UK’s Justice Secretary: Cannabis Will Not Be Legalized Anytime Soon
Cannabis prohibition is a failed public policy, no matter where it exists, including in the United Kingdom. Cannabis has been found to be 114 times safer than alcohol, however, people in the United Kingdom are having their lives ruined on a regular basis simply because they possessed cannabis.
Even after someone has complied with whatever punishment was handed down against them due to their cannabis offense they are still essentially branded with a ‘cannabis scarlet letter’ because their record will follow them wherever they go, and thus the punishment is ongoing.
A cannabis offense on a person’s record can result in lost employment opportunities, negative ratings from lenders and insurers, and in some cases, it can even prevent a person from having their residential rental application being approved.
The United Kingdom needs to get on the right side of history. Unfortunately, recent comments by the United Kingdom’s Justice Secretary suggest that it could be a while before that happens. Per Twitter from late last week:
He also suggested legalisation of cannabis will not happen anytime soon.
“We have to be very clear controlled drugs, dangerous drugs are unlawful, they’re illegal, they’re criminal to possess or supply.
“We have to be absolutely consistent in our messaging about that.”
— Theo Usherwood (@theousherwood) January 16, 2020
It’s truly a shame that in 2020 a top government official in the UK is still making the claim that cannabis is such a dangerous drug that people’s lives need to be ruined simply because they possess it. The claim is essentially stating that law enforcement’s focus should be on investigating and prosecuting cannabis-only offenses rather than being focused on violent crimes because that’s effectively the result of the enforcement approach that is being touted.
Law enforcement resources are not unlimited, and they should be focused on areas that make sense and keep as many people safe as possible. No one is safer because a cannabis consumer is getting investigated and prosecuted by law enforcement. The focus should be directed towards going after actual criminal activity. How many actual crimes could be prevented in the time that it takes to bust a cannabis consumer in the UK? Shouldn’t limited public resources be prioritized in a better way?
The citizens of the UK deserve a sensible cannabis policy that is based on science and compassion, and not on the outdated political views of a minority of government officials.