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Penalise commercial cannabis and tolerate personal use

Comment 3rd July 2010

As a result of prohibition, cannabis is being utilized by a number of dangerous gangs as an easy source of income. Often used by Asian gangs (with links to human trafficking, prostitution, money-laundering and counterfeit goods), houses are completely stripped and used to cultivate bad quality cannabis, which is often sprayed with dangerous weight adding adulterants, whilst putting money into the pockets of dangerous criminals. Full legalisation of cannabis is not permitted by European law and therefore is not an option. However, prisons, personal lives and the economy could be greatly enhanced by tolerating the cultivation of a small number of plants (e.g. no more than 3 female plants, similar to the law in Spain), and decriminalising possession of no more than 1 ounce of cannabis. Meanwhile, commercial, large scale grow operations should be treated as a serious offence to drive these dangerous gangs out of the UK, and stop their bad quality and often dangerous products appearing on the market.

'Grit-weed' is the colloquial term for cannabis that has been adulterated by weight adding substances that can range from glass shards, to invisible, oil like substances that pour out disgusting, thick black smoke when lit. This is a result of greedy drug dealers and gangs who are only interested in profit with no concern for consumer health, and yet for some people, the only option is to be exposed to this type of cannabis because they fear the repercussions of growing a few plants for personal use. By removing the legal risk involved in growing a few personal plants, not only will people have access to a clean product, but it will also take a large amount of money from the pockets of greedy criminals.

Why does this matter?

The general public agrees that cannabis prohibition is wrong and can see the hypocrisy in the current classification, allowing cannabis to be treated as a dangerous and addictive drug, whilst the far more destructive drugs, alcohol and tobacco are fully legal. I believe that the problems surrounding cannabis are not caused by small-time, personal users, but by large criminal gangs who use cannabis sale and cultivation as a way to generate easy profits, often using child labourers and illegal immigrants to cultivate the cannabis in electrically dangerous and unstable houses, providing them with a very sad and dangerous life. I'm sure no cannabis user want their cannabis to come from such a negative place, however the current laws force users to chose that or nothing, as home cultivation is often never an option because of the current law.

Utilizing my idea will mean that the real criminals (who are only interested in cannabis sale and cultivation as a source of income) can be focused on by police and imprisoned, whilst taking the innocent cannabis users out of prisons. This would create space in the prisons and help reduce strain on the economy, whilst at the same time, allowing the police to focus on more serious crimes than a man simply growing a plant in his garden.

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