an archve page from the year 2000. For up to date drug use statistics see the
Independent Drug Monitoring Unit survey
a growing relaxation in the enforcement of laws relating to cannabis, the majority
(somewhere between 70 - 75%) of drugs offences relate to cannabis. By far most
of these (over 90%) are simple possession charges, which can result in anything
from an informal warning to a custodial sentence of several years, depending on
the amount of cannabis in question, the area in the country you are in, who the
arresting officer is and what the judge's personal opinions are. This inconsistency
in the treatment of 'cannabis criminals' is widespread and often referred to as
being 'justice by postcode'.
for drug-related arrests take some time to compile, and thus the effects of any
recent changes in policy, official or not, will not be reflected immediately.
At this time figures up to the year 2000 have been officially published.
The typical drug offender is a male who is just over 25 years old. 75,986 people
were found guilty, cautioned, given a fiscal fine or dealt with by compounding,
of a cannabis-related offence in 2000. This was a reduction from the nearly 90,000
people in the same situation during 1999, but still nearly twice the number it
was 10 years before. An table illustrating the number of people involved over
the past decade is shown below. For comparative purposes the number of people
involved in all drug-related offences is included.
far the majority of offences were that of unlawful possession (under the Misuse
of Drugs Act 1971). In 2000, there were 70,306 people dealt with for cannabis
possession. A indication of the variety of punishment levied on such offenders,
and its prevalence, is shown in the table below.
Service / Combination Order||Fine||Imprisonment||Other|
shown above, in 2000, about half such offences resulted in a caution. Other offences,
such as supply and production, are typically punished more harshly as can be seen
below which shows the ratios of outcomes during the year of 2000.
with intent to supply unlawfully||Unlawful
authorities continue to confiscate cannabis in an effort to curb supply. The figures
in terms of total weight of the confiscations over 10 years are shown below. The
amount shows the total weight of herbal, resinous and liquid cannabis, excluding
plants, seized by Customs and Excise, the police and other authorities in the
of cannabis seized (tonnes)||30||32||41||54||228||49||101||150||110||71||74|
forms in which confiscated cannabis comes are far from equally prevalent. The
table below shows how cannabis resin was the domineering form of confiscated cannabis
in 2000, with approximately a third of confiscations by weight involving herbal
cannabis, and relatively negligable amounts of cannabis liquid (e.g. hash oil)
enforcement of cannabis laws creates a large burden on both police time and money.
In 1999 figures showed that straightforward caution takes on average 3 hours of
police time. A typical arrest takes 5 hours of police time to process and costs
£10,000 to bring to court. The average fine levied on offender in court
was just £46.
statistics found here came from publications in the statistics section of our
research library. The majority came from
the annually published 'Drug Seizure and Offender Statistics' series. Other useful
sources are the Annual Report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and
Drugs addiction and associated Drugscope submissions. Frequently various news
articles can also give interesting statistics.