In The World I Dream of. Ed. Curt Butz, Winchester, Hants, O-Books, 2010
In my ideal world there is no prohibition of drugs; all recreational drugs from the relatively harmless, like cannabis, to the addictive and destructive, like heroin, are sold in shops, properly regulated and controlled. So anyone who wants to use them properly can.
In this world there are no gangs fighting turf wars over drugs, no dealers stalking the streets trying to sell, no desperate users buying rubbish because it’s all they can find, no heroin addicts dying of overdoses for lack of quality control, no party-goers taking one drug thinking it’s another, no children brought up on estates where the only income comes from drugs, no burglars breaking into homes to steal TVs and selling them for a fiver for drugs, no prisons full to bursting point.
This world would be a better place just for removing the horrors of prohibition, but to really gain the benefits we’d need to know how to use drugs wisely. So in my idea world we would all have learned how to use drugs, not abuse them. Yes, I know there will always be people who abuse drugs, who take too much, too often, in the wrong place and at the wrong times, but even so, in my ideal world most people would use drugs well. There would be social norms on how and when to use what, we would have plentiful and truthful advice, we would know lots of people who knew more than we did about each drug and how to use it, we could learn from books, from the media, and from friends how to make the most of each kind of drug. Doses would be accurate, packaging helpful, and regulations sensible. There would be no more “Just say No!” and children would be given honest drugs education. We could bring up our children to understand how to use different drugs for the best results. Rules about use when driving or at work, and age limits would help reduce abuse.
In this world I could buy cannabis in its many varieties and concoctions – hash and grass, oils and solutions, the old-fashioned get-you-high type or the modern dope-you-down type, and probably much else besides. In this world I could buy pure MDMA, rather than what passes as ecstasy now, and use it for the fun of dancing, the intimacy of friendship, or the fun of sex. But I would also know that MDMA is addictive and that after 5 or 6 doses it would never have the same effect as the first time. So I would judge my use well and make the most of it. I would be able to buy magic mushrooms in countless variations, containing psilocybin in natural forms and complex mixtures, for fun and exploration. I could choose mescaline for amazing visual effects and wondrous emotions. And I would be able to buy the ultimate hallucinogen, LSD, for those rare occasions when I feel ready for the full thing – 8 hours (that seem like a hundred) of serious insight and inner exploration.
I would not be alone. In my ideal world others who, like me, want to explore their own minds would be there to help and guide, to introduce me to new just-synthesised drugs, to help me cope with terrifying drugs like DMT, to teach me how to make the most of ancient plants like salvia divinorum, or shamanic mixtures like ayahuasca. This way I would learn so much.
I hope that one day this will all come true.