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The Decriminalisation of Cannabis

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The Decriminalisation of Cannabis We are all drug users: we smoke, we drink coffee and alcohol; when we have a headache we take a painkiller. We use these drugs to help us to relax or to combat pain. However if we abuse these drugs we pay for it, sometimes with our lives. Over 125,000 people die from alcohol abuse; 400,000 die from tobacco related diseases; deaths from overdoses range among 14,000 and 27,000. However, there is still one drug that combats pain and helps the user to relax. Yet to have any amount in your possession can carry a sentence of up to 3 years in prison and deal it up to 5 years. This drug is cannabis, the chosen social lubricant of over 3 million people in the UK. This country can accept drugs that could kill them and yet a drug that even after prolonged use can never kill nor has any long or short-term side affects remains illegal. This is mystifying. ...read more.


This is in no way true as the Dutch report states that: "The number of hard drug addicts per 100,000 in population in the Netherlands is low in comparison with the European average of 2.7 and is considerably lower than in France, the UK, Italy, Spain and Switzerland." Far from being a failure the report concludes that the pioneering Dutch policy has been a complete success. It also states they will continue on the same course that it embarked on in the 1970s with little adjustment. It is not just users who want the drug decriminalised. Advantages for the government are obvious. The ever-increasing prison population and over stretched police forces are just two. The fact that 83% of all drug offences in the UK are cannabis related gives you some understanding of the problem. A study in Sussex that sent out questionnaires to police officers tells us that 1 in 5 police officers already conduct a liberal policing policy. Officers ignore the drug completely or issue a street caution. ...read more.


These include smoking through a water pipe or by using a vaporiser. These risks are eliminated if the cannabis is eaten. The Dutch policy has paved the way for the UK and if we were to use their experience we could quite easily avoid any problems. The British Medical Journal declared in December '95: "Much work needs to be done to envisage a world that includes some legalisation of drugs but it's clear that a purely prohibitionist policies don't work and make the problems of drug abuse worse." The prohibitionist situation in this country is one of the last major injustices of the twentieth century. The general public has been kept in the dark and misinformed about this drug for far too long. This shows that the Nanny State attitudes have gone too far. What ever happened to freedom of choice? The British government should follow Holland's lead to respect people's own views. I am not saying it should be legalised completely; restrictions would have to be brought in as is the same with alcohol and tobacco to prevent abuse. Give the voters the facts and let them make up their own mind. ...read more.

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