Four days, two wooden spoons and one jewel in the mud.

The Global Commission on drugs report which hit the headlines last week has left the prohibition lobby scrabbling around for reasons to explain why prohibition is a good idea. In just one week – actually just four days – we’ve had two of the best drug war madness quotes of all time. They deserve to be preserved for posterity and google searches so I’m happy to oblige.

The first came last Friday on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions programme Nadine Dorries, Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire. On her blog she described the audience as

possibly one of the most hostile I have ever been into

Well, she did excel with her ignorance as this clip demonstrates. Listen and try not to laugh:

Nadine Dorris MP Nadine Dorries MP – mp3 file




In case you can’t play this, she said

This government has no intention of decriminalising drug use. The National Drugs Prevention Alliance once startled me when they told me that the cut of cannabis which teenagers are smoking now and using across the UK is actually fifty times more potent than it was even a year ago because of the different drugs that are coming in and being put into it.  It only takes a teenager or young person one spliff, one joint or whatever they refer to it now to smoke and they will never reach their full academic potential because it is so dangerous. They are the words of the National Drug Prevention Alliance and I think they know more about it than we do.

This is coming from a sitting MP, a person who has power over our lives. That she is daft enough to listen to the National Drug Prevention Alliance at all is bad enough, but that she is stupid enough to come out with this sort of rubbish on national radio is little short of amazing.

Interestingly this was too much even for  David Raynes of the NDPA who went on Any Answers – the Saturday follow up programme – to correct her, sort of, by claiming that

Modern cannabis is three to four times stronger than the strongest cannabis of the 60’s

Which is still an obscene misrepresentation of the situation. The Home Office study of 2008 – weak as it was – is the best we have to go on and they estimate “modern” cannabis is 2 – 3 times more powerful than the norm from that period. But of course there has always been strong cananbis at least as poky as modern strains.

David Raynes also went on to claim that modern strains are low in CBD (which may be true) and claimed this

aggravated the potenial for brain damage which cannabis always has

Which is simply wrong. He also failed to pint out that the change from high CBD hash to low CBD weed has happened under prohibition and as a direct result of enforcement efforts, which choked off the supply from North Africa.

John Rentoul

As if all this wasn’t enough though, today (Monday) saw perhaps the ultimate statement of a belief for prohibition that anyone has been stupid enough to ever put in print. This howler came from John Rentoul – the person mentioned in the last blog who on Sunday owned up to writing the lead article of the infamously bad  “Apology” the Sunday Independent printed in 2007. He justified his support for prohibition again today, this time by by writing


It is a bad thing that the drugs business is in the hands of criminals. My view is that it would be a worse thing if it were legalised, and regulated or administered by the government.

He must surely have been drunk when he wrote that, it beggars belief that any sober person would have put something like that in print. in a national newspaper. The rest of the item is not much better.

Now I will always be the first to defend anyone’s freedom of speech, even if they do say things which are obnoxious or just plain stupid, but what I do criticise is people who say these things on the mass media from a position of responsibility. Nadine Dorries is an MP. she has a duty to be well informed about major social issues, especially if she is going to (heaven forbid) be allowed to vote through laws on the basis of her understanding.   John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday and was, through his appalling “Apology”, in no small part responsible for  providing the justification to increase cananbis from class C to B.

These people are not only daft, they’re dangerous, remember that when you’re laughing at their comments.

The jewel in the mud award:  Following David Raynes on Any Answers was Peter Reynolds of CLEAR, who put the case for reform very quickly but firmly. Well done Peter

Peter Reynolds Any Answers




UKCIA is a cannabis law reform site dedicated to ending the prohibition of cannabis. As an illegal drug, cannabis is not a controlled substance - it varies greatly in strength and purity, it's sold by unaccountable people from unknown venues with no over sight by the authorities. There is no recourse to the law for users and the most vulnerable are therefore placed at the greatest risk. There can be no measures such as age limits on sales and no way to properly monitor or study the trade, let alone introduce proper regulation. Cannabis must be legalised, as an illegal substance it is very dangerous to the users and society at large.

12 thoughts on “Four days, two wooden spoons and one jewel in the mud.

  1. I think it would be a good idea if Peter and that stupid women went on channel 4 news (hosted by Mr Snow) for a proper debate to give Peter a proper chance to completely alienate her.

  2. Succinctly and eloquently put by Peter, very good work.

    The astonishing fact that Rentoul has come out and openly said he would rather criminals are handed the reins with regards to drugs as opposed to the government regulating the trade is…well it’s madness.

  3. A good idea Mark, but the prohibitionists usually refuse to debate with reformers. A few years ago the BBC asked by to appear on a debate in Radio 5 about cannabis, I even flew back from Vienna to London especially to do it, they were going to send a car to pick me up, yet the day before they cancelled it, saying the guy from the anti told them he wouldn’t appear on the show, if there was anyone else on it with an opposing view. I couldn’t believe it, I told them I was still happy to be on the show and they tell this other guy they would not bow down to his demands and he could either appear on the show or not.

  4. Needless to say, they didn’t tell this other guy were to go and I was not allowed to give an alternative view. The reason I this guy refused to debate with me was almost certainly because he was fully aware I would have had him for breakfast.

    They only have the confidence to tell their lies if they are allowed to do so unchallenged by anyone with an informed mind.

  5. Got to love the way prohibitionists react to reform. It’s like dealing with little kids that throw a tantrum when they hear something they don’t like…

    I have a feeling there’s going to be a massive protest outside Parliament pretty soon 🙂

  6. They are victimising and demonising drug users since it is the last minority you can have a go at without being called bigoted. People in public life have always sought an enemy to be outraged against to make them seem moral and virtuous. This also suits the interests of some groups in society – namely those who would loose out by a change in the law – and these groups very conveniently provide the “proof” of the evils or the “wisdom” for maintaining prohibition.

    With drugs the task of making a change is much harder than any other struggle for human rights because most of the prohibitionists (as well as a good proportion of the population as a whole) are also drug addicts. Alcohol is their addiction and it is a serious one both on a personal and societal level. The only way alcohol addicts can feel better about their addiction is to pretend it is harmless and a very easy way to do this is to demonise other less harmful substances. So people ignore the facts about alcohol:

    UN Report on alcohol deaths:

    Hospital admissions top 1 million per year:

    Plus …

    Alcohol is much more likely to trigger mental illness than cannabis

    Alcohol is much stronger than it was in the 1960s: In the 1960s young people may have consumed 8 – 10 pints of beer in an evening (maybe 15 – 20 units of alcohol) and pubs closed at 10:30 pm. Nowadays it is common for young people to drink the equivalent amount in triple vodkas before they even get to a pub/club and pubs/clubs (as well as supermarkets selling alcohol) are open 24 hours a day !

    The facts count for little so how do we make the argument ? Well we have been given a gift – the current economic situation – it is no coincidence that the abolition of alcohol prohibition in America happened within 4 years of the “Wall Street Crash” of 1929. The overwhelming economic argument will swing it (although no one will admit it) and some people will actually start to use the sensible reasons to break the taboo now that the climate is right.

    Momentum is building all the time !

  7. Amazingl;y, the Global Commission report hit the headlines the same week as this WHO tobacco “hit”–

    announcing real Holocaust figures for 2011– 6 million deaths a year from “tobacco” (actually almost entirely from hot burning overdose $igarette Drug delivery system)! Where have we heard that number before? Oh yes, World Ward Two; this is PER YEAR. And to rise to 8 million by 2030 (youngsters already hooked over the past few decades reaching Lipitor Age).

    phrtao does a good job arguing the case on alcohol, but at 2.5 million it’s a distant second, right? As for whether you can say of the Prohibs that alcohol is their drug, note Nick Clegg ($igarette addict; may have been Liberal once but now in a Prohib mode politicly) and overseas House Speaker John Boehner ($mokes a “low-tar brand”; hasn’t promised to quit like Obama did; has an “advisory council” on which sit John H. Fish, Vice President for Legislative Affairs (sic) at R. J. Reynolds, and Bruce Gates from Philip Morris. Watch possible Pres. candidate Rudi Giuliani who received the most tobacckgo industry money of all 2008 candidates.

  8. Erratum– I left out the punch line, that’s “Crack Down on Pot” Giuliani. Check New York cannabis arrest statistics, especially 4-1 ratio of blacks versus whites arrested despite no difference in use.

Comments are closed.