It was April 2007. The Labour Cabinet had already decided they were going to reclassify cannabis as a more dangerous drug, giving it a Class B rating in the antiquated ABC drug rating system the UK uses, and Cabinet members were having a great purge, in the hope of pre-empting the barrage of negative press which would surely follow then Home secretary Jacqui Smith's announcement of the imminent law change.
Of course the pantomime which is British politics was still to run its full course. The governments advisory council on the misuse of drugs (ACMD) were still to meet. The public, were still to be asked for their opinions on cannabis, in a carefully staged 'public consultation' which was set up in London, and which many cannabis campaigners were refused access to.
But none of that made any difference in the grand scheme of things as the writing was already on the wall. Cannabis was set to become a Class B drug, and regardless of the 'volumes' of expert advice which had been given, and which would ultimately be ignored.
At this time Patricia Hewitt was the serving minister for health, and it was during this period of transition between Blair's new Labour, and Brown's new Conservatives, it was decided anyone with a history of drug experimentation needed to clean out their closets. And didn't they ever come out in their masses?
Across all parties MP's unloaded the sordid details of their drug-fuelled university educations, whilst all the while telling the British public that whilst it was OK for them to experiment, we the public were not allowed. Furthermore we the public would suffer harsher sentences if we were caught than any of the law-makers would have faced 'back in the day'.
Conservative leader David Cameron, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt were just a small fraction of the big named politicians who vented their spleens. In the end it became quite trendy, and it was only old dinosaurs like Gordon Brown, Jack Straw and David Blunkett who were able to distance themselves from the furore. Although all admit to giving alcohol a bit of a kicking.
Today it seems, Patricia Hewitt would like all such evidence removed from public record as it comes to light her son, Nicholas Hewitt Birtles, had been busted for cocaine possession.
Today Ms Hewitt would prefer to play the part of the shocked mother, who simply can't believe how her son (with long standing High court Judge, Judge Birtles), could ever get involved in drugs. But the sad fact is all of our sons & daughters have ample opportunity to experiment with drugs as they navigate their way through college and university. Its not just Nicholas Hewitt Birtles who is guilty of falling to temptation.
The war on drugs has failed us all. Every single parent in the land is now at risk of losing our children to the scourge of dirty drugs. Lets be brutally honest its not the cocaine or the heroin which kills them, its the adulterants which are mixed in with street drugs to bulk them up. To make them weigh more, which does the damage.
A drug free world is so far from becoming a reality today in 2009, its become a standing joke.
Former government drugs advisors have left their posts over the ridiculous notion that we could possibly stop the global trade in illicit drugs (Julian Critchley springs to mind). Former front-line police officers like Chief Constables Richard Brunstrom and Tim Lloyd have spoken over the futility of arresting young people like Nicholas Hewitt Birtles, and for what? Just for being young and careless.
If people wish to get stoned they're going to do so and regardless of what the government tells them. So rather than spend the next decade making all the same mistakes we've made during the last decade, isn't it about time we took a different stance?
The war on drugs doesn't work. They know this as well as we do. So to forecast spending billions of pounds sterling into another decade of direct action against drug users, shows us all too clearly it doesn't matter who you vote for.
Parliament is little more than an old school boys club, which is being run not by the politicians, but by the large industries with the biggest lobbies, and its for this reason both Labour and Conservative will do everything in their collective power, to keep cannabis, and other soft-drugs, outlawed.
Thankfully Nicholas Hewitt Birtles isn't about to join the statistics of people who have died as a result of being exposed to dirty, contaminated drugs.
But will the next 21 year old be so lucky?
September 22, 2009
CannaZine Cannabis News