JHB: “And let’s speak to Peter Hitchens, he’s a columnist for the Mail on Sunday, he’s also the author of a book called ‘The War We Never Fought: The British Establishment’s Surrender to Drugs.’ Peter this is exactly the sort of thing you were warning about, this flooding of the country with super-strength cannabis, the drug that was perhaps seen by many and used by many in our, the British establishment in perhaps their younger days. Seen as quite benign, no, certainly whether it was then, it certainly isn’t now, is it?.”
PH: ” No, I don’t think it ever was, marijuana has had some of the best spin-doctors in human history, working to give it an image completely misleading. It’s a very dangerous drug because it actually is increasingly correlated with severe, irreversible mental illness. It’s also increasingly correlated with violent crime and yet, people still refer to it as a peaceful drug and as a soft drug. A soft drink is a non-alcoholic drink, a soft cop is preferable to a hard cop and the whole idea of it, that it’s somehow not really even a drug and many of, I think, Sir Robin Murray’s patients who come into his clinics with rather worrying symptoms following having used it, asked if they take drugs say ‘No, no no no.’ But when asked if they smoke marijuana they say ‘Yes, all the time.’ But they don’t even regard it as a drug, it is as I say one of the most skilful propaganda and PR campaigns ever seen, some people even think it’s a medicine, and it’s extraordinary how the British establishment in general, the media establishment particularly, the political establishment as well, has been captured by this propaganda and as a result have now for 40 years and more, been completely failing to interdict its use. They make various flailing public relations driven attempts to pretend that they’re trying to limit its sale and supply, but it’s very very difficult these days to get arrested, let alone prosecuted, and let alone seriously punished for the actually quite significant amount of possession.”
JHB: And one of the reasons for that, of course, was a bunch of middle-class children who were getting done for possession and their parents didn’t want them, particularly in the political media world, didn’t want them to have a criminal record.”
PH: “Well too bad, their parents should have told them not to commit crimes. The fact is possession of cannabis is a crime under the laws of this country and indeed those laws are backed up by international treaties, which prescribe that it should be a crime. But you are quite right that many, many influential middle-class people did smoke dope in their university days, regarded it as a sort of right of passage of the cultural revolution, allowed their children to do so and continue to pretend that it’s harmless. But also behind this is a huge billionaire campaign for legalisation, which is really approaching success at the moment.
JHB: “Yes, there has been quite a campaign on that for many years, goodness me.. “
PH “No, it’s intensified greatly Julie, the recent passage of Proposition 64 in California, which was openly backed by billionaire backers which contained provisions, for instance, for the advertising of marijuana once it was legal, showed you which way this is going. These people want marijuana to be as available as cigarettes once were.
JH: “Why is it relevant the people that are backing this are billionaires?”
PH: “Well, because I think you’ll find that there is an awful lot of money to be made out of the legalisation of cannabis. In fact billions and billions of pounds, just as huge amounts of money being made out of the other two legal poisons in our society.”
JHB: “Ok, look, I very much came from the same view as you on the issue of drugs. I’m very ‘zero tolerance,’ got no time for it and no interest in it myself and my, goodness me, even if it was a benign drug, one of the main reasons I don’t like it, is that it makes people incredibly dull and boring. You have a really fun evening, everyone starts smoking dope and suddenly they stop having interesting conversations.
PH: “Don’t make light of it too much.”
JHB: “No no no no, I just said ‘even if’ “
PH: This ‘dull and boring’ stuff is quite funny, but I get stories across my desk over and over again of people’s lives utterly ruined…”
JHB: “O’ absolutely.”
PH: “… by their, particularly by their teenage children taking up cannabis and being irreversibly damaged in the most horrible ways.
JHB “No, I completely agree with you.”
PH: “So ‘dull and boring’ doesn’t really, it’s like saying cigarettes, you know ‘make me a bit wheezy.’ Cigarettes will give you lung cancer, emphysema and heart disease, and will kill you terribly, so making a joke out of smoking doesn’t help that warning.
JHB: ” No, I wasn’t making a joke out of it, I was saying ‘even if it were.’ Can I go back to the point I wanted to make though?
PH: *inaudible (volume on mic been turned down?)
JHB: ” O’ Peter, let me ask you a question my love, it makes it so much easier to do an interview.”
PH: ” No, it makes it so much easier for me if I’m allowed to make my point without being interrupted, but hey we all can’t get what we want, can we?
JHB: “Peter, you interrupted me, I’m trying to ask you a question. Ok I want to ask you though, given that so many other countries are looking at legalisation and going forward with legalisation, many states in America legalisation, there’s a lot of pressure for it happing here, do you think that the evidence will mount up in those countries that will suggest that this is a terrible way to go ahead and this is something that will then stop this happening here. Or do you think that there will just be this pressure from all these people who just think this is a harmless drug, the pressure, the tidal wave will be so great that there will be legalisation of cannabis eventually in this country as well?”
PH: “Well if only evidence were treated fairly by a completely unbiased media and establishment, that might well be so. We’ve had many many studies going back to Swedish army study, and the Dunedin Study and the work, as I say, anybody can look upon the internet of Professor Sir Robin Murray on the correlation between cannabis use and mental illness, which you would have thought would make people quite worried as it is, but the truth is that we have had de-facto legalisation for so long, the effects of it are so evident in our society. At the moment, unless people in the media, such as yourself, are more responsible and more serious about this matter, and stop treating this thing as a minor issue. We’re stuck.
JHB “Peter, excuse me, I haven’t. I’ve always been anti-drugs, I’ve written numerous columns about it, I’ve talked about it on the radio.”
PH: “You talked over me.”
PH: “You did a bit, and when I tried to explain why, you talked over me and I was unable to explain why, you didn’t listen to what I said.
JHB: “O’ Peter I can’t be bothered to do this, no I can’t be bothered anymore. It’s so painful, seriously, I was agreeing with you for goodness sake man. I wasn’t talking over you, you interrupted me and I carried on talking. I know I talk over people when I’m disagreeing, I’m going to put my hands up to that, but I wasn’t making the point you were trying to make, which was you were trying to correct me on a point I haven’t made. O’ let’s go to an update on the travel and we’ll talk about something else, and I’ll be an irresponsible journalist forever more. It’s 9:17”