by David Rose, Anthony Browne and Faisal Islam
Sunday, July 8, 2001, published in
Britain is to abandon the hunt for cannabis
smugglers and dealers in the most
dramatic relaxation of policy on the drug so far.
Instead the Government has told law enforcement officers,
including Customs officials and
police, to target resources on 'hard drugs',
such as heroin and cocaine.
Under the new strategy -- part of the most radical
shift in drugs policy for a generation --
large-scale cannabis seizures and prosecutions will
now take place only as a by-product
of investigations into Class A drugs.
Last week with the blessing of Home Secretary
David Blunkett, police in Brixton, South
London, abandoned their policy of prosecuting
people found with small amounts of
The relaxation of policy on cannabis follows changing
public attitudes to the drug.
This weekend senior Tory MP Alan Duncan supported
Peter Lilley, the former
deputy leader of the Conservative Party, who called
for the legalisation of sale
of the drug in licensed outlets.
Ash director Clive Bates said: We would legalise
cannabis in its non-smokeable forms,
such as in cakes, tea or droplets. There's
irrationality and inconsistency in the policy on
tobacco, soft and hard drugs. Even if you legalised
cannabis in its smokeable forms you
couldn't come close to the harm done by cigarettes, because
no one smokes 20
joints a day.'