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Europe: Despite British Marijuana Reclassification, No Jail for Low-Level Sellers

Last week, the British government announced it was returning marijuana to Class B drug status, signaling an end to the four-year experiment that saw the herb downgraded to a less serious Class C drug. That meant marijuana sellers could theoretically face up to 14 years in prison. Under guidelines issued Monday by the Sentencing Guidelines Council, however, it appears that many pot sellers will face no more than low-level sanctions.

For the first time in four years, the Sentencing Guidelines Council has promulgated a range of sentencing options for every offense that can be dealt with at a magistrate's court. Under the new guidelines, marijuana users who grow their own stash and occasionally provide marijuana to friends could be punished with only a fine or probation. Even those who supply larger amounts of marijuana or other drugs to share with a small circle of friends could receive probation, according to the guidelines.

For small-scale growing or sales of marijuana, the top end punishment in magistrate's court under the guidelines is 12 weeks in custody, but that sentence would be imposed only if there were aggravating factors. Commercial cultivation or large-scale sales offenses would be handled in the more serious Crown Court, where stiffer penalties are applied.

Opposition Conservatives were quick to pounce on the apparent contradiction between the government's announced hard line and the sentencing council's guidelines. "Once again we see mixed messages going out about drugs," said Tory justice affairs spokesman Nick Herbert in a Monday statement. "Just as the government finally admits that they got it wrong when they lowered the classification of cannabis, these guidelines would see most dealers receive weak and often poorly enforced community sentences."

But despite the posturing of the Tories, the sentencing council's guidelines seem in line with the recommendations of the government's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which opposed the reclassification.

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What a total farce....

This will not be the case in Scotland.
The previous downgrading of Cannabis to Class C did not impact upon Scotland: Police interpretation never deviated from the position of {any} posession {even a roach} constituted a crime, and would therefore be punised as such.
The Legal System in Scotland is very different to the rest of mainland UK.
This having been said, the Scottish Government has not said a word, as far as I can tell, about the re-classification nonsense.
Its just all such a crock of shit - the whole re-classification sham was such a waste of time, especially for the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs {ACMD} who were asked a year ago to report on the evidence base related to Cannabis and mental illness..... there wasn't any, basically. So, the Government {Westminster} just ignored their advice and made up a pack of lies - we have a full blown "marijuana madness" epidemic going on here, reminiscent of the USA in the 1930's.
Meanwhile, the drug that kills approx. 60 UK citizens {out of a population of about 60million} each and every day, namely Alcohol, remains at its lowest relative price for years....... the evidence base tells us that a substantive price hike would reduce consumption significantly, along with associated problems {UK style of drinking is, basically, get it down your neck as fast as you can, and dont stop till you have had way too much, and, then, the fun starts - assault and serious injury}.
However, the Portman Group {drinks industry} keeps things on track, and the profits mount.
Our new 10 year drug strategy document is interesting - not a single mention of "harm reduction" anywhere.... its all based upon a "consultation" exercise done by the Government - yes, thats correct, just ignore all evidence and ask the voters what they want...... oh, and the "interested parties".
This exercise illicited 1020 responses, about 0.002% of the entire population.... hardly much of a basis for planning your next 10 years of drug strategy upon.......still, who gives a shit? They are only scum after-all......or have I become too cynical here?
Its just interesting to note how much of a dismal failure prohibition is.
Also interesting is how a specialised Police unit formed to deal with "organised crime" and illegal drug production/traffiking has failed to even charge a single "Mr Big" they were set up to bring to justice......
Just where is the evidence for the Governments bullshit?
A bit difficult to find when it does not exist......

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