London Police Extend Cannabis Decriminalization Experiment 1/4/02

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!

The Metropolitan Police's six-month experiment with not arresting cannabis users in the south London borough of Lambeth was due to end on December 31, but will be extended after an interim Scotland Yard study indicated the program was "a complete success," the Guardian newspaper reported last Saturday. The experimental program, in which cannabis users are not arrested but merely "cautioned" and their stashes confiscated, will continue pending the issuance of a Police Foundation review due in February, the newspaper reported.

According to the Guardian, the move is "a sure sign" that Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens wants to expand the program to all of London. Stevens has called the no-arrest scheme "sensible and progressive," the paper reported.

The Guardian also noted that the move would encourage Home Secretary David Blunkett to move forward with his announced plan to reschedule cannabis from Class B to Class C, a category reserved for the least dangerous drugs, such as steroids and anti-depressants. Under British law, police cannot arrest people for simple possession of Class C drugs. The Metropolitan Police support that move, wrote the Guardian.

Blunkett is awaiting a report from a parliamentary advisory panel on drug abuse, which will look into the health consequences of cannabis decriminalization. That report is due early this year, and a favorable conclusion could lead to effective decriminalization of cannabis possession throughout Britain as early as March, the newspaper reported.

But even if the law were to change, Britain would not become a safe haven for marijuana users. Police could (and presumably would) continue to "caution" pot-smokers, taking down their names and addresses and seizing their stashes. They have certainly done so in Lambeth, issuing warnings to 381 people between July 2 and November 30, according to police figures. In the same period last year, police in Lambeth arrested 278 people for cannabis possession. In the case of Lambeth, then, the relaxation of enforcement has actually led to an increased number of people harassed by police for cannabis violations.

"Without the full evaluation, it would be wrong to read too much into the figures," a Metropolitan Police spokesman told the Guardian, "but they do show that officers in Lambeth are using the scheme. The number of warnings is higher than the number of arrests, which shows that our officers are not ignoring cannabis possession," he said.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #218, 1/4/02 Editorial: Worse Than Nothing | Mississippi Policeman Killed in Late December Drug Raid, Law Enforcement Dissidents Call for Better Way | Draconian New Ecstasy Law Now in Effect in Illinois | Interview: Kenneth Curtis, the South Carolina Urine Felon | Afghan Opium Production Set to Boom Again with Taliban Gone | Shining Path Reemerges in Peru, Maoist Guerrillas Profit from Prohibition in the Andes | London Police Extend Cannabis Decriminalization Experiment | New Hampshire Supreme Court: If Schools Want to Act as Police, They Must Follow Constitutional Standards | Media and Resources: New CSDP Drug Warrior Distortions Guide, Jefferson Fish in Newsday, Reason Magazine | Job Opening: Santa Monica | Internships at DRCNet | Alerts: Bolivia, HEA Drug Provision, DEA Hemp Ban, Ecstasy Bill, Mandatory Minimums, Medical Marijuana | The Reformer's Calendar
Mail this article to a friend
Send us feedback on this article
This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Subscribe now!
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]