Thursday, 26 April 2012

If they do no harm and pose no threat, leave cannabis users alone.


I read the story "Cannabis use brought on by grieving" (Carmarthen Journal, April 25).  The man Mark Phillips had apparently started using cannabis more often after his father died.  He was caught with half a cigarette containing cannabis said to have been worth £1.50 - "if it was whole, with its value estimated as "pence"."

What sense and what justice was there in arresting this man and taking him to court, where he was given a conditional discharge with £85 costs?

In this case, it is reported, the man was driving his car - well if that was the case and he was detrimentally effected by cannabis, he ought to have been arrested for dangerous driving.  But it seems that it was not his driving that attracted police attention but the smell.

There have been numerous studies on the effects of driving whilst under the influence of cannabis that show that there is little or no bad effect on driving skills and none at all if the cannabis had been smoked the night before as Mr Phillips claimed.   In fact, reports say that it makes drivers less tense.

Don't the police and courts have better things to do with their time - time the taxpayers are charged for?

Does the arrest and prosecution make anybody feel safer - did it prevent harm or risk of harm?   I cannot see how he could have been harming anybody else?

It's time the authorities stopped treating victimless cannabis users like this.  If they do no harm and pose no threat, they should be left alone, not criminalised.

Alun Buffry

'Cannabis use brought on by grieving'

Carmarthen Journa, April 25 2012

AN UNEMPLOYED Llanboidy man used cannabis to help deal with the death of his father, a court heard.
Appearing before Carmarthen magistrates, Mark Phillips, 30, of Old Mill admitted possessing half a herbal cannabis cigarette on March 26.
The cannabis cigarette was said to be worth £1.50 if it was whole, with its value estimated as "pence".
Prosecuting, Gerald Neave said police stopped Phillips, driving in his silver Peugeot 206 near Llanboidy.
He said the officer could smell cannabis from the vehicle.
Phillips admitted to smoking cannabis and handed over the drug. He was arrested and bailed.
During police interview, Phillips said he smoked half the cannabis the previous night, claiming it was a present from a friend.
Defending, Aled Owen said Phillips had a history of social cannabis use, which had increased after his father passed away.
He added: "In recent times he's started using it on a more regular basis after the death of his father, he finds it a way of medicating himself."
Mr Owen placed the value of a full cannabis cigarette at £1.50, adding: "The mathematics will tell you you're talking about pence."
He added: "He is trying to move away from this cannabis misuse brought on by his bereavement and is getting help through counselling."
Phillips was given a 12-month conditional discharge, and was ordered to pay costs of £85.

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