LETTER TO SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST:
Hong Kong's finest rushed out to Discovery Bay the other day and arrested a couple with five marijuana plants and some "suspected" seedlings. (What were they suspected of, one wonders). ["Couple arrested over Discovery Bay cannabis farm", TRENDING March 4].
Some say "bravo!"
I say, what a waste of time.
Here's a story to put this in context.
I recently attended the 50th anniversary of my high school Class of '67 in Australia. We'd graduated into what became known as the "Summer of love". Most of us went to university where "sex, drugs and rock & roll" were not just a slogan. I can say with personal knowledge that every one of those men at our boys' school reunion had experimented with smoking pot. Some -myself included - "experimented" rather longer than others and with more than just pot.
But here's the point: at our 50th reunion we were now men in our sixties who had become husbands, fathers, grandfathers, in one case a great-grandfather. Some of us still worked; many of us were retired. We had been, or still were, farmers, teachers, headmasters, lawyers, doctors, diplomats, businessmen, novelists and artists. Not a one of smoked tobacco any more, let alone marijuana. Not a one of us was any worse for our experimentation 50 years ago (we were living proof of the fact that most people drift out of drugs as they age. Alcohol aside).
In short we had lived productive, fulfilled and happy lives. With all the ups and downs that that entails. Happy families prevailed.
Now, imagine the opposite. Imagine if the police 50 years ago had rushed into one of our many parties and arrested us all. Off to jail for us. We would have been imprisoned, each one of us, possibly for many years. The cost to the state would have been enormous. The cost to each one of us even greater: ruined lives; no hope of professional careers.
My point is simple: the police here wasted their time, the time and perhaps the careers of the couple arrested. They will shortly waste the time of judges and correctional officers. And for what? To implement an outdated law that's clearly out of touch with the damage it does our society.
The police were only doing their duty, of course. Presumably a neighbor had complained about the couple. What this says is that the law needs changing before more lives, time and money wasted.
These recent arrests are a nonsense.
So I don't say Bravo! I say Boo!