At first, the Birmingham Mail’s recent article “What to do if you suspect your neighbour is smoking cannabis” reads like a satire. Something you might find on the Onion. You scan sentences throwing shade on the “notoriously pungent stench” and offering advice on how to tip off cops and landlords, and you think, this must be a joke. But then you realize, no the whole thing is taking itself rather seriously. Here we are, in 2017, and newspapers are printing “quick guides” on how to be a narc.
Guide Explaining How To Be A Narc Guide Perpetuates Hysteria Around Pot
One wonders at the timing of it all. All this year, debates have raged in the UK government over the prospect of legalizing weed. High-profile demonstrations and events have popped up consistently, in an attempt to push the conversation forward.
Correlation isn’t causation. But the fear-mongering article about nefarious pot-smoking neighbors printed by the largest British media conglomerate has a pungent smell of its own. The smell of bullshit.
Your neighbor could be “a recreational user smoking the odd joint next door.” Or, it could be someone growing “the drug in large quantities close by,” the article earnestly warns the reader.
But if even you don’t really care what other people are doing in their own homes, you still have a duty to take care of the undeniably “off-putting” smell, the author insists.
What follows offers his practical advice on how to be a narc. But not just any narc, an ignorant and cowardly one. One too afraid to speak face-to-face with a neighbor. And one whose prejudice can only associate cannabis use or cultivation with criminality.
Everything Wrong With The Guide On How To Be A Narc
The “guide” spends most of its time trying to reassure potential narcs that police will protect their anonymity. Because, as everyone knows, snitches get stitches.
If you’re really concerned about being outed as the least cool person in your neighborhood, the guide advises, call Crimestoppers.
The article is also notably bereft of concern for the racially biased consequences of drug enforcement. It brushes off concerns about “what will happen to my neighbor” with a simple “it depends.”
There’s no mention of the life-destroying consequences of getting busted with weed, or how despite the widespread use of cannabis, police tend to target minorities with enforcement.
There’s no mention of the multiple legitimate uses British people might have for using or cultivating cannabis in their homes. It fails to address how the plant can be critical and effective medicine for people.
Never mind that the UK government has already issued several hundred vouchers for parents to obtain and administer medical cannabis to their children. Never mind that home cultivation is often the only safe way to obtain medical marijuana under prohibition.
Instead, the article explains how to be a narc to the cops and how to be a narc to a neighbor’s landlord, including some stalker-level shit.
There’s even advice for landlords. Tips on how “to save your property from becoming a cannabis farm.”
The whole article reeks of a total lack of familiarity with the reality that most cannabis users are (otherwise) law-abiding members of their communities and caregivers.
Threatening everyday folks with eviction and arrest just isn’t cool. Neither is advising people on how to make that happen.
We’d like to think this kind of stuff is a relic from a darker, less-informed time. Unfortunately not.