To put it simply, cease arresting, charging and imprisoning people for the victimless crime of cannabis possession. Give people access to legal, safe and regulated supplies of cannabis as we do with alcohol and tobacco. Stop forcing users into contact with real criminals. Abide by the universal declaration of human rights.

Why is this idea important?

To quote the universal declaration of human rights:

"No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."

To say that current laws regarding cannabis in this country comply with Article 12 of the universal declaration of human rights would be a downright lie. Private use of cannabis for whatever reason, be it recreational, medical or religious is entirely the users business and the current system certainly does not preserve that privacy. The practice of branding those caught with cannabis with criminal and police records and thus putting barriers in their path to employment and travel would also constitute a very real attack upon his honour and reputation.

To quote article 18 of the same declaration:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."

It is not often brought up in public debates on this subject but as a Rastafarian, I can't help but make the point that cannabis has been and will continue to be a religious sacrement and tool for many including Rastafarians, Hindus and Christians for thousands of years. To continue to prosecute such people for cannabis offences is an infringement on their right to manifest their faith.

Finally, to quote article 29.2:

"In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society."

I have often seen this article of the declaration used as a 'get out clause' when it comes to the issue of cannabis and drug laws in general. Politicians will say that cannabis laws protect the rights and freedoms of others and preserve public order and the general welfare in a democratic society. I would ask them this question; Does a man smoking cannabis in his own home really pose a threat to the freedom of others, public order or the general welfare in a democratic society? Anyone who honestly answers yes to that question is more paranoid and deluded than any amount of herb could ever make you.

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