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29/02/2008 00:00:00

UK Government Rejects Risk Management and Issue Threats



---
February 30 2008: No Embargo (LCA)
Legalise Cannabis Alliance
PO Box 2882
Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 9EE
http://www.lca-uk.org/
http://www.myspace.com/cannabis_people_uk/
lca @ lca-uk.org

UK Government Rejects Risk Management Proposals on Cannabis and Issues
Threats

Cannabis campaigners are once again in uproar over the British
Government's stubborn stance of sticking to the failed policy of
punishment over care.

The Prime Minister's Office have responded to a petition on the Downing
Street web site, calling for licensed "Cannabis Social Clubs" (CSC's)for
small-scale non-profit home cultivation by small groups of adult
cannabis users under license.

Alun Buffry, 58, a spokesman for the Legalise Cannabis Alliance who
started the petition, said:

"The proposal was based on Spanish and Belgium working model of a
self-supply cultivation of cannabis for adults, taking them away the
world of crime and all the problems associated with it.

"It is a harm reduction measure - the clubs would be private member
clubs for adults so keeping cannabis away from youngsters. They would
be licensed and transparent to inspection for safety and health reasons,
AND it would raise revenue.

"But clearly the Government has failed to look into the proposal. They
just babble on about harm and risk, smoking and youngsters - all of
which will be reduced through CSC's.

"The reply is very much the same as what various Government's have been
saying for decades - that they prefer to punish than to care. People are
seeing these petitions as a waste of time.

"And then the Prime Minister threatens that of course anyone setting up
illegal Cannabis Social Clubs will be prosecuted - of course THAT would
be at public expense and irrelevant to the usual absence of victims -
and that they intend to make the punishment more severe. They want to
try a bigger stick!"

Notes for Editors:

The Legalise Cannabis Alliance, established 1999, is a UK group of over
3000 supporting the removal of cannabis from the Misuse of Drugs Act.

PETITION DETAILS:

1
http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page14736.asp
You have signed an e-petition in support of providing local authorities
with the legal power to allow them to license private member cannabis
social clubs for adults. This is the Government's response.

The Government's message has always been that cannabis is a harmful and
illegal drug that should not be taken. It has a number of acute and
chronic health effects and prolonged use can induce dependence. Most
cannabis is smoked and smoking, in any form, is dangerous. Even the
occasional use of cannabis can pose significant dangers for people with
mental health problems, such as schizophrenia, and particular efforts
need to be made to encourage abstinence in such individuals.

The Government seeks to balance the rights of individuals on the one
hand and the greater public health and welfare considerations on the
other. In so doing it considers that it makes sense, on health grounds,
for cannabis to remain a controlled drug whose unauthorised production
(including cultivation), supply and possession are and will remain illegal.

There is therefore no prospect of the Government facilitating the supply
of cannabis by enabling local authorities to license private member
cannabis social clubs for adults to cultivate the plant for personal use.

Furthermore, anyone trying to establish a cannabis social club, cannabis
café or similar establishment risks imprisonment or a heavy fine (or
both) under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Supply of cannabis is and will
remain a criminal offence and those who supply it to others risk severe
penalties. It is also an offence for managers of premises knowingly to
allow the production, supply or smoking of cannabis on their premises.
The classification of cannabis makes no difference to this position and
the Government expects a swift and effective response from the police to
any attempts to defy the law.

There is real public concern about the potential mental health effects
of cannabis use and, in particular, the use and availability of
increased strengths of the drug, commonly known as skunk. That is why
the Government asked the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of
Drugs to review cannabis classification in July 2007.

The Government will consider carefully the findings of the Advisory
Council when it submits its advice in April 2008. It will then make a
decision about whether or not to bring a proposal to Parliament to
reclassify the drug from Class C back to Class B under the Misuse of
Drugs Act. This would toughen the penalties relating to cannabis
possession, if approved.

2
http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/CannabisSocClubs/
This petition is now closed, as its deadline has passed.
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to allow local
authorities the power to license legal private-member Cannabis Social
Clubs for adults.
Submitted by Alun Buffry of Legalise Cannabis Alliance – Deadline to
sign up by: 31 January 2008 – Signatures: 591

CANNABIS SOCIAL CLUBS: A HEALTHY OPTION

In most countries, adults can go to a shop or bar when they want to buy
alcohol or consume, or they can brew their own.

There should be a system for production and distribution of cannabis
that will cause less problems and lower policing costs. There should be
a place where cannabis can be enjoyed in a responsible way, where it is
away from minors, hard drugs, and where the consumers are safe.

CSC’s are associations of citizens who want to cultivate a limited
amount of cannabis to satisfy their personal needs legally.

Health and safety conditions of a CSC should be monitored during the
entire process - from cultivation to consumption. This would stop the
use of adulterants used in the illegal market all with their own risks.

Cultivation would take place in accordance with safety rules. This would
reduce problems such as fire risk and theft of electricity.

Membership of the clubs would be limited to adults, so these clubs are a
way to reduce the availability of cannabis to minors.

This proposal is a harm reduction measure.

3
Origin of Proposal at ENCOD
http://www.encod.org/info/-CANNABIS-SOCIAL-CLUBS-.html

4
AlunBuffry@lca-uk.org

5 There is an International petition of support at
http://petitionthem.com/default.asp?sect=detail&pet=3951


Source: http://www.ukcia.org/news/shownewsarticle.php?articleid=13317
Author: Legalise Cannabis Alliance via UKCIA

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