Pubdate: Mon, 03 Dec 2007
Source: Sentinel, The (UK)
Copyright: 2007 Northcliffe Electronic Publishing Ltd.
Author: Dilys Wood, Legalise Cannabis Alliance


I write after reading your report 'Landlords backing crackdown on
drugs' (The Sentinel, November 28), while four pages prior seeing
'Extra patrols in time for Christmas', a piece about Leek and Cheadle
police in an effort to reduce drink-related violence in the area.

Once again I am forced to point out the utter hypocrisy of UK drug law
and society's view of legal and illegal drugs.

We are reminded constantly about the increasing problem of binge and
under-age drinking and all it leads to, illness, violence and often
death. In contrast, cannabis use by 15-24 year-olds has fallen sharply
(according to a new EU drug agency report) from 28.2 percent in 1998
to 21.4 percent in 2006.

Britain also no longer tops the European cannabis league among those
aged 15-34.

Despite this and its own figures, which show a reduction in cannabis
use since reclassification to Class C, this Government is preparing
the way to revert cannabis back to the more serious Class B category,
alongside lethal substances such as amphetamine and ethyl morphine.

Reverting to Class B means more cannabis users in court receiving
fines instead of cautions, fines which in no way cover the cost of
getting the case through court.

Lord Cobbald, in a House of Lords debate (October 29) about the
Government's public consultation into drug policy for the next 10
years, stated that "Prohibition was expected to rid the world of drugs
by now. This has manifestly failed.

We now have a drugs trade which is reckoned to be the second largest
world trade after oil and is totally in the hands of criminals,
costing the country UKP20 billion. To continue with present policies is
to accept and effectively tolerate the existence of the criminal gangs
that control the trade".

I am not suggesting that cannabis is harmless and certainly youngsters
must be educated about and deterred from its use. However the current
system of prohibition does nothing to protect children and
criminalises otherwise law-abiding adults.

Used in moderation by adults, cannabis is a relatively harmless
substance. Subjecting it to a regime of prohibition simply imposes new
and unnecessary dangers in addition to anything the plant might do. It
also treats those it claims to be protecting as the enemy.

Write to your MP, ask for their views and then either educate them or
engage their help. At some point in the future cannabis will be legalised.

Let's ensure that change happens sooner rather than later, for the
sake of us, our children and future generations.

Dilys Wood,

Legalise Cannabis Alliance
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