Last week’s ban on a few legal highs will certainly do more to harm the public than keeping them legal. Here are 10 ways in which every sensible legal highs user has just been shafted:
#1 - Don't associate with dodgy people
Selling legal highs can be done by a legitimate business. Since these businesses aren’t breaking the law, engaging in any other kind of illegal behaviour (guns, violence, money laundering, etc) is a massive risk. People that deal illegal drugs are already breaking the law — if they get caught, they’re going to prison for a long time. Breaking the law a second time is no longer such a big deal, especially if the price is right. Not only do you get the safety of dealing with an organisation that doesn’t want to break the law, but you’re also not seen with any dodgy characters, whether that’s meeting up on a street corner, visiting their house or them turning up at your place at a suspicious frequency.
#2 - Comparison Shopping
We all live in hope that one day we could type in RateMyWeedDealer.com, find the best prices in town and arrange for a delivery. Fortunately, as customers of legitimate products, legal highs fans can shop around to their heart’s content. Selling something for more than you should be? Then no one will buy it! It’s as simple as that, so, not only can customers get a better deal by shopping around, this behaviour also encourages healthy competition between legal highs vendors. Another plus for the customer!
#3 - Buyer Protection
Perhaps RateMyWeedDealer.com is a long way off, but what about just ringing your dealer to complain about something? Inadequate packaging? Does the product weigh half as much as you were promised? Unfortunately, I doubt your dealer gives a shit. Luckily, for legal highs consumers, most sites out there have some form of customer service, and if they can’t resolve things, facilities for refunds or chargebacks exist to protect the customer.
#4 - A Strength For Everyone
The sheer number of similar products available mean there is usually a strength for every occasion. Want a bit of an energy boost for work? Caffeine! Want to go to a rave all night? Synthetics! Want to go to a rave but it’s not going to be a “big one” because you’ve got work in the morning, and, let’s face it, your joints and muscles aren’t what they used to be? Something herbal!
I think asking an illegal drug dealer for something cheaper and less effective would be a world first.
#5 - Diversity
Not only is there a range in price and strength, there’s also an incredible range of effects available. Clear headed stimulation, total euphoria, intense rushes, powerful relaxants, shit that makes you laugh — whatever you want, there’s probably something available somewhere that will do the trick. In the world of illegal drugs, that kind of product diversity could only be maintained via a database of epic proportions containing your millions of “hookups” and your own data entry guy.
#6 - Passing A Drug Test
Some people might thing it’s unfair that their co-workers can party all night on a litre of vodka, sleep for a few hours in a bathtub alongside their own sick and eventually drive to work still pissed, while they get fired for smoking a bit of weed after work. Sure, people should get fired if they let their abuse of any substance interfere with their work, but some people may feel that what they get up to in their own time is their own business. These people may feel drug tests are massive breach of their privacy, so it’s a good job that they have a legal alternative to turn to, since they shouldn’t show up on drug tests.
#7 - Friends More Likely To Do The Right Thing
People that overdose on illegal drugs will sometimes go without the treatment they need to avoid any legal trouble for themselves or their friends. Perhaps a friend might not tell the doctor what someone else has taken for fear of getting their mate into trouble. With legal highs, there’s no risk of prosecution so a) people can fully disclose what they’ve taken and could even present the doc with the original packaging and b) the quantity of chemicals in pills or powders will be consistent between batches…
#8 - Batch Consistency
Not only can doctors share notes on specific products, but users can too. It’s no good trying to compare ecstasy pills from different ends of the country, since the contents are likely to vary wildly, even if they share the same stamp. With legal highs, that’s a different story. Consistency between brands and batches facilitates a great deal of discussion not only on how good they are, but also harm reduction. Occasionally manufacturers do change their ingredients, but it only takes a short while for the changes to reach the entire country.
#9 - The Government Could Learn A Thing Or Two
Straight away, the fact that the legal highs industry even exists tells us that people want to get high and that people think the current drug laws are stupid. There’s one massive lesson that could be learned from it though — why not use it as a model for eventually legalising cannabis and the rest? Instead of trying to ban every new substance before anyone has died, why not look at regulating their sales with similar legislation to alcohol and tobacco? If we as a country could get this right with legal highs, we could see if it works or not and them maybe think of abolishing our current bullshit excuse for a drugs law.
#10 - Taxes
Here’s a list of taxes that illegal drug dealers don’t pay:
- Personal Income Tax
- National Insurance
- Corporation Tax
If legal highs remained legal and were taxed like alcohol and tobacco, the government would even more money on top of the taxes above that they already receive. These products are relatively harmless compared with alcohol, for example, which hospitalises 1200 people a day and costs the NHS at least £2 billion to deal with, so a tax on them wouldn’t be paying for the damage they’d cause to society — they’d be making the government a massive profit to spend on more doctors, nurses, medical research and fucking moats!
Nice one, G’ Brown!