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UK Cannabis Review Will Lead to Harm Reduction

UK Cannabis Policy Review Will Lead to Greater Harm Reduction.

Press release: communityaction 21/03/05

communityaction supports suggestions that the UK Government review the cannabis policy they introduced a year ago. communityaction hopes that this review will be another step towards more effective drug harm reduction policies following the initial move away from criminalising cannabis users.

“Contrary to what Matt Robson might say, the reclassification of cannabis has not resulted in a rise in use amongst youth in the UK.” Said harm reduction campaigner, Duncan Eddy, of communityaction.

Cannabis use by young people in the UK has remained stable following reclassification, and is down since April 1998. 28.2 per cent of UK 16-24 year olds used cannabis then compared to 24.8 per cent now. This reflects the Dutch experience, where moving from criminal sanctions to drug education has reduced cannabis consumption.

UK police can now also focus on solving and preventing crimes against person and property. Cannabis reclassification has created an estimated saving in police time of 199,000 police hours.

“Drug laws should protect the vulnerable. The prohibition of cannabis has failed to reduce use and abuse of the substance, whilst creating impediments to effective harm reduction. Cannabis use is widespread in New Zealand, and it’s time our legislators followed the lead of the UK Government and moves towards improving the well being of those most at risk.” Said Duncan Eddy

“Arrest rates and polling suggest this country has the highest rate of cannabis use per capita in the Western World. Yet drug education and treatment services in this country are under funded, and the vast majority of taxpayers money directed against cannabis harm is spent enforcing a failed criminal prohibition. Change is long overdue.”

The full Home Office Statement is available online at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/n_story.asp?item_id=1222

For more information call: Duncan Eddy at communityaction: 021 174 0400

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