Blair Agrees To Allow For Medical Marijuana — If Human Trials Are Successful; British Police Foundation Recommends ‘Depenalizing’ Possession of Marijuana

In a trade-off with Mo Mowlam, the Cabinet Minister in charge of drug policy, Prime Minister Tony Blair stated last week that he would allow patients to use marijuana medically once human trials confirm it can alleviate patients’ symptoms.
Although Blair agreed to allow patients to use marijuana medically, he rejected Mowlam’s proposal to decriminalize marijuana for recreational use.
Blair also ignored a report by Prince Charles’ Police Foundation, a law enforcement think tank, that released the findings of a two-year study this week, concluding that marijuana should be “depenalized.”
Almost 30 years ago, United Kingdom enacted the Misuse of Drugs Act, which has become one of Europe’s toughest anti-drug statutes. It has been considered a failure due to the alarming rates of hard drug addictions. In 1998, 100,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession.
The commission’s report stated, “The present law produces more harm than it prevents,” adding that marijuana is less dangerous than tobacco and alcohol.
The commission that issued the report was comprised of police officers, academics and politicians.
Charles Clarke, Home Office Minister of State, said regardless of Mowlam’s or the Police Foundation’s recommendations, there is no plan to “depenalize” the possession of marijuana.
“I believe the most likely impact of a relaxation in the law in any of these areas would be to increase consumption of those drugs,” insisted Clarke, who has admitted to using marijuana while in college.
“Prime Minister Blair and other supporters of the status quo need to understand that where marijuana possession has been decriminalized in 11 U.S. states, marijuana use rates have not appreciably risen,” said Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director. “The same can be said for United Kingdom’s Economic Union partner, the Netherlands, where marijuana enjoys a quasi-legal status and marijuana use is quite low.”
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director at (202) 483-8751.