The former director general of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency has weighed in on the debate over legalising cannabis in Scotland. Graeme Pearson, who is now a Labour member of the Scottish Parliament, told RIA Novosti that Scotland’s history of alcohol and drug abuse problems makes it clear they could not handle the potential negative effects of allowing use of the drug recreationally.

Pearson told the Russian news outlet that drug abuse and addiction in Scotland has led to enough death and violence over the years that it does not make sense to legalise a drug that could potentially add to the misery. He went on to say that, he does not believe the Scottish Parliament has really taken the cannabis addiction problem in Scotland seriously.

“I don’t think we understand drug use in Scotland any better today than we did six years ago,” he told RIA Novosti. “The Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill has ignored drugs as an issue in this parliament and has put no priority to deal with it.”

There are undoubtedly those in the Scottish Parliament who would disagree with Mr Pearson over whether or not the Government has done enough. Nevertheless, how many would disagree with his assertion that he and his colleagues do not understand drug use in Scotland any better today? It would be interesting to know the answer to that question.

A very important and comprehensive report was released just a few weeks ago blowing apart the myth that cannabis use is harmless. The study showed that using the drug can lead to psychological problems including loss of cognition, psychosis, depression, and anxiety. Furthermore, we already know the act of smoking anything contributes to a full range of illnesses including lung cancer and heart disease.

Plenty of Examples

As the calls to legalise cannabis grow stronger throughout Britain, more needs to be done to educate the public about the potential consequences of making the drug legal. It should not be difficult to make the case. Just look at the US states of Colorado and California for evidence. Both states have allowed recreational cannabis use for the better part of a year, and both are now experiencing unintended consequences. Yet perhaps we need not to go that far away.

In the Netherlands, recreational cannabis use is tolerated even though it is still technically illegal. It is no secret that cannabis tourism is big business and that country. However, it is not all good. In the border town of Maastricht, for example, officials say their town plays host to 1.6 million people who cross the border every year to purchase pot. This is a town of only 121,000 people. They are being overwhelmed to the point of taking drastic steps to end the practice of Belgians visiting their 13 coffee shops to buy and use cannabis.

More than Just Physical

While you can make the case that cannabis is not as physically damaging as alcohol or tobacco, this does not make the drug harmless. What’s more, the harm caused by recreational cannibal use is more than just physical. To ignore the mental and emotional damage, as well as the societal breakdown, is to believe it is possible to use mind-altering substances without any negative consequences. Nature alone tells us this is not possible.

Addiction Helper urges you to reconsider recreational cannabis use if you are a current user. We can help you if you want to quit using. Just call our 24-hour helpline and speak with one of our counsellors. We can provide the free advice and treatment referrals you need.

Sources:

  1. RIA Novosti – http://en.ria.ru/society/20141106/195201906/Former-Scottish-Drug-Enforcement-Chief-Rejects-Calls-to-Legalize.html
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