Change Britain's Future

This election is your opportunity to change the direction of our country - to change away from a hard or woolly brexit and a decade of lost growth, to change our funding of our public services, to change our politics in Westminster and in Bromsgrove. Read more

Let's Legally Control Cannabis

For 50 years our police, health services, local government and justice system has fought a war against the use of cannabis.

It has failed. More people use cannabis now than 50 years ago and criminals are making a fortune running and controlling cannabis supply. We have lost control. Let's take back control and protect our young people.

Across the UK we are spending a small fortune on fighting a losing war against cannabis when we could be raising money from controlled sales and putting that money to good public use.

However, there do need to be controls, just as I saw when I visited Denver Colorado a couple of years ago.

Crucially, we will introduce limits on potency and permit cannabis to be sold through licensed outlets to adults over the age of 18

However, I do also recognise that some people will have concerns about the legal control of cannabis.

Firstly, drugs have the capacity to mess you up. This is true whether they are legal or illegal. However, we can use legal supply of cannabis to encourage (through tax and messages) use of lower potency cannabis whereas at the moment criminal gangs are incentivised to offer high potency cannabis to create dependency.

Secondly, organised crime has used drugs as a key way to exert power and enrich themselves. Therefore criminal gangs need to understand that Bromsgrove and the West Midlands is not and will not be an easy place for them.

On the issue of regulation of cannabis, it is clear that the war on drugs has failed and that police and court resources would be stretched to breaking point if every cannabis possession was pursued as a criminal offence.

Hence, we currently have the odd situation in which usage (whilst remaining illegal) currently brings only a police caution but dealing or growing or distribution is tackled as a serious crime.

That is why I am asking you to support the Liberal Democrat policy to legalise cannabis and to ensure that the law in the UK catches up with the reality on the ground.

My calculations, based on US examples, are that careful regulation of cannabis in the UK would save each voter in Bromsgrove around £10 per year.

Careful regulation would also help to remove drugs from our streets and take the drug dealers out of our communities, something that pure policing has not been able to do.

Equally, careful regulation allows us to publicise the mental health risks and to ensure that the cannabis that is available for sale is regulated and taxed according to strength - so the higher strength version would be taxed more heavily to discourage usage.

Where cannabis has been regulated in places like Colorado in the USA, there has been no increase in overall usage of cannabis nor other hard drugs. In fact, the evidence so far is that young people are less likely to buy and use cannabis where it is legally controlled.

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