.

    I think we have crossed wires here, this line from your quote says it all…
    “The majority of cannabis sold in Britain is ‘skunk’, so-called because it has a very strong smell.”
    So they are not actually talking about the strain skunk but “hydroponic weed” because it smells strong.
    See what I’m on about?

    Skunk is one strain (breed) of thousands .. There are many strains that can reach high THC levels skunk being one of many. It simply doesn’t mean that skunk is the only one that can have a high THC level, so labelling it as the only one is is what I’m calling into question. Along with the rest of the irresponsible drugs laws set by clowns that dont know the facts.

  • seamus60

    Theres one gateway if we can call it that, with a benefit. I personally know people who have had serious Alcohol addiction over long periods who now have a wee smoke and are much better off for it. This expands to a lot of people around them including family and friends.