The petition to legalise and regulate the sale of cannabis has received a response.
The Government has said that they remain adamant that ‘drug use must be prevented in our communities’. However, following Theresa May’s definition of a drug, their motives for this stance is unclear; especially considering that they will not consider banning alcohol, which, as the overly repeated rhetoric states, is considerably more harmful than cannabis.
What is understandable is that opening a legal market for cannabis may send the wrong message to some of society, and encourage what is admittedly an unhealthy act (ignoring the fact that vaping or eating cannabis mitigates much of the dangers of smoking in the regular fashion). But this view is, in my opinion, backwards; it only holds because of the Government’s past mistakes: criminalizing cannabis in the first place! The idea that safe consumption by most users should be sacrificed because noone would be bothered to promote healthy use to dependent users, or to make potential users aware of the dangers is preposterous.
To substantiate their argument, they quote a study from 2008 that finds that ‘cannabis is a significant public health issue’.
In the 56 page report, they grab that one quote, which appears on the first page, right after the paragraph that states that the harmfulness of cannabis more closely relates to Class C drugs rather than Class B and encourages the notion, that if the governent do decide to incriminate cannabis users, cannabis should be considered Class C, and hence punishments for users would be considerably less severe.
Yes, the report states it is a public issue, but this is regardless of cannabis being legal or not, and finds that ‘criminal justice measures will only have a limited effect of usage’ and proposes the Government actually listens to UK’s Chief Medical Officers who, again, consider justice measures to be useless (Prof Dame Sally Davies).
in 2012, the Home Affairs Select Committee produced a report on the UK’s drugs policies, which concerned the reclassification of Cannabis. The report included the sentence “We remain, however, of the view expressed in our predecessors’ Report, namely that cannabis be reclassified from class B to C, and therefore regret the decision taken by the Government in 2008.”
As to the economic (dis)advantages of legalising the sale of cannabis and generating revenue through taxes, the reply seems to suggest that administrative costs, and responsive healthcare would outweigh the income stream from sales; but this is a pathetic excuse given that no figures were used. (I am not qualified enough to attempt any reliable calculations.)
They claim cannabis use is down since 2010 because of their policy and they wear this claim with pride. An assumption in this statement is that using Cannabis is inherently wrong, that we should not be using cannabis whether we want to or not, (what Human Rights?). Something to consider is that though the number of people taking cannabis might have decreased, there could have occurred a substitution whereby those who stopped consuming the relatively harmless cannabis having switched to taking more dangerous drugs such as New Psychoactive Substances which have no record of human history, cocaine, or even alcohol.
Lastly, the petition’s response does not acknowledge the benefits of using cannabis medicinally, and assumes that all users are recreational ones, and doesn’t bother to mention that there does exist a UK company that produces and distributes psychoactive cannabis for medicinal purposes (at ludicrous prices (see GW Pharma and Sativex),
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