Pubdate: Mon, 15 Jul 2002
Source: Hull Daily Mail (UK)
Copyright: 2002 Northcliffe Newspapers Group Ltd
Author: Alun Buffry, Legalise Cannabis Alliance,


Home Secretary, David Blunkett, announced on July 10, that he intended to 
reclassify cannabis as a class C drug but raise the maximum sentence for 
supply on class C drugs from five to 14 years.

This will mean that although the maximum sentence for possession of 
cannabis will be two years, instead of five, the maximum for supply of 
cannabis will not change.

Cannabis will join a list of class C pharmaceuticals such as Valium under 
the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, despite it being a plant.

Many cannabis campaigners and professionals are disappointed with the 
announcement and even though there is progression in thought, the results 
may still be negative.

There will still be no safe place for users to interact socially as do 
people who drink alcohol.

I cannot see how these changes will help anyone except the police, who will 
save time through not having to arrest people caught with small amounts of 

I find the proposals unclear.

On the one hand Mr Blunkett is saying although cannabis is a dangerous drug 
(offering no evidence), it is less dangerous than other class B drugs, so 
penalties for possession will be reduced; he is saying the penalty for 
supplying cannabis will become the same for class C as for class B.

Mr Blunkett seems to have forgotten supply is driven by demand, which means 
the problem becomes uncontrollable if left outside of the law. Supplying 
cannabis is also highly profitable and untaxable.

With a lesser penalty on possession it is likely more people will smoke 
cannabis openly, thus introducing it to others.

If users are not allowed to grow it they can only buy it illegally.

The question is: What sort of people are going to sell what sort of cannabis?

If we are not careful the less discernible supplier will find a gateway to 
offer hard drugs.

Only legalisation can separate cannabis from hard drugs. This sort of 
half-measure and political appeasement will achieve little - especially 
because of the 12-month delay in changing the policy. People should be 
allowed to grow it.

Alun Buffry,

Legalise Cannabis Alliance,

PO Box 198,

Norwich NR3 3WB.
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