|Mary Jane’s Garden|
Senior MPs in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, after a year-long study, on Monday called for the legalization of cannabis.
According to the Ministers, the U.K.’s current approach just isn’t working. The recommendation, called “shock verdict” by Kevin Schofield at The Sun, came in a report from Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee.
The move came after a year-long investigation which included witnesses such as comedian and former heroin addict Russell Brand, who called for simple drug possession to no longer be considered a crime.
|Russell Brand: “Making it illegal isn’t working anyway”|
“Penalizing people for possession of drugs is expensive,” Brand told the MPs back in April. “The cost would be better spent, I think, on education and treatment.
“Making it illegal isn’t working anyway,” Brand said. ” Being arrested isn’t a lesson; it’s an administrative blip.”
“Prohibition has created a vast market for organized crime, has failed to protect our children and is bringing misery to deprived communities,” agreed Danny Kushlick of the drug legalization group Transform.
The committee urged Prime Minister David Cameron to set up a Royal Commission to look at all options and report back before the next election. According to the group, the British government should fund research into “the overall costs and benefits of cannabis legalization,” and how similar plans have worked abroad.
The Brits will no doubt be looking at the unfolding story in the American states of Washington and Colorado, where voters last month approved limited legalization schemes for adults.
The MPs were reportedly impressed by how well drug decriminalization has worked in Portugal, where possession of small amounts of all drugs, including heroin, has been decriminalized.
However, the committee called for the prosecution of bank officials involved in laundering illegal drug profits, and also said better drug education was needed in British schools.
A similar report a decade ago by a previous Home Affairs Committee, which also called for a liberalization of Britain’s drug laws, was never acted upon. Ironically, PM Cameron was on that committee, though he’s since changed his views on drug enforcement.
A YouGov poll for The Sun earlier this year showed 60 percent of Britons support the legalization of drugs.
But the British government appeared to dismiss the new report’s main recommendations on Sunday night, claiming a Royal Commission on drugs “was simply not necessary.”
“Drugs are illegal because they are harmful,” claimed a government spokesman. “They destroy lives and blight communities.
“We have no intention of downgrading or declassifying cannabis,” the spokesman haughtily intoned.