British prime minister Boris Johnson has hired a policy adviser from the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis who wants to legalise the drug for recreational use.
Blair Gibbs, policy lead at the Centre, which according to BuzzFeed News is actually the “industry body” for businesses and corporations which profit from legal medicinal cannabis and cannabidiol products — a lobby sometimes described as “Big Dope” by critics — recently praised “Canada’s plan to legalise cannabis” as a “rare example of bold policy and good government”.
“When the UK gets round to legislating to regulate a legal market for recreational cannabis it will need to learn from other models but also devise one that fits its own culture and institutions best,” he tweeted as recently as July 9th, citing the neoliberal Adam Smith Institute — appearing to indicate that he regards legalisation as something of an inevitability, despite mounting evidence of a clear link between the drug and serious mental illness and possibly reproductive health issues, including testicular cancer.
We can agree on something. But will you wipe the criminal records clean of hundreds of thousands of working class, and black and brown kids who smoked weed like you did but ended up with criminal records not a posh job in Downing Street? https://t.co/PHYtHzu5JQ
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) July 31, 2019
“But will you wipe the criminal records clean of hundreds of thousands of working class, and black and brown kids who smoked weed like you did but ended up with criminal records not a posh job in Downing Street?” he jeered.
Peter Hitchens, the Mail on Sunday columnist and author of The War We Never Fought who is arguably Britain’s leading voice against cannabis legalisation, may share some common ground with Lammy insofar as he believes drug laws should be applied more evenly — although he favours an approach which is perhaps more robust than the Labour politician would like, having recently contended that “We should arrest many, many more rich white people for drug possession. I’m an equal opportunity prohibitionist.”
Hitchens, as the title of his aforementioned book would suggest, does not believe that drug abusers are being convicted of simple possession in large numbers, with most being dealt with through so-called “cannabis warnings” which amount to little more than an informal verbal ticking off from police, or on-the-spot Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND) fines — neither of which result in a criminal record.
It may also be the case that a number of those convicted for possession were initially investigated for supply, but agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge as part of a plea deal in order to spare the courts the expense of a full trial.
This is actually fairly common, with accused burglars often agreeing to plead guilty to theft or handling stolen goods, accused rapists agreeing to plead guilty to sexual assault, and so on.
Devastating evidence of the link between marijuana and mental illness, as hospitals reveal thousands of users get emergency treatment for mental health problems: UK hospitals treat 125,000 cannabis users over the past five years https://t.co/eJ4EmNaYfV via @MailOnline
— Peter Hitchens (@ClarkeMicah) October 14, 2018