Make cannabis legal, says Scots think-tank

A Scottish think-tank says that cannabis should be regulated and taxed rather than being illegal, in spite of the Government’s recent decision to tighten up the law.

The Scottish Futures Forum has published a report recommending that cannabis could “be taxed and tightly regulated” as part of a “wider regulatory framework, if this is shown to reduce drugs availability and harm.”

The report also suggests that ‘Drug Consumption Rooms’ and ‘Heroin Assisted Treatment’, where recovering drug addicts would have regulated access to illegal drugs, should be considered.

However, the Home Office and the Scottish Government have made it clear that they do not support legalisation of cannabis.

Recent decisions from policy makers and politicians indicate that they prefer tougher laws on drugs.

Last month the Scottish Government announced plans to abandon its ‘harm reduction’ drugs strategy where addicts are given methadone as a heroin substitute.

Earlier this year the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, announced that cannabis would be restored to the class B category of more serious drugs. The 2004 decision to move it down into the C bracket has been widely considered a disaster.

Responding to the think-tank’s report a spokesman for Legalise Cannabis Alliance UK said: “The Scots seem to have been taking a more mature view and I hope the recommendation is taken seriously.”

However, Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie said the report was “flawed”.

“The taxing and regulation of cannabis is akin to legalisation. This will not decrease use of this extremely harmful substance.

“Fortunately the long-term consequences of cannabis usage are now universally acknowledged and there is a consensus at Westminster that the damaging downgrading of cannabis to a class C substance should be reversed.”