Although I couldn’t possibly disagree with the main thrust of Jules Harbage’s legal article (7 December, page 58), I am dismayed that yet another opportunity has been missed for addressing the growing issue of drug abuse.

This remains hugely misunderstood, and is almost certainly more dangerous than the effects of alcohol – particularly as cannabis use is mistakenly becoming almost acceptable as a “harmless bit of fun”.

The effects of alcohol wear off in a calculable period of time and, if in doubt, are easily checked by breathalysing. Cannabis, however, stays in the system long after the user’s perception of effect has worn off. So your steel erector, scaffolder, contract manager, safety officer – even your estimator – who regularly smokes a couple of joints on Saturday nights may never do their job without impaired judgment.

Thankfully, the Association of Chief Police Officers is coming to the realisation that the confusing and simplistic message on cannabis abuse has been ill-advised. No doubt we will be seeing more motor accidents and industrial injuries as this drug gains currency. The time for police to pursue “real” drug crimes will rapidly be overtaken by increased time and paperwork caused by such accidents. What are the accident figures likely to look like on our building sites? And if your “high flying” estimator screws up, it might hurt in the pocket!

Philip Sears, Philip Sears Designs