Tag Archives: cannabis

Reforming Drug Policy Shouldn’t Just Be About Cannabis

drugsWe are the party at the forefront of drug reform policy. There are and have been smaller, single-issue parties that have been campaigning for the legalisation of cannabis for years, but we are the only major party to bring the debate on to the political mainstage.

There are different arguments for the cases of decriminalisation or legalisation – though the two main arguments are almost always centred round healthcare. The first is: with decriminalisation, we can treat addiction like an illness instead of a crime – a noble idea, …

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LDVideo: “A new, more rational approach is desperately needed” – Norman Lamb introduces his cannabis bill

Norman Lamb yesterday introduced his ten minute rule bill calling for the legalisation of and implementation of a regulated market for cannabis. You can view the bill and follow its progress here. It will move to second reading on 22 April.

And here is Norman’s Commons speech from yesterday:

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Liberalism vs. authoritarianism in the debate over cannabis

 

In York, conference voted to create a regulatory framework for cannabis. This is a move that I wholeheartedly support and I’d like to draw on the example of Colorado to explain why.

On the 1st of January 2014, Colorado fully legalised cannabis for recreational purposes. Within four months they raised $10 million dollars in tax revenue which they invested in education and infrastructure.

Crime dropped by 10% and violent crime dropped by 5%. The marijuana industry also created thousands of jobs and by October unemployment was at its lowest since 2008.

Colorado also legalised marijuana for medicinal purposes meaning that people suffering from ailments such as chronic pain and cancer could effectively alleviate their pain without fear of prosecution or risking their freedom.

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My response to the debate on motion F7 (Regulation of cannabis)

 

Note: you can view the debate here, about 2 hours 48 minutes in.

First of all, kudos to our party. Who else would not only discuss an issue that is usually swept under the carpet, but broadcast that debate live on the Internet and then keep it there for everyone to watch / listen to. As a result, I shall summarise my thoughts on each of the speeches.

Norman Lamb MP (Norfolk North) is of course, absolutely correct. Reports of this nature take a long time to compile and the panel who came up with this report should be applauded for their efforts. He is also right to bring up the fact that several members of the current Cabinet, through public statements, have admitted using cannabis and therefore are guilty of hypocrisy. Therefore, in conclusion what Norman said is entirely correct, we need to have a debate, and a debate is precisely what I applaud.

Lee Dargue (Birmingham, Edgbaston) who summed up his amendment by saying “What Norman said” which is succinct and to the point, and he is right. We started the conversation about the mental health of this nation and I have to admit that conversation seems to have come to a bit of a grinding halt post general election. However, whilst recognizing that “fourteen year olds are having sex” and that “fourteen year olds are doing drugs”, I would like to counter that when I was fourteen I was not doing drugs nor having sex and I put that down wholly to being brought up by my grandparents and therefore believe that closer family discussions on these subjects would be an avenue to explore.

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Person X supports the legalisation of cannabis

 

“Person X supports the legalisation of cannabis” is quite a headline. For that person to be a sports star or celebrity generates some interest. For it to be a user of cannabis, it often generates derision.

If X is the leader of a political party, or a former government health minister, it surely is big news. This is why I joined, and have stayed a member, of the Liberal Democrats: to have radical, evidence-based policies which strike out as making us distinctive and pleased Norman Lamb has put a motion forward to conference for this policy, and please Tim Farron has supported it.

When it comes to policy-making, we are the party that prides itself most on having an evidence base. Some parties go for populism over evidence, whereas we often prefer radical policies. And some parties go on mainly grabbing headlines. These three elements are often at odds and one usually wins over the other.

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My personal thoughts on Motion F7

I have lived with my grandparents all my life and as a result, especially since 2005 as I have been their registered carer, I have moved wherever and whenever they have moved and this means that since I became a Liberal Democrat in 1992, I have been all over the place.

However, there is one small downside to this and that is being able to get to big Lib Dem events. In those 24 years I have only managed to attend one regional conference, three Welsh conferences and no federal conferences or special conferences, which brings me to the reason for this (as the Americans would say) op-ed: Motion F7 at the conference in York discussing the paper launched a few days ago entitled “A Framework for a Regulated Market for Cannabis in the United Kingdom“.

Now, let me make this clear from the get go, having read the report I agree with a large number of things. For instance, “Each year, criminal gangs generate billions of pounds from the illegal drug trade – money which in turn funds organised crime. And each year thousands of people receive convictions for drug possession which will harm their education and employment prospects for the rest of their lives” is absolutely true.  Similarly “Liberal Democrats argue that we need an evidence based approach to drugs law, one which is based on independent and scientific advice, rather than fear and prejudice” is a statement I think we can all agree on.

However, I have to draw the line at the conclusion of the report that cannabis should be legalised and distributed via dedicated retail outlets, social clubs and via home growing.

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LibLink: Norman Lamb: Why we should regulate Cannabis

Tim Farron has openly said that he smoked Cannabis as a youngster.

From today’s Mirror:

Lib Dem chief Tim Farron has becomes the first leader of a UK-wide political party to admit smoking cannabis.

The MP’s candid confession comes as he calls for the complete legalisation of the drug in a bid to generate up to £900million for public coffers.

Father-of-four Mr Farron, 46, told the Mirror: “I tried cannabis when I was younger, as did many other politicians.

“But sadly, too many other politicians want to continue forcing our police to waste resources chasing cannabis users when they should be able to take violent crime instead.

“It’s time that we had the courage to look at the evidence and make a decision that will help us to tackle the real criminals instead of the current failed approach.”

On the party website, Norman Lamb has urged members to support the motion calling for the legalisation of Cannabis. He wrote:

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