Would You Enforce Cannabis Laws?

Below is an exchange from a constituent asking if I would enforce cannabis laws. This is a difficult subject. The short answer is yes. The longer one is that I do think we need to take another look at our drugs policy. But… that’s for Parliament.

Emails:

XX,

I see enforcing cannabis laws as important, along the lines they are currently enforced. A much higher priority for me in terms of resources and effort is tackling legal highs and hard drugs.

Chris

Christopher Salmon

Police and Crime Commissioner Candidate for Dyfed-Powys

www.christophersalmon.org

On 6 Nov 2012, at 10:55, XX wrote:

Dear Chris

Thanks for your prompt reply.

The fact that different people have different views is not a reason for not drawing the line at the right place though I understand you to say you think the line is currently in the right place.

Also that laws should not exist just to send messages; they should be both morally right and useful to and protective of individuals and society. The prohibition on the use of cannabis does more harm to individuals and society than does cannabis itself.

I understand of course that Parliament sets the laws and the police enforce it. However, the police have limited resources and cannot, and do not, tackle every crime. Moreover, the police and the CPS have a discretion as to which crimes they prosecute.

Therefor they have to prioritise. Expending police time on pursuing a victimless crime which causes very little harm to anyone whilst violence and robberies slip out of sight is quite wrong.

I regret you have not come anywhere near answering my question about priorities.

Thanks again

XX

From: Christopher Salmon

Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2012 10:12 AM

To: XX

Subject: Re: PCC election – Dyfed Powys

Dear XX,

Thanks for your email.

I don’t support liberalisation of the law on cannabis, although I am sympathetic to the argument. It seems to me that wherever you draw the line, there will always be people the other side of it, arguing it should be moved. So, on balance, I think the message the law sends is the right one.

In terms of policing, I will not as PCC decide which laws are enforced. Parliament sets the law and the police and courts enforce it. I will set priorities for the police and the budgets that go with them. I want the police continue to enforce the cannabis laws, as is their duty.

My biggest concern on drugs is the prevalence of ‘legal highs’ and the speed at which new drugs can be developed – faster than they can be classified. This is where I hope the new office of PCC can come up with more subtle and imaginative policy that prevents and deters use as well as punishing suppliers. The PCC will have the power to commission non-police services from charities, businesses and other agencies in pursuit of this.

Thank you for your interest. I would also point out that the purpose of these elections is so that people like you can express your views to someone and exercise you choice through a vote. That is not possible under the current system.

Best wishes,

Chris

Christopher Salmon

Police and Crime Commissioner Candidate for Dyfed-Powys

www.christophersalmon.org

On 6 Nov 2012, at 09:25, edward wrote:

Dear Christopher Salmon

Last year approximately £6 billion was spent in the UK black economy on cannabis. This market was uncontrolled, untaxed and profits went mainly to professional criminals.

At the same time, apparently, some £500 million was spent by the criminal justice system on attempting to enforce the prohibition on the use of cannabis.

To help me decide if I should vote at all in this election, (for which there is no public desire and no obvious benefit), I would be grateful, if you have time, if you would let me know if you think that the latter sum of money was well spent.

Also please,

what degree of priority would you give to the pursuit of cannabis users, growers and dealers,

do you think that the prohibition on the use of cannabis protects vulnerable individuals susceptible to addiction from the seriously harmful drugs or, because cannabis is so widely used, does it actually put them in touch with them, and

do you support cannabis law reform in principle?

Many thanks

XX

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