Mr Hitchens Rests His Case

Peter Hitchens recently set forth in his blog his arguments against the legalisation of drugs in general and cannabis in particular. These are so hare-brained, so monumentally stupid, so hideously wrong and so asininely arrogant that I’m unable to resist countering them. Here are a few quotes from his rant.

Peter Hitchens

…my fear that the general legalisation of mind-altering drugs produces passive and easily manipulated citizens.


Really? Perhaps he doesn’t remember all those ‘passive and easily manipulated’ citizens protesting the war in Vietnam whilst under the influence of cannabis?

How sad that the only thing about modern Britain that makes the cannabis lobby angry is the continued existence a few individuals like me, who wish to deny them their dope.

Who does Hitchens think gives him the right to deny anything to anyone? Adult human beings have every right to decide for themselves whether or not to take cannabis, or any other drug. What makes him think he (or government) can make those decisions on their behalf? Perhaps he thinks he’s more intelligent than they are? Not judging by the incoherence of his so-called arguments, he isn’t. Hitchens’ holier than thou attitude is reminiscent of the inquisition or the pogroms of the Stalinist Soviet Union.

There is without doubt some correlation between the use of cannabis and permanent, irreversible mental disturbance.

Yes, there is considerable doubt. A possible correlation has been found between heavy cannabis use and the incidence of Schizophrenia, but this is disputed and a causal link has yet to be conclusively made. Here is the summary of the study linked.
“SUMMARY:From the evidence that exists, it appears that the above view is unlikely and that cannabis may even have benign effects on brain structure, not producing deleterious damage. Its neurochemical interactions with the dopaminergic pathway, however, may, particularly in genetically vulnerable individuals, have adverse consequences.”
There is some evidence pointing to the possibility that cannabis use may actually alleviate depression.

Nothing of lasting value or importance would be lost if Cannabis disappeared from our society.

Because of their illegality research into the possible medical applications of cannabis and other drugs is hindered; there may be many medicinal uses that we don’t yet know of, in addition to the ones we do (insomnia, glaucoma, nausea due to chemotherapy, some tumours react favourably, etc.). What if it were found that some or other ingredient found in cannabis were a cure for some dread disease? Would that not count in Hitchens’ world as something of value and importance?

I believe Thalidomide was quite effective in its main role as a suppressor of morning sickness among pregnant women. But who cares? Its other effect, resulting in children missing limbs or otherwise harmed, simply cancels this out. The danger of severe and irreversible mental illness may not be precisely comparable to the effects of Thalidomide. But it does not seem to me to be that much less important, especially having seen these effects at first hand.

Oh, good grief! Anyone who could possibly think that cannabis and Thalidomide are in any way comparable is not only stupid, but quite possibly insane as well. Cannabis has been used by human beings for millennia, it is not a new pharmaceutical product recently released onto the market. We are quite certain that it does not have effects as deleterious as Thalidomide, and any suggestion that it does (or may do) is just foolish.

Most cannabis users don’t find it such a marvellous experience that they’d be prepared to risk six months at hard labour for a second offence of possession (my suggested minimum penalty, the first offence being dealt with by a genuine ‘caution’, whose condition would be that the cautioned person never subsequently committed the same offence). Permitting premises to be used for its use would also be treated in the same way. This (as with the smoking ban) has the effect of turning every householder or owner of commercial premises into an ally of the law.

Perhaps Hitchens has never heard of the disastrous experiment with alcohol prohibition in the USA from 1920 to 1933? He should read up on it; criminalisation of any substance leads inevitably to criminality, and the harsher the penalties, the more criminals leverage the situation for profit.

I have no doubt that, among dope-smokers as in the rest of society, there would be quite enough informers willing to earn money or favours from the police to ensure that all users had a lively fear of being caught and prosecuted.

Hitchens would have us spying on one another and informing on our parents or children to the police? One regime springs to mind that had that sort of thing down to a fine art: the dear old unlamented German Democratic Republic, better known as East Germany, where citizens were encouraged to inform to the Stasi, or secret police, in exchange for various favours. Is that the sort of society Hitchens envisions? It seems so.

By the way, I’m not, as Mr Wilkinson characterises me, an ‘opponent of nannying, interfering government action.’

The first true thing written in his rant. Hitchens certainly is not an opponent of the nanny state–if he had his way he would be an absolute dictator and we would all have to bow to his will. Or else.

I have to state here that I just don’t understand the mindset of one who seeks to control others, one who seriously believes that he is right and everyone who dares disagree with him must be wrong, and must be punished for being wrong. Peter Hitchens is one such. Why does he get his knickers in such a twist over what other people do with their own bodies and their spare time? I have set out my reasons elsewhere for my standpoint that all drugs should be legalised; the decision whether or not to take them must rest with the individual, not with some self-appointed zealot like Peter Hitchens.

Oh, by the way I must state for the record that I am not, apart from alcohol in moderation, a drug user.

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37 Responses to Mr Hitchens Rests His Case

  1. Peter Hitchens says:

    Don’t be silly. The East German Stasi policed thought and speech, not the selfish ingestion of dangerous drugs. Interestingly enough, I get the strong impression that the dope lobby would like me to be silenced. They are angry not so much about what I say, as that anyone still dares say this when they have won so much fashionable support. Though I am also sure that they are angry because they privately share my doubts about whether this drug is safe, especially the morning after they’ve used it and their memories are impaired.

    Why do pro-dope campaigners imagine that their greasy habit is a cause, when all they are doing is sacrificing the Lives of Others (get the reference?) for their own pleasure? Drugtaking is not a victimless crime. Others will have to clear up after you, and may have their lives ruined by the mental illness of a close relative. You may escape that mental illness, not that you can be sure of that, but the price of decrminalising your pleasure is that someone else will not escape it. I have no idea how anyone can live with that knowledge, and I suppose it’s why the dope lobby simply refuses to accept the blinding truth. It’s not exactly a surprise, is it, that a mind-altering drug might affect your mental health?

    • Mark says:

      Why do you think the ‘dope lobby’ wants you silenced? Have you received threats? And if so what steps have you taken? You probably overstate your importance; most people have never heard of you, and those that have don’t take you or your ideas very seriously.

      You keep stating that cannabis is dangerous without offering a shred of evidence for your assertion. I have provided links to studies that cast doubt on that, and I’m sure you could find studies that support your case, but you have not done so. In fact, your entire diatribe is based on bald assertion and the arrogant assumption that you are correct and everyone else is self-evidently wrong.

      As I stated in my post, I do not partake of cannabis myself, but I do know several people who do. All of them are sane, well-adjusted people who hold down responsible jobs, and are respected in our community. I find your desire to have them locked up ‘at hard labour’ offensive.

      I assume the ‘blinding truth’ you refer to is contained in the following sentence, i.e. ‘a mind-altering drug may affect your mental health’. Well yes, it may, but that is not for me or you to determine. I’m happy to leave that to proper medical researchers in crisp white lab coats whose clipboards will eventually yield the truth. However, I stick to my point that even if it is found to be harmful, it is still the individual’s decision as to whether or not he will take it, as is the case with tobacco and alcohol.

    • hubrislooney says:

      jeez, petey, you need a spliff to calm that paranoia, man!

    • Peter, firstly, your argument against the Stasi point is null and void. The problem isn’t why the Stasi were doing what they did it was also the methods they used. How any normal person can claim the police should be able to offer “favors” is completely beyond me. Call me strange but I think civilian police forces should be in service to communities not some sort of oppressive arm of the government

      In relation to the rest of your twaddle, I think it is your mental health that needs to be called in to question. It is quickly becoming apparent to all following your input to this debate that you are being willfully delusional.
      When I first saw your forays into this subject a few months back, I started by giving you the benefit of doubt. I assumed that your only real error was that you were ill informed. However as time has progressed I have seen over and over again people provide evidence and facts to show you why your thinking is fallacious which you consequently ignore. I’ve seen so many people post links to pubmed and other such reputable sources that you can no longer claim to not know that what you are saying is wrong. This claim of some all pervasive risk of mental illness amongst the masses is nothing short of obvious lunacy. Something which you’d know if you’d bothered to do any real research.

      Then of course there’s this paranoia your displaying. Which personally I think is based on some misguided delusion of granduer. You assume that drugs lobbyists want to “silence you” to stop you from affecting our “street-cred”. Really? I’m sorry Mr Hitchens but everyone else in this debate can see your ramblings for what they are, nonsense. I for one am quite happy for you to continue taking part in this debate. With you flying the flag for the other side there’s simply no way we can lose. On our side there are scientists, lawyers, police, drugs specialists and a veritable whose who of international figures. What have you guys got. A few sensationalist journalists and a couple of mothers who don’t understand the nature of their childs illness. Hell even the Mails usual frothy mouthed lunatics seem to be getting the picture if you go by the comments section. The war is over. Your side lost. They just didn’t have the mental ammunition to stage a meaningful defense.

      Finally though the thing that most disgusts me about you is your claims to be wanting to help those with mental illness. The truth is, you don’t. In fact what you do is use the suffering of people as an emotional battering ram to try and force in your own vile, delusional, prudish and most of all, bigoted opinions. You make this ridiculous assumption that cannabis causes mental illness en masse yet then claim the best course of action for those suffering is to be thrown in prison for 6 months. I’d just love to know which piece of 17th century logic your using to justify that. The simple fact of the matter is this. No matter what you say, no matter what the harms, no matter how you word it. Drug illegality causes more problems than it solves. Even if cannabis was as much a risk to mental health as you imagine, it would make no sense to leave the supply and regulation in the hands of organised criminal gangs. By doing so it is you and your ilk that create the biggest risk to those who most in need of our protection. How you can sleep at night with this fact over your head trully is beyond me.

  2. Peter Reynolds says:

    No Peter, we don’t want you silenced at all. You are the best weapon we have. Your ridiculous behaviour and nasty attitude is doing wonders for the cause.

    I look forward to our head to head debate at the University of Salford on 18th October. I shall be appealing to the crowd not to lynch you and allow you to have your say.

    • Elliott says:

      I was thinking the same thing Pete… hilarious and frankly astonishing piece in the first place by Mr Hitchens, and his reply tops it off. I don’t know if you’re aware of what an internet troll is, but after reading both your piece and the comment, I’m beginning to think that you are simply a troll.

      All I can say is that I KNOW Pete would destroy you in a debate, especially if you’re using any of the ‘arguments’ you’ve used here… If the audience is un-biased, you’re in for a heavy, heavy loss.

      P.S. You’re gonna have to start buying some nicer, cleaner weed Mr Hitchens – I don’t remember a time I’ve woken up after smoking cannabis with my memory impaired and thought ‘actually, weed isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.’ Though, I can recall that happening almost every time I have one too many drinks on a night-out.

  3. Ed Benton says:

    An idiot for an enemy is as good as a genius for an ally.
    I don’t want Hitchens silenced at all, the more he spouts unsupported lies and faux-moral nonsense, the better our cause looks.

    No we don’t want you silenced Peter, you’re on our side!

  4. Hip No Swan says:

    …..and there was me thinking dinosaurs were extinct. He’s like the Mary Whitehouse of drugs – hilarious!

  5. Theodorine says:

    Lsd is known to cause paranoia and psychosis in people who have never used it.I guess this goes with cannabis as well.
    Its like some people live in the black and white 50s movies.

  6. Peter Hitchens says:

    Ah, well, Mr Reynolds himself has taken me to the Press Complaints Commission because he didn’t like what I’d said about cannabis and mental illness (particularly concerning the recent distressing case of Henry Cockburn, which might make some contributors here feel a little less smug, if they looked it up). Did he do this because he was happy for me to be saying these things? Or because he thought them amusing, or a help to his cause?

    You’d have to ask him. And, since he’s dropped by, you can. So can I. What isthe answer, Mr Reynolds? I should have thought that if he believed my writing was laughable and harmless to his cause, he’d have ignored me, and if he just wanted to express disagreement with me in debate, he’d have stuck to that. My newspaper published his letter rebutting my case.

    A complaint to the PCC generally contains the implication that the complainer believes the words complained of should not have been printed. Mr Reynolds might tell us if that was his view. And if not, for what reason he pursued the complaint (which was rejected).

    And then, here’s an idea of what the pro-dope lobby think and say about me when they believe nobody is looking. It is to be found on the UK420.com site A person hiding behind a silly name writes :’A good wheeze would be to track him (that’s me) down, follow him around a bit, pull a black bin liner over his head, push him into the back of a transit van, give him a good kicking then throw him off the end of a deserted pier at midnight in a strait jacket and concrete boots. ‘

    I agree that this is childish and rather pathetic. Even so, it was both written and published. Meanwhile, Mr Reynolds jokes heavily about saving me from a lynch mob. Why does he do this? I debate all the time with opponents on many subjects. I have no expectation of mistreatment at the Salford debate, or any other. Does he think it likely? If so, it won’t come from my side of the argument. But I do detect, in the abuse and vitriol I receive from members of the cannabis lobby, a level of personal dislike that is, quite frankly disturbing. These people don’t just disagree with what I say. they loathe me personally.

    There are, by the way, methods of silencing people that do not involve physical threats.

    If Elliott knows that Mr Reynolds will ‘destroy’ me in debate, then he won’t need to come, will he? His mind would appear to be a bit made up. Ishe proud of that?

    Not that debates are held for the purpose of destroying people. That is more easily done by persuading them that dangerous mind-stealing drugs are safe. If Mark thinks there is *no* evidence that cannabis may be dangerous, then I am in a difficulty. There is a great deal of evidence suggesting that it is. Finding a causal proof, given the general lack of knowledge of the brain and its operation, is undoubtedly difficult. But the same objection was raised for years to the contention that cigarette smoking might lead to lung cancer.

    Most epidemiology begins with correlation. Sometimes, for many years, correlation is all you are going to get, along with the exclusion of other possible causes by elimination ( lung cancer was initially blamed by the tobacco lobby on air pollution, for instance) Is this such a difficult point to grasp? And, if there were no self-interest involved, why would anyone ignore such pressing warning signs?

    • Peter Reynolds says:

      Peter, it is a delight to be able to communicate with you directly. Thank you to the Grumpy Old Man for providing the forum.

      I am not going to make petty points about your Mail Online blog but I have abandoned any attempt to comment there as I am wasting my time.

      I have indeed taken you to the PCC and very probably will do so again. There’s only one reason for it and that is when you write something that is “inaccurate, misleading or distorted”, to quote the Editors’ Code.

      Of course you’re entitled to your opinion but you “must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact”. I argue that there is no defence of opinion when something is a matter of fact. For instance, it is factually incorrect to say that cannabis causes psychosis. While you are entitled to call cannabis “sinister”, as a matter of opinion, you are not entitled to call it “poison” because that is factually incorrect.

      The Henry Cockburn story is a family tragedy. It may be that Henry is one of that tiny, tiny minority of people in whom cannabis can trigger psychosis, just as some people are dangerously allergic to peanuts. When you or his father extend that hypothesis into a scaremongering, sensationalist construction of deceit – well, I am pledged to the CLEAR membership never to allow untruths and propaganda about cannabis to go unchallenged.

      Experience proves that the PCC does not focus on enforcing the Editors’ Code but on finding excuses for breaches of it. I fervently believe in a free press but a new independent regulator is desperately needed to rein in the excesses of the tabloids, particularly Paul Dacre. He is a malevolent force in Britain.

      I am myself frequently the object of abuse on UK420, so you and I are not alone in that. I deplore any such suggestions of violence. You know full well that I write in metaphor when I say that you do not need to be lynched, just given enough rope!

      You are right though, you do generate a visceral anger in many people who use cannabis. Eventually, I hope to be able to explain this to you.

      I certainly do not wish to destroy you. I know you will think it an outrageous ambition but I intend to convert you!

      • Stephen says:

        I wouldn’t be so quick as to assume it’s Peter Hitchens anyone can put “Peter Hitchens” as the name and spew nonsense.

      • Peter Hitchens says:

        Cannabis users are a scourge on society, hang them all I say

        . . . You there! Boy! Fetch me another brandy!

    • Stephen says:

      Firstly complaining to the PCC doesn’t suggest he wants you silenced but in fact wants you to stop spreading lies and make your pitiful case in a correct manner with facts and evidence. Instead of throwing about claims of it being poisonous despite being relatively mild in toxicity (far less toxic than alcohol for instance).

      Secondly whining about ONE person on a website as if he represents the “pro-dope lobby” (I assume you mean the pro legalisation of cannabis lobby) is quite simply beyond a joke.

      On your point about lung cancer, back then you could say “look at this selection of people they all happen to be regular tobacco users” could you say the same for all those with mental illnesses? That they are all regular cannabis users?

      And by regular I mean at LEAST weekly despite the disgraceful Daily Mail article claiming ONE cannabis joint can increase the risk of mental illnesses by 50% or something ridiculous.

      Interesting how you compare the legal tobacco which unfortunately many cannabis users in this country mix into their cannabis joints to the illegal, far more safer cannabis.

      There are some like myself, for instance, a sometimes regular, sometimes completely without, (like the past two months for instance, because as you see, unlike other drugs including the tobacco you compared to cannabis, there are no withdrawal symptoms) who know the difference between drugs which are damaging for the body and mind (alcohol, tobacco, etc) and the few which are relatively harmless (cannabis, caffeine) IF used responsibly.

      I do admit there are idiots on both sides of the debate (perhaps a lot more on your side) and there are undoubtedly many who misuse cannabis. However just as I feel for dangerous drugs such as tobacco and alcohol, legalisation is the best way forward as only then, unless we implicate an immoral system, similar to the one you have wet fantasies over (which wouldn’t even completely stamp out usage and would in fact bring about several costs including enforcement time and tax payer money) can we maintain control over cannabis and other drug misuse in this country.

  7. Con-Tester says:

    We should listen to Hitchens. All Rastafarians and most Amsterdamians are psychos who’d be a boon to mankind laying railroad tracks… 🙄

  8. OMG Mr Hitchens , do you ever give up ? Peter R is going to rip you to shreds in Oct , not with his hands ( though that would be nice to see as well ) but with up to date FACTS and EVIDENCE . You should think about this meeting alot and take it very very seriously because after this your whole career will be looked at as a joke and what ever you choose to write about after will not be took seriously by anybody ever again . You will not be able to hide behind 50 year old studies or quotes from Debra Bell on this one . I cannot wait to see you get up and leave 5 minutes into the debate when Peter R and the audience laugh you out of the building when you try the good old tactic of propaganda , misinformation , studies that have not been proved and just plain lies that you spurt on a daily basis . Have you not realised by now that the only reason you still have a job is because of the “dope lobby ” leaving comments on the mails site and your blog . If the “dope lobby ” didnt comment there would be NO comments . You should really thank us for keeping you in your job !

    • I totally agree with this comment, PH is totally aware of this and i feel feel this is the main reason he has taken to trolling the cannabis community.

      • We can all see from his ” stories ” because thats what they are ” stories ” no facts , no evidence and all based on hear say and media propaganda or as i call it FICTION , that he is just fishing and trying to cause trouble to get noticed . He just hasnt seen that he has been noticed and is being laughed at !! He is a bigot and anyone that doesnt see things his way is beneath him and if being homosexual was still illegal he would be writing stories slagging gay people and using the word AIDS and children like he does with psychosis and children . I do know one thing though , if i was pissing off a couple off million people by telling lies i would be scared to leave the house . But i must thank you Peter H for showing the public the truth on cannabis , because anyone that reads your stories can see they are BS and in turn they look up the facts on line for themselves and discover the truth . So thank you Peter Hitchens for gaining the greasy dope lobby even more support

  9. Brad Rumble says:

    I smoke weed and I suffered from borderline personality and depression, self harmed for years. Smoking weed is THE only thing that has allowed me to function as a normal person. Without it I would be one of those people where if you looked at me wrong odds are I’d be coming straight for you (and smelling of alcohol) Weed has stopped any of the detrimental effects of my disorder and has allowed me to become an upstanding citizen, the kind who respects his elders, is well educated, not suicidal or homicidal just an outright better person. The guy who wrote the original article is clearly a bum bandit of the current gov’t. I hope in the scenario ‘football hooligans are approaching you, would you rather they were drunk, or stoned???’ His answer would be the first, because his blind faith in the word of our leaders is merely blind conviction and if he so wishes to recite the lines they gave him then so be it, he is playing his part. WHEN the facts come out to EVERYONE and weed is legalised, this guy will be so bitter and twisted that nobody listened to him whilst the rest of us are smoking a doob and enjoying fine literature, art, music, celluloid, discussions on philosophy and the universe and generally loving life pain free…I’ll allow Hitchens his misguided comments, when he comes up with empirical evidence to support his claims (it’ll be a LOOOOONG wait eh?) I will consider it an arguement as opposed to an extended version of his opinion.

  10. Free Radical says:

    Thank you, Peter Reynolds, for your tireless pursuit of truth, and this little fox-hunt in particular. I can’t help thinking that p. hichenz has a bit of a mental disorder that keeps him from seeing an alternative opinion, let alone the truth. Also would explain his constant projection of mental illness on everyone else.
    Good luck in the debate, Mr. Reynolds.

  11. Peter Hitchens says:

    I agree with you all. It is evident that I should really take my facts from researchers that weren’t biased in any way, or manipulated by the anti-cannabis governments of the past. If not that, then at least watch the documentary “The Union”.

    I am scourge.

  12. Billy Harcourt says:

    Peter Hitchens doesn’t accept the theory of evolution either, you know.

  13. Leo says:

    Mr. Hitchens is an idiot. There is no arguing with fools for they are too intellectually challenged to enable them to see the ludicrous nature of their feeble arguments.

    Mr. Hitchens truly believes that his drug (alcohol) is better than another drug and therefore, he also believes that he has the right to dictate what an adult ingests. Mr. Hitchens shrugs off the fact that alcohol is by far the most widely misused drug on the market and is also the most dangerous in terms of hospital admissions.

    He neglects to understand that nature is perfect. Nature evolved the plants which make the drugs. To believe that one is in a position to declare that nature is wrong and therefore, nature needs to have human developed extinction programs in order to improve it; is surely one of the most stupid and intolerably arrogant beliefs to hold.

    Mr. Hitchens is a simpleton who directly contributes to our cause through his self-righteous idiocy. I’m looking forward to Peter Reynolds annihilation of the simpletons belief system in the forthcoming debate.

  14. Peter Hitchens says:

    I’ll leave it at that then. I always like to try facts and reason on my opponents, to see if they work. Obviously they don’t here, as i am dealing with zealots. I think these responses (along with the foolish impersonations) speak for themselves.

    Mr Reynolds’s PCC complaint fell because the PCC ( as would any independent body) swiftly accepted that I had good grounds for linking cannabis to mental illness.

    If he merely wanted to disagree with me, then he had means of doing so. I express many opinions with which people disagree. Nobody has ever used the PCC , apart from Mr Reynolds, to complain about my opinions. That, I think, is because they grasp that it is not a body for regulating opinions, and indeed probably accept (as I suspect Mr Reynolds does not) that a free society should not have a body which regulates opinions.

    My position on alcohol, which I drink rarely and in small quantities, is not as stated by some contributors here. They can find details on my indexed blog, but in sum I believe that there should be tight legal restrctions on its sale and severe criminal punishments for acts of violence or dangerous irresponsibility committed under its influence. If it were illegal, I would (as I do with the equally dangerous cannabis) support the retention of those laws. If it were newly invented I would campaign for it to be made illegal. Different circumstances require differnet solutions. My position is entirely consistent. I shall not post here again.

    • Why do you always say stuff like ” ill leave it at that then ” then you write another story about cannabis ? Is that your way off not dealing with the questions that you cannot answer . And why do you need to moderate the comments on your blog as well if you only use facts and are 100% right on what you say ? I can under stand you deleting the nasty comments but I have left several comments on your blog asking you questions on what you have wrote and they never get posted even though i ask with good manners and no swear words , that says to me that you only select the comments that you can answer which shows me that you are very narrow minded and have already made your mind up no matter what the facts and evidence says . Or you have took it that far you have already seen the truth but its too late to turn back on what you have already stated . What do you expect will happen Peter when you attack not just recreational cannabis users but the cancer , aids , MS , ME suffers etc who use cannabis as a PROVEN pain killer and to improve their appetites when going threw chemotherapy and give them a better standard of live . So lets see if you answer my questions here because as ive said your blog is a waste of time and you only post the comments that you can answer .

    • Leo says:

      Well Peter Hitchens, I also only use cannabis in moderation yet you feel it appropriate to continue your anal prejudice against me and billions like me. Your contradictory character is plain for all to see. Actually, the depths of your limitations made me laugh out loud. You use alcohol yet would campaign to ban it. Well before putting other peoples lives in order, One should make sure their own lives are succint with their opinions. To put it another way, practice what you preach and go teetotal as before you do absolutely nothing you say can possibly be taken seriously; if it were ever likely to be, which is doubtful.

  15. Peter Reynolds says:

    The impersonations are very obvious Peter.

    There is undoubtedly a link between cannabis and mental illness, just as there is between any psychoactive substance ranging from LSD through to the relatively innocuous such as sugar. The scientific fact is that cannabis is well towards the lower end of this scale at about the same level of risk as coffee. Now that’s not to say that there may not be a very small group who are for whatever reason susceptible to cannabis. The really issue here is of comparative harms. We do not criminalise peope for eating peanuts nor nutmeg nor pepper nor thyme, mint, oregano, even though in some peopele they may have catastrophic effects.

    As I have already explained, I do not use the PCC to complain about opinions. “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. …”, etc, etc

    It is when you spill over into factual inaccuracy or totally disproprtionate hyperbole that I will use every available means to call you to account.

    Much of the hysteria and prejudice against cannabis and cannabis users is entirely the creation of the Daily Mail and it has built this propaganda campaign over some period precisely by “inaccurate, misleading and distorted” reporting.

    I made another PCC complaint only yesterday when a Daily Mail journalist wrote: “When the Blair government reduced it to a Class C drug, overwhelming evidence from scientists about its psychotic properties swiftly caused a U-turn.”.

    Now this is entirely false. There was no “overwhelming evidence” at all. In fact the scientists on the ACMD were agreed that cannabis should remain in class C., The only thing “overwhelming” was the campaign of misinformation and deception run by the Daily Mail and the wholly improper influence it had on politicians. In fact, what was happening was that the Daily Mail was seeking to reinforce its own propaganda by piling more misinformation on what it had already published.

    This, I am afraid, is exactly what you do. It has nothing to do with your opinion but with falsehood and deception.

    I agree with your views on the control of alcohol, perhaps more than you might imagine. For instance, I do not think the use of any drug should be mitigation for an offence but in fact should be viewed as an aggravating factor. Alcohol is a particular promoter of violence whereas, despite your frequent innuendo, cannabis has exactly the opposite effect.

    I cannot get into dialogue with you on your blog because, for whatever reason, my comments are not published. Now you say you will not post here again. That is a pity.

    I look forward to Salford then when I hope we can continue this.

  16. Billy Harcourt says:

    Peter Hitchens would campaign for alcohol to be made illegal if it were newly-invented?! Can you imagine how dreary his world would be? There’d probably be no sex either, or at least it would be strictly regulated. A Hitchens Marshal would be posted into the boudoir of every couple in the land, to check that they were married before any hanky-panky took place. We should all be relieved that moral authoritarians like Hitchens are a thing of the past.

  17. Doobz says:

    Peter Hitchens seems to think that individuals who use illegal drugs are responsible for harm coming to innocent (ie non-illegal-drug-taking) members of the community.
    He also denies there is a war on drugs.

    This is complete nonsense.

    In reality, prohibition enforcement is the evil act that foists misery onto all of the community (both illegal drug-users and non-illegal drug-users), creating victims of innocent people.

    Prohibition supporters generally fail to understand that their desire is substituting the scenario of adults making informed decisions about what regulated substances they want to ingest for a scenario where random non-drug users are killed or have their lives ruined by the predictable results when you refuse to tolerated a popular activity.

    Mr Hitchens, do you think it’s right that a father with a job, wife and children should be incarcerated for taking certain drugs?
    The children are the victims here. Why should they get punished for the actions of their father?

    Prohibition creates a constant stream of civilian casualties, which would be eliminated if drug distribution were taken out of the hands of criminal.

  18. Mike Irwin says:

    The guy’s a moron, you’ve all read the bullshit he writes – why are you indulging him in the pretense of intelligent debate? You wouldn’t kneel down and and discuss your footwear with a cockroach would you?

    Hitchens uses words like “facts” and “reason” or even “evidence” but he values none of these, it’s just lip service by a rabid, preaching retard who self pleasures nightly with a tipple of brandy to the joys of authoritarian conservatism

  19. Tom says:

    People are entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts. We don’t mind you having opinions, although we want to change them. Its the same with religion. Scientists don’t mind people believing on god, contrary to what a lot of people think. What annoys them is when people say the science is wrong because of what religion says, such as when it comes to the question of the age of the earth. What Mr. Hitchens is doing is broadcasting his facts rather than opinions. This is wrong

  20. Ray says:

    “You should think about this meeting alot and take it very very seriously because after this your whole career will be looked at as a joke and what ever you choose to write about after will not be took seriously by anybody ever again . You will not be able to hide behind 50 year old studies or quotes from Debra Bell on this one . ”

    You shouldn’t be so optimistic. I’d be surprised if it even gets reported in the press. I believe he went head to head before with the same Mr Reynolds and it wasn’t reported. Another populist hatemonger will be here 50 years from now anyway, spouting the same rubbish. These people rule the roost and they always will. After reading his column for years I’m convinced he’s addicted to hatred. Ditto with Melanie Phillips. It’s no surprise they were both on the hard left.

  21. Peter Reynolds says:

    Peter Reynolds -v- Peter Hitchens 18th October 2011

    Salford University Debating Society

    10 min opening speeches
    Open debate
    5 min closing speeches
    Vote

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