Former Judge Calls For Legalisation Of Cannabis And End To 'unenforceable' Law

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by weedboss, Jul 7, 2003.

  1. URL:
    Newshawk: JimmyG
    Pubdate: Sun, 06 Jul 2003
    Source: Scotland On Sunday (UK)
    Copyright: 2003 The Scotsman Publications Ltd.
    Author: Murdo MacLeod
    Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


    A FORMER High Court judge called last night for cannabis to be legalised and the drug supplied in the same way as alcohol and tobacco.

    Speaking days after the case against a multiple sclerosis sufferer accused of supplying cannabis was abandoned, Lord Prosser said the current laws on the Class B drug were unenforceable and should be scrapped.

    Lord Prosser, who retired from the Bench in October, is the most senior Scottish legal figure to call for the legalisation of cannabis. Government policy is to effectively decriminalise the drug by reclassifying it from B to C.

    The debate has been fuelled by the case of Biz Ivol, from Orkney, who was accused of supplying cannabis chocolates to fellow MS sufferers. The case was dropped by the Crown on the grounds that Ivol's condition has advanced to the point where it was no longer in the public interest to prosecute.

    After the case was dropped, Ivol, 56, attempted to take her own life with an overdose of paracetamol but was discovered by neighbours and is now recovering in hospital.

    Lord Prosser said he did not wish to comment about the Biz Ivol case in particular, but added: "I have long believed that the law [on cannabis] in its present form should be changed.

    "It should be legal to posses the drug and there should be a system of controlled supply similar to that which exists for tobacco and alcohol. You obviously cannot have a free-for-all for supply - that has to be controlled, just as alcohol and tobacco are controlled."

    Lord Prosser said large numbers of people were using cannabis, despite a high-profile government 'war on drugs' that has sought to cut off supplies and penalise dealers and addicts.

    He said: "The current law is clearly not working. It should be scrapped and we should start again. If a law seems to be unenforceable then one would have to think very carefully about how to solve the problem in other ways. It cannot be a sound law if it does not achieve what it was meant to achieve."

    Lord Prosser's recent retirement has left him free to air his opinions. By convention, judges who still sit in Scottish courts do not comment on whether laws should be changed.

    Margo MacDonald, the independent MSP for the Lothians, and a long-term advocate of more liberal drug laws, said: "Lord Prosser is to be applauded for his stance. The truth is that society has moved on and most people regard cannabis as no different in principle to alcohol or cigarettes."

    Kevin Williamson, a campaigner for more liberal drugs laws, said: "Politicians are way behind public opinion on this issue. There has been a sea-change in public attitudes. Now we have judges who are more in tune with the public mood than our political leaders."

    However, Lord Prosser's views drew a less favourable response from the Scottish Conservatives, who claimed that the cannabis lobby was exploiting the Ivol case to argue for laxer drug laws.

    A spokesman said: "There are too many mixed messages coming out... we need clarity in the fight against drugs.

    "While there is a justifiable debate about the medicinal uses of cannabis, the two issues should remain separate."

    MacDonald has also written to Colin Boyd QC, the Lord Advocate, demanding a change in policy on prosecuting MS sufferers who make use of cannabis, in the aftermath of the Ivol affair.

    She wants them to be allowed to use cannabis as a palliative without the fear of prosecution.

    The Scottish Executive was last night unwilling to voice any view on the subject, saying that the regulation of drugs was a matter reserved to the UK government and not a subject which MSPs could decide.

    A Home Office spokesman said ministers would not be commenting on the views of an individual judge. However, he added that the government's plans to rec lassify cannabis from a class B to a class C drug would mean that possession of the drug would still be an offence, although it was not regarded as being as dangerous as harder drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

  2. A FORMER High Court judge called last night for cannabis to be legalised and the drug supplied in the same way as alcohol and tobacco.

    ^^^^go figure it would be legalized for certian ages. well in a way i tink its better but the age wont stop anything. dealers will pay cheap prices in the store for their pot then charge minors an arm and a leg. and guess what they will pay too. or they will steal it. but i tink it should be legalized with an age limit. like in the bars in okanawa (spelling?) if you can see over the bar you can drink. parents should teach their kids right from wrong.

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