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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Friday, October 04, 2013

We are living in tumultuous times. This world around us is fraught with conflict, both from without our various borders, and from within the confines of each of our separate countries. There is mass confusion, and our leaders are apparently not equipped to deal, either on a macrocosmic or microcosmic scale with the problems they are facing. Misinformation is being tossed about like confetti, confusing and confounding the man or woman on the street, and the time for exceedingly clear thought and vision is upon us.

One would think, considering the plethora of medical reports which have been released (and in many cases just coming to light after mainstream suppression) that the issue of legalizing cannabis and it's derivatives would be a simple step towards decriminalizing a significant number of the population. Yet still our legislators drag their feet and worry the old spurious arguments as does an old dog with a favorite bone. They ignore recent (and historical) evidence which demonstrate cannabis is not a 'gateway drug'.. at least no more than are cigarettes and alcohol, while encouraging our physicians to prescribe palliative drugs for chronic conditions, drugs which are in themselves addictive and which have contraindications too frightening to consider. In fact, the campaign of misinformation concerning cannabis and it's effects has such impetus, GP's and neurologists are truly afraid to become advocates for change. Our legislators are equally timorous towards the issue of changing the Law, for fear of being branded 'careless and renegade', and cast from the comfort of the Party Line.

Let's propose a possible scenario, which on the surface may only apply to Scotland, or perhaps Quebec if the Separatists had their way in that Canadian Province.
We have a 'yes' vote for leaving the Union; we have a new country, which has already been told by Brussels that it cannot expect instant recognition by the EU, nor expect immediate entry into that group.
The promises made in the preamble to the taking of the vote concerning 'sustainable and exportable energy' have been shown to be insufficient in actuality to be the basis of a viable exchequer, which can continue to provide the level of Social Assistance currently demanded by the numbers of unemployed. Now this would include those claiming Disability, or Incapacity Benefits, and those on Old Age Pensions. Nor could the infrastructure for this 'energy' development scheme be put in place before real hardship for those who currently claim those benefits reared it's ugly head.  What then for this fledgling country?
Now, supposing another completely new industry was put in place; an industry which provides employment even for those who are physically incapable of entering a normal workplace. Suppose a product which demanded a minimal amount of physical effort to maintain output was brought into the picture.
Such is hemp, and the uses for refined hemp fiber are legion (we will examine the various uses at a later date, but information on materials as diverse as hemp paper and 'hempcrete' are currently available online). Even those confined to a wheelchair, could be granted an allotment which could be seeded by the individual, and harvested by the government. A new industry; a new source of government revenue which, through sales to a foreign market  and for the use of established home industries could expand our sphere of self-sustainability. Imagine a pharmaceutical movement within this new country, which produced medicines which replaced those currently being prescribed, which did not have the terrible contraindications of those currently in vogue. Imagine the decriminalization of a significant demographic and the reduction of those being maintained in prisons for possession or consumption of a substance which harms no-one. Imagine the tax revenue should the government control the distribution of both cannabis and hemp derivatives.
While it would be irresponsible to declare 'the possibilities are endless!', it is equally irresponsible for our Legislators to ignore the reality of this issue and dismiss it out of hand.

We in what has become known as the 'cannabis community' seek not to destroy a way of life, but to improve upon it. We should not be criminalized for using medication for treatment of what ails us. But more importantly, we should not be marginalized.

This is an issue which has been dealt with by countries on the Continent, and should be addressed here in the UK, in Canada, in the US, without preconceived or inherited antipathy, but with clear thought and an eye to the advantages.

It took an Amendment to the American Constitution to repeal the Volstead Act, but it was passed. One would hope it would not be such a complicated issue to legalize cannabis in either a free Scotland, or in the Union as a whole.

The issue is in our hands, and it is our intent to bring it into the forefront of our Legislators minds.

As a coda, This I published in November of 2006:

In response to a comment on our post concerning the economic state Scotland would find itself in should this country leave the Union, a comparison was made with Luxembourg, which indeed has a population less than that of Edinburgh, and thus a much lower tax base than ours.
But, it must be pointed out that Luxembourg has established industries in steel, banking, telecommunications, and agriculture.. It also enjoys a great deal of foreign investment, with the US investing more capital in that country than any other save Canada.. 
The iron and steel industry, located along the French border, is the most important single sector of the economy. Steel accounts for 29% of all exports (excluding services), 1.8% of GDP, 22% of industrial employment, and 3.9% of the work force.The restructuring of the industry and increasing government ownership in Arbed (31%) began as early as 1974. As a result of timely modernization of facilities, cutbacks in production and employment, government assumption of portions of Arbed's debt, and recent cyclical recovery of the international demand for steel, the company is again profitable. Its productivity is among the highest in the world. U.S. markets account for about 6% of Arbed's output. The company specializes in production of large architectural steel beams and specialized value-added products. There has been, however, a relative decline in the steel sector, offset by Luxembourg's emergence as a financial center.
In 2001, through the merger with Aceralia and Usinor, Arbed became Arcelor and now forms one of the largest steelproducer in the world.

Banking is especially important to Luxembourg's economy. The country is a tax haven and so attracts capital fleeing from other countries so they can reduce the costs. At the end of March 2006, there were 155 banks in Luxembourg, with 23,000 employees. Political stability, good communications, easy access to other European centres, skilled multilingual staff, and a tradition of banking secrecy have all contributed to the growth of the financial sector. Germany accounts for the largest-single grouping of banks, with Scandinavian, Japanese, and major U.S. banks also heavily represented. Total assets exceeded €792.4 billion at the end of 2005. More than 9,000 holding companies are established in Luxembourg. The European Investment Bank—the financial institution of the European Union—is also located there.
As for the economic future of Scotland itself, Scotland could become a poorer country than Greece or Portugal within the next 50 years, according to economists.
The Centre for Economics and Business Research said the country needs more entrepreneurs and tax incentives to encourage companies and investment.
The experts also said there should be greater deregulation, allowing businesses to flourish without the burden of red tape. 

In their report, Douglas McWilliams and Richard Greenwood said Scotland had failed to fully enjoy the benefits of the consumer boom in other parts of the UK.
The "global technologies slowdown" has also had a negative impact on Scotland's 'Silicon Glen'.
However, the economists stressed that weak economic performance is not a recent problem.
They said: "Scottish growth since 1995 has averaged only 1.9% compared with 2.7% for the UK as a whole.
"Scottish manufactured exports are running at a lower level than four years ago while the number of people living in Scotland has been falling since 1995. "

"If present rates of growth are projected ahead, Scotland within 50 years will be a poorer country than Greece or Portugal and not a long way ahead of Poland or Turkey."
The economists said Scotland suffers from a "lack of entrepreneurship culture" and they urged Scottish banks to offer more support to business start-ups.
They called for a "tartan tax" reduction of three pence which would mean less public spending but would encourage a more efficient economy and a reduction in red tape.
While the report said there would be no quick fix, it stressed that the suggested measures would start to "turn the economy round". 

With these facts, and projections in mind, it would appear that Scotland would have an exceedingly hard time in setting up legislation which would induce foreign investment, simply because tax breaks would be a difficult incentive to offer..
Luxembourg has an economy that is well established, and trade and financial agreements which are longstanding. 
Scotland would be starting from scratch.

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