Expert: Legalising cannabis would fuel crime
Like the Soma-induced citizens of Brave New World, masses of weed-addicted zombies will soon be a regular feature of life on the streets of England. In some parts, it is already the reality.
Legalising cannabis will fuel violent conflict in our towns and turn a new generation of people on to hard drugs, experts warn.
A cross-party group of MPs is calling for the UK to follow Canada and make dope available on the high street for recreational use.
But British drug counsellor Seven Graham has seen the damage that easily available cannabis can cause after moving to Los Angeles, where recreational marijuana sale is legal.
Seven tells The Sun on Sunday: “If you think knife crime is bad now, it could get worse if marijuana is legalised.
“Legal cannabis does not get rid of the dealers, it normalises drug use and makes the problem worse.
“In America, the black market in weed has boomed. Soon they want new, cheaper and more potent varieties that are not available from licensed sellers, and competition to supply it is still fierce.
“Legalisation has done nothing to solve gang violence. You would have to be mad to legalise cannabis in Britain.”
Experts spoke out after a group of MPs returned from Canada — the first wealthy G7 country to legalise recreational cannabis use — and called for it to be legal here within five years.
Labour’s David Lammy, Tory Jonathan Djanogly and Lib Dem Sir Norman Lamb argue that criminalising its use forces law-abiding people into contact with street dealers.
Tottenham MP Lammy says: “I want the market legalised, regulated and taken away from crime gangs. For young people not to be criminalised by use and properly educated.
“I want to see the strength of the stuff reduced, labelled and properly organised.”
Countries from Holland to Uruguay have either decriminalised or legalised cannabis use.
The trend often starts when a government allows it to be made available for medicinal use, as is happening with cannabis oil in Britain now.
This week PM Boris Johnson welcomed pro-cannabis researcher Blair Gibbs into the heart of Downing Street when he made him an adviser.
Danny Kruger, brought in as the PM’s political secretary, has also called for an end to the prohibition of the drug.
Yet hard drug use rocketed in Holland after marijuana was decriminalised.
Former Met detective chief inspector Mick Neville says: “Cannabis is a gateway drug, and letting shops sell it will tempt more people to smoke it.
“Some will get addicted and move on to other substances. Others will go straight to hard drugs because cannabis is legal and no longer ‘cool’.
“Drug takers are thrill seekers, and once their tolerance for one drug goes up they will start looking around for a new thrill, like cocaine.
“Cocaine use is one of the biggest causes of knife crime in the UK.”
Critics have pointed out that the MPs’ Canada trip was part-sponsored by the North American cannabis company MPX, which is poised to make a fortune if commercial sale is given the go-ahead in the UK.
In fact, big corporations have already been investing millions of dollars in lobbying campaigns here, according to campaigners.
Kevin Sabet, president of Canada’s Smart Approaches to Marijuana, says: “I’m very worried about the commercialisation of cannabis.
“I don’t care if an adult wants to smoke a joint in their home, but this is about the industrialisation of cannabis.
“These companies do not tell the truth about the damage it does. They get the best lobbyists in town to talk to politicians, they lower the price as much as possible and sell and promote the drug to young people.”
Alarmingly, an extra one per cent of Canada’s youth has given cannabis a try since legalisation, but it has done little to stifle the black market.
Statistics show 79 per cent of drug users continue to go to dealers for cheaper, more potent weed.
Dan Malleck, associate professor of health sciences at Brock University, Ontario, explains: “Cannabis is legal in Canada but it’s hard to get.
“That has made the illegal market more legitimate, when one of the key goals was to get it out of the hands of the illegal sellers.”
Marijuana use is already rising in England and across the UK despite it still being categorised as a Class B substance that, in theory, should land you in jail, but offenders are rarely prosecuted.