This is the official blog of ex-Sgt Ellie Bloggs. I was a real live police constable then sergeant for twelve years, on the real live front line of England. I'm now a real live non-police person. All the facts I recount are true, and are not secrets. If they don't want me blogging about it, they shouldn't do it. PS If you don't pay tax, you don't (or didn't) pay my salary.

(All proceeds from Google Ads will be donated to the Police Roll of Honour Trust)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Less dangerous than lumberjacking

I have discovered a shocking truth: more people die lumberjacking every year than die through cannabis use. We must therefore ban all forms of tree-felling and make it compulsory to feed weed to schoolchildren.

You would think an expert would have a better grasp of meaningful statistics than to compare recreational drug use to a healthy outdoor hobby. But it wasn't his comments on horse-riding that got Professor Nutt fired. In fact, the sacking appears to have followed hot on the heels of a grilling received by Jacqui Smith on Question Time whereby members of the audience and panel asked why the government continued to hire an expert of whom they had such a low opinion. Perhaps the thought that they could replace an advisor they didn't trust had never occurred to them.

Forgive my cynicism.

As a police officer, I see dozens of teenagers with severe behavioural problems verging on schizophrenia, who are heavy users of cannabis. But no one's ever shown me that the cannabis use isn't DUE to the the oncoming mental health problem, rather than the cause of it.

Either way, to be blunt, I couldn't care less whether cannabis was Class B or Class C. It was with great surprise that I heard Jacqui Smith announcing on the same Questiontime that the police would take a much tougher stance towards cannabis if it were a higher class. She seemed to believe that we would revert to our pre-Class-C policies of instant arrest and higher charge rate. The problem is, in Blandmore, a good proportion of our detection rate comes from "street warnings" for cannabis, whereby an officer can fill out a quick questionnaire and claim a sanction-based detection towards his area's performance. Have street warnings been ditched to reflect the greater emphasis the government wants placed on cannabis? Have they heck.

People are more confused than they ever were before cannabis was reclassified by the same government a few years ago. The war on drugs and drug-dealers is raging as hard as ever. The chasm between politicians' words and the reality of front-line policing is as great.

And an outspoken, principled servant of the nation has fallen by the wayside. Whether or not Professor Nutt spoke sense, at least he spoke.

'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.


Anonymous MarkUK said...

What a total c*ck-up.

It's quite obvious that the government takes its line from the Sun rather than science.

Gordon Brown said that cannabis was "lethal". I've never heard of a death directly attributable to cannabis. Sure, if you've had about 5 spliffs and decide to drive, it's not going to go well - but the same applies to five pints of Old RumptyTumpty

The remark that horse riding is more dangerous than Extacy is not only statistically true, but overwhelmingly so. It's reckoned that about 1,000,000 tabs of E are taken weekly, and about 100,000 people ride hoses in a given week. There are 40 deaths attributable (to some extent)to Extacy and 100 to horse riding per year - 25 times the rate!

However, this is somewhat off the point. The government sets up a committee of experts (unpaid) to give a scientific opinion. It decides, on grounds of prejudice and tabloidism, to ignore the advice. It then complains when one of these eminent (unpaid) scientists chooses to exercise his right to freedom of expression.

Most adherents to cannabis indica are not violent, even on skunk. The schizophrenia scare was just that - there's no evidence of a causal link. As you say, people with mental illnesses are likely to be drawn to illegal drugs just the same as they are to alcohol and tobacco. Call it self-medication.

Frankly, I believe that legalising weed (controlled better than booze is) for over-18s would cause the police a lot fewer issues, not more. The young adults could go to a Coffee Shop and do some dope before entering a nightclub, rather than supping half a bottle of vodka or several pints of cheap lager.

01 November, 2009 22:19

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark UK, who cares if it's true that horse-riding is more dangerous. It's also healthy, legal, and does not have negative social implications. The comparison is embarrasing for a science expert to make as it's utterly pointless.

02 November, 2009 10:29

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Healthy - but you are more likely to die from it :-P

02 November, 2009 11:20

Anonymous A.J. Wimble said...

I think the comparisons between Horse Riding and extacy are perfectly valid.

They are both activities that many people find enjoyable thta have a risk of fatalities. The only difference is that the risk is much larger with horse riding.

The previous person pointed out that horse riding is also healthy, legan and does not have negative social implications. Well if you at the numnber of people crippled and killed by both activites, using Extacy looks a lot less healthy.
Of course extacy is illegal, but the fact something is illegal can hardly be used as an argument for why it should be illegal.
As far as the social effects go, I have never taken extacy however I believe that it generally makes you feel good and sociable. I am not aware of any negative social effect that has ever been pinned on the drug.

02 November, 2009 11:27

Blogger Virtual Supply said...

We know a drink and a smoke at the pub on a weekend does not kill people, cause outlandish behaviour or require a hospital bed as a result. In Moderation, the tax paid Booze and Cigs is socially perfectly acceptable. In moderation, people stay quite healthy for a very long time. Then, their livers fail and lungs pack in after years of too many smokes and too much booze. Moderation is the key.

If the government legalized Natural occuring drugs like weed, charged a tax on it, and sold it to grown ups, withthe same proviso as drink/drug driving, I see it only as a positive move.
if it didnt grow, don't use it and never puncture the skin is a creed to use in many things.

02 November, 2009 12:47

Blogger Virtual Supply said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

02 November, 2009 12:47

Blogger Antinomian said...

One need not travel to China to find indigenous cultures lacking human rights or to Cuba for political prisoners. America leads the world in percentile behind bars, thanks to ongoing persecution of hippies, radicals, and non-whites under prosecution of the war on drugs. If we’re all about spreading liberty abroad, then why mix the message at home? Peace on the home front would enhance global credibility.

The drug czar’s Rx for prison fodder costs dearly, as life is flushed down expensive tubes. My shaman’s second opinion is that psychoactive plants are God’s gift. Behold, it’s all good. When Eve ate the apple, she knew a good apple, and an evil prohibition. Canadian Marc Emery is being extradited to prison for selling seeds that American farmers use to reduce U. S. demand for Mexican pot.

Only on the authority of a clause about interstate commerce does the CSA (Controlled Substances Act of 1970) reincarnate Al Capone, endanger homeland security, and throw good money after bad. Administration fiscal policy burns tax dollars to root out the number-one cash crop in the land, instead of taxing sales. Society rejected the plague of prohibition, but it mutated. Apparently, SWAT teams don’t need no stinking amendment.

Nixon passed the CSA on the false assurance that the Schafer Commission would later justify criminalizing his enemies. No amendments can assure due process under an anti-science law without due process itself. Psychology hailed the breakthrough potential of LSD, until the CSA shut down research, and pronounced that marijuana has no medical use, period. Drug juries exclude bleeding hearts.

The RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993) allows Native American Church members to eat peyote, which functions like LSD. Americans shouldn’t need a specific church membership or an act of Congress to obtain their birthright freedom of religion. John Doe’s free exercise of religious liberty may include entheogen sacraments to mediate communion with his maker.

Freedom of speech presupposes freedom of thought. The Constitution doesn’t enumerate any governmental power to embargo diverse states of mind. How and when did government usurp this power to coerce conformity? The Mayflower sailed to escape coerced conformity. Legislators who would limit cognitive liberty lack jurisdiction.

Common-law must hold that adults are the legal owners of their own bodies. The Founding Fathers undersigned that the right to the pursuit of happiness is inalienable. Socrates said to know your self. Mortal lawmakers should not presume to thwart the intelligent design that molecular keys unlock spiritual doors. Persons who appreciate their own free choice of path in life should tolerate seekers’ self-exploration.

02 November, 2009 14:25

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jaquie Smith should know all about weed.

02 November, 2009 18:49

Anonymous Matt M said...

You will get my chain-saw from me when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.


02 November, 2009 21:01

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I.G ...Jacqui Smith does know all about Cannabis, as she was open and honest enough to say that she had smoked it in her younger days, but didn't especially enjoy it. The Cannabis Jacqui Smith probably tried, most likely was the old type, not Skunk, which appears to have caused adverse reactions in some people. I was rather disappointed by the reactions of some cops, and the press towards Jacqui Smith's honesty about having smoked Cannabis in the past. Half the country probably has done at some point - it's no big deal, other than for some bizarre reason after centuries of use, it was declared illegal here. The Law quite clearly is an ASS..... regarding Cannabis, a naturally grown herb.

ANTINOMIAN....Very well said.

Bloggsy....I think that Prof Nutt DID speak sense and is obviously well qualified to do so, backed by scientific research and evidence. The problem about re-classification of Cannabis has more to do with Gordon Brown's personal opinions on drugs than anything else. He needs to chill out somewhat, with I suggest, some good quality Cannabis, as opposed to Skunk. Sarah could make him a nice cake for when he's grumpy!
I seriously recommend it Gordon....

If I were Home Sec and unhindered by Gordon Brown, I would legalise the old type of Cannabis and keep Skunk in the illegal catagory, to gradually eliminate its production.
The original Cannabis herb contains a chemical element that PROTECTS against the development of psychosis, and it is non addictive.
Skunk, which is a genetically modified hybrid, does NOT have the protective chemical which prevents psychosis, and it does have an addictive quality to it. Skunk is different to the old type of Cannabis, and some people do go a bit loopy on it. Skunk is the problem, not the original Cannabis.

Cannabis, in moderation, can be very helpful to those who have suffered abuse, trauma and emotional distress. It can help people to cope, deal with it and then move on with their lives, often having been awakened to a more spiritual way of living.

Victims of abuse, trauma, distress, who turn to alcohol to numb their mental/emotional pain can easily become addicted to it, without the use of it making them feel any better. Booze makes matters far worse and does not help people in the long term to cope with their feelings of distress or grief.

I speak here from personal experience and many years of observations into this issue. It seems totally unreasonable and very unfair to me, cruel even, that those who don't want to drink alcohol to unwind, are persecuted for using a far less harmful substance, which is in fact a beneficial healing herb.

I am convinced that all the U.S propoganda on TV in the late 1960's onwards, about the dangers of drugs, including Cannabis, has brainwashed the public. The propoganda claimed that just one joint of Cannabis would lead to the slippery slope of Heroin addiction - which is complete and utter nonsense. The U.S used that argument to launch their "war on drugs" and that caused a great deal of bad feeling and resentment in numerous Eastern countries where Cannabis has been growing and used for centuries.

It is time to END THE WAR ON DRUGS and get some common sense and humanity into this chaotic situation. The EU governments could make a start by legalising the old type Cannabis, for adult use, to eliminate demand for the potentially harmful Skunk variety.

It is a bit sad though, that young people feel that they need to take Ecstasy to party and feel good. What does it say about the current psychological pressures on young people, if they are regularly using excessive amounts of alcohol and other substances? I blame Thatcherism and the intense pressures placed upon kids in the Education system. Even the Teachers have been driven nuts by it all...... and probably also driven to drink!!!

03 November, 2009 02:55

Anonymous Anonymous said...


If every stoned person you had to deal with was pissed instead, would you job be easier or harder?

03 November, 2009 13:01

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will stick with Teachers, cheers.

03 November, 2009 20:39

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There does appear to be a rather unfortunate habit in this country of shooting the messenger, if it's something people don't want to hear. The former C.C of North Wales Police, Richard Brunstrom had the courage to speak out on the issue of the drugs policy, and was "shot down" by the press and those with closed and narrow minds.
At least he didn't get fired for speaking sense, but I suspect that his position was made very difficult and that's why he retired earlier than expected, having had enough of all the nonsense from the media. Good luck to him, where ever he is.

03 November, 2009 21:43

Blogger PCDC-Copper Bottom said...

lets legalise everything that we cant - or dont have the cojones to deal with...

lets make burglary legal next.

03 November, 2009 22:12

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The War on Drugs is idiotic and should stop asap. It's expensive, doesnt work and hurts lots of people. If we regulated taxed and prescribed it, the world would be a far better place for the vast majority - it is possible, probable even, that a small minority that would not have tried drugs would become addicted if we stopped the war.

If you want to see the economic case against the WOD, see

04 November, 2009 09:55

Anonymous Anonymous said...

PCDC Copper Bottom said..... "lets make burglary legal next". Prof Nutt spoke sense, but sadly PCDC Copper Bottom is talking out of his ar$e, even if it was meant as an attempt at sarcasm.

What is the actual detection rate for burglary?
Don't most of them remain unsolved, because it takes the police a week or two to get to the crime scene, which means the forensic evidence is usually lost?If they actually do bother to turn up at all, that is, because they are usually too busy dealing with government driven target "nonsense" jobs.

04 November, 2009 20:24

Blogger PCDC-Copper Bottom said...

me sarcastic?

'ecause it takes the police a week or two to get to the crime scene'

not 30=mins as is force policy in my force?

lol... and you call me an arse... titter

05 November, 2009 06:52

Blogger psywhizz said...

Nutt spoke sense, of course. Unfortunately, the horse riding remark, intended though it surely was as a comment on the relativity of risk, distracted from his argument.


05 November, 2009 12:44

Blogger Candle said...

I do not think you should be advocating cannibalism. cannibalism is still eating meat, and vegetarian is the way to go. what kind of website is this anyway, talking about cannibals.

05 November, 2009 20:01

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now now PCDC Copper Bott, calm down dear and put your glasses on!
I did NOT call you an "arse". I said you were talking out of it advocating making burglary legal, even if you are just being sarcastic. The comparison is utter bollox. Cannabis and ecstacy are only a "problem" to the narrow minded, unenlightened ban everything brigade. Surely you don't belong to that club do you?

But I do happen to agree with you about one thing....Pete is an idiot

06 November, 2009 01:46

Blogger PCDC-Copper Bottom said...

anonymous- soory- bad day in the trenches...

I dont belong to the brigade- but i think its a slippery slope to stand on ...

We play this game to much - look at the way we massage figures...

My point- oblique sure- was that we may end up in the same mess as we do with alcohol. Thats legalised- but look at the impact- i know, i know- ganja dont have the same effect- but... contrary to what is printed - a LOT more people booze than cruise... because of its status.

Who KNOWS what mass scale taking would do ?

I just think its better we leave the gene in the bottle and if people want to sniff the cap now and again on pain of arrrest, so be it.

just my opinion- based on 20-years of working in a city centre- and seeing drunken fools every, err... fri-sat-sun-mon etc...


06 November, 2009 12:14

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Dealing with a problem by making the offence go away (making it legal) is a cowardly way to behave."

No. Cowardly would be criminalising a large number of otherwise innocent people, despite overwhelming evidence that their activities are safe and harmless, simply because you think it would cost you votes.

06 November, 2009 12:17

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any one who believes that Cannabis should be legalised should take a trip to the smashed up homes of the decent hard working single mothers who are battered, shouted at and spat on by their own teenage sons due to psychosis caused by cannabis addiction.


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06 November, 2009 17:44

Blogger PC Bloggs said...

I was going to delete the last comment, but I reconsidered: they make a valid contribution to the argument.

06 November, 2009 21:44

Anonymous Steve D. said...

I could write a long argument about the pros and cons of drug use, based on 15 years working at the Elephant & Castle, and having 'expert-witness' status at Crown Court where drugs are concerned. I also used to teach on the effects of drug use and misuse. But I won't!
Firstly, I find it hard to take anyone seriously who can't spell ecstasy - they obviously don't type out many charge sheets.
I am in complete favour of legalising and regulating all drugs. After dealing with more drug related violence by dealers (NOT USERS) I think it should be taken out of criminals hands. We have had a war on drugs for decades and at least since 1971 obviously. IT HASN'T WORKED so try something else.
I also had the Old Kent Road and the Ministry of Sound on my ground and in 15 years I cannot recall being called to the Ministry for one single fight, yet every single weekend people were shot, stabbed, glasses, and general mayhem ensued solely due to alcohol.
Prohibition does not work - we need legalisation and education. Think of the amount of education that could be provided if detection and prosecution costs were saved.
Perhaps all than extra money could go to increasing the burglary clear-up rates!!!

06 November, 2009 21:44

Anonymous Anonymous said...

so- has the war on binge drinking and alcohol related violence worked?

and thats a LEGAL drug... regulated, taxed and 'controlled'.

it seems the basis of the argument for is- 'people on ganja dont fight as much as pissed up dudes...'

poor argument...

most (almost ALL) crime is none violent in some way- but we dont hear about making it legal...

e.g. shop theft, theft from motor vehicle ahh... so many...

I hear what you are saying- but it just don't feel right... its saying we have lost the will to enforce the law...

oh BTW, people that buy and sell drugs ARE committing criminal acts- the Police are not 'criminalising them' they are doing it to themselves...

06 November, 2009 23:29

Anonymous Anonymous said...

PC A HUNN has clearly misunderstood the finer details of the justifiable argument FOR the legalisation of Cannabis. [NOT SKUNK] Or he just hasn't bothered to read and accept the facts detailed on this blog. His attitude is one of ignorance and bias, like many others, much like those who believed the earth was flat many hundreds of years ago.

The old type of Cannabis NEVER caused psychosis in people and is not physically addictive. The original Cannabis can cause apathy yes, if used too much and for too long a period, but never violence towards others. Scientists have discovered through their research into Cannabis for its potential use in treating medical conditions, that the original Cannabis herb has a chemical element that PROTECTS users from developing psychosis.

They also discovered that Skunk does NOT have this protective chemical. That is most likely the reason why some teenagers have had an adverse reaction to it, and yet another reason why the old type Cannabis should be legalised and regulated. If you ask coppers who were around in the 60's and 70's, they will probably confirm, that the so called "hippies" who used Cannabis, were mostly peaceful and non violent. Which cannot be said of football fans and drunks.

A great deal of the resentment felt by many Muslim people was CAUSED in the late 60's and early 70's due to the American driven "War on Drugs". It may well have been a morally justified crusade against Heroin, but the biggest mistake was to stick Cannabis in the same box as Heroin and regard Cannabis as equally harmful, which it is not.

Legalising the old type of Cannabis just might go a long way to "healing" some of the bad feeling between East and West, due to better understanding and a less draconian attitude towards a healing herb. Muslims don't do alcohol because their faith teaches that it is very harmful. Who in the West could now argue with that belief?

07 November, 2009 01:12

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha..... Yes Bloggsy, I see the contribution to the argument that the comments on Viagra make......Take a pill and get fu*ked!

07 November, 2009 01:16

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The above re the old type of Cannabis being better than the new type is bollocks.

Skunk is quite hard to get hold of in this neck of the woods by your average Chav. They always get the cheaper and more readily available resin.

Same results, jobless criminals, broken homes.

07 November, 2009 12:10

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It must be difficult for Scientists to work with Politicians.

Scientist seek the truth through research and deal in facts.

Politicians distort the truth and obscure the facts..........and fiddle their expenses.

07 November, 2009 14:35

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @ 12:10

I have to disagree with your opinion on the old type of Cannabis because it is not addictive, and it does not cause psychosis in people who use it.

So it's good news for "your neck of the woods" if Skunk is hard to find, because that does have an addictive quality to it and it does appear to have an adverse affect upon the minds of many who use it. Skunk is stronger than the resin that is normally available, but it most certainly isn't "better".

Have you not considered that some who are jobless and/or from broken homes are just using Cannabis as a form of self medication, BECAUSE of their situation. The government agencies quite often have a distorted view of people who use Cannabis, driven by the distorted view put forward by the press.

Society always seems to need a "whipping boy" and as it's now against the law to pick on ethnics, disabled and gays, there's only the police, single parents and those who use Cannabis left. Apart from politicians.....but some of them [not all] do actually deserve it. Auctor above, is right.

08 November, 2009 01:18

Blogger PCDC-Copper Bottom said...

self meds?

sounds like you have been groomed to me...

09 November, 2009 06:39

Anonymous Anonymous said...

PCDC Copper Botty .... How you can come to a conclusion, or an assumption more like, that someone has been "groomed" because they express an honest opinion and insight into a controversial issue, is a bit alarming.

I noticed on one of your comments that you say your field of experience was, or is, working with sex offenders. They "groom" victims and the people around them, don't they? To comply with their vile demands for gratification, and to keep their mouths shut about what is going on.
That never worked with me!

So who do you assume may have "groomed" me, to speak my mind, without fear or favour?

11 November, 2009 02:34

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Copper Bottom

One of my fave lines sex offenders use is 'I am looking at the pictures rather than assaulting someone- its a form of self medication officer'.

mmm... ok... its not reinforcing a lie then?

This is the simple truth. Cannabis, smoked is bad for you. Full stop. Ignoring the smoking for a moment (lung cancer, throat, tongue cancers, heart disease etc) it contains a chemical that affects your brain. Long term use can lead to all sorts of mind altering issues...

It never ceases to amaze me how many people that sit and say 'I dont want to be told what to do- it affects my free will' then bang themselves up with mind altering drugs!!!

what do you think that does to 'free will'?

like it or not- at the moment- cannabis is a banned substance... take it and get arrested. I dont care either way... I dont use it. I dont know anyone that does.

Loose your mind - it matters not to me...

The professor is a scientist- they never say yes and they never say no... its their way... I wonder i he takes it? I bet he dont.

why? see above... for why...

15 November, 2009 14:39

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon above. Maybe you are aware, or maybe you are not, but MANY victims of sexual and other abuse in childhood turn to alcohol, cannabis and other substances to help them cope with the emotional distress that abuse caused them.

The distress that paedophiles cause to victims, especially the psychological trauma of serious death threats if their victim tells, places an unbearable burden on those victims. One that can make them "lose their minds" with anxiety and grief. Alcohol does not help people in that situation.
Cannabis often does help people to cope, deal with it, and move on.

But you, like many, have a fixed opinion on this matter and do not "care" that victims of sexual abuse are persecuted for using a substance that helps them, because the Health Care system quite often, does not.

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