Reclassifying Marijuana – Just Say No!

OK, so I’m a bit late coming to this topic, which most people in the UK are familiar with. The reclassification of marijuana from a class B drug to a class C drug right back to a class B. The theory was that as there were more ‘dangerous’ drugs out there, lowering the class would aid police in focusing their attention of the dealers of the harder stuff and free up the already over crowded prisons.

It wasn’t a re-creation of Dutch law that whilst not legalising the drug, it turned a blind eye to those smoking in designated places (coffee shops). In the UK if you were caught with a very small amount of marijuana you would get a caution. Well, I’m not sure anyone noticed the difference, other than politicians who seemed to think the public had suddenly become hopped up pot-heads, 2 puffs away from a psychotic breakdown, not helped by the story of the chef who killed a girl and had sex with her corpse. The headlines claimed, “I smoked a joint and then went out…I thought she was alive” There you go then, one joint and you can’t tell if a woman is alive or dead whilst you rape her?! Only they forgot to mention he had spent the night drinking vodka, beer and whisky together with some tequila oh and just over a gram of cocaine… but it was the joint that did him in!

The irony is, here in the UK we have ‘celebrities’ snorting coke, smoking crack and of course puffing on a spliff most days of the week, usually documented on the front page of the tabloids, but does anything happen to them? Why of course not! Heroin addict Pete Doherty was up before the judge on numerous occasions but was forever getting one last chance to clean up his act…he didn’t so he was eventually sentenced to a couple of months courtesy of Her Majesty’s Pleasure…he did a couple of weeks and was let loose. So if our laws state you only get 2 weeks for heroin, coke and crack use, all class A drugs by the way. Why on earth are they now reclassifying marijuana to class B with a maximum sentence of 5 years?? Marijuana? Just say NO, smoke crack instead, you’ll get less time in the hole! I hope whoever stated, “The Law Is An Ass” patented the expression, he or she would be minted by now!

Speaking of asses, you’ve all no doubt heard the following joke or a variation of it:

Two young guys were picked up by the cops for smoking dope. On Friday, they appeared in court before the judge.

The judge said, “You seem like nice young men, and I’d like to give you a second chance instead of jail time. I want you to go out this weekend and try to show others the evils of drug use and get them to give up drugs forever. I’ll see you back in court Monday.”

Monday, the two guys were in court, and the judge said to the first one,

“How did you do over the weekend?”

“Well, your honour, I persuaded 17 people to give up drugs forever.”

“Seventeen people? That’s wonderful. What did you tell them?”

“I used a diagram, your honour. I drew two circles like this…

Your Brain On Drugs

…and told them that this [pointing to the big circle] is your brain before drugs, and that this [pointing to the small circle] your brain after drugs.”

“That’s admirable,” said the judge. Then he turns to the second boy. “And you, how did you do?”

“Well, your honor I persuaded 156 people to give up drugs forever.”

“Wow!” said the judge, “156 people! That’s amazing! How did you manage to do that!?!”

“Well, I used a similar approach,” the boy said. And he also drew a simple llustration.

Your Ass on Drugs

“I just pointed to the small circle and said, ‘This is your asshole before prison’….”

That second kid must have heard about the prisons in Alachua County, Florida. The following story might well end up being reported here but with UK Towns instead given that our prisons are already full to the brim. Sadly, it’s not uncommon either.

On June 6, 2003, a 19-year-old Alachua County, Florida, college student was raped by his cell mate as he served the first of four weekend sentences for delivering marijuana, a felony offence. (The student’s name has not been released.) He had been placed in a cell with a violent offender who had been in the county jail for 11 months awaiting trial on sexual battery charges.

The two men were sharing a cell because the jail was overcrowded. Typically, inmates are classified according to offense, criminal history, gender, and/or age, among other factors, when assigned to their cells. Because certain offenders need to be isolated for safety reasons, a jail’s capacity is in reality much lower than the number of beds it houses.

While the Alachua County jail could theoretically hold 920 inmates, in reality it could only accommodate an average of 782 inmates on any given day because of the need to separate certain offenders. On the day the college student was raped, the jail contained 918 inmates, far exceeding capacity. Such overcrowding had been typical in the jail since 1998.

Though the two men would normally have been separated, they were grouped together because delivering marijuana and sexual battery are both considered felonies. According to Alachua County Sheriff’s Sergeant Jim Troiano, “If there was space available, absolutely we would rather keep the weekenders in a pre-designated area. But because we don’t have much space available we have to do with circumstances on hand.”

Thankfully this entry is not all doom and gloom :) If you are a marijuana smoker and have not yet run fleeing from the computer screen for the safety of your bong or Rizzlas, consider buying the vitamin designed for marijuana smokers (well, it had to happen at some point!) Balance The Herb is endorsed by none other than Kymani Marley…No, I’ve never heard of him either but Bob did father a couple of football teams so that’s hardly surprising!

Well, I couldn’t finish this entry without leaving you with a song and what other song could it be but Peter Tosh singing Legalize It!

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