Pubdate: Mon, 09 Sep 2002
Source: East Anglian Daily Times (UK)
Copyright: 2002 Eastern Counties Newspapers Group Ltd
Author: Don Barnard


Sir, -- Cannabis users Beware - Cannabis possession (any amount) in private 
or public is still illegal - If cannabis is seized in your possession - You 
can STILL be arrested and face a sentence of up to five years in prison on 
the first offence.

However, if the new guidelines (Three strikes for possession EADT September 
5) given to police for disposal for cannabis possession do come into effect 
next year. The following will probably happen.

The police will not (allegedly) seek out people with a joint in their 
pocket. But, if, in a stop and search, or, a sniffer dog indicates to it's 
handler you are in possession (have been in contact) with illicit drugs -- 
if cannabis is seized (up to 3g) - you will not be arrested for a cannabis 
offence. Instead on first offence you will get a recorded ticking off.

Second time a recorded warning or possible summons to collect a caution at 
the police station. Third offence (in a 12 month period) you're out - 
summons to appear in court.

If you have an eighth (3.5g) you'll be nicked as a dealer - being in 
possession with intent to supply and face up to 14 years in jail.

If you use cannabis in inappropriate (aggravated circumstances) or 
challenge the police officers authority - you will be nicked for a public 
disorder offence and probably be cautioned or charged with possession of 
cannabis -- I wonder who that's aimed at!

Thought for the day - if 89 per cent of "all drugs offences" are for 
cannabis possession. Statically 89 out of 100 people sniffed out by the 
ever increasing army of passive sniffer dogs on our streets, rail and tube 
stations, clubs and pubs - will be for cannabis.

Is there an ulterior motive here? - Are we to see an increase in police 
stop and search?

Don Barnard,

Aetheric Road, Braintree.
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