Go back to the Index
Decriminalisation is simply going 'soft' on the user whilst ignoring the questions of quality control and supply. The cultivators, dealers and importers are still subject to arrest, fine and imprisonment, as are people caught with amounts over the allowed amount or people who continually offend and get caught. It leaves the supply and quality control (or lack of it) in the hands of criminals. Decriminalisation is a matter of policy which can be changed very easily; people do not know where they stand under the law from one day to the next. The recent sudden lowering on the permitted amount for personal use, from 30 grams to 5 grams, in Holland, as a result of powerful international pressures, is a result of decriminalisation. It is a way of saying 'we do not want to legalise yet we admit we have lost control".
In the UK people now often get cautioned for first or even second offenses of possession of small amounts (like 2 or 3 grams). This depends on the individual police officer and his superiors (in the force) and can vary from area to area. Decriminalisation does allow police to turn a blind eye.
Cautions, like long prison sentences, do not become 'spent' as do fines and short sentences; in other words they can stay on a criminal record for ever. In addition, cautioning is not 'letting off', and cautions can be taken into account in future court appearances.
So-called legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco are only really legal in a limited way. Their use is allowed in certain situations such as at home or in licensed premises, and can be banned from public or private places. Alcohol and tobacco can only be sold legally from licensed premises. Home production is limited by law. This is why we should not advocate treating cannabis as we do alcohol and tobacco. Cannabis is a completely different type of substance. It is not a toxin and one cannot overdose. The controls applied to alcohol and tobacco are not needed for cannabis.
Although wishing to see cannabis available on prescription for ill people, we do not wish to se this as the only available source of cannabis. For a start such a situation may well encourage vast numbers of people to visit their doctor who does not normally often or never see them. Legalised cannabis in this way would increase the number of 'sick' people in the country, statistically, which may reflect poorly on legalisation. Some substances only available on prescription are illegal to possess unless obtained by prescription. Such substances are not fully legal, they are not free.
Some substances such as aspirin, which is highly dangerous, are available in a variety of outlets. Other dangerous substances are available from the corner shop (glue), garage (oils), and over the counter at chemists (cough mixture). There is no reason to limit the outlets of harmless cannabis at all.
Full legalisation means freedom. For cannabis we call for the relegalisation - that is the return to its status before prohibition. Only full legalisation will achieve the results for which the many campaign - the abolition of punishment for users, growers and suppliers, and quality control. We want no limits on amount possessed or grown. Cannabis should be treated like any other garden vegetable or herb. Suppliers should be subject to the same controls as other produce and be taxed on their profits.
IT IS MORALLY UNJUSTIFIABLE TO PUNISH PEOPLE FOR THE CULTIVATION, SUPPLY OR POSSESSION OF A NATURAL PLANT WHICH DOES NO HARM.
BACK to the Index