So, should the UK government listen to Lord Hogan-Howe and legalize cannabis? Sputnik spoke to Peter Reynolds, President of CLEAR, for more insight on the issue.
Sputnik: Should the UK legalise cannabis?
Peter Reynolds: Yes. Why? Because the only purposes of any drugs policy must be to reduce harm.
And there is no doubt about it, all the evidence is crystal clear about this, that there is far more harm caused to our society by the laws against cannabis than it is caused by cannabis itself.
Peter Reynolds: Well, the most important thing it would do is it would pull the rug from underneath the criminal markets. We spend 6 billion pounds a year on cannabis in the UK, and that’s without even taking into account the enormous amount of home-grown cannabis that is produced.
And all that 6 billion pounds is in the black economy: no one pays any tax on it, there’s no BAT paid on it, and it’s used to finance much nastier criminal activity. It is run by gangsters who use violence to fight over turf wars, they use violence to enforce debts and it’s really the beginning of a county lines problem, where young people are hauled into slavery in the drug’s trade.
And all this is caused – you got to realise this – it is created and caused by government policy.
Sputnik: Could the UK follow North America’s example of legalising not just medical cannabis but also recreational cannabis?
Peter Reynolds: It’s inevitable. It’s completely absurd, you know, we have probably the toughest laws on cannabis in the Western world now.
Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Peter Reynolds and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.