Not a drug war; a culture war
Five months ago, there was the first rally in support of a reform in drug laws in Malta. Since then there has been the promise of a Drugs Court and an admission by Justice Minister Chris Said that there is a “broad consensus for decriminalisation”. It seems that Lawrence Gonzi, in his reshuffle of the Cabinet, has chosen a more realistic person than the previous Justice Minister, who simply said “no” to any mention of drug law reform.
What I wonder is, when will people finally realise that prohibition simply does not work? It doesn’t! How can it when modern youth culture is inundated with positive references to cannabis? This is no longer just a drug war, it’s a culture war. What prohibition has become is a compound of a war against a plant and a war against what used to be a subculture but is now mainstream culture. What it has become is a ridiculous policy that wastes resources and, worse still, lives.
For years, misinformation was bandied about but it proves harder to do so nowadays in the age of the free flow of information. When some say cannabis kills brain cells, or causes cancer, or is addictive, or is a gateway drug, we know that is for the most part lies and the rest is twisted information.
These people can speak and fight all they want, because we know the truth. These people bring up studies from the 1960s and 1970s, which have since been discredited while we bring up studies made in the last decade, the most comprehensive of their kind, and they say we are just throwing around “opinions”. How insulting!
The Nationalist and Labour parties say they want to listen. I, and with me many more, are saying what we want clearly. The end of prohibition. A complete revision of our country’s drug policy, based on evidence. We want to be able to grow our own cannabis without intervention. We want a regulated market, where money goes to small business owners and into the state’s coffers rather than to organised crime. Where children are protected.
We are here and we’re speaking loud, Dr Gonzi, Joseph Muscat. The question is: Are you listening?