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UK: Lib Dems promise to legalise cannabis for everyone over 18

Kate Proctor

Evening Standard

Friday 12 May 2017

Cannabis sales would be legalised for the over 18s in a push to stamp out mental health problems caused by skunk, under Liberal Democrat plans published today.

Their long-held commitment to tackle the impacts of the Class B drug will be made in their General Election manifesto.

The party’s candidate for Cambridge and former Home Affairs Select Committee member Julian Huppert said: “The current approach is a disaster for young people, whose mental and physical health is being harmed by an increasingly potent product. There are no age checks, and no controls on quality or strength. ‘Skunk’ is widespread and the only ID you need to buy it is a £20 note.”

People in possession of cannabis currently face up to five years in prison for possession and 14 years for supplying it.

Regulating cannabis sales would ensure it contains more CBD (cannabinoid), which lessens the likelihood of psychosis linked to super-strength skunk, the party claims.

Tax revenues from sales would also be invested in education on the substance and treatment.

Their pledge is welcomed by Lord Monson whose 21-year-old son Rupert killed himself in January after becoming addicted to a potent form of skunk.

The peer, of Burton, Lincolnshire, told the Evening Standard today: “Seven weeks ago, Rupert took his life in violent fashion. In his last six months, he had become psychotic. Sectioned once, he suffered the full gamut: schizophrenia, false memories, paranoia and visitations. One was from a comedian, the rest of his mind’s gatecrashers were ghouls. Kill yourself, they commanded. So, he did.”

His tragic suicide comes five years after the death of Lord Monson’s other son Alexander, who was found with head wounds in a police station in Kenya aged 28.

After initially thinking the cannabis Rupert smoked must have set of underlying mental health problems, he found that the super-strength skunk available in Britain raises the risk of psychosis by five times.

He said: “Rupert was never smoking the cannabis I knew - he was ingesting actually a far more potent form, skunk.

“Skunk’s THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content is 16.5% though in some related strains, it is 35%. Moreover, skunk producers have nearly eradicated the ameliorating CBD (cannabinoid). Why this pharmacological rearrangement? This potent cannabis is quicker to produce, more profitable and easier for gangsters to shift.”

He said: “In tackling this issue head on in their manifesto, the Liberal Democrats have grasped the nettle where all other parties have manifestly failed. The business model of gangsters would be broken. Our children will be protected.”




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