Scotland’s call for decriminalization

Scotland has heard a chorus of prominent voices calling for the decriminalization of marijuana. The most recent of these was Lord McCluskey, a senior Scottish Judge who spoke in favour of decriminalization on July 12, at the 50th anniversary conference of Scotland’s Law Society.

McCluskey told the assembled lawyers that cannabis itself is not a danger to life, and that prison terms have failed as a deterrent to use. Labour MP and veteran pro-cannabis campaigner Paul Flynn backed up McCluskey, explaining that enough British people were currently imprisoned for pot-crimes to fill four and a half prisons.

A few weeks earlier the Scottish Committee on Public Health Medicine became the first medical professionals to officially call for pot to be legal for recreational use. The committee is part of the British Medical Association (BMA), but the BMA voted against supporting the initiative in early July.

Deputy Chief Constable of the regions of Lothian and Borders, Tom Wood, has also come out in support of drug law reform. The senior police officer said that he hoped the Scottish Parliament would have the “courage” to take a fresh approach.

The Scottish Parliament’s presiding officer is David Steel, who came out in favour of decriminalisation after his son Graeme was jailed for nine months for growing a large quantity of pot.

The deputy first minister is Liberal Democrat Jim Wallace, who compares putting drug offenders in prison to putting alcoholics in a brewery. He explains that “our prisons are so riddled with drugs that it is one place you can be sure drug offenders will be unable to kick their habits.”

Wallace has backed pot for medical use, and is calling for a Royal Commission to investigate the complete legalisation of the plant.