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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Drugs- supply and demand

There's an interesting article in today's Mail. An "expert" has come out with a new theory on how to solve the cannabis problem. You can read about it here:
This is what he has to say:
"The Aberdeen University professor, who has dedicated the last four decades to researching the drug, said that the current prohibition clearly isn't working and feasible alternatives include producing branded products that undergo strict safety tests. Made under licence, they would be free of contaminants and sold in shops, removing the risk of users also being sold harder drugs.
Those who wanted to use the drug could apply for a licence.
Professor Pertwee told the British Science Festival in Birmingham: 'We have to have a car licence, we used to have a dog licence, so why not have a cannabis licence so you can only take it if it is medically safe to do so?
'That would exclude some people who are have a risk of becoming schizophrenic.'

This won't work for very practical reasons. The government are able to tax alcohol and tobacco because they have access to every part of the supply chain.

Can you for one moment imagine the drugs barons allowing the government access? Or giving away a proportion of their profits?

If so, then what we have have is the drugs barons buying off the police and government in return for registering for VAT?

What about if the government set up its own cannabis supply chain to be sold through Tesco? They would then become one of the world's largest drug manufacturers and suppliers and I can see that going down well on the world's stage.
Prohibition doesn't work. banning something makes it more attractive to some people.
The first and probably only thing I learned at school when studying economics was to do with supply and demand.
When demand is high and supply is low, the price goes up.
When supply is high and demand is low, the price goes down.

Prohibition didn't work because it tried to cut supply without the corresponding cut in demand. Only a cut in demand can reduce the supply permanently. Why manufacture something that no-one wants to buy?

The decline of this country's manufacturing capacity can be traced to a lack of demand for the product they were offering. The competitor's products were better and cheaper and so manufacturing ceased.

So how does one eliminate the demand for cannabis and other drugs? Shouldn't this form the focus of the expert's studies and research?

As an aside, and I'm not suggesting that this is the answer for everyone,I read a lot about the Welsh Revival of 1904/5. Here's an article about it:

"According to the London Times of February 2nd, 1905 due to the Welsh revival many men abandoned dens of iniquity. Employers noticed a great improvement in the work produced by their employees. A judge named Sir Marchant Williams said that his work was much lighter especially regarding drunkenness and related offenses."

The argument against the long term benefits of the 1904/5 revival is that it did nothing for the long term decline in Christian attendance and observance, but they fail to take into account the huge loss of life in the trenches of the First World War, when every church, every street in every town suffered loss. Loss of the young, the strong, the energetic.

Alcoholics Anonymous use belief in a higher being as a cornerstone of their treatment, so maybe that's the way forward for some.

Perhaps some thought should be given as to why people take drugs and drink themselves senseless?

Is it for the same reason as to why some people absorb themselves in the minutae of other's lives- the cult of the celebrity, played out in dozens of weekly magazines?
Is it anything to do with the vast population of this country that have no part to play in the daily outworkings? That are powerless, thoughtless and hopeless- without hope?

Maybe we need another religious revival....

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