MP calls for legalisation of cannabis

The report proposes the regulation and legalisation of cannabis
The report proposes the regulation and legalisation of cannabis

South Lakeland MP and Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron is calling for the legalisation of cannabis in the UK.

Mr Farron said that current cannabis laws are failing, as the Liberal Democrats release a report setting out a framework for a regulated market for the drug in the UK.

President of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron addresses the Liberal Democrat Annual Conference at the ICC in Birmingham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday September 18, 2011. See PA LIBDEMS stories. Photo credit should read: David Jones/PA Wire

President of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron addresses the Liberal Democrat Annual Conference at the ICC in Birmingham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday September 18, 2011. See PA LIBDEMS stories. Photo credit should read: David Jones/PA Wire

However Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris said he did not support legalisation.

Cannabis was made illegal in the UK in 1928 after Britain signed the 1925 Geneva International Convention on Narcotics Control.

The newly released Lib Dem report, drawn up by a panel of independent experts, proposes that the sale of cannabis to over 18s from licensed stores should be legalised, and the market strictly regulated and taxed.

The report argues that the health risks associated with its use are more effectively managed and minimised through a responsibly regulated market and public health interventions rather than an unregulated criminal market and punitive criminal justice response.

It is expected that taxing cannabis would bring in between £500m to £1bn annually.

This money could then be put towards public services such as the police, NHS and education, the report says.

Mr Farron said: “The core aim of this report is to improve public health, and by that yardstick it is clear that the current system is failing. Cannabis users are pushed towards the illegal market, and have little idea of the quality or strength of the products they are taking.

“By legalising the market for cannabis, we can improve public health by ensuring that the market is strictly regulated and taxed, and users will know what they are taking. The status quo causes huge damage and we urgently need reform.”

But Conservative Mr Morris said: “The Government does not recognise cannabis in its raw form to have any medicinal purposes; it is a harmful drug. Our current laws draw on the best available evidence, not just one study with a political agenda, and it is worth noting that official advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs confirms that cannabis is a significant public health issue.”

The report was drawn up by a panel of independent experts chaired by Steve Rolles, senior policy analyst from Transform Drug Policy Foundation, and included both a serving and a former chief constable, as well as academics and policy experts.