No drug that has been made illegal in the UK has EVER been decriminalised. Consequently, a massive part of the fight to maintain cognitive liberty is preventing new chemicals being added to the list of controlled substances.
Legal highs currently include a whole range of wonderful entheogens, alongside this is an ever-expanding range of new chemicals allowing experiences that previous generation simply had no access to. In many ways, this is a golden age: any psychonaut can order shamanic herbs, witch potions, or the latest scientific breakthroughs from the four corners of the earth with a view to exploring and expanding their mind.
In 2010 we saw mephedrone get banned, we can blame the government and the media, but in truth it was the then-users of mephedrone who share much of the responsibility. This article discusses what we can do to stop currently legal drugs being made illegal.
1) Keep it on the down and low
If you find a drug or entheogen you like, there’s no need to scream and shout about it. If you set a drug up as ‘a big deal’ then the establishment will treat it as a big deal. If you find a drug you like, tell your friends about it, but under no circumstances tell the police, members of the news-media, or any other people in positions of authority about it. Basically, there’s a witch-hunt going on, and you are the witch! Act accordingly.
2) Use responsibly
It was irresponsible use of mephedrone that lead to it entering the public sphere. Don’t mix legal highs with dangerous drugs like alcohol: alcohol is always a recipe for disaster and when things go wrong it will be the legal high that gets pounced on by the media. Don’t give your legal highs to friends who are already drunk, or to friends who wont be able to handle them. Research legal highs thoroughly before use, many of them aren’t party drugs so don’t use them as party drugs!
3) Sell it Responsibly
If you sell legal highs, do your best to keep them out of the hands of people under 18. The media like nothing more than to write a story on some kid getting messed up by a chemical; playing on the fears of their parent-readership is how they make their living. It is because most voters are parents that the laws end up being paternalistic.
3) Keep it out of the media
When it comes to keeping drugs legal: no news is definitely good news. Politicians are eager to make a name for themselves by looking hard on drugs to win over voters: any drug that enters the media will become target to such political opportunism. Refuse to talk to the media about any bad drug experiences, disrupt the process of fear-generation. Make sure currently legal drugs do not become embroiled in any scandals, deaths etc. If you work in the media, do your best to keep new drugs out of the spotlight, if they are forced into the public domain, represent them fairly instead of emphasising only the risks.
4) Fight Proposed Changes
When new drugs do enter the media spotlight, when politicians start to think there is a career-furthering opportunity to look tough on drugs, that is precisely when voices need to be heard objecting to new laws. In recent years our friends in America have successfully fought to keep Salvia Divinorum legal, if it weren’t for their hard work it is likely that Salvia would be illegal in the UK right now.
5) Damage Limitation
Legal highs may have risks, just like all human activities. Since we know there’s a massive double-standard that gets applied when things go wrong and chemicals are involved: it’s better to downplay negative consequences than to make a big deal out of them. If you have a bad time, just shut up and don’t do it again – don’t ruin it for every one else!
In the name of cognitive liberty each of us has a duty to protect the freedom of all other citizens in the UK. Understanding the political and media processes that lead to drug-banning is vital if you wish to keep your favourite legal high legal.