Durham Police have called a halt to proactive detection of small scale cannabis production in a step widely seen as a step towards de-criminalisation of the drug.
Ron Hogg, the Police and Crime Commissioner has outlined the way in which Durham Police now deal with users and growers of this Class B drug. Calling for further drug reform, Commissioner Hogg said, “By and large we are saying it is not top of our list to go out and try to pick up people smoking joints on street corners but if it is blatant or we get complaints officers will act”.
Simon Stephens, Director of Casework at Addictions UK said that the move towards de-criminalisation was irrelevant from a health perspective. He said “Cannabis is still implicated in psychosis and mental health including addictions so making it legal or not makes little difference to the culture of those pathologically dependent on drugs. It can be detrimental to health – just like alcohol, which is, of course, legal.”
An article in The Northern Echo newspaper publishes a survey indicating that 91 percent of those questioned were in favour of this move.
Simon Stephens responded by saying that he understood the position of the majority of respondents – he approves of people drinking alcohol too in a moderate way – but it is essential to remember the very considerable problems when people drink to excess or use Cannabis to excess. The consequences are very great when it comes to both mental illness and other medical problems associated with the heavy use of such substances.