Quakers and drug decriminalisation II

What are the spiritual aspects of drug decriminalisation?

I have three stories of drug psychosis, of people I have met, liked, admired behaving badly or stupidly, or suffering. My moral opinions are strongly influenced by my experience, less by analysis. And, like Sherlock Holmes forgetting the Earth goes round the Sun because the information has no value to him, I see little point in holding strong opinions about things when they do not affect my choices.

We need to help victims, not punish them. That principle may apply to thieves and even violent people in prison with mental health problems and learning disabilities.

A society sends a strong message by making conduct criminal. People are more likely to listen to that when they feel they are a respected part of society.

I had to google to find that marijuana is one of three main forms in which cannabis is taken- others are hashish and hash oil. I had thought the words synonyms. I should learn more before expressing an opinion. Hash oil may be used in cooking.

My spiritual Way is seeking to become conscious and aware. Or to train my spontaneous responses. Or- Tao called Tao is not Tao, and here I get confused. Onywye. I recognise the value of a safety valve, of an escape from pressing problems, and I see the damage it can do.


I was writing that, noticed the contradictions, and decided to make a feature of them.

Discerning this question- should Quakers support drug decriminalisation- is not like getting a motion through Conference. It is not about voting or what we want, but what we think is right. I have moved from being weakly in favour of decriminalisation to not knowing, which is just as well, as I shall clerk our meeting and should not be swayed by my own view.

Setting aside ego is a constant discipline. It is a tricky cratur. It seeps through the narrowest crack, and might not be seen or sensed- the faintest smell of it.

I notice about the contradictions here that each sentence makes sense, but they contradict each other. I want to make sense. The sentences pass my internal censor. Each sounds an assertion I could justify. But that is not enough to be the Truth: the Truth always surpasses understanding. In the contradictions, could they be resolved, I might approach truth. Truth is always more than I can hold in my mind.

Then I approach the holy place, where we sit together to find a way forward, a next step.

Hammershoi, The Buildings of the Asiatic Company, seen from St. Annæ Street

4 thoughts on “Quakers and drug decriminalisation II

  1. I too, have yet to sort out the contradictions in my head over drug decriminalisation.

    Certainly the current regime isn’t working. All we’re doing is making criminals out of victims while the real criminals (the drug lords) seem to escape prosecution.

    Unlike prostitution, where I believe decriminalisation is clearly a lesser evil than criminalization, drug use can have serious repercussions both for the user, family and friends, and the wider community – especially in societies with publicly funded healthcare.


    • “[D]rug use can have serious repercussions both for the user, family and friends, and the wider community…” True, Barry. Marijuana is my only known allergy. It makes me extremely ill. How is my health to be protected in the event it is legalized? “No marijuana smoke within fifty feet of Jim. It’s the law!”

      Liked by 1 person

      • You could always wear a gas mask… never go out… move to another country…

        Restricting smoking to homes and cannabis bars means legalising trading in cannabis. Whole nother matter. Complex stuff.


    • I used to walk home from work through the park, and sometimes passed a group of six teenagers, apparently stoned, on a bench or sprawled on the ground in front of it. I got nervous. However when women are nervous at the prospect of me in women’s toilets, I say “Judge us on what we do, not on what you fear we might do,” so the same thing applies.

      On public health care, I feel we need to support our vulnerable citizens, and drug use is a symptom of underlying vulnerabilities; but I would want to persuade people not to use, rather than attempt to force them.

      Liked by 1 person

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