The muscular men on the left appear confident of their own virtue. The young man on the right has the diffident sensitivity of a poet, wondering if drugs should be legalised. Uruguay, it has been announced, has decided to make marijuana a state enterprise. The government will grow marijuana and sell marijuana. Their aim is to put the criminal drug barons out of business and ensure those who smoke marijuana can get a clean uncontaminated product. I support the policy of putting the barons out of business – and wonder where the stuff should be grown. Should marijuana be grown in secure government barbed wire compounds? Or in private gardens? Or in public parks? Could it be a forbidden fruit symbol, fostering our hatred of sin? What involvement might the church have in this enterprise?
The aspect of the Uruguay drugs policy I question is the government making money from it. This could lead officials to encourage consumption. Politicians do not always reek with virtue. Why not give the stuff away? – but plan the distrubition so that users have to walk past an exhibition showing the ill-effects of drug use. They could also revive the Order of Penitents and have lines of former drug users bewailing their fates and showing their scars.