The Scottish Government is being urged to take a tougher stance on cannabis after it was revealed that police seizures are up by 270 per cent, yet the number of recorded crimes has fallen by a third.
Over a three-year period, the quantity of herbal cannabis or resin seized by the police has soared from 318kg to 1,178kg.
Despite this, the low level of cannabis-related crimes recorded has left some concerned that tougher sentences are needed.
The news comes in the wake of the Alesha MacPhail case, the six-year-old who was raped and murdered by teenager Aaron Campbell, a frequent user of the drug.
Scottish Conservatives’ public health spokeswoman Annie Wells said: “The fact police have made more cannabis-related seizures show just how serious a problem we have.
“Cannabis is not harmless. It is responsible for one in ten drug-related hospital admissions and has been implicated in some extremely serious and unsavoury recent crimes.”
She added that police officers are working harder than ever to get cannabis off the streets, and that it was time Scotland’s justice system “backed up those efforts up with stiff sentencing for dealers”.
Public health emergency
More than 1,100 Scots are thought to have died as a result of drug use in 2018, and last month Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee launched a review of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
However, the review will look into potentially legalising cannabis and introducing ‘shooting galleries’ to allow heroin addicts to inject themselves ‘safely’.
Last week, two MSPs called on First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to declare Scotland’s drug abuse problem a public health emergency.