Police boss says UK should regulate cannabis and allow home grows

Police boss says UK should regulate cannabis and allow home grows
© Mandy Jones

A UK police boss has said that the UK should regulate cannabis and people should be allowed to grow a small amount in their own home.

Arfon Jones, the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales has long advocated the legalisation of drugs. In 2017 he visited Portugal to learn about the country’s decriminalisation model, and has more recently visited Uruguay to find out more about how the UK could regulate cannabis.

Following his letter to the home office requesting that UK cannabis patients not be persecuted, Jones spoke to Medical Cannabis Network about his views on regulating medical cannabis.

Jones said that the UK government should adopt a new regulatory model, begin selling cannabis in pharmacies and assist those with previous drug convictions to help them back into work. He also said that the UK should allow people to grow their own cannabis, and follow a model similar to the Spanish cannabis clubs.

Regulating cannabis in the UK

Jones believes that the UK’s approach to drugs needs to change.

He said: “In my policing career I have never met anyone who has caused violence through cannabis, as opposed to the hundreds of violence cases I have seen related to alcohol, which is a legal substance.

“The penny dropped for me many years ago and I thought ‘why are we doing all this?’ I know many people who use cannabis both medicinally and recreationally – they hold down good jobs and are good people.”

Jones has recently launched Checkpoint Cymru in North Wales, developed by Cambridge University and successfully trialled in Durham. The programme is designed to divert low level offenders away from criminality through a four-hour education course instead of handing them a conviction.

“Checkpoint Cymru is a course that aims to educate people instead of giving them a criminal conviction and ruining their life chances over possession of a small amount of drugs,” he said.

“I have been to both Portugal and Uruguay to see how they deal with drugs there, and I think the UK would be smart to adopt a model like Uruguay’s.

“Cannabis should be regulated just like alcohol and tobacco – which actually causes more harm to individuals and to society in general. We should introduce a licencing system so that cannabis can be sold through pharmacies and in shops as happens in Canada, Uruguay and certain states in America.

North Wales Police has contended with £30m (~€35.67m) in austerity cuts since 2010. We need to be focussing instead on the supply of illegal substances because of the violence associated with it, the problems it causes and the exploitation of young people and vulnerable people.

“It is unfair that a conviction for minor cannabis possession can blight a person’s future career as that’s what happens when people go through the criminal justice system. So, we need to look at a different way, and we are doing that here in North Wales.

“I recently visited Montevideo which is one of the most prosperous capital cities in Latin America, so clearly when they regulated cannabis back in 2014 the sky didn’t fall in. It’s a lesson we should learn here.”

Beyond cannabis, Jones is an advocate of compassionate care and highlighted the success of the Teeside and Glasgow mobile clinics and injection rooms.

He said: “The UK should begin rolling out these clinics and heroin assisted treatment rooms, as we can now see how they drastically reduce drug related deaths.”

Home growing cannabis and reducing organised crime

As criminal gangs across the country violate young people through criminal activity – Jones believes the legalisation of drugs would help to reduce organised crime.

Jones said: “The best way to reduce the role of organised crime in the supply of drugs is to put it in commercial hands and to price it appropriately so people don’t need to go to the illegal market. Commercial organisations have taken over the medicinal cannabis market and are selling prescriptions at a vast cost even though it is cheap to grow. That’s just exploitation in my book.

“My view is that people should be allowed to grow a limited number of cannabis plants for their own use. Let’s face it there are probably hundreds of thousands of people in this country who grow cannabis in their own homes now. They’re not harming anybody else and there is no reason why they should be punished through the criminal justice system. It would be sensible to follow the example of Spanish cannabis clubs where people are allowed to grow seven or eight cannabis plants in the club.

“If you were starting from scratch, I think cannabis would be more lightly regulated than alcohol is now because I think everybody agrees that alcohol is far more harmful to individuals than cannabis is. Just like alcohol, you should have age restrictions on the purchase and consumption of cannabis is a regulated market.”

The failed war on drugs

Jones believes the ‘war on drugs’ is not working and rather than overloading an already creaking criminal justice system, the UK needs a more enlightened and more effective approach.

He said: “What I am clear about is that chasing and prosecuting recreational users of cannabis should not be a police priority when they are causing absolutely no harm to anybody else.

“We need to recognise that 90% of drug consumption, including cannabis, is recreational use and non-problematic. In those cases, people should be given some educational information and that would be the end of the matter.

“Meanwhile, the legal position in relation to medicinal cannabis has been well and truly fudged as a matter of political expediency to avoid a PR disaster caused by the heart-rending cases of several children like the chronically ill Billy Caldwell who needs cannabis oil to ward off life-threatening fits.

“It is unjust and cruel that people living with conditions like multiple sclerosis who use cannabis are putting themselves at risk of being prosecuted.”

11 COMMENTS

  1. We should be allowed to grow 4 plants for Percy use witch will stop us having to go out an buy it off ppl we don’t always know so it would safe guard us

    • Lol would not be enough! You’d need 2-3 times that amount so you could have a rotation of plants in different stages of growth for constant personal use. I smoke cannabis like people cigarettes, around about 10 per day and would run out before my next personal crop was ready for harvest.

      If you want a limited amount, then please use a bigger number so we don’t end up running out! 😉

      • 4 is enough though.. one can always grow bigger plants, right? 🙂 First round would take more time but after that it doesn’t much matter is it 4 or 9.. and 4 is just a first step that may be needed to get homegrowing accepted at all, right? Then the majority of people will eventually see and understand more deeply than they do now…

        Really the most healthy/medicinal way is to eat/drink cannabis plants RAW, in huge amounts, like a veggie. And yes, then you need dozens of plants, like any veggie you would like to be self sufficient on..

        • or you could have 2 photoperiod plants and 2 autoflowers, use the autoflowers quick turn around to pump out fast supply of cannabis while getting your photoperiods big with big yields. that way 4 plants is more than enough

  2. Its about time the UK got with the times! oh wait, they ARE. The problem here is that, believe it or not, the UK is one of the biggest exporters of cannabis – Yes, it is grown by British Sugar who in 2016 closed there tomato production and started growing cannabis, to help sick people in other countrys! What about your own people here in the UK, should they not come first? We had to wait until 2019 for it to be legalised for medical grounds, yet the government knew its health benefits back in 2016!! Anyway, British sugar is owned and run by someone or someones partner that works for the Government who is lining his pockets with CASH while we all suffer and getting criminal records because of some greedy ****. This is probably the reason it keeps getting rejected by them, because if it becomes legal, theres not so much cash in his pocket. Someone needs to grow some balls and stand up and sort it out, because its an absolute shambles to the UK, and an embarrassment. Thousands if not millions of people leave the UK yearly to goto countrys just so they can have a smoke, what impact does that give on the enviroment? all the pollution which could be prevent by changing a simple thing that would benefit millions, and also the tax would help massively towards getting the police and NHS back to where it should be. SORT IT OUT

  3. Think of the extra revenue that would be generated from taxing (V. A.T), let alone the money saved from prosecuting petty canabis related “crime”. Just look at the HUGE benefits the American states have gained since legalisation.
    LEGALISE CANNABIS AND WATCH THE UK FLORISH FROM THE BENEFITS!!!

  4. if the British government were to legalise cannabis, going by Colorado as a model the UK would benefit from well over £5 billion per year minimum, given the state of Colorado has a population of roughly 5.7 million people and the UK roughly 70 million… you do the maths, instead we have theresa may and Victoria atkins keeping it illegal so their partners can make millions with GW pharmacuticals and British Sugar.
    along with the billions of pounds gained in tax every year we would also see exceptional reductions in costs due to not having prisons filled with pot smokers and people just trying to cure their ailments ( please research for yourself the medical benefits) also the amount of money saved on the police force on pointless raids and allow funds to go in to other units such as getting the bobby on the beat back on our streets instead of Pcso`s and having to use private security company G4S to man the front desks in our police stations ( G4S the very same chaps that have contracts in Guantanamo bay and plagued for years with international scandal…what happened to our once great police force?)
    not to mention all the money saved by not having so many drunk idiots out at the weekend, and the monumental saving you shall see with the NHS, allowing the people to use an ancient medication.
    Every man and woman that reads this must know the truth about a plant that can by no exaggeration save our nation from the crisis we face.
    Government is there to serve the people….when their only argument is that it is a drug remind them that they have allowed millions to die from tobacco, millions to die from alcohol and posiibly the most despicable of all they allow millions to die from pharmaceutical drugs that get people hooked without them even knowing it.. how many of you or people you know had surgery then had problems with the Heroin they gave you after? whats the message to our children..to the generations in the future? that we ignored the fact cannabis has never killed a single person..cannabis SAVES millions of people every year from pain and in some cases death.

    finally to address those that say “skunk destroyed my child” firstly your child already had the condition but it it a direct result of prohibition that they suffered further effects due to cannabis, you see cannabis grown on the black market tends to be rushed, meaning the trichomes are not given time to mature to the 70% cloudy 30% amber, instead they are harvested when they are still mostly clear, this gives a heightened effect of paranoia for many.

    I hope those that read this shall go away and learn a little about this rather incredible plant and think about a few things.
    what harm does it really do compared to the good it does?
    how long do you want criminals to hold control over a multi billion pound industry, this goes for the politicians thersea may and Victoria atkins that should be held accountable for their actions and causing the suffering of so many!

  5. Is absolutely absurd to think we are still pursuing this unwinnable agenda. He’s absolutely correct in saying that people using cannabis overwhelmingly do not cause social harm. Under the influence they are generally non-violent, they do not beat and rape their wives and nor do they abuse children unlike what quite often happens under the influence of alcohol.
    A regulated market selling a substance in a controlled way, free of adulterants and with limitations on THC makes 100% sense. Where this has occurred there has been a measurable drop in people taking hard drugs (such as alcohol and heroin etc…)
    After we legalise and regulate cannabis, move on to naturally occurring psychedelic compounds. These have been shown to be almost completely non-toxic to the human body and they are often associated with loosening of depression and other mental health issues.
    Before all of this, decriminalise all drugs. The more you lie with false information and try and control what people do with their bodies, the more they will want to do it.

  6. Cannabis is just the tip of the iceberg, we are denied access to a large number of safe medicinal plants that would otherwise compete with pharmaceutical drugs.
    This causes serious harm not only to those with ill health who are either denied the benefits of these plants, or are persecuted for their use, but also irredeemably damages the reputation and credibility of the criminal justice system as a whole.

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