A Plea for Reason

A cause gaining some traction in social and traditional media concerns the legal status of synthetic drugs. A new law that has come into effect restricting the sale of synthetic drugs has been condemned as being too weak by parents and relatives of users. 

But their outcry is not based on reason. It is the anguished demand of a bruised group of people, whose passion is directed in hate at those who sell synthetic drugs. Hone Harawira threw his ill conceived opinion in saying, “If there is one law I could pass, it would be line up the guys who are making the most money out of this legal drug stuff, put them on TV and then publicly execute them, and then introduce a law to say the next bastard that does it is going to get the same treatment.”

A supremely unhelpful contribution to a debate hamstrung by a public too angry to consider things responsibly, a public addicted to retribution. If you want an example of societies run on this notion then I invite you to visit Saudi Arabia, where they recently admitted not having enough executioners to meet demand, then tell me you support violating fundamental human rights. 

I implore all those considering sup porting this cause to first look at what it is you are trying to achieve. You want fewer people taking these synthetic drugs, the fewest possible. You are advocating a ban as the best means to achieve this end. But did banning cannabis prevent its use? Did prohibition stem the tide of liquor? If a ban fails to kill synthetic drugs and simply drives their production and distribution underground, will we be better off? People will still take them, but without any regulatory oversight we will not know the chemical make up of these drugs, which can mean life or death when treating someone who is intoxicated. Is it not true to say that the new law does decrease the proportion of synthetic drugs and users by restricting the placement of stores (and therefore the number of them) and throttling the number of drugs by allowing only those that reach certain standards? This is an emotionally charged issue, but I implore everyone to not allow emotion to blind you to a responsible course of action.

Politicians have occasionally remarked on the stupidity of the masses, that the public are too ill informed to be listened to. I don’t believe that. But I do believe that the mentality of the mob facilitated by social media is dangerous and uncontrollable. The only resolution is to refer to our reason.

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