Gordon Brown's plans to tighten the law on cannabis by increasing the penalties for possession suffered a fresh blow yesterday as the latest official figures showed the decision to downgrade the drug had been followed by a significant fall in its use.Quite honestly, I'm a little surprised by this development. Not because I'm against the gradual decriminalization or I think people who smoke marijuana should be punished severely (I don't think marijuana should be criminalized, nor it's users be punished at all). Rather, because I didn't think it would change the average usage that much. I just kinda figured the potheads in Europe were a lot like the American stoner - its available, lets smoke it. Weed is not that hard to find and, honestly, everyone smokes it*. So I guess it might be one of those things that becomes passe as soon as "teh man" doesn't care about it anymore?
British Crime Survey statistics showed that the proportion of 16- to 24-year-olds using cannabis slumped from 28% a decade ago to 21% now, with its declining popularity accelerating after the decision to downgrade the drug to class C was announced in January 2004.
Since cannabis was downgraded the proportion of young people using it has fallen each year from 25.3% in 2003-4 to 20.9% now. Among those aged 16 to 59, the proportion over the same period has fallen from 10.8% to 8.2%.
Well, I guess not. . .
. . .The commission also says there is no evidence a drug's classification deterred use, and suggested that instead of tinkering the whole classification system should be placed outside the direct control of politicians.Either way, hopefully this opens up the debate a little more. That or we can keep wasting money on a violent war against plants and chemicals. . .
* or personally knows someone who does