Time to end the stigma of cannabis?
AS I get older, my views on certain subjects have mellowed and this subject is one of them. I was talking to someone out on licence from the prison and now working; he was given three years for possession of about 55 grams of cannabis. I thought afterwards, it costs about £800 a week to keep someone in our prison, so that one year he did cost us, the taxpayer, about £40,000. On top of that he was not paying any income tax or social security whilst he was inside, so I have to ask, who exactly is the one being punished here, the prisoner or the taxpayer? He did not steal or rob anyone, he did not assault anyone, and he wasn’t looking at child pornography, just smoking a bit of weed for his own use. As to the severity of the sentence, I am not sure but I think we currently class cannabis as a type ‘B’ drug, whereas in the UK it is classed as type ‘C’.
Now, as we are about to grow cannabis for medical use, and not before time, perhaps it is time we seriously thought about legalising the growing of the cannabis that makes people high, with certain very strict caveats. A licence would be needed to grow it and only to be sold through States-licensed places, for both of which a licence fee would be paid to the States, the product to be taxed in a similar way to tobacco, not to be smoked in any public place and obviously no driving if you are under the influence. Of course, no sales to anyone under 18.
We have seen so many law changes over recent years, allowing Sunday trading, same-sex marriages and ‘Le Petit Train’, the liberalisation of drinking hours etc., that perhaps it is time we seriously considered this. We should of course still be very vigilant about the importation of heroin, cocaine etc. as these drugs seriously destroy people’s lives – mind you, some could argue the same about alcohol. I must place on record that I have never taken any illegal drugs in my life, and only tried smoking on two occasions when I coughed, spluttered and felt sick and thought ‘This is a mug’s game’.