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The decriminalisation of cannabis

Comment 30th July 2010

      There is a very significant proportion of the uk population, who live their lives on the wrong side of the law. They find themselves in this situation for one reason, and that is, that they choose to smoke cannabis. This lifestyle choice offers cannabis users two options, one, identify a source of regular supply (usually someone linked to, or involved in organised crime) or two, cultivate their own. Both of these options only push the user further into criminality. I propose that if the government truly wants to trust people, as it says, and do away with unnecessary laws, then the time has come to decriminalise cannabis and introduce commercial regulation and taxation. People should be able to decide for themselves. Are we to accept that the opinion of a uk citizen is valued highly enough for them to contribute to the democratic process of electing a prime minister, but not  to them making a lifestyle choice for themselves. Previous governments have exaggerated the risks caused by cannabis use, with the main danger being identified as the elevated risk  that this substance can contribute to the developement of schizophrenia and/or other mental illness. In reality the number of cases where cannabis was adjudged to be the cause of any such health problem, is a fraction of the number linked to alchohol or tobacco. It is time for the "we know whats good for you" governance of the past to end.

Why does this matter?

     My idea is not really my idea, it is the hope of every cannabis user in the country. It would paralyze the illegal trade and cultivation of cannabis. I doubt it would completely end this trade, but by providing the cannabis user with a legal right to choose, the need to turn to dealers would be all but removed.This would then place the cultivation and sale of illict cannabis under customs and excise juristiction. It would be necessary to implement age restrictions and even to regulate the potency, but the number of people having to be fined, arrested and imprisoned would be cut.

The retail and taxation of cannabis could provide  a welcome boost to the economy, I dont pretend to know the number of users in the uk, but I would confidently estimate it to be in the millions. It would be a courageous decision by the government to implement a change in law that would take us in this direction and irresponsible for it to not even be considered.

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