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Waiting For Cannabis Inquiry Report Like... ... ..

Waiting For Cannabis Inquiry Report Like "Waiting For Godot":

NORML's Petition Asks Health Committee, Who Meet Today, To "Hurry Up Please". An Evidence-Based Report Must Support Cannabis Law Reform.

The Health Select Committee's cannabis inquiry report has still not been completed, and the ongoing delays are "like waiting for Godot," said NORML president Chris Fowlie today.

"This inquiry started three years ago and last heard evidence more than a year ago. Chair Steve Chadwick promised a report "early in 2003", but the committee of mostly new MPs are only just today sitting down to examine the evidence that most were not around to hear.

"Meanwhile the Government continues to arrest hundreds of people every week for cannabis, with no demonstrable benefit. Many people who had given submissions told us they were feeling angry, frustrated and disillusioned with the continued delays, so NORML has collected a petition in the hope it will spur the committee into doing something," said Mr Fowlie.

The petition asks the health select committee to "complete it's inquiry into cannabis health strategies and legal status, and based on the evidence received and noting the recent findings of similar inquiries in Canada and the United Kingdom, to issue a report without further delay."

"The vast majority of submissions supported meaningful reform. An analysis of submissions available on the Green Party website , shows 81% of public submissions called for the current law to be scrapped, with 59% advocating the regulated and licensed sale of cannabis to adults. With only fifteen per cent of submissions supporting keeping the law as it is, there was overwhelming support for significant law reform," said Mr Fowlie.

"There was widespread concensus that it makes no sense to criminalise people for using cannabis, and there was almost unanimous support for allowing the medical use of marijuana, even among the few people who supported tough laws for regular pot smokers.

"Most academic and expert witnesses also recommended changes to the law, with Sally Casswell's submission unusual in it's support of continued prohibition. Massive inquiries in the UK and Canada have also backed ending cannabis prohibition.

"If the health committee intends to issue an evidence-based report, they must support cannabis law reform," said Mr Fowlie.

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