In a Tuesday editorial, England's
prestigious newspaper the Guardian called on Home Secretary David Blunkett
to amend a pending criminal justice bill to ensure that people growing
marijuana for their own use or to share with friends not be prosecuted
as drug dealers.
Blunkett moved last year
to downgrade marijuana from a Class B to a Class C drug, but, as the Guardian
put it, "to keep right-wingers happy," Blunkett also increased the sentence
for trafficking Class C drugs from a maximum of seven years to a maximum
of 14 years. Under current British law, people who grow small amounts
of marijuana can be charged either as "traffickers" or on the lesser charge
of "cultivation," which carries far lighter penalties.
"There are sound pragmatic
reasons for ensuring users who cultivate their own cannabis are not treated
as dealers," opined the Guardian. "Their activities reduce the role
of criminal gangs and destabilize the criminalized cannabis market.
Private cultivators need promoting, not curbing. It is not too late
to protect them. The current criminal justice bill should be amended
so that grow-your-own, like possession, is treated as a minor offense.
It could even win the Home Secretary some support. Polls suggest
60% of people believe cannabis should no longer be an offense."
-- END --
Issue #279, 3/21/03
New York City Mayor Bloomberg Backs Needle Exchange, But Where's the Money? | Medical Marijuana Update: Bills Killed in Arkansas, Wyoming But Moving Forward in Maryland, Vermont, Bad Bill Introduced in Oregon | UN Says Colombian Coca Cultivation Down 30 Percent, Overall Production Down, Too -- Experts Say Not Really | Newsbrief: Marco Cappato in Jail for British Marijuana Civil Disobedience | Newsbrief: Mexican Governor Candidate Says Legalize Drugs | Newsbrief: Guardian Newspaper Calls on Britons to Promote Home Grows, Not Prosecute Them | Newsbrief: Vancouver Ponders "Safe Smoking Materials" for Crack Users | Newsbrief: Medical Marijuana Hits the Shelves in Dutch Pharmacies | Newsbrief: New Jersey Bans Racial Profiling | Newsbrief: NJ Weedman Sues Comcast, Asks $420,000 | Newsbrief: House Republicans Hold Off on Subpoena of Federal Judge | Newsbrief: Informant Nailed for Fake Ecstasy Scam | The Reformer's Calendar
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