A couple of interesting pieces on drugs, illegal drugs, on the BBC today. Peter Day’s Colorado piece on From our own Correspondant (third report) is actually about legal (illegal) drugs, and the episode on The Report about psychaedalia and its possible healing qualities.
I have no interest in either today, but the first is interesting in a macro sense. I strongly believe in decriminalisation of all illicit drugs; it’s pretty simple really, decriminalisation means control, quality and tax.
If we were just to consider cannabis, it’s worth £1,25 billion in the UK. VAT is 20%, so that would be £200+ million per year. You can can pay quite a few junior doctors with that, instead of it accruing in the hands of criminal gangs. I don’t condone its use, but it exists, so you might as well tax it.
Furthermore, controlled distribution would reduce contact with criminal elements. A vast swathe of the population is forced into contact with criminality for the sake of a joint.This inevitably puts them at risk of violence, or systematically the risk of “moving on” from relativly harmless cannabis and ectasy to cocaine, heroine and god knows what else.Even from a simple health ploint of view, if quality were government controlled, you might hope there would be less of an issue with product being cut with more harmful elements.
Regarding the more complicated issue of addiction, bringing supply and consumption out of secrecy and into the open would surely simplify its management and treatment. I repeat, the problem exists and letting it fester underground does no one any service.
Everybody wins, except the gangsters. Anyway, the two podcasts are worth listening to.
And if you weren’t aware Howard Marks died yesterday. Whatever your opinion, he had a colourful life. Obituary here.