Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has more than likely been smoking a few too many spleeeefs. Costa has made a statement that even casual marijuana smokers are linked to terrorism. Costa’s general knowledge of cannabis use and production is apparently lacking. Further, his and Kofi Annan’s careless characterisations of cannabis as being as harmful as drugs like heroin are straight out of the US drug war songbook.
How Costa manages to link terrorism to casual Melbourne smokers who spark up some buds grown in South Australia or northern NSW is a complete mystery. Costa fails to realise that these days, most cannabis is grown in the country where it is consumed.
In my time in Australia, I’ve met a few people who have grown the odd bud. None of these people appeared to be nor were known in their character to be particularly militant- about anything more than one more cone.. and perhaps then a glass of lemonade and a bag of potato chips.
In actual fact, it is the prohibition of drugs which creates crime. The USA should have come to that realisation roundabout the time of Al Capone. The yanks solved the problem of big organised crime being the supplier of alcohol as well as problems in purity of the alcohol with the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution, which repealed alcohol prohibition. However, organised crime just moved on to other pastures, notably gambling and prostitution.
The ‘War on Drugs’ is of course, self-perpetuating. All the effort expended in enforcing a prohibition does nothing but keep the black market in drugs active and illicit drug prices high. If drugs were legalised, there would no longer be a profit motive. No profit, no profiteers. The crims will move on.
However, simply allowing open slather on all drugs is unwise, particularly with regard to addictive drugs. Some regulation is necessary. Drugs which don’t produce any physiological withdrawal symptoms should be regulated leniently (i.e. alcohol model of control & tax) and those which are addictive should be dispensed through some manner of medical practitioner who can guide the user away from abuse of the substance.
At the end of the day, overuse of drugs is a health problem, not a legal one. Jail does not cure drug abuse or addiction. Drug use is part of normal human behaviour- ask anyone who has had a cup of coffee. Let’s reform the system so we put drug abusers in front of medical doctors instead of doctors of jurisprudence.
The UN’s claim that casual users support terrorism is a half-truth. The real terrorists are running the War on Drugs- which is nothing short of a war on humans for acting human.