Pubdate: Sat, 24 Jan 2004
Source: York Evening Press (UK)
Copyright: 2004 Newsquest Media Group - A Gannett Company
Author: Steve Clements, Legalise Cannabis Alliance
Bookmark: (Cannabis - United Kingdom)


THE re-classification of cannabis makes little difference to the way the law
has been interpreted for some time now (`Is the country going to pot?',
January 21).

It has created a geographical lottery on whether the police will arrest for
possession or not, with at least six forces saying they will. Arrests can
also be carried out "at the discretion of a police officer". This opens up
all sorts of potential issues of discrimination and prejudice. The
Government has provided, free of charge, the greatest bit of advertising the
criminal black market could ever have hoped for - ensuring a continued rise
in use around the country, particularly among young people. Recent
scaremongering stories regarding psychosis have been blown out of all
proportion and, as yet, are not scientifically proven. The Royal College Of
Psychiatrists said: "There is little evidence that cannabis use can
precipitate schizophrenia or other mental illness in those not already
predisposed to it."

Vale of York MP Anne McIntosh says that they should have kept the law as it
is because the police had the situation under control. This is further
evidence of how totally out of touch with the real world our politicians

Fears of increased use among the young and the health issues are further
reasons for legalisation and proper regulation and control, with sound
advice on harm reduction.

The taxes raised from this, estimated at UKP 2 billion, would help towards
rehabilitation and other drug-related problems.

A law that does more harm to society than the substance it intends to
protect us from is wrong and unworkable.

Until we have a government prepared to deal with the issue properly and
separate cannabis from the black market, Britain's drug problems will
continue to be out of control.

Steve Clements, Legalise Cannabis Alliance
Church Street, York.
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