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Decriminalization Efforts Gain Strength In England - 80 Percent Support No Jail Time For Marijuana Possession

Thursday, 20 January 2000

The drug war in England is showing signs of exhaustion as the Police Foundation, an independent research group funded by the Home Office, is calling for the decriminalization of marijuana. Adding to the speculation of marijuana law reform in England, a recent Market and Opinion Research International (MORI) poll shows that 80 percent of the public support the relaxation of cannabis laws.
The Police Foundation, a quasi-royal commission that is said to have the unspoken approval of the government, is recommending that an arrest for marijuana possession should carry a fine and never include a prison sentence.
Marijuana possession is currently punishable by up to seven years in jail. In 1997, 500 people were imprisoned for simple marijuana possession. Over the past 10 years, the number of people jailed for drug offenses have more than doubled from 2,893 in 1988 to 7,089 in 1998 (70 percent were marijuana related).
"Australia, Switzerland, Canada and now England join the growing chorus of countries laying the groundwork to abandon the feckless and wasteful American-inspired policy of marijuana prohibition," said Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director at (202) 483-8751.