Drugs expert: ‘A generation of Scots at risk from cannabis blight’

Cannabis poses a serious threat to the wellbeing of a generation of Scots, a drugs expert has warned.

Writing in the Scotsman, retired senior police officer and former drugs charity boss Tom Wood called on Scotland to “wake up” to the dangers of cannabis.

In his comment piece, Wood cited a new report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that reveals the widespread use of the illegal drug among the country’s teenage boys.


On a recent visit to a drug rehabilitation service, Wood observed that recovering addicts did not see cannabis “as a drug at all, let alone a dangerous one” but “just a part of normal life”.

He continued: “The most recent research on cannabis use by young people in Scotland seems to bear this out, and there are some alarming statistics.

“A study of school-aged children reported that almost a quarter of teenage boys had used cannabis, the highest rate for adolescent boys out of 44 countries.”


The former Deputy Chief Constable slammed the popular myth that cannabis is a “harmless recreational drug”, highlighting its clear connection to serious mental health problems such as psychosis and paranoia.

He warned: “We cannot be caught napping, as we were when heroin overwhelmed us in the 1970s.”

“Given its widespread use, cannabis could blight a generation”, and he called on Scotland to “wake up and prioritise the cannabis threat”.

Non-custodial guidelines

In April, Sherriff James Macdonald dismissed the suggestion of a criminal justice social worker that he ‘go soft’ on a convicted 20-year-old drug dealer.

The accused pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of cannabis and was found guilty of supplying cocaine – a class A drug. He was fined £420, disqualified from driving for 12 months and subject to a restriction-of-liberty order.

In his verdict, the Sherriff observed: “Not so long ago there was a time, in my experience, when people concerned in the supply of class A drugs — even for a single day — would find themselves in the High Court and receive sentences measured in years.

Scottish Sentencing Council guidelines state that a custodial sentence should only be imposed on those under 25 “when the court is satisfied that no other sentence is appropriate”.

Also see:


BBFC to safeguard kids from sex, violence and swearing but goes soft on cannabis

Scotland’s Lord Advocate ready to ‘turn blind eye’ on illegal drug use

Over one thousand babies in Scotland born dependent on drugs