MPs forced to debate legalisation of cannabis after e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures

Follows Durham police commissioners admission they will not target individual cannabis growers

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The Independent Online

MPs will have to consider debating the legalisation of cannabis after a petition was signed by more than 100,000 people.

The official petition, created by James Richard Owen, calls for the legalisation of the production, sale and use of cannabis is currently on more than 108,000 signatures in the four days since it was created.

Text on the petition claims: “Legalising cannabis could bring in £900m in taxes every year, save £400m on policing cannabis and create over 10,000 new jobs.”

Now the petition, launched on Tuesday morning, has reached more than 100,000 signatures ministers must consider debating the issue in the Commons.

The runaway success of the petition follows a persistent online social media campaign, which called for thousands of weed-smoking UK residents to sign the request.

It comes following Durham police commissioner’s effective decriminalisation of cannabis in the wake of increasingly scarce police resources. Ron Hogg said action would not be taken against those cultivating the drug for medicinal purposes.

Although the move has been welcomed by drug reform campaigners, the mood from the government appears to be less receptive.

One of the first actions of the Conservative-majority government was to introduce a bill that will automatically ban any new psychoactive substance not specifically exempted and regardless of evidence of harm.

Meanwhile, the number of people using cannabis has risen to a five-year high, according to figures from the Crime Survey of England and Wales. Despite this increase, the total number of cannabis users remains significantly below that of the peak during the earlier noughties and nineties.

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