Cannabis Legalisation September 2015

Thank you for contacting me recently on cannabis/marijuana legalisation.

I appreciate that there are many arguments for legalising cannabis and that it is an issue people feel passionate about giving a recent parliamentary petition calling for the legalisation of cannabis that reached over 200,000 signatures and resulted in the upcoming debate in parliament on the 12 th October.

The latest evidence from the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is that the use of cannabis is a significant public health issue. There has been calls to legalise raw cannabis for medical purposes however, the Government have said they have no plans to do this. This is because cannabis has a number of acute and chronic health effects, such the possibility of developing mental health problems or harming the lungs when smoked. Indeed, between 2012 and 2013, over 500 people were admitted to hospital with drug related mental health problems in Nottingham according to a report published by Health & Social Care Information Centre.

Furthermore, many researchers have warned against legalisation of cannabis as it would normalise use of cannabis and send the wrong message to the vast majority of people who do not take it, with the potential grave risk of increased misuse of drugs. In addition, cannabis can be a gateway into harder substances for a lot of young people and finance large-scale organised crime gangs.

I am concerned about the very serious damage that drug misuse can cause and that drugs can lead to a range of health problems, crime and anti-social behaviour. Indeed, it is estimated that class-A drugs cost the UK £15.4 billion a year and the vast majority of this is accounted for by problem drug users.

Nottingham has high levels of drug use compared to nationally, which has a negative impact on our local residents, families, communities and public services. The Drugs Centres have reported a rise in the number of people who are using recreational and experimental drugs across Nottingham.

I personally do not support decriminalising drugs like cannabis but I agree that the Conservative Government need to carefully consider whether our existing drug policy is working and should look at how we best manage the use of these substances, I believe that educating our young people of the dangers of such substances and helping those who misuse them.

Thank you once again for writing to me and sharing your views. I will bear in mind the points you have raised.