Soft touch on drugs risks legalisation by stealth

Four out of ten people caught in possession of most illegal drugs escape prosecution, it has been revealed.

Responding to The Daily Telegraph discovery, Commons Home Affairs Committee member Tim Loughton MP warned that drugs “remain a scourge on society” and cautioned against  “moving towards acceptance or legalisation of hard drugs by stealth”.

In Home Office data analysed by the newspaper, 39.2 per cent of people caught by the police with illegal drugs, excluding cannabis, escaped with a community order or were subject to no further action.

Postcode lottery

The approach adopted varied from force to force. Surrey Police charged only 24 per cent of culprits, compared to 97.5 per cent in Warwickshire.

Former Home Office Minister Kit Malthouse said: “We need a coherent and consistent system which everyone understands – criminal justice, and the deterrent effect, works best where sanctions are swift and certain.

“The lottery that’s emerging from The Telegraph’s research just adds to the confusion, and hence to the problem.”

Liberal law

Following the Government’s decision to liberalise the law on unlicensed ‘medical cannabis’ in 2018, there are fears the drug is being marketed for recreational use.

The Times reports that companies are advertising medical cannabis for sale in the UK under names “likely to heighten concerns that the medical market is being abused”, such as “Alien Dawg”, “Lemon Skunk” and “Gorilla Glue”.

Registered medics may only issue a private prescription following an in-person consultation with a patient diagnosed with a qualifying condition and who is deemed to have tried two licensed medicines without success.

According to the Dangerous Drugs Act 2018, prescribed medical cannabis should not self-administered “by the smoking of the product” other than for research purposes.

Also see:

Plaid Cymru demands drugs decriminalisation

England among worst for child drinking

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