Sunday, June 14, 2015

Legal Highs

For once, I have to agree with The Spectator(!)

We are moving ever further from common law towards the tyranny of Roman law in which everything is banned unless it is specifically permitted.

It is often said that ignorance of the law is no excuse, but that can only reasonably apply when the law is written in such a way as to leave no doubt as to what is permitted and what is forbidden. A law which can put you in prison for seven years for not memorising all the exemptions to a piece of legislation that amounts to an all-out war on chemistry is capricious. You’ll get no argument from me if you say that most of people who get prosecuted under this law will be lying when they claim that they ‘didn’t know it was illegal’ but for a non-trivial minority it will be the truth.

Of course, such "whitelist" laws are increasingly popular with new technology too.

Bonus : Things You Own Which Are Now Illegal

Are the police really going to come after people with air freshener or flowers in their home? Plainly not. But that's precisely the problem. This is not law as we know it. It is the aspiration of a child-like intellect cloaked in the respectability of a government bill. Trying to ascertain the effects is like trying to sit down on an imaginary chair: it does not exist. It is not there. It is just words. You might as well legislate against sub-standard sausage sandwiches made by a deli in 2018.
The really depressing thing is that, with expected Tory, Labour and SNP support, this insane bill is likely to pass with barely any opposition at all. But it will at least serve as a symbol of how deranged our debate on drugs has become.