September 26th, 2016

MPs welcome open debate in Westminster on cannabis legalisation

MPs welcome open debate in Westminster on cannabis legalisation MPs welcome open debate in Westminster on cannabis legalisation
Updated: 6:33 pm, Oct 17, 2015

THE MEMBERS of Parliament for Bromsgrove and Northfield have had their say on the legalisation of cannabis after the issue was debated at Westminster this week.

The discussions took place after a petition for drug law reform attracted 220,000 signatures.

It claimed legalising the drug could bring £900million in taxes to the UK each year, saving £400million on policing cannabis while creating more than 10,000 new jobs. And in Monday’s debate, arguments were put forward by some highlighting its medcinal benefits, whilst others highlighted the negative impact on vulnerable drug users.

On the issue, Conservative Party MP and business secretary, Sajid Javid welcomed the debate on the issue.

He said: “It’s right that Parliament considers petitions which come before it.

“However the latest evidence from the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs does not support the legalisation of cannabis.

“It would not stop criminal trading and would send the wrong message, especially to young and vulnerable people.

“It would lead to a grave risk of increased drug abuse.”

Northfield’s Labour MP, Richard Burden said: “Instinctively I tend to be liberal on these things, specially in view of the generation I come from.

“I was growing up in the 70s when it was a relatively harmless drug, but some recent research tells me it may not be as simple as that given the changing nature of drugs on the market.

“There is also the real issue of lumping cannabis together with other hard drugs, and actually by doing that, you push cannabis users onto those harder drugs.

“But if tobacco was illegal, would we be talking about it in the same way?

Mr Burden said he was undecided on the issue because marijuana could be beneficial for some people while contradictory evidence pointed to its harmful impact on mental health.

He said: “We need to look at the selective licensing of cannabis so that doctors can prescribe it.

“I absolutely want to take into account and understand more about the long-term medical affects that challenge some of my previous assumptions.

“It used to be difficult for politicians to talk about these things, but now that’s changing, and that’s got to be a good thing,” he added.