Corbyn hints he would de-criminalise cannabis
Corbyn hints he would de-criminalise cannabis because prosecuting young people for having ‘small amounts’ hurts their lives
- Labour leader said he had not changed his view on de-criminalising cannabis
- But he warned any change to the law should consider the consequences
- Debate over drug ignited by rows over whether it should be available medically
Jeremy Corbyn hinted he would de-criminalise cannabis if he became Prime Minister today.
The Labour leader said the ‘health concerns’ should be considered before the law is changed on any drug.
But he said where appropriate cannabis should be available for medical purposes.
And Mr Corbyn said he not changed his long-held view prosecuting possession of ‘small amounts’ was deeply damaging for young people.
Jeremy Corbyn (pictured today on Sky News) hinted he would de-criminalise cannabis if he became Prime Minister
Mr Corbyn intervened on the cannabis debate after weeks of argument about the use of cannabis oil to help epileptic boy Billy Caldwell.
The case reopened the wider debate about drug policy in the UK after splits emerged in the Cabinet.
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Mr Corbyn was asked by Sophy Ridge on Sky News if he stood by his statement in 2000 that possession of cannabis should not be a criminal offence.
He said: ‘No, I think criminalising people for possession of small amounts of cannabis is not particularly a good idea.
‘(It) does lead to great difficulties, particularly for younger people in communities like mine so I do think the debate is moving on.’
The research by the Institute of Economic Affairs claimed that the UK cannabis market was worth £2.6billion with more than three million customers
Asked if recreational use should be de-criminalised Mr Corbyn said: ‘Well I think we have to look at the health concerns of any drug that people take.
‘No drug is without consequences when people take it and personally I don’t take any drugs at all.
‘I think we should just think about it quite carefully but let’s go with what’s proposed now which is the availability of cannabis for medicinal purposes.’
Legalising cannabis would provide a £1billion windfall to the Treasury and leave marijuana users with more money in their pockets, a report has claimed.
The research by the Institute of Economic Affairs claimed that the UK cannabis market was worth £2.6billion with more than three million customers.
Billy Caldwell with his mother Charlotte. The 12-year-old is fighting for his life after being deprived of cannabis oil that helps prevent seizures
It also cited previous studies saying that savings for the NHS and other public services could amount to as much as £300million.
The report, entitled Joint Venture: Estimating the Size and Potential of the UK Cannabis Market, said legal sales would ‘virtually eradicate the black market’.
Pressure has been mounting for the government to consider legalising cannabis, with former Tory leader William Hague among those to back the change.
The IEA report said: ‘Legalising cannabis could alleviate the mental health issues associated with cannabis in two ways.
‘First, by generating tax revenue that could be spent on mental health services.
‘Second, by allowing safer, regulated cannabis to displace the more dangerous strains that have taken over the market.’
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