Legalise Cannabis?

Source: West2, London, UK

Published: Autumn 2001

Given the recent calls for a change in cannabis law - both from the public and expert bodies who have studied cannabis, its uses and its prohibition, it is time to ask what are the true motives of our Government for its blatant refusal to even debate the issue. Whilst The Rt Hon David Blunkett states that he supports debate, he also echoes the words of Tony Blair who has continually stated that Labour will not legalise cannabis - even if a Royal Committee so recommended.

It appears that the prohibition of cannabis is not in the interests of the society as a whole and that government attitude reflects their preferences for measures that favour private industry over the people and our environment. Over 400,000,000 is spent in the UK fighting 'drugs' with the result that over 80% of the 100,000 arrested each year are for cannabis alone. Millions are criminalised - over 1 million in the last 30 years. Prison sentences, including those for nonpayment of fines, lead to family break-ups and all the problems associated with imprisonment. Millions risk their health by consuming cannabis of uncontrolled and doubtful purity i.e. there is no quality control. The Government receives no revenue. The 'criminals' make all the profits.

Legal cannabis would mean that the profits are taxable. The industrial uses of cannabis are virtually ignored at the cost of environmental disaster. The world starves because the seed cannot be legally grown in most countries. People requiring a relaxant can only choose alcohol, which is far more dangerous than any amount of cannabis. The illegal cannabis market mixes it with the supply of hard drugs.