Police Boost for Pro-Cannabis Lobby

Police Boost for Pro-Cannabis Lobby
Posted by FoM on April 06, 2000 at 20:06:50 PT
Britain by Simon Macklin 
Source: South China Morning Post
Local government election candidates standing on a "legalise cannabis" platform are hoping for a boost from a police report which recommends scrapping jail terms for possession of soft drugs."It's not that we expect to win any seats but whatever votes we get will make the other parties realise they would not lose any support if they changed their own policies," said Alun Buffry, a spokesman for the Legalise Cannabis Alliance.
"We think the public is ready for a change on this issue."These days more people are beginning to realise the futility of a law that punishes people for a crime that does not do anyone any harm and is just a waste of police resources," Mr Buffry said.Recent elections have seen a growing number of single-issue candidates standing on the "legalise cannabis" ticket.Although none has ever won more than seven per cent of the vote, the group is hoping next month's local elections will see increased support."It may not be that it will happen at once but we are hoping that within the next three years the Government will finally have accepted the need to change the law," Mr Buffry said.Britain currently has some of the stiffest penalties for the possession of cannabis anywhere in Europe, yet studies show young people in Britain are taking five times more illegal drugs than their counterparts on the Continent.Around 36 per cent of Britons admit to having used cannabis compared with 25 per cent of the French, 21 per cent of Germans and 22 per cent of Spanish people.A report published by the Police Federation, the police officer's union, last week said the current law was doing more harm than the drug itself and called for a reclassification of drug offences.It suggested that possession of small quantities of cannabis no longer be an arrestable offence although police should retain the power to stop and search people for drugs.The report has received wide public support with the majority of newspapers, even those who traditionally take a conservative stance, calling for the Government to change the law.Although the Government has dismissed the report it is widely believed its findings will prove influential. Britain is increasingly finding itself out of step with the trend across Europe towards more liberal drug laws.The Netherlands, Germany and Italy do not prohibit the personal consumption of cannabis, while Spain applies administrative sanctions when its use is in a public place. Published: Thursday, April 6, 2000South China Morning PostCopyright 2000.Related Articles & Web Site:Legalise Cannabis Alliance is Forced Into Drug Debate To Decriminalise Cannabis Goes To Parliament Coffee Shops Proposed of Struggle Fails To Curb Drugs in Britain: Special Report High Spots in History - U.K. - BBC
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