British to reduce pot usegreenspun.com : LUSENET : Current News - Homefront Preparations : One Thread
had ya goin for a sec, huh? LOL
British to reduce pot use penalties
Posted on Thu, Jul. 11, 2002, BY T.R. REID, Washington Post Service
Arrests called waste of time
LONDON - Signing on to the tolerant approach toward drug use that is spreading rapidly in Europe, the British government Wednesday said it will effectively decriminalize the possession and use of marijuana.
David Blunkett, the home secretary, told parliament that police will no longer arrest people smoking ''cannabis,'' as the drug is known here. Possession of a supply of the drug for personal use will also be ignored.
Cannabis will still be considered an illegal drug, however, and selling it will remain an arrestable offense.
Blunkett and his boss, Prime Minister Tony Blair, both defended the policy change Wednesday, arguing that it will give the police more time and resources to go after violent crime and the use of hard drugs such as heroin.
''Making a clearer differentiation between drugs that kill and drugs that do not would be scientifically appropriate and educationally valuable,'' Blunkett said. He promised an increase in drug education programs.
The new national policy stems from a successful experiment begun last year in Brixton, a South London neighborhood. The local police chief declared that arresting people for marijuana was a ''waste of time,'' and ordered his police to bypass pot smokers and focus on hard drugs.
Today, young people routinely light up a ''spliff'' -- that's the British term for ''joint'' -- on the sidewalk in front of Brixton's police station. You can buy a spliff just outside Brixton's subway station for less than $5.
In an assessment this spring, the national Association of Chief Police Officers praised the Brixton experiment and urged the same approach be taken nationwide. Blunkett said Wednesday he will institute that change as of next summer.
Blunkett emphasized that cannabis will still remain technically illegal. He said he will create a new crime of ''aggravated possession'' so police can move against repeat offenders.
By telling police to look the other way when they come upon a pot user, Britain has joined most other European nations. The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium are among nations that decriminalized marijuana and ''party drugs'' such as ecstasy.
[You can all relax now. I'm sure it was bothering you. LOL]
-- Anonymous, July 15, 2002