Pot Use Drops Dramatically in Europe

Who says legalization and decriminalization don't work? In Europe, marijuana use has dropped sharply, while cocaine use has risen.

British figures .... show that the popularity of cannabis in the UK has plummeted, with 600,000 fewer people smoking or eating marijuana than three years ago. The Home Office statistics, released last week, also show that consumption of cocaine in Britain has risen.

The figures will help the British government and other European nations with more liberal drug laws such as Holland and Switzerland rebut claims that their approach to cannabis leads to increased use of the drug. The growing cocaine use will, however, worry European anti-narcotics police and many politicians.

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  • Declining pot use (none / 0) (#1)
    by Bill Arnett on Mon Oct 16, 2006 at 02:16:34 PM EST
    Unfortunately studies such as this will have no effect on U.S. drug policies, which are geared more for making money through asset forfeitures than in any serious attempt to curb drug use.

    When, especially, a narcotics division gets to split the "bounty" of forfeited assets has a vested financial interest in keeping drugs of any kind illegal so that, by way of "revenue sharing", they can tremendously boost their budgets without having to ask city councils and local governments to increase their share of the tax-base pie.

    The so-called "war on drugs" was never about the drugs and regulation of them, as the miserable failure of the prohibition of alcohol proved conclusively that prohibition doesn't work.

    This war has always been about making money off the backs of the poor and keeping drug users from participating in society. That's why America has a prison population of over two million - the majority of those confined imprisoned for drug charges, and why most states prohibit voting by felons.

    I don't have the stats immediately at hand, but I know that TL and common sense can confirm that there is a hugh disproportion in the numbers of poor minorities in jail for these offenses compared to middle or upper class drug users, who are commonly able to afford better attorneys or have more political clout (think Rush, Jeb Bush's daughter, and almost any celebrity caught up in the drug net).

    The inequities of the system cry out for reform, but such reform is unlikely in view of the millions of dollars made in forfeitures each year, as well as the fact that the laws can be used to effectively marginalize minorities by depriving them of their right to vote.

    It was a scam when started, remains a scam, and will always be a scam, especially insofar as pot is concerned - one of the most benign and useful of all medicines with none of the side effects. There is no known lethal level of intake for pot, something you cannot say for aspirin, tylenol, bananas, potatoes, or even water.

    Re: Declining pot use (5.00 / 0) (#2)
    by JSN on Mon Oct 16, 2006 at 11:28:37 PM EST
    There are four main groups of persons in jail;
    a) Arrestees who are held until they have made an initial appearance and are then released. The vast majority are arrested for OWI or public intoxication with a few pot possession cases as well.
    b) Persons who report to jail to serve a sentence and are released upon expiration of sentence.
    c) Short term detainees normally held until a bond reduction hearing results in their release on bond.
    d) Long term detainees held for pretrial on a new charge or for some type of noncompliance (parole/probation violation, violation of a non contact order, driving while barred and other infractions). They are all waiting for their cases to be processed.

    Person arrested and sentenced for pot possesssion are in groups a & b where the sentences (the vast majority are given suspended sentences  and placed on probabtion) are usually less than a week.

    The folks in group d are the ones that are responsible for about two thirds of the cost of operating a jail. They often have multiple charges and pot possession may be one of them. The most serious charge is most likely to be a violent or property crime with manufacture and trafficing charges similar in number to some type of illegal driving.

    The situation in Federal prisons is much different because it is much easier to convict on a Federal drug consipracy charge than one a State manufacturing or trafficing charge. It appears to me that the percentage of drug offenders in Federal prisons with a total population of about 200,000 is being applied to a prisons and jails with a combined population of about 2 million. Alcohol and drug offenders in State prisons make up about 30% of all State prisoners and they have the highest percentage of returnees.