The Liberal Democrats are preparing to set up a panel that would discuss how a legal market for cannabis would operate
The Liberal Democrats, former coalition partners of the Conservative government, have stated that they would back the decriminalisation of current class B drug cannabis, and are setting up an expert panel to look into the proposal and discuss how a legal cannabis market would function.
The decriminalisation of marijuana is backed by the Liberal Democrats’ health spokesman, Norman Lamb, who stated that “we must end the hypocrisy of senior politicians admitting to using cannabis in younger years—and describing it as ‘youthful indiscretions’—whilst condemning tens of thousands of their less fortunate fellow countrymen and women to criminal records for precisely the same thing, blighting their careers.”
This opinion was echoed by Labour MP Paul Flynn whilst he was leading the parliamentary debate on legalising cannabis on the 12th of October. The debate was a result of a petition that attracted nearly a quarter of a million signatures. Despite this being the third most popular parliamentary petition ever, a disappointing 14 out of a possible 650 MPs attended the debate. Naturally, the outcome deemed cannabis irredeemably harmful.
The panel is set to feature Professor David Nutt, who was sacked in 2009 from the chair of the advisory council on the misuse of drugs, after stating in a paper that legal drugs such as tobacco were more harmful than illegal drugs such as LSD and cannabis. The panel will also include the Executive Director for drug charity Release Niamh Eastwood, and former Cambridgeshire police constable Tom Lloyd.
Brian Paddick, former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police backs the panel following the pilot of a scheme in Lambeth ten years ago. The scheme decriminalised cannabis for personal use which resulted in a decrease in crime and a huge saving in police resources.
The panel, amongst other things, is set to review the result of legalising recreational marijuana in Colorado, which has led to a 2.2 per cent decrease in crime from January to November 2015 compared with the same months in 2014.