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England goes Dutch

Posted at 19:05 on September 12th, 2003 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I just pressed the tab key 16 times because I was too lazy to lift my right arm from the table and move the mouse :)

Its official, the government have just down-graded the weed and possesion of Cannabis is no longer an arrestable offence in UK. Unless you are under 18 or hanging around schools with pockets full of the stuff. You still get banged up for smoking in public though.

Whats the people's and governments attitude to this like in your country?

Edited by fretz at 03:05 on September, 12th 2003
Posted at 19:41 on September 12th, 2003 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I think the situation is even more liberal in Germany; you won't ever get arrested for consuming/owning cannabis (unless you've got a ton of it in your house and obviously want to deal with it). Although it's still illegal, you normally won't be punished at all if they catch you carrying a few grams for yourself. I think the situation is different in each German state, though (Bavaria - as always - being the most repressive one).

I know two guys who were stopped at the border when they came back from the Netherlands, and the police found weed in their car. They had to leave it there, but they never heard of the police again.

The most dangerous situation would probably be smoking and driving, which will cost your licence for some time.

In general, you notice that cannabis is getting more accepted every year, and the number of people who are completely opposed to it is clearly decreasing.
Posted at 19:48 on September 12th, 2003 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Posted by Tapuak at 03:41 on September, 13th 2003:
The most dangerous situation would probably be smoking and driving, which will cost your licence for some time.



Is it common to have a drugs test when being pulled over by the police? In UK, alchohol breath tests are common when you get stopped by the cops. On the other hand in over ten years of driving Ive never been drug tested myself, nor do I know anyone who has been tested, and I know a lot of people who drive and smoke.

Drinking will get you at least 18 months first offence, 2nd offence could land you in jail for ~2 months. I dont know how long a ban you get for driving under the influence of weed because I have never heard of anyone ever getting done for it!
Posted at 03:07 on September 13th, 2003 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I'd say not punishing something under certain circumstances is still a long way from actually having it distributed legally like in the Netherlands.

Sure, if you just have a little Cannabis for your own consumption, you won't be punished here. If you sell this stuff, you will be, though. So where will you get your drugs if everybody who sells it is committing a ('punishable') crime? It doesn't make much sense really.

I doubt this will change in any 'western' country in the near future (only talking about these since they are the only ones I know enough). Silently tolerating Cannabis is fairly easy, because nobody actually has to admit they have no problem with people consuming it. Legalizing would require a long process through parliaments, though, and then, everybody would see how (for example) the right-winged conservatives would vote. To pass such a law, you'd have to get them say publically "yes, we think everybody should get his Cannabis legally". And yes, such a law would get the media's attention immediately. This is something I can't imagine. So I guess we'll have to live with the hypocrisy of the current situation.
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Posted at 09:16 on September 13th, 2003 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I believe in Canada, you have to have a LOT of the stuff to get the ~$35CAN fine. Also, the people selling it there are anything but subtle.

I believe also in California and maybe Nevada that you can get it legally for medical reasons, or it's still in legislature. I really can't follow their wacky law passing that quickly.
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Posted at 12:24 on September 13th, 2003 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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In Belgium, there's a fairly new law (I think it was proposed quite a few years ago, but effective since this year) which allows anyone over 18 to own a small amount of cannabis, something like 3-5 grams, don't know exactly (and frankly I believe the law is not very clear on this). Also, every person over 18 has the right to own one cannabis plant for his/her private use. You can't smoke it in public places, or when you're with minors. Now for the hypocrisy bit: buying or selling it is illegal of course... If a cop asks, your best bet is to say you got it from the Netherlands - although that's actually illegal too, at least they won't jail your dealer for it. I think that about sums it up.

What the people think of it? I don't know really, most of my close friends have no problem with people smoking cannabis, but then again we may be a minority so I can't say.
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Posted at 12:28 on September 13th, 2003 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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You can always claim you found it ;)
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Posted at 15:32 on September 13th, 2003 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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While I agree the situation is still a little hypocritic, a bit fuzzy not knowing exactly where the line is drawn etc, the big differance is with this change in policing policy they are actually re-classifying it. We have A, B and C class drugs. Weed used to be B, now its C. C class drugs are things like pain killers obtained without a prescription, or non-prescribed valium and anti depressants.

Reclassification is quite a big step.
Posted at 06:57 on September 14th, 2003 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Digging deeper into my memory, I do remember being witness of a police control of drivers once. It was when I was still at school... my music course was just on the way back from a concert, and since we were a small course, we all fit in one car: the teacher's. Police stopped us, they asked if he had consumed any alcohol or drugs or if he's planning to and then drive again after that. He denied and they let us drive on. Damn, that would have been something to remember if he had actually been tested! ;)
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Posted at 12:40 on September 14th, 2003 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Posted by Fretz: Is it common to have a drugs test when being pulled over by the police? In UK, alchohol breath tests are common when you get stopped by the cops. On the other hand in over ten years of driving Ive never been drug tested myself, nor do I know anyone who has been tested, and I know a lot of people who drive and smoke.


I'm not sure whether it's common or not because I haven't been stopped by the police either. I think it depends on the impression the cops have of the driver. However, there are controls just for drug testing, too. And some time ago, the police announced new methods especially for cannabis testing. I don't know if it has been put into practice yet, though.

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Posted by The Mole: Also, every person over 18 has the right to own one cannabis plant for his/her private use.


That's actually very different from the German situation. At some point in the Nineties, even the cannabis seeds became illegal - the climax of hypocrisy. I mean, when you grow your own weed you don't support the black market after all, i.e. you don't support criminal structures. That was a good opportunity to make you smoking as "legal" as possible. Now tha it's completely illegal, it seems as if they want to force the existence of a criminal black market...

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Posted by Mr Creosote: I doubt this will change in any 'western' country in the near future ... So I guess we'll have to live with the hypocrisy of the current situation.


We will have to live with a hypocritical situation anyway. Even the situation in the Netherlands is hypocrisy, because cannabis is still being treated different (more restrictive) as alcohol, for example. In Switzerland, it's halfway legal but extremely hypocritical: When buying weed in certain shops, you have to sign a form where you state that you won't smoke it or something. I think it will take many years until it will be fully legalized and accepted, although it's already proved that it doesn't do any harm to society (Netherlands)...
Posted at 13:01 on September 14th, 2003 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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it doesn't do any harm to society (Netherlands)...
How can you claim that after watching me play the game "Abenteuer Europa"? ;)
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Posted at 08:18 on September 16th, 2003 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Even the situation in the Netherlands is hypocrisy, because cannabis is still being treated different (more restrictive) as alcohol, for example.
Hmm, I guess that would be because unlike alcohol, cannabis is still an illigal narcotic in the Netherlands. They just turn a blind eye but as far as I know, according to Dutch law, any copper is still able to go into a coffeeshop and arrest anyone present for handling illicit substances...
I too would love to see it completely legalised like alcohol or tobacco (which in my humble opinion are much more harmfull for the user and his/hes surroundings) because legalizing it would debase the only pseudo-argument the opposition has namely the stepping stone-theory (which is totally inaccurate anyway). If legalised, it could also become another revenue for the state enabling them to use this surplus to stimulate economy or tackle real issues like human traders and such...
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Posted at 10:38 on September 16th, 2003 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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it could also become another revenue for the state enabling them to use this surplus to stimulate economy
While this is of course true, I don't think it should be used as an argument. It's questionable from two point of views:
1. Earning money at the cost of health isn't exactly the most moral concept.
2. Bringing this up weakens the actually (in my opinion) most important argument: Why not? People who hear this might think all this other stuff is just made up and money is the real (sole) reason.
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Posted at 03:57 on September 18th, 2003 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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1. Earning money at the cost of health isn't exactly the most moral concept
You're off course totally right there but then again, as far as I know, there hasn't been any positive proof that a sensible use of canabis is unhealthy (there is some question about long term-effects on memory but nothing has been proven yet as far as I know). Off course if you go overboard with it, you can stimulate concentration diusorders and if your prone to it you might stimulate schizophrenia (sp?)... And if keeping their citizens healthy was truly more important to government then making money, why did they allow tobacco and alcohol to be distributed freely?

Quote:
2. Bringing this up weakens the actually (in my opinion) most important argument: Why not? People who hear this might think all this other stuff is just made up and money is the real (sole) reason
Hey, that's capitalism for ya :D
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"In theory, if people bred as fast as ants, and with an equal indifference for it's surrounding species, earth would have 5 million human inhabitants at the turn of the century. But this, of course, is highly unthinkable"
Posted at 07:11 on September 18th, 2003 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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there hasn't been any positive proof that a sensible use of canabis is unhealthy
There also hasn't even been 'positive proof' of negative effects of tobacco and of any connection between lots of children dying and the nearby nuclear power plant.

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why did they allow tobacco and alcohol to be distributed freely?
"We're already doing a bad thing, so we might as well continue in even more fields"?
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
Posted at 10:18 on September 18th, 2003 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Here in Québec, canabis is about to get legalized. I beleive it is already done so, but you need a strong medical proof that you really need it. Of course, if it is ever done, the government will grab the whole thing and turn it into a cash machine. Why not anyways? They already done so with alchool and tobacco, of course they'll take the opportunity to waste even more of our money. (heh)

I remember hearing about a scientific research which concluded that, when you smoke regularly, you can lose around 5 IQ. It is not permanent tough, it is said to be slowly gained back when you stop for a long time.
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Posted at 10:23 on September 18th, 2003 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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If you've ever seen brain-activity scans of people who have used any drug regulary, you will understand why I don't touch any of that stuff ;)

Then again, the government only makes that money off of you if you use it.
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Posted at 11:05 on September 18th, 2003 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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And that's why there is millions to gain there... :(

At least they won't get a cent from me this way.
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Posted at 19:07 on September 18th, 2003 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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you can lose around 5 IQ


Sounds like a Dungeons&Dragons game situation in which you're temporarily drained 1 Intelligence point. :P
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