Really, Really High Tea

A marijuana plant which was found growing in Parliament Square, central London, is displayed Thursday July 6 2000.
Peace, America!

And a woozy welcome to liberated old England, where it’s now as good as legal to blow your mind. We can buy it, roll it up in a bit of paper and - precisely in the words of Bob Newhart’s famous sketch - stick it in our mouths and set fire to it. We can even, Bill Clinton please note, inhale the wretched stuff now.

The British Government, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that if you can’t beat the weed - and they can’t – you might as well let everyone join in. It all started with a police experiment in downtown Lambeth, right here in London. The lads in uniform reckoned that if they turned a blind eye to marijuana dealing and didn’t lock anybody up the crime figures would drop. My, what a perceptive force they are. And so today, it’s impossible to walk around Lambeth in broad daylight without someone selling you skunk and ganja. In fact you’re more than likely to slump on the sidewalk simply from inhaling the fumes.

But one little experiment surely doesn’t change Government policy, I hear you cry. Well, clearly you haven’t come across Britain’s interior minister, the Home Secretary David Blunkett. Let me put it this way: Mr Blunkett is the kind of politician who reckons his day is wasted if he doesn’t change something, make a new law, scrap an old one, regulate this, deregulate that. And so the very Government that came to power with the slogan: “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” is keeping its promise by decriminalising crime itself. The only surprise is that they haven’t made marijuana compulsory. Yet.