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UK: Police chief says focus on cannabis dealers, not users
    #479997 - 09/20/10 06:34 PM (9 years, 3 days ago)

UK: Police chief says focus on cannabis dealers, not users

Dave Higgins

Press and Journal

Monday 20 Sep 2010

Police efforts to combat cannabis should be focused on dealers and organised gangs rather than individual users found with the drug, one of Britain’s most senior police officers said yesterday.

Humberside chief constable Tim Hollis, who is the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) lead on drugs, said he wanted a "mature debate around the harms caused by illicit drugs and the role of the police service regarding enforcement".

But he denied he or Acpo, which represents officers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, were suggesting legalisation of the personal use of cannabis.

In a statement issued through Acpo, he said: "I am firmly of the view our efforts are best utilised in focusing on organised crime and those dealing in drugs rather than simple possession. This is particularly so when we are confronted by significant cuts to police budgets."

Last week, one of Britain’s leading experts on cannabis proposed the idea of introducing a licence to smoke cannabis legally.

Aberdeen-based Roger Pertwee, professor of neuropharmacology at the Institute of Medical Sciences at Foresterhill, said making cannabis as available as alcohol would prevent drug-related crime, and reduce the chances of people being introduced to harder narcotics.

Professor Pertwee, who pioneered early research on the effects of cannabis in the 1960s and 1970s, cautioned that it might be necessary to prevent vulnerable individuals obtaining the drug.

He will be giving a speech on cannabis at the Satrosphere in Aberdeen at 7pm tonight.

A Home Office spokesman said: "There is clear evidence that cannabis is a harmful drug which can cause damage to mental health in the immediate and longer-term. Even occasional use of cannabis can be dangerous for people with diseases of the circulatory system.

"The government does not believe decriminalisation of cannabis is the right approach. We want to reduce drug use, crack down on drug-related crime and disorder and help addicts come off drugs for good."





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