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Byron Shire
May 7, 2021

‘War on drugs a lost cause’

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Luis Feliu

Nimbin-based campaigners for cannabis law reform say this week’s crime data report backs up mounting evidence the war on drugs is a lost cause, but political leaders won’t admit to it.

The Australian Crime Commission’s (ACC) Illicit Drug Data Report says a record number of illicit drugs was seized in 2010–11. The bulk of that, or more than 70 per cent, was cannabis, which accounted for 70 per cent of all arrests.

Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party president Michael Balderstone said the ACC report’s statistics ‘back up everything the Australia21 Futures Committee said last month’.

His comments follow a major public forum held last night in Sydney, which debated whether the government should decriminalise drugs, and HEMP’s 20th annual MardiGrass law reform rally in Nimbin last month, which stepped up calls for decriminalisation, especially of medical cannabis.

The Australia21 committee, which included experts on the issue such as former federal police chief Mick Palmer and former NSW premier Bob Carr before he was appointed to the Senate, declared the costly battle against drugs a failure and called for a national debate on ending prohibition.

‘The war on drugs is lost, our leaders just won’t admit it. They need to address the issue and get over their fear of losing votes if the subject is put on the table,’ Mr Balderstone said.

‘As former High Court Judge Michael Kirby said this week, illegal drug use should be above political point scoring and all sides of politics needs to be game to discuss this burning issue.

‘Locally we will not give up following our request for our local politicians to have a public forum for “the conversation” the Australia21 report asked us to have.

‘What an incredible waste of police resources. Chasing a herb that has been used for as long as human records exist and still never managed to kill anyone – unlike the war declared on it.

‘It’s hard to believe, with all the statistics we now have, that we just keep on the same ridiculous, dismal wheel of prohibition. Plus, whatever they are seizing amounts to around 10 per cent of actual consumption the police themselves say, though how would they know? It’s like a bad dream we refuse to wake up from.

‘Cannabis is the easy and safe bust for police. It’s smelly and bulky and virtually everyone ingests it by smoking, which is a total giveaway compared to slipping a pill down. And it’s so easy for police to bust dreamy potheads rather than irascible drunks or raging iceheads.

‘So why do we keep plodding along this wheel of failure Who’s driving it? The old reefer madness was relit by Howard and Co but who fed them the lies?

‘Pharmaceutical companies stand to lose the most if we set free the weed anyone can grow in their backyard, but the alcohol industry too.

‘Early statistics from America indicate medical cannabis dispensaries in your suburb results in a drop in alcohol use and car accidents.

‘Or is the fear of decriminalising us hippies a bigger admittance that they got it wrong? Not just on the drug war, but solar power, permaculture, health food and all the other new-age wisdom that arrived, coincidentally, with the use of cannabis.’

Last night’s public forum at the University of Sydney was organised by The Sydney Morning Herald, in conjunction with Sydney Ideas.


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3 COMMENTS

  1. Brilliant article. But we have flogged this dead horse so much, its died a second death. Of course they have lost the war on drugs. I mean seriously-was it ever winable? Politicians are the moronic, and slow witted speed humps in an otherwise smooth road to decriminalisation. As the article states, weed has been around for as long as human records reflect….and about a hundred thousand years before that. Who are we to implement prohibition on this wonderful herb bestowed on us by Mother Nature?
    It is stated correctly in the article: the Pollys are just too scared to raise it as an issue because they do not want to lose popularity with the voters. But as I have said to the Pollys in my previous whinges; do something different, go against the grain and support this move. In actual fact, you will probably find thay even if you did lose a few votes from your constituancies, you would more than make them up with the new-found support you would get from every single person who supports this. Just think, once one Polly stands up, every person who has fought for this issue over the last few decades would now be behind you…..pretty powerful stuff.
    Who cares what your Polly peers think when you have just increased your votes, secured your job, blazed a path lesser Pollys were too gutless to tread, saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted Police and other resources, and most of all; brought relief to thousands of sick Australians.
    Dont remain one of the scumbag herd that would see sick people deprived of this. Make a stand, and we will stand with you. Its only a matter of time anyway……

  2. Criminalisation of Cannabis condones the use of smack, ice etc in our children’s eyes. Our government who are supposed to represent us are responsible for putting them all under the same law regime and the kids say ‘well they were wrong about the pot so ice must be ok too’.

    I’m sick of ‘wars’ on stuff. They are not targeting specific things just giving themselves the tools to be able to stomp on our rights as humans living on this planet. They are the terrorists and they are the drug barons and our children are the fodder…

  3. Thanks Luis, good article. The prohibition was originally based on lies for profits & denial of provable positive facts in the US which is what influenced law here too.

    Anslinger/Dupont/Hearst in 1930’s, and now big pharma/US Fed, biz of prisons, alcohol, tobacco & fabric makers spend huge sums against real competition from Cannabis. Lies used.

    Czar Gil K. in the US has admitted the Fed & big pharma are “Partners”, a clear monopolistic collusion. The US Fed also ILLEGALLY attack the states, shown in Article21, Sect 903, CSA, their own rules. The others above similar through Congress Auction House that sells all to the highest bidders, incl the Fed itself.

    This is what Australian Fed also follows, US Fed denial of truth by lying, due to attempts of big biz for profits. The truth can no longer be hidden. The lies against a broad benefit plant are being exposed by research & testimony.

    Cannabis now has research to show a wide range of benefits. At the moment in the US the majority now want it legalized outright and a larger majority for medicinal use. Oregon and Colorado are going for full legal in Nov, others planning to follow, 17 states now have it medicinally legal, plus Wash DC, and another 15 states are also developing change out of prohibition. Prohibition damage is on the way out in the US, in spite of the Obama led illegal Fed attacks for big biz “Partners”.

    Here the Aust21 report & recent Sydney discussion were showing 81% wanting prohibition ended when I voted for the same this week. Dr.Alex Wodak was a key speaker in discussion against prohibition. The politicians are badly out of touch except a few (Bob Carr) and need to learn facts and accept what people are learning and want, rather than sticking with old false ideas that cause useless damage & cost.

    Prohibition imposes useless damage at high cost, with use underground and out of control to ultimately feed major international (Vietnamese for instance) crime gangs-they love prohibition-, prison biz, and opposing corporations.

    No prohibition reduces violent alcohol use & crime (evidence), ends the gangs & wasted expense in lives and cash, less youth use, and provides control with regulation & perhaps tax income, rather than cost.

    Cannabis is far safer than all else used incl aspirin or even peanuts, provides medical benefits, insight, is not physically addictive, is not a poison & has never killed anyone from direct use. Compare with the plant tobacco..the very opposite, killing about 18,000 Ozzies every year..and thats legal?? As crazy as.

    Indian Hemp/Cannabis should be a part of any veggie-herb garden, & MMD’s or Coffeeshops can supply exact controlled use for those who cannot or won’t grow. Ind Hemp has many uses as well.

    Above Ground, understood, and in control is a lot better than what is the opposite currently. Lets keep discussing just how to bring sanity & freedom back in Oz with safe above ground use. The law is the criminal and must change. Study & education mandatory.

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