Source: Evening News, Norwich, UK
Pub Date: Thursday, 8 August 2002
PUB LTE: Many Questions Still To Be Asked
Author: Don Barnard, Press Officer Legalise Cannabis Alliance,http://www.lca-uk.org
MANY QUESTIONS STILL TO BE ASKED
PAUL Whitcher's letter rebutting cannabis reclassification (Drugs must get zero tolerance, Wednesday, July 17) said: "Labour had three years to send out a strong defining message to children and ill informed adults, that the use of cannabis is harmful to health and morally wrong."
It is unclear in what sense he means cannabis use is inherently immoral. It is immoral to tell self-serving lies, to shout at your spouse, to belittle friends or betray a confidence - but none of these are the kind of thing that the criminal law has any business prohibiting.
Mere immorality (as opposed to imprudence) is not sufficient warrant to justify criminalising cannabis use. Nor, is the fact that cannabis use may be potentially dangerous a good enough reason to criminalise cannabis use or else we would have to jail all car drivers, skiers, and clumsy people.
These actions are not the kind of thing that the criminal law has any business prohibiting.
A law whose purpose is a deterrence must always be backed by a demonstration that the law is just. Therefore the basic question we must addressed in any attempt to evaluate our cannabis policy is whether cannabis use is the kind of thing for which punishment is appropriate and whether the punishments meted out are proportionate to the gravity of the crime are justice or not?
My questions to Mr Whitcher and other (ill informed) supporters of the Conservative party policy to criminalising cannabis use (zero tolerance) are:
- How does criminalising cannabis make it less harmful to grow or use?
- How does locking up adult cannabis users - deter young people using it?
- If your son or daughter were arrested for cannabis possession, how long should they go to prison for?
Legalise Cannabis Alliance
PO Box 198
IN REPLY TO:
DRUGS MUST GET ZERO TOLERANCE
THE downgrading of cannabis to class C is yet another signal that New Labour cannot police this country effectively.
They claim the police do not have the resources to cope with soft drug users.
This is a shameful slur on our underfunded police force, who have the unfortunate task of operating under a government who seem determined not to cut the red tape, ie excessive paperwork and politically correct measures which are enforced on its officers.
Relaxation of drug laws is not the answer, zero tolerance is.
Labour need to send out a strong defining message to children and ill informed adults, that the use of any illegal drug is both detrimental to health and morally wrong.
Labour have failed to do this, but should we be surprised?
After all we have a prime minister who seems more concerned with the fortunes of the English football team than he does about the pound or our national identity that goes with it.
Labour have a further three years in office; one can only hope common sense will prevail sooner, rather than later.
Paul Whitcher, Raymond Road, Hellesdon, Norwich
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