I speak from having taken cannabis in the seventies, the hippy era of peace not war, love to all men, much of whose language and terms are now coming back into trendy and cool use. But there are fundamental differences between then and now, which young people should be made aware of.
Then the cannabis was in the form of a leaf, a naturally occurring plant. Now it is synthetic, as in most of the other areas of life where the natural has given way to the unnatural, to our eternal detriment. Coincidentally enough, it is now around forty times stronger, as well as being chemical based.
The Governing people who seek to legalise and feel the danger is slight, are by and large ex users of a much lesser potency of a naturally occurring plant. They feel little danger in occasional recreational use of a drug they feel did little to harm their long term prospects.
This is based on the false assumption that people tend to start smoking it around university stage and peter out of its use in a few years, with no addictive element. Also that they tend, like we did, to only use it occasionally at times when we needed to calm down after a tough project, or relax at a concert, again remembering the product then was one fortieth as potent and much more mellow than it is today.
That is being charitable and assuming they are not in full informed of the dangers. This also begs the question, if not why not, and if so why run and hide.
This creates at least two anomalies. One is that our young people can point the finger at our generation and say, you are being hypocritical, when you took it yourselves. Secondly, we did not start at twelve to thirteen, and use it every day at forty times the strength. The weight of evidence of severe psychiatric damage is I feel too heavy to discount any more, plus although in itself said to be non addictive, the culture that has sprung up around it tends to keep people in a circle of self same users, and a massively significant portion of our youth are taking it. So there is a great peer pressure to take something which the Government at present sends out signals saying, that it is not too bad to use it, just keep it relatively discreet and we will leave you alone.
I fear this is storing up a time bomb of serious psychological problems, and perhaps the strengths and constitution of the substance should be taken into account more. Politicians surely hear the word cannabis and relate to their own youth, where if they did not take it they knew people who did who by and large are still sane. This is not consistent with what is in circulation today, nor indicative of the higher daily use of a drug that formerly was taken recreationally every week or month or concert or so.
It also gives the police an almost impossible job, as there are no guidelines to follow, and also drug pushers can admit to cannabis but be carrying other more harmful drugs as well, with impunity. Surely if you are carrying more on you than enough for your personal use for at the most a weekend say, then you are a dealer. Just set a level that is a definite level and above it is illegal. The experiment in the London boroughs has been truly and demonstrably disastrous, yet it is being cloned to the rest of Britain as if as harmless as sweets.
Perhaps if we actually addressed our inner cities and used the money earmarked for them, yet held back, some of our most deprived kids could go to places where they could enjoy themselves, perhaps with an emphasis on sport and exercise to help combat obeisity, where it is easy to blame junk food and convenient to forget lack of basic exercise and plain lazy and slothful habits. But where in all conscience have kids got to go to, when even relatively well off kids to what we were are reduced to straggling on street corners like beggars or tramps and invariably annoying and alienating passers by, creating a division and schism in society between the young and old much more substansive and divisive than the natural contempt of the vigour of youth for oldies like us. It is easy to criticise this behavior, and easy to sympathise with victims of it, but what are we doing to provide an alternative to this kind of behavior, a place to meet, to go to and learn, have fun, and compete against each other at a sporting not warring level. I had little to my name as a kid, I worked the markets and two paper rounds and anything I could think up to make a few bob, and we all played cricket or football till dark in the street, everybody, loads of us. We were not fat or a real nuisance, but we did not have the pernicious power of television advertising and brainwashing telling us what to do, or parents determined not to be as strict as ours were and creating a soft youth who are spoilt rotten where we had nowt. Somewhere in the middle is right, but it does not help the kids now cope with an ever more sophisticated world wide machinery of selling and media manipulation around them.