Three more police forces have signalled that they will turn a blind eye to people who grow cannabis after an announcement by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham, Ron Hogg, last week.
According to reports, people who grow the drug for their own consumption in Derbyshire, Dorset and Surrey can expect to be let off with a caution.
The announcement by Ron Hogg last week was roundly criticised by MPs, the press, campaigners and doctors.
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Surrey, Kevin Hurley, said that the debate over a relaxed attitude to cannabis cultivation is “pointless”.
He added: “On the list of priorities cannabis moves a long way down the chain.”
Derbyshire’s PCC, Alan Charles, who is a former Labour Councillor, told the Daily Mail: “When we are faced with significant budget cuts we cannot keep turning out to every single thing reported to us.”
Martyn Underhill, PCC for Dorset, also said that he supported Durham’s soft stance on the drug.
Responding to Ron Hogg’s statement last week, The Times columnist Melanie Phillips warned that in the past year, “the proportion of young people using cannabis rose from 13.5 per cent to 16.3 per cent”.
She said that it is “laxity” by the Police which has fuelled the rise and insisted that “Cannabis itself is extremely dangerous.”
Phillips said: It impairs memory, cripples judgment and the ability to learn. In high doses it can cause addiction, paranoia and psychosis and provoke schizophrenia.”
Cannabis ruins lives
After Ron Hogg’s announcement last week, Conservative MP Andrew Percy said: “We’ve got to start debunking the liberal elite view that cannabis is some sort of benign drug.
“As a teacher, I saw very much how cannabis was a gateway to other, harder drugs.”
Writing for the Daily Mail, Dr Max Pemberton said, “when it comes to cannabis, I am resolute in my position: it’s dangerous and should remain illegal. This isn’t borne out of some reactionary, fuddy-duddy stance. It’s based on clear evidence that cannabis ruins lives”.
And the National Drug Prevention Alliance, an anti-drugs campaign group, said: “Giving the green light to effective decriminalisation will only encourage a rise in the illegal growing of cannabis.”