CANNABIS CULTURE – UK’s Liberal Democrats, polling higher than ever in the lead-up to a federal election, want to remove criminal penalties for cannabis possession and allow Dutch-style cannabis cafés.
Internal party policy documents leaked to the UK’s Daily Mail suggest permitting possession, social supply to adults and cultivation for personal use. The release of the documents follows an internal party vote to make it “no longer a crime for the occupier or manager of premises to permit someone to use cannabis on those premises.”
According to the Daily Mail, “cafe owners could allow customers to smoke the drug outside or buy ‘hash brownies’ and vaporised cannabis.”
The news is exciting UK’s cannabis community as the Liberal Democrats, who have for years been a fringe party with little popular support, have recently been thrust to the position of possible political kingmaker due to voter dissatisfaction with the reigning Labour and Conservative parties and a great performance in election debates by party leader Nick Clegg. The Liberal Democrats are expected to win up to 80 MP seats in the UK’s general election on May 6, 2010.
The Liberal Democrats were the first major party in the UK to support marijuana legalization according to the BBC and have assured voters that they would stop cannabis prosecutions if elected. Clegg has in the past suggested that heroin and other drugs should be legalized and regulated as a way to reduce harm and crime. He said drug prohibition restricts “individual freedom and civil liberties” and has argued that drug offenses should not lead to imprisonment.
As a Member of the European Parliament in 2002, Clegg advocated partially decriminalizing the sale of cannabis and taking measures to “make the fight against organised crime and trafficking in narcotics and psychotropic substances more effective, by establishing a system of legal control and regulation of production, sale and use of currently illegal substances.”
“We need a total overhaul of the system so that classifications are based on facts rather than the prevailing mood of tabloid newspapers or home secretaries,” he said in 2007 as the Home Office was reviewing drug policy. “If you’re interested in reducing harm, you need to revisit the spectrum of drugs, both legal and illegal and categorize them according to the evidence.”
“We will always base drugs policy on the independent scientific advice of experts,” a Liberal Democratic spokesman told the press in response to the leaded documents.
The Liberal Democrats have provided more information about their planned drug policy in letters to party members – CLICK HERE for detailed information about the Liberal Democrats drug strategy.
UK cannabis consumers: Make informed choices and don’t forget to VOTE on MAY 6, 2010!