Cannabis is illegal and dangerous and police must use the law against it, the Home Office says, after reports emerged of forces turning a blind eye.
Earlier this year was revealed that police in Middlesbrough are allowing cannabis users to openly flout the law, and now ‘cannabis clubs’ are reportedly flourishing.
Members at the clubs pay a small fee to smoke and share the Class B drug, despite possession being punishable with fines and prison.
According to The Telegraph, over 100 cannabis clubs are in operation around the UK.
Arfon Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales, said he was “sympathetic” to clubs allowing members to grow cannabis for “regulated consumption by their members”.
Scientific and medical evidence is clear that recreational cannabis use can cause harm to individuals and society.
Sy Dignam, who organises a cannabis club in Hampshire, said he arranged a meeting of 150 people on a beach last month. “The Police didn’t turn up, they never do”, he said.
The Home Office responded strongly to the reports, making clear that it expected police to act against users.
“The trade and possession of recreational cannabis is illegal in the UK, regardless of where you use it.
“Scientific and medical evidence is clear that recreational cannabis use can cause harm to individuals and society.
“Those using it should be in no doubt that if they are caught they face prosecution and a maximum jail term of five years.
“How police choose to pursue investigations is an operational decision for Chief Constables, but we are clear that we expect them to enforce the law.”
In June, the Government was adamant that its move in support of medical cannabis was “in no way a first step to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use”.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid told the House of Commons that cannabis “can harm people’s mental and physical health, and damage communities”.