CANNABIS CAMPAIGN: Letters

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The Independent Online
I HAVE been a police officer in a busy inner-city area for 12 years, and I am sick of the double standards that exist in our society.

Alcohol is a socially accepted drug, so therefore there is no outcry about the cost of alcohol abuse to society. In my line of employment I see the social cost of alcohol abuse, the high incidence of domestic violence, the pub fights, the innocent people attacked by drunks, the criminal damage caused by drunks, and the assaults on my colleagues by those influenced by drink.

I see no such problems with cannabis. None of my colleagues has been assaulted by anyone high on cannabis. I have not been to any pub fight due to people high on cannabis.

I remain unconvinced of the link between cannabis and hard drugs as I find it hard to distinguish between cannabis and tobacco. One is socially accepted and one is not, and we are well aware of the health risks, and the cost to the NHS of the socially accepted drug.

Personally I have never used cannabis, but I have friends and colleagues that regularly use it, and none of them has been hooked into a drug culture.

The police do not have the resources to adequately deal with the levels of cannabis use. Let us decriminalise it and concentrate on the real evils in our society: hard drugs and alcohol abuse.

Police Sergeant

Name witheld

DRUGS have been used since early civilisation for medicinal and recreational purposes. There are over 4,000 plants known to yield psychoactive substances; mankind can never prevent the importation of drugs. Society needs to learn to live responsibly with drugs, to enjoy their benefits and avoid the pitfalls.

The only solution is to reduce demand through education and to provide treatment and rehabilitation. Prohibition has failed. It results in uncontrolled use of drugs and an increased criminality; far better to have controlled availability providing the safer scenario of controlled use.

I wonder whether this Government has the courage to take on this challenge. Appointing a police officer to head its campaign does not reassure me.

Patrick Monahan FRCS Powys, Wales

I HAVE multiple sclerosis and use cannabis to relieve unpleasant muscle spasms. It makes me very angry that I have to become a criminal to obtain and take this safe, cheap and very effective drug. Where is the sense?

Mandy Flower

Somerset

ON BEHALF of the Liberal Democrat Youth and Students we write in support of your campaign for the decriminalisation of cannabis. Our policy stresses that drug abuse should be treated as a health problem rather than a criminal activity. Channelling the drug trade into an underground economy has often worsened the prevalence of hard drugs and the link which can then occur with violence.

We call for education and treatment programmes, and we believe this approach will deprive criminals of their livelihood.

Ruth Berry

Chair, Liberal Democrat Youth and Students

I NOTICE that the leaf you use in your logo is from an immature plant, about two weeks old. Will it sprout extra leaves as the campaign grows?

A W Taylor

Birmingham

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