LCA Database Results
Cannabis and the British Political Parties
Monday 14 Aug 2000
The main political parties appear to be doing little towards solving
ecological and social problems caused by the terribly mistaken policy of
The present Labour Government not only opposes the legalisation of
cannabis for recreational use, but also, by continuing to prosecute the
sick - those using cannabis for the relief of pain - ignores or
positively thwarts what is surely the will of the majority. People
suffering, and in quest of relief from their suffering, are sent to
prison even for electing to use what is, after all, a perfectly natural
George Howarth MP has stated the Labour Party line in no uncertain
terms: "The Government believes it would be a serious mistake to
legalise the drug and has no intention of moving in that direction. The
legalisation of cannabis would inevitably lead to large increases in
consumption and a corresponding increase in the problems arising from
that consumption." (24 July 1998).
This simply begs the question.
What is even worse in our opinion is that the Labour Party, in effect,
has proclaimed the sheer irrelevance of any judgment not to its liking
arrived at by a Royal Commission, asserting that even if such a
commission recommended legalisation, the Party would not take notice. A
familiar story, because this is more or less what happened after the
publication of the Wootton Report, produced by the UK Royal Commission
in 1968. The Report recommended lighter penalties for possession. James
Callaghan, Prime Minister at the time, dismissed the Report, and soon
penalties were increased. Since then the drugs problem has
escalated out of control. Tony Blair and Jack Straw reject legalisation
as an option altogether.
The Conservative Party's policy is no more enlightened than Labour's:
any prospect of decriminalisation or legalisation is rejected out of
Nor do the Liberal Democrats have much to offer, though projecting a
liberal attitude. Individual Lib. Dems. espouse a range of
views; as a party however, they are calling, simply, for another
Royal Commission, while their leader Charles Kennedy opposes the
legalisation of cannabis openly.
The Green Party have amended their policies and are calling for the
"decriminalisation" of the possession, use, cultivation and trade in
cannabis. They propose that after this immediate step is taken it
should be followed by a Royal Commission to look into exactly how
cannabis can be fully legalised and what regulations are needed. The
propsoe the establishment of "cannabis pubs", somewhat similar to the
"Coffeeshops" of Holland, with age restrictions and quality control.
Whilst at first glance this new policy may look progressive, in fact it
is confused. To allow a free-for-all without the comfortable knowledge
that there would be no social harm shows confused thinking, possibly
panic at regaining votes lost to the Legalise Cannabis Alliance.
Although the Official medico-scientific evidence from the official
empirical studies on the effects of long-term cannabis smoking
exonerates cannabis from harm, the Green Party have been unwilling to
accept this. Rather they prefer to take the gamble and hope for the
best, leaving a Royal Commission to sort out any undesired consequences.
The second error in Green Party thinking is that such a state of
decriminalisation, whilst freeing the cannabis user, grower and supplier
from fear of arrest, makes no allowance to protect them from bad quality
or allow any reparation for faulty goods. Decriminalisation also allows
for civil penalties to be introduced which is unjustifiable for harmless
It is no wonder that The Legalise Cannabis Alliance sees
decriminalisation as a particularly undesirable version of prohibition!
The Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) say:" The SNP does not support the
decriminalisation of cannabis. We do however support the growing use of
fiscal fines for those charged with drug offences that involve cannabis
for own use. The SNP also want to look at the current classification of
illegal drugs and establish a new hierarchy that is easy to understand
and is credible. As part of that reclassification we would remove the
illegal status of cannabis for proven medical use." In other words,
they consider possession a minor crime, unless a person can prove its
use was medicinal. We would ask, when is it not?
Summarising then. The major parties without exception include cannabis
in the category of illegal drugs. We believe this to be a grave
Furthermore, all the parties, even the greenest, seem to be content to
ignore the ecological benefits of using cannabis hemp biomass as a
source of cheap and non-polluting energy.
Moreover, they ignore the Human Rights issue, which ought to be of prime
What no political party seems to have explained, is why it should be
necessary to punish people for choosing what they put into their own
CANNABIS: LEGALISE AND UTILISE
A MANIFESTO AND INFORMATION DOCUMENT 2000
Produced and published by:
The Legalise Cannabis Alliance
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