Source: Essex Chronicle, UK

PubDate: 29 January 2003

Pub LTE: Legalisation is the only way forward

Author: Don Barnard




I cannot understand why anyone wants to retain a law that allows for putting cannabis users in jail.


From January 29, the possession of cannabis will still be an arrestable offence for all minors and those who flout the law.


Adults found in possession of an unspecified amount of cannabis (consistent with personal use) may be ar­rested, and that means pre­venting the sick and

dying from cultivating and using the only medicine that works for many of them.


Why should someone be classed as a criminal simply for growing and consuming a plant, providing they are doing no harm and posing no threat to anyone?


Alleged hazards


There's been much talk about psychosis and other alleged hazards relating to cannabis use.


Space does not permit me to address how dangerous cannabis is - or is not.  But I do accept we should be concerned about the health of the 4.5 million

cannabis users in the UK.


But let's get real. These bad things have been happening under prohibition for over 30 years.


Why should anyone think that continuing prohibition would improve the situation?


Is the law just? People who 'use' or 'grow cannabis' for their own consumption, or to share with friends in private are punished. The disputed issue is whether they should be punished.


A debate on the desirability of amending the laws controlling cannabis cannot proceed sensibly unless it begins with a reason in favour of punishing people who cultivate and use cannabis.


Ask yourself - and your friends, neighbours, teachers and those involved in implementing. Government's anti-drug strategy - do you think that the laws

that put people in jail for non-commercial cannabis cultivation or possessing cannabis are justified?  If so, why?


If the question cannot be answered to your satisfaction, you should conclude that People using cannabis should not be punished.


Different approach.


A Criminal Justice led system has not worked, does address the concerns of parents and. the medical profession.


It's time to try' a different approach.


We need legislation that reduces the harms, without infringing upon personal privacy and the right to chose one's lifestyle and beliefs.


We need legislation aimed at protection, not control


Reclassification is an illusion of change.


The Legalise Cannabis Alliance believes the way forward is a legal regulated control of cannabis with licensed outlets such as cafes, with quality control, education, restricted access to the young, and removal the criminal contact in obtaining cannabis.


Don Barnard

Legalise Cannabis Alliance




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