“If someone at a party urinates on the floor and breaks windows, that’s normal, but if he’s sitting alone with a woollen cap on his head giggling, then call us.”
This is what a police officer said a few years ago in connection with crisis training at my university.
If cannabis were legal, the guy in the cap would be able to giggle in peace. Is this what the candidates in the European elections who support legalisation want? Are there any other reasons?
In the model of controlled legalisation the state - or the EU - would organise the distribution and possibly the production of cannabis.
Supporters feel that this would lead to good things.
The state would get tax revenue, and the criminal element would lose money.
Contacts with users of hard drugs would come to an end.
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction recently published a 700-page report on cannabis. According to the report, cannabis causes the least addiction of all commonly-used intoxicants and is the least harmful in its long-term effects on health.
Opponents feel that legal cannabis would be one more poison in Finland, which already has its share of problems with intoxicants. They also feel that legalisation would lead to more use.
At least I do not know what to think.
The likes of European Parliament candidates Alho and Relander are taking risks by taking a stand.
I would have liked to tell the police officer back in my university days that I would rather watch a giggling person at a party than someone who breaks windows and urinates around the place.
But I didn’t have the nerve.
Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 19.5.2009