How do you win the war on drugs? Ban everything.
Overturning centuries of British legal tradition, the Psychoactive Substances Bill – nearing the “report stage” in Parliament – will place a blanket ban on any substance not included on an approved list of exemptions.
MPs are currently tabling amendments on which substances should be exempted from the bill. The window of opportunity closing fast, high-profile gay groups recently met with the Home Office to discuss the possible exemption of the legal high known as “poppers.”
Poppers are a type of alkyl nitrate that when inhaled relaxes the “smooth muscles” of the body. They are especially popular with gay men, for reasons I’ll leave to you to figure out.
Simon Topham, Chief Executive of Millivres Prowler Group (MPG), called on liberal ministers to table their amendments on behalf of the gay community.
“In my opinion, poppers are not the main or even a major substance use problem in society, and the inclusion of poppers in the bill has been rushed through without proper scientific evidence or debate. We appeal to Labour, SNP and Lib Dem MPs to table their own amendments on behalf of the gay community.”
Topham’s gripe highlights the absurdity of the bill, which would require an encyclopedic list of exemptions to ensure that otherwise legal substances are not unintentionally made illegal.
In its current form, the list of exemptions is far from exhaustive – only alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, food and medical products duck prohibition. Let’s not forget the very important addition of homeopathic products and herbal medicines, which the Home Secretary has confirmed will be talked over extensively in Parliament.
The government has permitted the use of sugar pills – how very thoughtful and reassuring. But what of incense and scented candles? What of perfume and air fresheners? What of the aroma of a flower, the scent of a woman? All of which are “capable of producing a psychoactive effect,” all of which are not exempted. There are countless more examples.
The choice is yours: you can either lobby the Home Office for an exemption on your drug of choice as Simon Topham has, or you can fight this bastard of a bill to its dying breath.
Hint: opt for the latter.