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Letter: Is taking cannabis dealers to court cost effective?

Alun Buffry

Peterborugh Evening Telegraph

Thursday 05 May 2011

So cannabis-supplier Martin Saunders was given a suspended sentence for £270 of cannabis and £190 cash (Drug dealer avoids jail after arrest, April 30)

A step in the right direction?

The cost of taking Mr Saunders to court was far in excess of the value of the cannabis and the money together – not counting the cost of the arrest itself, forensics etc. Had he be sent to prison direct, it would cost us hundreds of pounds extra each week he served. All a burden carried by the taxpayer.

And the chances are that even if Mr Saunders stops selling cannabis, somebody else will step in to fill the small gap in the massive market. How much better would it be if adults could go to go to controllable cannabis shops, where credible advice would be available along with quality control and separation from crime and hard drugs?

What is more – the profits would be taxable and that revenue would go into the public purse instead of spending billions annually fighting a losing battle.

Let's face it, the vast majority of cannabis consumers choose to use the plant because they either find medicinal relief from their health problems otherwise not adequately dealt with by pills from the chemists – or else they simply enjoy the effect. This will not stop.

Those that find such benefits, so long as they do no harm to others, deserve the protection of the law; those that experience negative effects deserve the attentions of doctors, not law men.

We just need to wake the Government up to this fact.

Alun Buffry




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