Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006
Cannabis Legalisation demo, March 30th 2001, Whitehall, London
Photo: Ian Hunter

Legalise It!

Cannabis advocates act up in Whitehall

31st March 2001

Activists gathered outside Downing Street on March the 30th [2001] - the day the government released the latest drug arrest figures.

Home Office statistics revealed just under 100,000 people were arrested for cannabis related offences last year.

Shane Collins, an ardent legalisation activist and Green Party Drugs Group operative said: “Cannabis possession is the sixth most common crime and a major source of tension between police and many sections of society. Now is the time to legalise cannabis, cut crime and separate this much maligned herb from addictive drugs such as heroin which need to be treated as a medical issue.”

A poll conducted by the Economist in January 2000 suggested 90 per cent of the population were in favour of decriminalising cannabis use. A report published by Cleveland Police in the same month asserted: “An alternative approach must be found… the most obvious alternative approach is the legalisation and subsequent regulation of some or all drugs.”

An independent committee set up by the Police Federation and chaired by Lady Runciman concluded that a radical overhaul of drug laws was required including decriminalising cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal use.

After the report was ignored by the Government, Lady Runciman told SQUALL: “I think it’s absolutely pathetic. And it indicates they [the government] are not well up on the issues.....… We think there’s a real risk that the cannabis laws are used as a proxy for the control of public order and we think they are inimical to good community relations.”

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