Marijuana Moves in Britain Draw Cheers from US

Marijuana Moves in Britain Draw Cheers from US
Posted by FoM on October 24, 2001 at 12:25:52 PT
By Jim Burns, Senior Staff Writer
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Wednesday hailed a decision by the British government to decriminalize marijuana possession, calling it a "positive step."In England, marijuana will soon be classed in the same category as anti-depressants and steroids. Keith Stroup, executive director of NORML, said the decision means that, "smokers will no longer be arrested," something he called a step in the right direction. 
"In both the U.S. and England, we are wasting an enormous amount of criminal justice resources chasing marijuana smokers." Stroup said he thinks people in England and the U.S. are beginning to conclude the same thing - "that we have more important tasks to spend that money on rather than harassing marijuana smokers."British Home Secretary David Blunkett said that drug laws had to be credible, especially to young people. He said cannabis would be moved from a Class B drug to a Class C drug, putting it in the same category as anti-depressants and steroids.Stroup thinks that "technically, removing it from a Class B to a Class C crime still permits up to two years in jail, so it's not really decriminalization, but it's edging closer to decriminalization."What it means is that cannabis smokers in England are unlikely to be prosecuted if caught with small amounts of the drug. The maximum sentence for possession will be cut from five years to two years and the term for actual dealing of the drug will be reduced from 14 years to five years.Stroup contends, "Law enforcement resources should be focused on serious and violent crime including anti-terrorist activities." Blunkett said the proposal would now be forwarded to the British Government's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which is expected to reclassify the drug by next spring. During the 1980s, that same council voted in favor of reclassification but no action was taken.A Conservative Member of Parliament Ann Widdecombe said Tuesday she opposed the reclassification of marijuana because it might result in a "dealer's charter."Widdecombe's "zero tolerance" proposal on drugs was killed by senior Tory colleagues last year.Although she welcomed measures that will result in less bureaucracy and waste of police time, Widdecombe said, "If David Blunkett is going to reclassify this drug, it sends out a signal that it will be taken less seriously in the future. He must address the dealer side of the question. There needs to be a new criminal offense of substantial possession.""David Blunkett claims that these measures will result in fewer young people having a drugs problem. We shall see," Widdecombe concluded.Complete Title: Marijuana Moves in Britain Draw Cheers from US SupportersSource: CNSNews.comAuthor: Jim Burns, Senior Staff WriterPublished: October 24, 2001Copyright: 1998-2001 Cybercast News ServiceWebsite: shogenson cnsnews.comRelated Articles & Web Site:NORML Pragmatic Path To Cannabis Reform Takes Relaxed View of Cannabis 
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Comment #3 posted by CongressmanSuet on October 24, 2001 at 19:09:30 PT
Well then...
 Maybe we should enlighten them ourselves. Time to get busy with your e-mail....
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on October 24, 2001 at 16:31:56 PT
I posted a AP article in a comment section but that's all I have found. I haven't found any articles yet. It doesn't surprise me at all. This is what usually happens. They just pass over it.
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Comment #1 posted by Knossis on October 24, 2001 at 16:24:18 PT
Can someone explain to me why this news has not been reported at all in the major US media? I can not find one reference to it at or This seems to be a glorious day for personal freedom and will reduce a tremendous amount of unnecessary harm. I just don't understand how most people dont' see this. -Knossis
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