Greenock Telegraph 27th January

On Tuesday, I was at a meeting with members of the House of Lords, House of Commons and academics. Our common interest is the advancement of laws for the legal growth, possession and use of cannabis. We shared the room with delegates from Chile, Mexico, USA, Luxembourg, Malta and Germany. By the end of the meeting, it was clear to everyone that the United Kingdom was lagging way behind. The other countries all have their own model but there are similarities between them. And importantly the driving force behind each one is the reduction of both harm and crime. Most support home growing from seeds of roughly four plants and the consumption must be within the house where the plants are. No transporting it or consuming it in public. Luxembourg was the first country in Europe to legalise production and consumption of the cannabis. It was driven by the failure of prohibition to deter use. In the U.K. we are experiencing that same failure, but we take a different approach. We are committed to a hard line of prosecuting and criminalising growers, distributors and consumers. We have been doing this for fifty years and it hasn’t worked but the U.K. Home Office is belligerent and intransigent and doesn’t follow the evidence. In Luxembourg people aged 18 and over will be able to legally grow up to four cannabis plants per household for personal use. Trade in seeds will also be permitted without any limit on the quantity or levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive constituent. I have issues with some aspects of that but because we keep hiding from the problem in the U.K. and refuse to debate it constructively, the argument does not develop any further. It’s time we took a lead from Luxembourg, an independent sovereign nation with a population of 648,000.