Pubdate: Sat, 28 Oct 2000
Source: Colchester Evening Gazette (UK)
Copyright: 2000, Quicksilver Media
Contact:  43-44 North Hill, Colchester, Essex CO1 1TZ
Fax: 01206 508295
Author:  Don Quinn, Labour Member for St. Andrews Ward.


I Would like to spell out for Don Barnard (Issues of legalisation, Postbag,
October 24) why I want the law on cannabis changed.

I want to see an overall reduction in drug use. The Dutch have succeeded in
reducing cannabis use amongst its young people through decriminalisation.
Clearly a move in the right direction.

I simply cannot understand why Don Barnard believes that the Dutch system
could not work here. The Dutch system copes with supply via licensed
premises which is nothing new for the UK.

I want to see an end to people who use cannabis being imprisoned and or
being given a criminal record. I am opposed to fines as a general principal
not just for cannabis because fines are unequal. To a rich person, a hundred
pounds is nothing. To a person on the national minimum wage it can be a

Cannabis has only been illegal for some 75 years; arguably it is one of
mankind's oldest cultivated crops, grown for its food rich seeds and fibrous
stalk as well as its medicinal and relaxant uses. Indeed at the time of
Henry VIII in England people who farmed over a certain acreage were fined if
they did not grow hemp on a percentage of their land.

While cannabis is illegal, experimentation and research into its undoubted
medical potential are virtually non existent. People with multiple
sclerosis, for instance, are left to seek for a drug, which some believe
helps their condition, from illegal sources.

Take cannabis out of its current illegal position and we can see the
financial collapse of many criminals who rip off the public

That can only be a good thing.

Councillor Don Quinn (Labour Member for St. Andrews Ward).
King Stephens Road, Colchester. Essex
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