Farce and corruption: drugs minister Victoria Atkins MP recuses herself from drugs debate ‘due to my husband’s business interests’

A debate in parliament on Drug Consumption Rooms yesterday once again exposed the blatant corruption at the heart of British politics that makes progressive reform in this country so difficult to attain. Farcically, Victoria Atkins MP – the drugs minister – recused herself from responding to points relating to cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids “due to the potential for a conflict of interest with my husband’s business interests”. The SNP’s Ronnie Cowan MP, who supports reform, had to cut out a section of his speech as a result. He posted the…

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Dispatches shows Britain the benefits of legalisation in the US

Channel 4’s latest Dispatches episode featured former Scotland Yard chief Bernard Hogan-Howe, who visited the US to see if legalisation there could change his views on prohibition in Britain. Before the episode aired, he voiced his opinion in the media that the government should set-up a two-year review. Cannabis consumers in the UK responded to the call for a review from Hogan-Howe as a welcome step in the right direction but criticised the suggested timeframe as too long a process and have asked why he has only looked at the…

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Colombia: Cannabis users protest presidential decree banning possession

The likes of Canada may be moving forward but Colombia is moving – even further – backwards. Cannabis users in Bogota protested in a ‘smoke-athon’ over the weekend after new President Ivan Duque signed a degree banning personal drug possession and ordering police to confiscate all quantities of the drug. For the past two decades it has been legal to carry small amounts of cannabis for personal use. Stop and search will be ramped up and those caught will be fined, but not sent to prison. A protester giving a…

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Ex-Met Police Chief Bernard Hogan-Howe Calls For Legalisation Review

Former Scotland Yard chief Bernard Hogan-Howe has called on the Government to set up a two-year review to examine whether Britain should legalise cannabis. Writing in The Mail on Sunday, Lord Hogan-Howe proposes that a panel of experts should examine “the accumulating evidence on legalisation… with open minds”. “This could include whether they feel the evidence suggests cannabis should be safely legalised,” he writes. “It is hard to justify criminalising a substance less harmful than products we can buy in a shop and at some level has medical benefits.” The…

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Legalisation in Canada: Stores run out of cannabis on first day

Cannabis stores in Canada ran out of stock after the first day of legalisation, underlying the popularity of the move and the challenges ahead for the industry to match supply to demand. One store owner claimed they had, of all the times, somehow ran out of weed at 4:20. In Quebec, customers waited for hours in lines but many were sent home without being served; even if they did get in, they found a limited supply, leaving some to comment that the black market was back in business. But the…

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