The North Wales Police Commissioner has called for recreational cannabis to be legalized in Britain after an eye-opening visit to Montevideo.
Uruguay was the first country to permit recreational cannabis use and Arfon Jones believes the UK should take a leaf out of its book. He said it is “nonsense” to criminalize people that enjoy using marijuana and cause no harm to anyone else.
Jones believes the police force would be better off channelling its resources into clamping down on organized criminal gangs that traffic harmful drugs. “Rather than overload an already creaking criminal justice system, we need a more enlightened and more effective approach,” he said.
Cannabis remains illegal for recreational purposes in the UK, but many police forces have pretty much decriminalized it. Cambridge University came up with a rehabilitation scheme called Checkpoint and police in Durham have been offering those caught using cannabis a place on it rather than launching criminal proceedings against them.
Jones now plans to bring Checkpoint to North Wales as part of plans to divert low-level offenders away from being criminalized. He believes it is unfair that a conviction for possessing a modest amount of cannabis can blight someone’s career.
The Home Office legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes on Nov. 1 last year, but the industry has barely got off the ground. NHS guidelines issued by the Royal College of Physicians and The British Paediatric Neurology Association, branded “cruel and ridiculous” by campaigners, make it virtually impossible for doctors to prescribe marijuana, meaning that very few patients have actually received it.
Some parents are still forced to travel abroad to source the cannabis they need to treat their sick children and a mother who had £4,600 worth of CBD oil seized by UK border guards is asking for it to be returned.
Jones claims the legal position in Britain has been “well and truly fudged” and added to the chorus of voices declaring it cruel and unjust that people suffering from epilepsy and multiple sclerosis cannot access the treatment they need.
Conservative MP Andrew Griffiths, who represents Burton and formerly served as chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, has called for medicinal cannabis to become more easily available. He has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock about the issue and the pressure is piling on the government to relax its stance towards cannabis, which could open up a huge market for the global cannabis industry.