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article imageOp-Ed: Australian drug clinic wants to 'Sell dope in post offices'

By Paul Wallis     May 5, 2008 in Health
Cannabis is set to replace tobacco as the world’s most widely smoked drug. The new concept of a sustainable drug control policy, strangely, doesn’t include continuing the subsidizing of organized crime with an endless supply of illegal substances.
The idea is controlled distribution. Australian hospital St. Vincent’s director of drug and alcohol service Alex Wodak has suggested that cannabis be sold directly, removing it from the possibility of corporate control, too.
The Sydney Morning Herald:
Dr Wodak made the proposal for taxed and legalised cannabis at the Mardi Grass festival in Nimbin yesterday, but said he would be happy to express his opinion to the Federal Government.
"In general terms, among senior doctors, professors, deans, college presidents, I can tell you, from having done a straw poll, there's very strong support for ending the distribution of cannabis by a monopoly of criminals and corrupt police," he said.
"[But] among rank and file doctors, they probably have opinions that represent the opinions of the general community."
Dr Wodak believed his proposal could reduce cannabis consumption, based on comparisons between consumption in Amsterdam and San Francisco.
(Nimbin is a community which started as a hippie commune in the 1970s.)
This is obviously a major departure from the culture of prohibition which has failed so utterly to dent the drug trade in nearly 50 years of sustained hysteria.
Illegal drugs have financed organized crime, turning it from a nuisance to a global plague, infecting society and business like social malaria.
If controlled distribution works, it could be the first real blow against the revenue which has been driving organized crime. Billions have been spent supposedly “fighting” a drug supply which is occasionally inconvenienced, but never stopped.
The results, so far, are the richest criminal organizations in history, and a legacy of human suffering now entering its third generation
There’s been no response to Wodak’s suggestion yet.
It’s probably too advanced for the times, but it’s almost certainly the sign of a new approach to a problem that could have been solved decades ago by simple regulation.
To make history, you have to do something new.
Prohibition in the 1920s was a total failure. It produced nothing but corruption, and never scratched the problem of alcohol abuse.
The drug laws have merely made drugs more profitable. Not one drug has ever been stamped out, and nothing resembling effective control has ever been achieved.
Think of a worthless drug like crack. Nobody will ever know how many lives it’s ruined, what a hell it’s made of people’s existences. It’s a poison with commercial value. It’s exploited by people because they can make money out of it. Take away the monetary value, and nobody would bother selling it. They’d move to something which made money.
Put addictive drugs under any kind of controlled distribution, and the junkies will go to it. That’s almost the only way of finding them. It’s also safer, from their perspective.
Wodak is talking to the future.
But the future, to have any hope of breaking out of the cycle, has to find an answer that isn’t one of those which have already failed.
More about Cannabis, Legalization, Controlled distribution