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Friday, 12 May 2017

Lib Dems pledge to legalise cannibis

The Liberal Democrats say they have a plan to break the grip of criminal gangs and protect young people by introducing a legal, regulated market for cannabis. They say they're proposing this because they say that the current approach to cannabis has been a catastrophic failure. Unregulated cannabis is freely available and widely used, generating significant mental and psychical health problems – especially for young people – who are being harmed by increasingly potent products.

And because organised criminals are making huge profits at the expense of people’s health, in an illegal industry with no age checks, and no controls on quality or strength. The UK cannabis economy is worth an estimated £7bn a year and the Liberal Democrats say they could put that money to better use. The party accuse every British government so far has passed the buck of responsibility for this problem, thereby giving total control to the illegal rings who benefit from it. This is irresponsible and dangerous.

The Liberal Democrats say they're proposing a series of strict regulations, such as limiting sales of cannabis to over-18s, making cannabis safer by limiting its psychoactive chemical content, and taxing all cannabis sales (generating up to £1bn for investment in drug education and treatment). How can they know it will work? They say they have rigorously consulted a panel of experts, including senior police officers, drugs policy analysts and public health experts. They considered evidence from countries who’ve successfully legalised cannabis.

The Lib Dems say that when a country as eminently sensible as Canada has come to the conclusion that regulation is better than prohibition, you know that the tide has turned. The question is now how to regulate responsibly and effectively. The Liberal Democrats say they can do it.