British Home Secretary Backs Caution System for Marijuana Offenders

Newly appointed British Home Office Secretary David Blunkett praised Scotland Yard’s decision to issue a verbal warning in lieu of arrest to pot smokers in southern London. Blunkett said that the proposal is in line with U.K. drug policy and entertained the idea of extending the warning scheme nationwide if it proved successful, The Guardian Unlimited reported Monday.
“This fits in entirely with [our] emphasis on placing absolute priority on class A [hard] drugs … and on concentrating police resources where they are needed most,” he said. Scotland Yard officials argue that cautioning marijuana smokers will free police officers to focus on more serious crimes.
Blunkett also said he encourages politicians to engage in a national debate on drug policy alternatives. His statements mark a stark contrast to his predecessors: former Home Secretary Jack Straw – who opposed any relaxation of current British drug laws – and former shadow Home Secretary Ann Widdecombe, who unsuccessfully lobbied Parliament to toughen the nation’s marijuana laws.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director, at (202) 483-8751.