are in Activism / Pragmatism|
an illegal drug, cannabis is subject to no controls or regulation and the trade
cannot be studied. The pragmatic case for cannabis law reform is to regulate the
trade in such a way as to be able to quantify what is sold as "cannabis"
and to be able to monitor and study the users..
the aim is for a regulated regime not unlike that which applies to alcohol - and
in many ways for much the same reasons based on harm reduction.
is a markedly different substance to alcohol however, and issues connected with
its use will, therefore, be different.
really knows what is being sold as cannabis on British streets. At one extreme
there is low-grade hashish which is very uncertain in terms of purity and may
be contaminated with a range of unknown substances. At the other is hi-grade herbal
cannabis which is claimed by some to be very strong with dangerously high levels
of THC.|| |
regulated product in terms of purity and weights and measures.
could be sold in terms of type (i.e. strain) and potency (i.e. strength). Ultimately
it would be the aim to state THC and CBD levels on packaging.
ensure that cannabis farms are properly regulated
and that their product is
pure, also to ensure workers involved in the business have the full protection
of employment legislation.
standards of health and safety in the manufacture of cannabis products, including
and an underground market impossible to measure or study.||All
aspects of the trade quantifiable and known |
comes in many different types or "strains" of the plant. This is important
because different strains have different ratios of active chemicals and therefore
have very different effects on the user. This factor might be more important than
how strong the cannabis is.
is often claimed to be the most important issue particularly by the press and
anti drug campaigners. When they talk of strength or potency, only the level of
THC is usually considered.
the truth, it is important that both of these factors are known and that the buyer
should be aware of them.
are unknown - the only qualification needed to be a dealer is unaccountability.
specifically targets anyone willing to be accountable.
Cannabis is sold within communities from unregulated venues by people with no
training or special knowledge of what they are selling. Although some (perhaps
many) dealers are enthusiastic about the product they sell, few are really informed.
Much cannabis is supplied by organised crime, sometimes with links to people smuggling
and other criminal activity up to and including terrorism. The profits to be made
from illegal cannabis are huge and are kept high by the disruption of the laws
of supply and demand created by prohibition.
of its illegality, the trade doesn't pay anything into society by way of taxes
licensed dealer would be accountable
People involved in the commercial supply would be licensed and would be expected
to have a sound knowledge of the cannabis they're selling in terms of what it
minimum age for purchasing cannabis (18?) could be imposed and dealers legally
obliged to not supply problem users. They would be required to run an orderly
who break the terms of their licence would lose that licence and therefore not
be allowed to trade. They may also face other penalties as may be deemed fit.
Commercial supplies would only be allowed from registered wholesalers who would
obtain supplies only from licensed growers.
scale home growing would be allowed without licence in the same way as wine or
beer may be brewed by enthusiasts. However, in the same way as home brewed wines
or beers cannot be traded, home grow cannabis could not be traded but may be given
minimum age for buying cannabis is £10 - or even less.||The
commercial supply of cannabis to minors should be an offence.|
prohibition is aimed at all users and is difficult if not impossible to enforce
with anything like an even hand. Enforcement is patchy at best and is something
of a post-code lottery, with different police forces having widely differing policies.||Laws
would be seen as fair and in the interest of the consumer, they would thus be
The law offers no protection to people who have problems with dealers. Disputes
cannot be settled by recourse to the law and, indeed, the victim would be considered
a criminal. People with mental health problems and children - the most vulnerable
- are the most at risk.||Normal
sales of goods legislation would apply. Vulnerable groups could be identified
and given specific protection.|
cannabis to children to be a specific offence. |
cannabis to children would involve a duty of care, as with alcohol at present.
Supplying children with cannabis to use unsupervised would be a dereliction of
the duty of care and thus an offence.
of use are high and impossible to measure properly. There is no evidence that
prohibition or the severity of the law has much if any impact on the levels of
use of illegal drugs.||Use
may go up, although it would be impossible to say for sure as we don't know the
present situation. However, it would be easy to measure. Problematic use would
be easier to identify and deal with and social norms would be allowed to develop.|
| || |
would need to be a ban on all forms of commercial advertising - branding, event
promotion etc. - other than at the point of sale. This principle should be applied
to all drugs, including alcohol.
factual public health campaign aimed at awareness of the potential hazards of
cannabis use, particularly designed to reduce binge use. We would welcome additional
measures aimed at preventing the use of cannabis by children, such as school based
projects which aim to delay the age of first use.
there should be a Campaign aimed at reducing the use of tobacco to consume cannabis
and encouraging safer methods of consumption.
should be farmed so as to prevent antisocial behaviour, being stoned is no excuse.
laws aimed at preventing driving whilst intoxicated are needed anyway and at present
this would mean roadside impairment tests as no chemical test exists to gauge
impairment. We do not support the present chemical tests which test for past use
warning should be displayed on packaging and at point of sale both of cannabis
and of paraphernalia used to consume it.
of success would be:
of street dealing.
Reduction in crime associated with the illegal trade.
Accurate figures for levels of use.
Accurate figures for potency/purity/strains
of cannabis consumed.
Accurate knowledge of where cannabis is sold and by
Laws which have the respect of the target user group
is firmly established in British culture and has been for many years. UKCIA is
not asking for a new drug to be introduced, nor does it encourage the use of cannabis.
Rather we call for effective laws to properly regulate the trade that already
do not accept the simplistic aims of the government; we do not see lowering the
overall level of use to a minimum as the most desirable outcome, even if prohibition
in fact did achieve this, which it doesn't. The overall number of users is less
important than the profile of that use. As we know to societies cost with alcohol
a small number of young, heavy binge users is a greater problem than a relatively
large number of adult users who do so in moderation.
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