I waltz off the elevator to munch on tiny croissants filled with Swiss cheese and champagne ham when Drug Foundation High Priest Ross Bell hails me.
“I see you haven’t posted your second day”, he hisses.
“Posted it this morning, I was up late last night’, I chirp.
“It better have been more positive than your first Day“, he growls.
“Whatever do you mean”? I ask in wide eyed surprise
“It was all fucking lies”, he spits. Which I thought was an odd thing to say to a blogger who is more than happy to quote him verbatim.
Clearly Mr Bell has missed the latest research showing the influence of blogs.
I shrug and set off to tackle Kevin Hague over what’s eating David Hay.
The only real discussion on prohibition is occurring today with the prohibition debate between a team arguing for regulation and a team arguing to keep the current prohibition madness in place.
Kevin Sabet leads the prohibitionists. He is from the American based think tank, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, and author of Reefer Sanity: Seven great myths about marijuana. He’s up against Steve Rolles from the British think tank Transform Drug Policy Foundation, and author of How to regulate cannabis: A practical guide.
Steve Rolles is up first and with bullet point laser beam precision cuts through the nonsense of the current prohibition over regulation debate.
He starts with an overview…
Where are we up to?
-Cannabis decrim in 25 countries
-Cannabis social clubs in Spain & Belgium
-Legally regulated markets in Washington/Colorado and Uruguay
-Now mainstream, high legal debate: heads of state, UN, Global commission, OAS etc
…he notes globally prohibition is losing and then goes onto define the type of regulation…
What is regulation?
-Distinction between decrim/legalisation
-Regulation if risky products and behaviours is a primary function of gov
-Regulation is the norm
-Activities that take place outside if a regulatory framework remain prohibited
-Distinction from unregulated free markets
-Regulation is only part if policy picture
…calls for some basic agreements on why you want regulation…
Aims of cannabis regulation?
-Protecting and improving public health
-Reducing drug related crime
-Improving security and development
-Protecting the young and vulnerable
-Protecting human rights
-Providing good value for money
…and even goes into…
Elements of regulation model?
Regulation of cannabis products
-Ratio of thc & Cbd can be monitored
…his conclusion? The current prohibition system is not working and it’s creating counterproductive results.
Next up is the argument for prohibition.
Kevin spends 5minutes begging the audience to have an open mind. Demands we think about the children and connects cannabis to cocaine use in the same breath. Accepts caning people in Asia and the Middle East is too far.
The entire crux of his argument is that because people can’t be relied on to be rational then we can’t trust them with Cannabis???
How the screaming hell is that an argument?
His concerns boil down to big corporations making huge profits and that will drive more cannabis use. His argument is that we can’t stop corporate forces if we regulate cannabis, but the obvious counter is that the current system is putting those billions and billions and billions into the hands of organised crime. This guy is honestly claiming it’s worse to put those profits into the hands of corporations as opposed to going into the hands of Mexican drug Cartels, the mafia and the other organised crime fraternity?
I realise that there is very little point staying as my suspicions had been proven. There is no more bloody debate on cannabis prohibition, the debate was won when it was first argued. Prohibition doesn’t work and creates vast social carnage, to be told that we need to accept that current situation because people can’t be trusted if it was regulated and that it’s better for that money to go to organized crime is unscientific quackery mixed with insanity.
While prohibition lasts, we will have legal fake cannabis which is more harmful than the illegal real cannabis.
The debate has been won, what is required now is some real political leadership. Sadly that type of courage is harder to find than a joint at an uptight Drug Foundation cocktail party.