Monday, 18 July 2011

Questioning the Application of the Law (on cannabis)

My question is whether it is a correct decision to prosecute a person that grows cannabis for medicinal benefit - the decision having been made by police and CPS,  who are both free to decide not to prosecute - can it be a MISAPPLICATION of the law?

Certainly there are obvious cases where it would be a Mis-Application of the law to prosecute somebody even though they may have broken several major laws - many of these cases are when the unlawful action was deemed to have been a "necessity" .

Imagine, for example, a man who spots a house on fire, kicks in the door, smashes into a room, and tries to rescue a person that struggles, so he knocks them unconscious and carries them out to safety.  Clearly it would be a bad decision - resulting in a mis-application of the law - to prosecute for breaking and entering, criminal damage or assault!

An obvious choice.

To come back to the cannabis (drugs) issue; would it be a correct decision to apply the law to a teacher who has confiscated a drug from a student with the intend of handing it to a higher authority?  Or a policemen handling cannabis in the course of his duty?  forensic scientist likewise.  Of course to prosecute them would not be seen either as in the public interest or a correct application of law.

Although Government legislation grants license (permission) to possess, cultivate or supply cannabis under strict criteria, I am not talking about them.

In cases such as the teacher - or any person claiming to have, for example, found drugs on the street - it is up to the police and CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) - and their legal advisers -  to decide to prosecute (apply the law) or not, and must be up to a higher court in cases undecided?

Police and CPS clearly need to consider issues such as whether a court case would be in the public interest - whether anyone suffered damage, whether the property of others was damaged or taken, whether the interests of public health, national security, public order or the Rights of others had been threatened.

In considering the case of a person that is arrested and charged with cultivation of cannabis, clearly growing cannabis in their private dwelling for their own beneficial use, I am forced to ask would such a prosecution be a correct Application of the law?

Surely, the law (Misuse of Drugs Act) cannot possibly have been intended to prevent people from growing and possessing cannabis for their own medicinal benefit in their PRIVATE lives?

If there is no question of supply our of the cannabis being outside the private dwelling, posed no threat to public health, public order, the rights of others or national security, means that the use of the law to prosecute for possession does not fall within the criteria of Human Rights law that allows authorities to interfere with one's Rights to a Private Life, to one's own choice (and practice) of religion or belief.

The cost to the public for this prosecution makes it doubtful that it is in the public interest for it is of not public benefit - especially as repeat offending is highly probable given the dire medical conditions.

In all cases, the decision to prosecute - whether to apply the law - must lie not with the politicians but with the police, CPS and courts - it is for them to rule on the applications on the law.

Given the above points, I conclude that the prosecution of a person for small-scale cultivation of cannabis for own medicinal benefit is a mis-application of the law.

Such prosecutions and the question of application of the law must be considered by authorities on all levels.

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