Legalise Cannabis Alliance <http://www.lca-uk.org>
Subj: UK: Blair to declare war on cannabis
Date: 13 Feb, 2000
Source: The Independent
Blair to declare
war on cannabis
By Jo Dillon, Political Correspondent
is to tighten its policy on the way police
and the courts treat cannabis users. The move will put the
Prime Minister and the Home Secretary at odds with the
"drugs tsar", Keith Hellawell, and Cabinet enforcer Mo
Tony Blair and
Jack Straw are determined to end the system,
highlighted today in an exclusive survey by the Independent
on Sunday, which allows police and magistrates in some areas
almost to turn a blind eye to pot smoking, whilst in other
areas tough sentences are imposed.
from Dr Mowlam and Mr Hellawell who both
advocate greater tolerance of cannabis use, the Prime
Minister, who has pledged to take a personal interest in
drugs policy from now on, wants government policy to
emphasise that possession of cannabis remains illegal.
Mr Blair is understood
to share Mr Straw's view that
decriminalising cannabis would muddy the waters in the
Government's campaign against drug abuse. Dr Mowlam and Mr
Hellawell will meet the Prime Minister on Wednesday to
discuss drugs seizures and policy. Mr Blair's intervention
is a clear admission that the Government's drugs strategy
has not been effective.
also privately admitting that there is a
substantial difference of opinion over how cannabis should
be dealt with. A ministerial source said: "There is a
difference in emphasis between what Mo and others are saying
and the view in the Home Office, where it is felt that to
enter into a debate about changes to the law on cannabis
would not send out the right message. It could confuse our
efforts to deal with the use and supply of harder drugs like
heroin and cocaine." The source also admitted: "The policy
on drugs hasn't worked across Government. We haven't worked
across departments as we should. But there are steps being
taken now to change that."
the Treasury, the Department of Health, the
Cabinet Office, Home Office and Foreign Office are now
meeting regularly. Mr Blair's pledge to play a direct role
in drugs policy is a clear indication of the commitment to
end the disarray.
The move towards
a harmonised system of policing cannabis
use will be carried out in consultation with the police. New
sentencing guidelines are also likely in an attempt to iron
out inconsistencies between forces on a range of offences,
including traffic violations.
But Mr Hellawell
told the Independent on Sunday that police
efforts should be focused on more harmful drugs. "I don't
support the legalisation or decriminalisation of cannabis,
but the police must be allowed to use their discretion. Each
case must be judged on its merits."
Wednesday, Feb 16th, 2000
No victim -
Goes Ahead May 6th as Cabinet Splits on Cannabis
The issue of Cannabis
Prohibition divides Cabinet opinion today as cannabis
campaigners announced a combined 'End the prohibition of Cannabis March'
and Carnival on Saturday May 6th, 2000.
drug policy as "collapsing chaos" a spokesperson for
the Cannabis Coalition pledged supporters would 'Dance upon the grave of
Cannabis prohibition' at a combined March and Carnival in London on
Saturday 6th May, 2000. The event will be part of a worldwide day of pro
Cannabis action with over 50 cities in 18 countries confirmed to date.
offered to Cabinet drugs debate: 10 Downing Street, SW1.
Wednesday 16th Feb 9.30 am - 12 pm.
representatives will be at Downing Street prepared to
offer their advice to the Prime Minister, Tony Blair and his colleagues.
"We advise the
Prime Minister that it is only rational to separate a
harmless and beneficial herb from the problems associated with hard drugs.
Cannabis prohibition leads to increased hard drug abuse. A 'war on
cannabis' is a war on everyone because it is continuing old, failed and
unworkable drug policies (with a bigger budget) that threaten public health
and waste public resources. The only beneficiaries are a criminal
underworld, lawyers and prison officers.
The Prime Minister's
concern about a confused public message on drugs
should be directed to concern about achieving a policy that is effective
and realistic. Avoiding the debate is neither. Downing Streets own website*
reports that there is now a considerable 'Cannabis Vote' at stake in the
forthcoming London Mayoral elections; it is time the government listened
to what all the research** has been telling them for years. Prohibition of
cannabis does not work - not even for the prohibitionists".
* Downing St website:
** eg: Indian Army Report, 1905. Mayor La Guardia Report, New York, 1944.
Baroness Wooton Report, London 1968. They all exonerated Cannabis.
Saturday May 6th, 2000
1 pm - End
the Prohibition of Cannabis March: Assemble in Kennington Park
- Oval Tube. Departs 1.30pm sharp via Stockwell, Brixton to Brockwell Park.
Bring humour, banners, drums etc
2 pm - Cannabis
Carnival: stalls, hemp beer, clothes, food, speakers,
comedy, performers, information, etc.
May 6th Cannabis
Press line: 0171 637 7467
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax: 0870 054 8646
for Green Candidate Charged Over Cannabis Carnival
Balham Magistrates today found Shane Collins 'not guilty' over licensing
violations at the Clapham Common Cannabis Carnival on May Day 1999.
The charge was that on May Day Mr Collins 'permitted dancing and amplified
music' on May Day without an entertainment's licence.
prospective Green London Assembly Candidate said "The
Magistrates agreed that the dancing and music was ancillary to the May Day
Cannabis Carnival. This was held to protest at the continued prohibition
of one of natures most useful plants and the criminalisation of thousands
of people for medical and recreational use. Scores of people worked,
unpaid, for six months to bring this event together. In a sane society we
might be applauded, instead the Council has wasted taxpayers' money to
prosecute me for our efforts. We now look forward to working with the
Council to put on the Cannabis Carnival 2000 this May 6th with a march
from Kennington Park and a Carnival in Brockwell Park, Brixton'.
officers gave evidence on 9th December. Interestingly it
emerged that officers observed that, on May Day out of a crowd of 10-15,000
a mere 30-40 people were dancing. Today Mr Collins and four co-organisers
gave evidence. It was argued that the dancing and music were ancillary to
the event. Mr Collins was awarded costs of two travelcards. The cost
the Council, (and the people of Lambeth) of the two day trial is estimated
The free event,
last May 1st, which was attended by 10 - 15,000 people,
passed peacefully with no arrests, no sound violations and no complaints
from local residents, (many of whom were at the event). The Council
commented favourably on the litter clear up, which was organised by Mr
The London 'End
the Cannabis Prohibition March' and 'Cannabis 2000
Carnival' is planned for Saturday May 6th 2000. The march is planned
go from Kennington Park to Brockwell Park for which a 'Music Entertainments
Licence' application has now been made.
The Guardian, (UK)
cannabis are put to the test
Keith Harper, Transport Editor
have been chosen by the government to test drive cars
legally after smoking cannabis as part of the first research into the
impact of drug taking on motorists. Their names and backgrounds are
to be kept secret by the transport research laboratory at Bracknell,
Berkshire, which is carrying out the investigation on behalf of the
deputy prime minister, John Prescott.
would not say how the 16 had been chosen, but they
are being given cannabis, told to drive immediately afterwards, and
then tested on their reactions. A source involved in the experiment said
the guinea pigs had not been chosen at random. "We know that drug
taking is an increasing problem on the roads, and we need evidence to
show what impact it has on the motorist." The results are expected to
be published later this year.
follows surveys showing a large rise in the number
of fatal accident victims who had driven with drugs in their system.
of transport said the drugs in the tests were being
supplied under licence to the participants. The issuing was not illegal
because the 16 were taking part in a controlled scientific experiment.
The RAC is calling
for a warning system on over-the-counter
medicines so consumers know which pose a driving hazard. A green
rating would mean the drug was safe. An amber sign would advise
that it could have a minor effect, while a red would signal severe
adverse effects which would dangerously impair driving.
An RAC survey
showed that over a 12 month period 800,000 people
had been in a car in which the driver was high on cannabis, 280,000
in which the driver was on amphetamines, and 140,000 in which the
driver was on ecstasy, cocaine or heroin.
Edmund King, executive
director of the RAC Foundation, said: "The
government has spent millions on effective campaigns addressing the
problems of drink-driving, and now is the time to highlight the dangers
of drugs and driving. It is alarming that drug-driving is overtaking
drink-driving as the biggest danger on our roads."
head of impairment studies at the transport research
laboratory, said: "All of the tests that have been done in other countries
suggest that cannabis has a completely different effect to alcohol.
Rather than giving you dutch courage and confidence, it actually makes
you much more cautious in your approach to driving. That doesn't
necessarily mean, of course, that it will improve your driving."
Legalise Cannabis Alliance - http://www.lca-uk.org
UK: Drivers on cannabis are put to the test
Date: 27 Jan, 2000
Cannabis Coalition (UK): 0171 637 7467.
Po Box 2243, London W1A 1YF. Fax: 0870 054 8646.
E mail: email@example.com
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