Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by weedboss, Jun 24, 2003.

  1. Labour Is Not Going Soft On Drug Users, Ministers Insist, As The Police Gain New Search-And-Arrest Powers

    People who allow cannabis to be smoked at parties at their homes could face a 14-year jail sentence under new laws designed to show that the Government is not going soft on drugs.

    Ministers have delayed the controversial reclassification of cannabis from Class B to Class C until the end of the year to coincide with the introduction of the harsh new penalties. The move was originally planned for next month, but was postponed after lobbying by police and anti-drug groups, who feared that the Government was sending out the wrong message.

    The tougher sentences will also affect universities which fail to stop students supplying each other with drugs at halls of residence, voluntary organisations working with drug users and even parents who tolerate the casual use of soft drugs by their children and friends.

    The measure to increase the maximum sentence for production, supply and possession with intent to supply from five to 14 years is contained in the new Criminal Justice Bill, which is expected to receive the royal assent in November. The legislation will apply to all property owners and tenants. The crime of 'supply' need not involve money changing hands so, in theory, householders who allow a joint of cannabis to be handed over at a dinner party face the new sentence.

    The controversial penalties are primarily aimed at crack houses, which have become a police priority, but could equally be applied to domestic homes and other private premises.

    The measures were also designed to target dealers to prevent an explosion in the cannabis market as a result of its change of status, but drug campaigners last night described the measures as draconian. They say that individuals and organisations who fail to take action against casual drug use will face exactly the same sentences as the members of organised criminal gangs involved in trafficking lorryloads of cannabis.

    Roger Howard, chief executive of the drugs reform charity Drugscope, called for a thorough sentence review of drug offences. 'This is a retrograde step that goes against all the evidence and advice the Government has been given by the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs, which has said that cannabis is not as harmful as other drugs,' he said.

    As a Class C drug, cannabis will remain illegal, but there will be an assumption against arrest for simple possession. The power of arrest would be used only in 'aggravating' circumstances, although these have yet to be defined. The change is intended to allow police to focus their efforts on Class A drugs, chiefly cocaine and heroin.

    The cannabis market in the UK is worth more than ?1 billion a year and supplies around three million regular users. Many of those involved in high-level trafficking are also involved in other drugs and other serious forms of organised crime. Dozens of murders and shootings have been directly linked to the trade in cannabis.

    The delay has been partially caused by the need to rethink the original proposals, which would have meant that those trafficking in large quantities of cannabis would have faced a lower maximum penalty than those smuggling tobacco or alcohol. It would also have meant that police would have been unable to arrest anyone for smoking a joint or search to see if they were carrying large quantities of drugs.

    Both these issues have now been addressed by one leading drug charity, which said that the Government had amended the law so much that the effect of the reclassification would be minimal.

    But anti-drugs campaigners say the amendments are necessary to prevent massive growth in the market. David Raynes of the National Drugs Prevention Alliance said there was already anecdotal evidence that cannabis use had risen since the announcement of reclassification.

    'There is a lot of confusion out there. There are lots of 12- and 13-year-old kids who now think that cannabis is legal. Based on the experiences of other places such as Holland, South Australia and Alaska, it is likely that the market is going to go up significantly. Our view has always been that the Government should do nothing, say nothing and change nothing that might encourage drug-taking. But this is just what they have done.'

    The new law stops short of full decriminalisation. Officers will be able to arrest and search a suspect if they are deemed guilty of 'aggravated possession' involving public disorder or children, or if the offenders refuse to hand over their drugs.

    A study published last year on policing and cannabis showed that 69 per cent of police officers already dealt with cannabis possession in an informal way, often throwing the drugs down the nearest drain rather than arresting the offender.
  2. Hi this is Marco.

    I just whant to say that the Government arn't going soft on which they shouldn't be but cannabis needs to be seperated from hard drugs and the government should tax and controll the cannabis and make sure kids arn't obataining any. But the Gorvernment are coming up with very bad reasons why to keep it illegal and the crime realted with cannabis is only made by the harshness of the government. This country need to start now in revolting against the laws on cannabis and show herb smokers arn't criminals and deserve a place in society too. The Uk are wasting so much money on prosecutions that were minor cannabis growth and dealings not related to class As. The UK have come up with alot of reasons why cannabis consumption isn't actually that bad infact healthy in some aspects. Alchohol in the society needs to be more regulated in England because of Famalies that break because of Alcholol related deaths, murders and injuries and intense sickness. To be honest there is alot of people on hard drugs and this isn't going to stop until labour open there angry eyes.
  3. dude, if you think us Brits are having a hard time with our weed laws, then you should *really* check out the USA!

  4. Exactly, American Laws just make me laugh, there fuckin appauling.
  5. Hopefully soon the countries that contraband cannabis should open coffeeshops and show we want a right!

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