UK’s Legal Cheek blog & website reports
Jeremy Corbyn suggests decriminalising cannabis possession
But Labour leader stops short of saying we should legalise it completely
Jeremy Corbyn has hinted that his party could decriminalise the possession of cannabis in what would be a major criminal law shake-up.
The opposition leader told Sky News that “criminalising people for possession of small amounts of cannabis is not particularly a good idea and does lead to great difficulties in communities like mine”. Corbyn also called for cannabis oil to be decriminalised and made available for medical treatment “as soon as possible”.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid recently announced a review of medicinal cannabis use after widespread coverage of cases such as Alfie Dingley, a child whose severe epilepsy can be treated with the banned substance.
But Javid ruled out any move to radically alter the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 by decriminalising or legalising cannabis, which is currently a Class B controlled substance.
And Corbyn also warned about “health concerns”, saying that “no drug is without consequences”. The clean-living left-winger, who famously does not drink, assured viewers that “personally I don’t take any drugs at all”.
Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) guidelines recommend a “cannabis warning” for a first offence of possessing a small amount, followed by a penalty notice for those caught a second time and full criminal charges for a third offence.
Drug use among 16-24-year-olds has fallen significantly in recent years, from 24% in 2006 to 19% in 2016, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales. But the National Union of Students (NUS) says that almost 40% of students currently take drugs, with almost all of those having tried cannabis at some point.
Marijuana emerged as the most popular mind-altering substance among drug-taking lawyers in an exclusive Legal Cheek survey a few years back.
More recently, we reported that cannabis law firm Hoban Law Group was looking into a London office. The US-based “cannabusiness” outfit was set up in 2009 to provide legal advice to the burgeoning US weed industry. Presumably they’ll be rooting for Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister.