Oct 222012
 

british cannabis study sanctions arrestedEnd Criminal Sanctions For Growing And Possessing Cannabis, British Study Says

By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

Possessing and cultivating personal use amounts of cannabis should no longer be a criminal offense, according to the recommendations of a six-year study released last week by a coalition of leading British drug policy experts, treatment specialists, and law enforcement.

The study, commissioned by the UK Drug Policy Commission, argues that decriminalizing minor cannabis offenses will reduce police and prosecutorial costs without adversely impacting levels of illicit drug use. The UK Drug Policy Commission is an independent charity “that provides objective analysis of the evidence concerning drug policies and practice.”

According to the study, criminal penalties for cannabis “could be replaced with simple civil penalties, such as a fine, perhaps a referral to a drug awareness session run by a public health body, or if there was a demonstrable need, to a drug treatment program. … These changes could potentially result in less demand on police and criminal justice time and resources. Given the experience of other countries, our assessment is that we do not believe this would materially alter the levels of use, while allowing resources to be spent on more cost-effective measures to reduce harm associated with drug use. … We would expect the net effect to be positive.”

Although the study’s authors do not recommend the removal of “criminal penalties for the major production or supply offenses of most [illicit] drugs,” they acknowledge that such non-criminal approaches ought to be considered for cannabis, concluding: “[F]or the most ubiquitous drug, cannabis, it is worth considering whether there are alternative approaches which might be more effective at reducing harm. For example, there is an argument that amending the law relating to the growing of it, at least for personal use, might go some way to undermining the commercialization of production, with associated involvement of organized crime. … Perhaps the most expedient course to take here would be to re-examine sentence levels and sentencing practice to ensure that those growing below a certain low volume of plants face no – or only minimal – sanctions.”

The Drug Policy Commission’s final report is the first major, independent review of British drug policy since a 1999 report commissioned by the Police Foundation, which similarly recommended decriminalizing cannabis. Following the publication of that report, British lawmakers in 2004 temporarily downgraded cannabis from a Class B to a Class C ‘soft’ drug. Lawmakers reclassified cannabis as a Class B illicit substance in early 2009. Nevertheless, British police typically issue warnings to minor cannabis offenders in lieu of making criminal arrests.

Full text of the UK Drug Policy Commission’s final report is available online here.

Source: NORML

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About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1634193787 Mass Vocals

    massvocals I have known i have been fighting for re-legalization and suffer the points one being thrown out of school refuse employment , attack by the police number of times leading to other arrest in there courts of plunder but never arrest for it I stood in the right side Please legalize don’t waste time prison await us all if we don’t hurry and legalize Now

  • rojon

    we waste money hand over fist fighting a war that is needless

  • johhny1

    Funny, when GW pharma producer of SATIVEX needed to get the product approved The UK changed its scheduling.
    What will it take for the US to re-schedule?
    The answer my friend is blowing in the wind!

  • Focusonpeace

    Growing at home will see a decline in people buying from dealers. Associated crime will drop. The black market is deprived a serious income. People could grow CBD rich strains, the police could focuson real crimes. Drug dealers would hate it if every cannabis user could grow at home…oh wait, so would GWpharma who grow thousands of cannabis plants in Kent. As medicine. If everyone could grow this medicine at home for next to nothing….wouldnt that pose a threat to the company who sell the worlds most expensive cannabis?