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Cannabis Law Change 'Illogical'

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Sheria (The Law Forum)' started by X-PASTER, Jan 27, 2009.


    X-PASTER Moderator

    Jan 27, 2009
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    The reclassification of cannabis as a Class B drug has come into effect in England and Wales amid complaints the new laws are "illogical".

    Ministers went against their advisors to upgrade the drug because of worries about its impact on mental health.

    Magistrates welcomed the reclassification but said planned fines for possessing small amounts undermined the more serious classification.
    They said it sent the signal cannabis is not as bad as other Class B drugs.

    Plans to introduce a "three strikes" system for cannabis possession start with a warning, then an £80 spot fine for a second offence. Scotland and Northern Ireland have opted out of this penalties arrangement for England and Wales, retaining the former system for class B drugs.

    Only when a third offence is committed, will the person be liable to arrest and prosecution.

    Penalties for drug offences

    The spot fine proposal is due for further consultation after magistrates expressed concerns about taking offences away from the courts system.

    The Magistrates' Association argued that some of the offences were too serious to be dealt with out of court and that penalty payment rates were low.

    The fines are to be debated in the Lords on Monday and are expected to come into force on Wednesday.

    Currently, police can only warn or prosecute people caught in possession of cannabis.

    The maximum prison term for possessing cannabis rises from two to five years with its reclassification.

    Home Office minister Alan Campbell said: "Cannabis is a harmful drug and while fewer people are taking it than before, it poses a real risk to the health of those who do use it."

    He added: "We are reclassifying cannabis to protect the public and future generations."

    But John Fassenfelt, deputy chair of the Magistrates' Association, said the fine system would send out mixed messages.

    "What is that telling the youngster on the street?" he said.

    "Is it telling them well, you can have cannabis, it's not so serious as other Class B drugs.

    "It's a dual justice system. If you smoke or take another Class B drug you'll be brought to court, if you take cannabis you'll be given a fine. Where's the justice in that?"

    But Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies said the changes were disproportionate to the harmfulness of the drug and that they would in any case be ineffective.

    He told the BBC: "The reality is cannabis has been illegal for 80 years and it has made no difference whatsoever to its usage... The use of cannabis should be a matter of health policy not criminal law.

    "The principle of a free society is that people should be able to do whatever they like as long as they cause no harm to other people."

    Brian Paddick, a former Metropolitan Police commander, also said the upgrade would be ineffective as the classification of a drug was not a factor drug users take into consideration.

    However Debra Bell, who says her son became aggressive and dishonest after first smoking the drug aged 14, told the BBC the age of users is falling and the damage to families is acute.

    'Three times stronger'

    She told the BBC: "Thousands across the UK who have written to us have talked about the damage to families... our children are our future."

    A £2.2m TV, radio and internet campaign will launch next month to warn young people about the dangers of using the drug.

    Home Secretary Jacqui Smith decided to reclassify cannabis despite an Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs' review - commissioned by Gordon Brown - saying it should remain Class C.

    Ms Smith said stronger "skunk" varieties account for 80% of the cannabis seized on the streets, and that the drug is nearly three times stronger than in 1995.

    Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: "The move to Class B has got nothing to do with public health and education and everything to do with posturing on penalties.

    "This farce would have been avoided had ministers heeded the advice of the experts on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs."

    The advisory council's report, Cannabis: Classification and Public Health, described the drug as a "significant public health issue".

    But it said it should still remain a Class C drug, saying the risks were not as serious as those of Class B substances such as amphetamines and barbiturates.

    Class C includes substances such as tranquilisers, some painkillers, GHB (so-called "liquid ecstasy") and ketamine. Possession of Class C drugs is treated largely as a non-arrestable offence.

    The Conservatives have said the government's reversal of its earlier decision showed the downgrading of cannabis had been a mistake.

  2. Natty Bongoman

    Natty Bongoman JF-Expert Member

    Jan 30, 2009
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    Probably, infant stages to legalisation.
    Ganjah use 'harmfulness' is debatably unproven. On the other hand, its medicinal benefits has been proven over generations of users. I also agree with the second part of the quote - a strictly ganjah user doesn't go on criminal rampages nor does he/she have urges to kill or maim. The Magistrates are aware of this fact, and it is why they don't think cases as such needs to clog their courtrooms. I welcome their decision, and furthermore, it should be totally decriminalised. I have seen worse cases detrimental to society by users of legal drugs - alcohol and cigarettes. The man-made drugs - alcohol, cigarettes, uppers, downers, ... - have been proven to have more detrimental health effects than ganjah, and I also would like to add that, they have more potential of being tampered with for various evil reasons... I don't think the spread and problems of cocaine, heroin, in poor (often black neighbourhoods) are accidental. Governments participates in importing and spreading these drugs. Blacks have no power to import.

    I think ganjah was criminalised more so for politricks rather than for the reasons they had listed. We have to understand one thing. Historically, ganjah was the poor man's drug, while the exotic lab drugs were for the rich. As such, more blacks in western societies used ganjah. In politricking policies, they found that to be another way of taking more blacks out of their society and their families, by criminalising them. Remember, how much rights one lost once criminalised and worse incarcerated. The present trend is that now their own kids (whites) have become, in large numbers, users. They have also become growers. I contend that, it is this trend, that suddenly makes them relax laws and decriminalise to some extent.

    I contend that, western legal systems have 3 major missions:
    1. to maintain white powers and opportunities - thus proactively, attack black males and undermines their success, now and in the future. Proof - many - one being in societies in which blacks are minorities, their percentage in jails is disproportionately...
    2. to make money via fines - I know in USA, police are required to write so many tickets per a period of time, and many manufacture ways to meet their quota. Guess who gets attacked more...
    3. to remove the obvious criminals and riff-raffs.

    Therefore, note that, the magistrates welcomes having less cases for ganjah use (more work for them), but contends that the fines are too little.

    I doubt many parents, now that many of their white kids smoke, will pursue tougher laws. The ones complaining now, haven't simply put one and one together.