UK Police Commissioners Call For Harsh Penalties For Cannabis At Conservative Party Conference

On October 3, at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, police commissioners called to reclassify cannabis and create stricter penalties for those who possess and sell it, reported local media.

The commissioners argued that the current classification is not appropriate given new data suggesting cannabis is more harmful than previously thought. For that reason, they want to re-schedule cannabis as a Class A drug, raising penalties for those who possess and sell cannabis.

If users are caught in possession of Class B drugs, like cannabis, speed, and ketamine can face up to 14 years. Meanwhile, those caught with a Class A drug, like heroin, cocaine and ecstasy, can be jailed for life.

"If you look at the young people in treatment, the number one drug they are in treatment for is cannabis," said David Sidwick, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset. "There are so many crimes linked to drugs that, actually, by addressing this, by giving us this clarity, it makes it clearer for our police to be able to do what they need to do." 

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: "There are currently no plans to reclassify cannabis, which is controlled as a Class B drug in the UK on the basis of clear medical and scientific evidence of its harms,” reported the BBC.

Peter Reynolds, the president of CLEAR, an organization against the prohibition of cannabis, called the proposal "completely crazy." He said the Commissioners were "promoting ideas which will increase crime, violence and child exploitation.

"The idea of doing more of the same as the past 50 years, which has quite obviously dramatically failed, is ridiculous. The only people who want this are ignorant politicians and the people who sell illegal drugs, I'm crystal clear about that," Reynolds said.

Is Weed Legal In The UK?

Weed is not legal in the UK at the moment. Even the possession of personal amounts is not decriminalized and the medical cannabis program has yet to take off. But a sober analysis of the history of cannabis prohibition and the recent tentative changes in British laws show that the legal status of cannabis may change here in the not-too-distant future.

Photo by Gabriel McCallin on Unsplash.

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