Cannabis should not be "decriminalised". It should be legalised and regulated. The market in cannabis seed, the most nutritious food in the plant kingdom; seed oil, the brightest of the lamp oils and a viable fuel for motor vehicles; hurds, from which paper of finer quality than that from tree pulp may be made; and fibre, from which may be made low- , medium- and high-density fibreboards, fibreglass substitutes lighter than but as strong as steel, insulation, stuffing and a host of other products, is restricted at present because of the difficulty in obtaining a licence to cultivate the plant in the UK.

As it is, the quality of cannabis is variable and it is difficult to get hold of. If it were legalised it would be much cheaper and the Government could tax it. Some of the revenue raised could be put into educating children to treat drugs responsibly.

If cannabis were removed from the Schedule to the Misuse of Drugs Act tomorrow, therealready exist laws and regulations which, if enforced, would prevent many dangers. For example, driving while unfit through drink or drugs is already an offence with a minimum one-year disqualification.

Cannabis should be available at the off-licence or down the pub, sold by people who have already been determined by JPs to be fit and proper people to sell alcohol; from pharmacists who can give general advice to people who wish to try it for insomnia, rheumatism, arthritis, back pain and the myriad other ailments for which anecdotal and scientific evidence indicate that it is efficacious; and, of course, on prescription from one's GP.

J Henry Trumpington, Barrister

Staple Inn Chambers

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