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Cannabis should be licensed and sold in shops

  1. Docta

    Leading cannabis researcher calls for legalisation with controls similar to alcohol and tobacco

    Cannabis for recreational use should be available in shops under similar restrictions to those used to control the sale of alcohol and tobacco, according to Britain's leading expert on the drug.

    Under one scenario, people would be able to apply for a licence to buy cannabis products once they reach the age of 21, provided they have the approval of a doctor, he said.

    The drug would be regulated by a body that ensures the quality and safety of the products before they go on sale.

    A rethink of the laws surrounding cannabis and related products was necessary to take cannabis out of the hands of criminals, said Roger Pertwee, professor of neuropharmacology at Aberdeen University.

    In the 1970s, Pertwee co-discovered THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.

    Speaking ahead of a talk this week at the British Science Festival in Birmingham, Pertwee said: "In my view, we don't have an ideal solution yet to deal with recreational cannabis. We should consider licensing and marketing cannabis and cannabis products just as we do alcohol and tobacco.

    "At the moment, cannabis is in the hands of criminals, and that's crazy. We're allowed to take alcohol, we're allowed to smoke cigarettes. Cannabis, if it's handled properly, is probably not going to be any more dangerous than that."

    The government upgraded cannabis to a class B drug late last year against the advice of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. The council's chairman, Professor David Nutt, was sacked after criticising the government's drugs policy, a move that prompted five others to resign in protest.

    Possession of class B drugs, which include amphetamines, such as speed and barbiturates, carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison plus a fine. Dealing the drugs can lead to a 14-year prison sentence. The most recent Home Office figures show there are 158,000 convictions for cannabis possession a year.

    Pertwee said he wanted to reopen the debate on cannabis, saying he favoured legalisation if the drug was well regulated. He added that healthier alternatives to smoking cannabis were available.

    Outlawing the drug forced users to either grow it illicitly or buy it from an illegal dealer. "They have no idea what the composition is, what has been added to it, and they are at risk of being invited to take other drugs," he said.

    Attempts to relax the ban on cannabis have been countered by concerns that it can cause schizophrenia in a minority of people who are susceptible to the condition. Pertwee said it might be possible for doctors to assess people's backgrounds and risk of mental health problems before allowing them to buy a cannabis licence.

    "You would need a minimum age of 21, but I would go further: that you have to have a licence. You have to have a car licence, you have to have a dog licence; why not a cannabis licence, so you can only take it if it's medically safe for you to do so?" he said.

    Nutt, who is a professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, said: "I welcome this attempt by the UK's leading expert on cannabis to bring rationality to the debate on its legal status.

    "As cannabis is clearly less harmful than alcohol, criminalisation of people who prefer this drug is illogical and unjust. We need a new regulatory approach to cannabis. The Dutch coffee-shop model is one that has been proven to work but some of Professor Pertwee's new suggestions may well have extra benefits and should be actively debated."

    Ian Sample, Science correspondent
    The Guardian, Tuesday 14 September 2010


  1. MikePatton
    Although this is the millionth article stating the same conclusions, it still warms my heart to read this coming from different people in different places on different medias.

    To take away years of repeating brainwashing you're gonna need some repeating brainwashing of your own, AKA jamming this in people's throats on all fronts until they swallow a bit of truth.
  2. Crazy Insane Sanity
  3. 3rd_high
    A license to decide if you are mentally well/mature enough to decide what you do with own body, consciousness and life. Well now I could agree with that to a certain extent, though I would always err on the side of total freedom every time. But to license the use of a naturally occurring substance that grows freely upon the Earth thas never killed anyone and has done more good than harm (in guiding us and healing us), nah, that is just plain barmy. What sort of big brother orwellian world do you want for the future of humanity? We were born to be free and to have our own relationship with mother nature for free. That is our destiny. Not a governmental licensing nanny state.

    I do appreciate that in the current state of affairs there are certain people out there looking to make a profit, and in a profit based society, profits get put over the welfare (inc education of 'how to do it yourself') of the people.. this is the psycopathic model of capitalism. In this capitalism structure, you have commerce, and within commerce, there are licences, and the costs involved. Fair enough if you're in the world for business, thats for you and your conscience alone, but human beings, free living flesh and blood human beings, licencing should never come into it.
  4. Docta

    An interesting concept is “Total freedom” it may be possible in an autonomous society, but in the communal society we have there is a need to set boundaries to encourage the common good.

    An unfortunate weakness in the human condition is when we come across a substance or activity that has a positive effect we believe that a great deal more of that substance or activity will increase the intensity or duration of that positive effect.

    Tobacco, Alcohol and Cannabis are the three main substance abuse problems in the developed word, all three are public health issues, the proposed controls for Cannabis are as a result of the inadequacies of the laws to curb abuse of Tobacco and Alcohol.
    The limiting of impact on the community and it’s resources is the focus point for the article.

    If a drug of dependence such a Cannabis is to be put under the control of the bureaucracy we would wont to be shore that there is stringent oversight and control in place first, because we know from Tobacco and Alcohol you can’t put the genie back in the bottle.

    I’ve always been of the opinion that someone that is smoking Cannabis daily is likely to be against control and all for OTC sales at the local pub; I find it hard to believe that there isn’t some degree of bias or at least some of the more is better human condition tainting there point of view.

    It’s great to see the evolution of society going in this direction with the scientists and academics coming out and supporting it openly.
    As a scientist I’m shore that Professor Pertwee,s recommendations were made after close observation and study of the Cannabis issue and are some of the best I’ve seen to date, certainly not capitalistic or totalitarian.

    The temptation of poorly controlled Cannabis in the community would be overwhelming.
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