Friday, May 25, 2012

The Legality of the Spices

As many of you know I am Colombian, and opposite to what many of you see it, the cliche of someone who smokes and acts almost as a hippie it's just a mere fallacy but I am also someone who grew up way too close to the so called Plan Colombia and the effects of controlled substance over individuals and entire families.

It's a long and difficult topic to speak about it since it goes from the psychological level up to the legality of the substances. Having a series of conversations with my brother, we ended up in the same position as we talked before, he ended up saying that legality could prevent more dead's or suffering because of the legal issues but my went to the point where if is the safest option to emulate the same position as Portugal and decriminalize drugs by offering State help?. Are any of the solutions or the possible points we saw do they could solve the problem?, we don't. The reason of our reasonable doubt lies in the problematic that probably the governments don't see the human aspect of the problematic but rather a series of statistics about the use of controlled subtance (being illicit or no) are major problems, where alcohol being the number option as well cigarettes and marijuana (plus it's derived products) because of an array of reasons regarding the users.

So, prohibition could be an answer?. Maybe not, even so far in the year 2012 the median even with the decline over the last two years regarding the drop on the use on the youth population (age 12-16) and young adults (age 17 to 30) shows a common factor where the idea of prohibition attracts more users. Maybe, my brother was right, the eradication of the sales could be based on abolishing prohibition, but yet is not a full solution as if we go on the on the emotional side that I exposed why have to deal with similar problems regarding alcoholism but that are related to other substances.

Plane eradicating illicit crops
Colombia is one living contradiction, a contradiction that can be blamed on how the media (local and international) on how the handle the issues regarding the conflict. Much of the two major channels they tend to over sensationalize the news and the international media when they cover on a local level they only show the worst of the worse in order to sell on the different domestic markets. The harsh penalties on a national level they show some really interesting results but they tend to polarize on the spectrum where unscrupulous individuals and the insurgent groups are still trying to generate income through exportation, the phenomenon of exporting the drugs is being diminished but at the same time it's creating a side where violence is turning the panoroma for worse, but the influence of the hard economical times is given people a more difficult chance to have a decent life. So again, legalization could an option?. Emulate what Colorado is doing even if it defies Federal Laws in order to create income and stop the violence?. Probably it could work but marijuana it's the least of the problems as there are different alkaloids who are putting the government efforts on jeopardy.

But there is another issue where not many governments had put a control and a contingency plan for the abuser; the analogues to cannabinoids or as they are known in the market, Spice, herbal incenses, legal herbs or the name that it's advertised in the country or county you live in. The base for the different brands of "synthetic pot" comes from an analgesic from the naphthoylinole family, that acts an full agonist for CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors which emulates the effect of THC leading to is use in the synthetic weed. Syntactic weed, as is known (or Spice or Kronic) are a variety of herbal mixtures that produce similar experiences to cannabis and even if the safety of these produce haven't been tested yet, they are sold as "safe" or legal alternatives to the drugs even if they defy local policies regarding the consumption of these products.

There is a mild hypocrisy as our speech develops because we have to points, do people who are hook to these substances need help and they could get a chance to avoid this vice if the government goes on a legal level, to make marijuana more legal than something toxic as the cannabinoids? or society is would be essentially fucked?.  Probably the best start that we could focus is on the Netherlands.

Marijuana Bar "Speak Easy"
To give a small synopsis on the legal status of one of the first countries who went soft on weed, they have a very soft approach but yet hard regarding quantities, production and consumption of marijuana. It's often tolerated on certain places as coffeshops where the rules are: No advertising of the place, sales of hard drugs are prohibited, no sales to anyone under 18, no transaction beyond 5 grams and no public disturbances; similar as the U.S.A. dispensaries. Even if the law is softer on the side of the consumption of something that it's still illegal, business who violate any of these can close for 3 months up to an indeterminate period.

The laws even go further in putting small locks such as coffeshops can not be around 250 meters of Schools or they will be closed as well for tourists who to Netherlands regarding the drug tourism. Maybe the United States could implement some of these easy rules to break the different circles regarding the breeding and trafficking. One piece of information that my grandfather told me when I was younger Genetic predisposition is the key of the addiction in people and anything can turn you into an addict if you have the correct sequence into the D.NA. I can say that he was right, because years later I did experience on flesh an blood what he said and yet to this day I do believe in what he said.

So, do we have to treat everyone as potential addicts to control drugs as marijuana?. In my own opinion, no, we can't not see society as potential addicts but yet we can see different people, individuals who could have a problem based on family history, which should be the key to eradicate this terrible business and generate more public treatments for the people who wants to kick their habits, because smoking is not different from drinking, and they are not good for the body on a long term.

Yet, Spices, AK, Scooby-Snax, Kronic or whatever you want to call them are more of a major problem than the problem itself because of the chemical compounds and the denial from the users that is just mere tobacco or organic herbs, because they feel a placebo effect regarding what they smoke and probably there is some enjoyment as every other controlled substance because it creates an effect of bliss or serenity regarding the user experiences. Should it be legal?, It should be controlled and there should be alternatives to find solutions to these old problem because we aren't born depending  to any substance and the treatments should be free.

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