A quick clarification; the strongest intoxicant in which I indulge is the one discussed here, and even that is actually quite rare. I don't smoke, and I have never taken drugs. By choice, I would inhale only air.
Nor do I want to change that. I enjoy the small amount of alcohol that I do drink, but find the spectacle of drunkenness rather pathetic and even the slightest whiff of cigarette smoke disgusting. As for the psychoactive drugs, I feel sorry for the users; my mind on its own is quite capable of keeping me amused and does not need any pharmaceutical assistance. I admit that I fear the drugs themselves; my mind is my source of income, and I would not tamper with it lightly.
Nevertheless, I find myself behind Nutt, not Johnson. The reason is simple; my libertarian instinct prevails. I dislike drunkenness, but if you want to drink yourself into an early grave then that is up to you - provided you don't vomit on my shoes, fall on my table, or shout so loudly that I can't talk to Mrs P. So, to the extent that I favour the prohibition of certain substances, it must be because they are so harmful, so damaging, that we cannot leave it to a matter of personal choice. They must be, in essence, intoxicants that so serious that users cannot help but fall into whatever behaviour is equivalent to vomiting on my shoe. There must be, in other words, no safe zone between abstinence and addiction. Therefore, to my mind, there must be a scientific basis for the prohibition.
Ah, but no, says our Home Secretary. Nutt advises me on the science, and then I make a decision as to what is best for society. Quite right Mr Johnson; that is the distinction between advisor and Minister. But there is one glaring point that seems to have been missed in Johnson's consideration; one point that Johnson (like all his predecessors) is either too stupid to realise or too cowardly to address. And it is this.
If, hypothetically, there was a proscribed substance that did not cause any medical harm that was in any way more serious than traditional, legally-available substances, but which caused far more serious societal harm, then surely that societal harm would be due to the fact of its prohibition, not its medical effects?
Now, I accept that I live in a leafy suburb that is not riven with drug dealers and crack houses. Some would say that I am, therefore, unqualified to discuss this issue and should shut up. To them, I will only point out that my use of the word "Prohibition" earlier in this post was entirely deliberate.