Source: Cherwell on-line

Pub date: February 6, 2004

Subj: Police to remain strict on cannabis

Author: Benjamin White

Web: http://www.cherwell.org/?id=1144


Oxford Police are insisting that the recent reclassification of cannabis will not result in a weakening in their resolve to pursue dealers of the drug. Smokers, meanwhile, have welcomed what they regard as long overdue legislation.

Cannabis was reclassified as a Class C drug on January 29th, with the maximum penalty for possession reduced from 5 years’ to 2 years’ imprisonment. Police guidelines also state that “most offences for cannabis possession would likely result in a warning and confiscation of the drug”.

Thames Valley Police, however, have stressed that those selling the drug can expect no such leniency: “In the cases of supply or possession with intent to supply… we will arrest the offenders”. Those selling the drug can expect a maximum of 14 years in jail. Chief Constable Peter Neyroud believes that cracking down on cannabis dealers may help to undermine the traffic in harder drugs. “It might be today they have cannabis but tomorrow they have ecstasy or heroin”.

Don Barnard of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance emphasised that the public had to understand that “the dealer is normally your friend”, and not worthy of many years imprisonment.

Smokers in Oxford University, meanwhile, remain blissfully detached from the furore. Tom Dennis, a second year English student from Christ Church, told Cherwell “as far as I’m aware the vast majority of people who smoke weed have done so for a long time without the fear of being arrested. Declassification is merely representative of a longstanding social acceptance of the drug”.



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