Use of cannabis should be licensed

5:32pm Wednesday 19th March 2014

I WAS interested to read the article in last week’s Guardian which was positioned below the interview that you had with Inspector Snasdell about the drug situation in Winsford.

Clearly, Inspector Snasdell is intent on continuing the ‘war on drugs’, a strategy that has failed to have any significant impact on the use of illegal drugs (indeed, use continues to rise) and which is now being discredited by many thoughtful people who have wide experience of dealing with the users of illegal drugs and the impact that prosecution has on their lives.

Countries, states and cities around the world have introduced, or are in the process of introducing officially controlled supplies of cannabis as a way of removing its supply from the criminals and ensuring that the official supply is of a standardised and controlled quality.

Some argue that cannabis is a ‘gateway’ drug that leads towards the use of other illegal drugs.

The reason that cannabis is a ‘gateway’ drug is because it is supplied via the criminal supply network, and once the criminal supplier has a regular cannabis user it is easy to encourage the user to progress to other more powerful drugs.

Removing cannabis supply from the criminals breaks this link.

Much money changes hands when someone buys cannabis from a supplier, and this money circulates around the criminal network and disappears from the normal economy.

When someone in the UK is charged with possession of cannabis and found guilty, that person gets a criminal record and this can have a severe and damaging impact on employment, and the ability to earn an income.

This, in turn, may impact a family too.

The harm these consequences do to the individual and close family are likely to outweigh the harm done by cannabis itself.

Why allow the criminals to control the market?

Surely, it makes sense for cannabis to be supplied to registered users via official outlets, the price standardised and the quality of the supply assured.

All towns have licensed premises, whether for the supply of alcohol, tobacco or medicines.

The infrastructure already exists.

The price of supply would reduce, a tax could be applied and the money raised could be used for society improvements.

It is important that those in a position of authority begin to consider some of these options.

Nick Argent Davenham

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