1. I am in full agreement with
the content of this Report, except for the suggestion in paragraph 89 that for
offences of unauthorised possession, supply, sale or smuggling of cannabis the
maximum penalty on indictment shall be 2 years' imprisonment with or without an
long as it is an offence to possess cannabis there will be a "market"
for the trafficker to exploit. As some cannabis convictions have shown in the
past, the "market" has been sufficiently large to attract organised
smuggling of substantial quantities. It seems likely that the demand for cannabis
will grow and trafficking may become more extensive. Professional criminals may
become more involved, and the problem of urban crime made more serious.
forestall such a development and to minimise the social dangers to which young
people would be exposed if trafficking were uncontrolled I am much concerned that
the large-scale trafficker of cannabis should be effectively discouraged. I am
not persuaded that the maximum penalties suggested by my colleagues would be effective.
An unlimited power to fine is not a sure safeguard. If the alternative sentence
of imprisonment is short, it may be preferred to a large fine. Experience shows
that it is often difficult, and indeed sometimes impossible, to recover from a
convicted person money which is the proceeds of crime.
these reasons I believe that those who traffic in large quantities of cannabis
should be faced with the liability on conviction to more serious consequences
than my colleagues propose. I am of the opinion that where a substantial quantity
of cannabis is traced to the possession of an individual and there are reasons
to believe that this is not for personal use but for sale, then it should be within
the powers of the court dealing with the case on indictment to impose a sentence
of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years in addition to an unlimited fine.