Strong on liberty - not soft on drugs

Halifax Courier - - The Week In Court -

I fre­quently read in the Courier how the Po­lice have raided houses and caught var­i­ous peo­ple grow­ing cannabis plants. The pre­ferred phrase for such op­er­a­tions is now ‘cannabis fac­to­ries’ which con­jures up images of Blake’s dark satanic mills. On the one hand the Po­lice are to be con­grat­u­lated on ef­fi­ciently en­forc­ing the law of the land. How­ever I fear in this case the law re­ally is wrong and ought to change, and us­ing up Po­lice re­sources to en­force pro­hi­bi­tion is a folly. In Colorado, USA, the law has al­ready changed. Cannabis is now le­gal and is set to raise $134mil­lion in taxes in the next fi­nan­cial year. Crime has halved and the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem has more time to tackle of­fences that hurt other peo­ple. The taxes raised can be used to help pro­vide health ser­vices, ed­u­ca­tion and help sup­port peo­ple who are ad­dicted to other drugs like al­co­hol or smok­ing (which due to so­cial norms we don’t com­monly re­fer to as drugs, even though they are). Le­gal­i­sa­tion of cannabis has to be an im­prove­ment on the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion where the pro­ceeds of this pro­hib­ited plant go to the black mar­ket and fund more se­ri­ous forms of or­gan­ised crime. Pro­hi­bi­tion sim­ply doesn’t work. The war on drugs is dam­ag­ing so­ci­ety, crim­i­nal­is­ing peo­ple who are not re­ally crim­i­nals, and wast­ing mil­lions on en­force­ment whilst deny­ing lucrative tax rev­enue that could help re­pair the hole in the na­tion’s fi­nances. More im­por­tantly pro­hi­bi­tion re­stricts peo­ple’s free­doms and liberty. If peo­ple want to con­sume a plant such as cannabis , so­ci­ety should not crim­i­nalise them for do­ing so. As a lib­eral I’m a pas­sion­ate de­fender of the maxim “do what you want so long as it doesn’t harm any­one else”. If some­one com­plains I’m “soft on drugs” so be it, to them I say this: I’m not soft on drugs, Im strong on liberty. Calderdale, to study here in Hal­i­fax. I pas­sion­ately be­lieve that ev­ery­one in Calderdale should be given the op­por­tu­nity to reach their full po­ten­tial what­ever their postal ad­dress, eth­nic­ity or cir­cum­stances. By bring­ing to­gether suf­fi­cient stu­dents the pro­posed col­lege will be able to teach a sub­stan­tial range of A- level sub­jects, en­abling stu­dents from the Hal­i­fax area, whether study­ing at one of our ex­cel­lent vo­ca­tional col­leges, cur­rent schools or this new sixth form col­lege, to have hope­fully the best pos­si­ble future ca­reers op­por­tu­ni­ties. This pro­posal, which has the full sup­port of my Con­ser­va­tive col­leagues, is an ex­cit­ing devel­op­ment and I would ask ev­ery­one in­clud­ing our cur­rent Labour MP, backs giv­ing our stu­dents the best pos­si­ble start in life, rather than ar­gu­ing silly ob­so­lete par­ti­san po­lit­i­cal dogma, for the sake of all our lo­cal stu­dents.

CANNABIS RAIDS are fre­quently car­ried out by Po­lice but cannabis should be le­galised on liberty and fi­nan­cial grounds, says Coun James Baker

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