Massive public support for cannabis to be legalised

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Generic picture of cannabis. Fotolia
Generic picture of cannabis. Fotolia
16 February 2016 3:11PM

NINE out of ten people have backed calls for cannabis to be legalised for recreational use in an Evening Mail poll.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP and Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, is expected to become the first leader of a major political party to call for the class B drug to be made legal for social use at the party's spring conference next month.

And it appears plenty of people support his view in south Cumbria as 90 per cent of respondents to a survey on www.nwemail.co.uk agree it should be made legal.

The news has attracted debate across social media and local politicians have voiced their views for and against the idea.

The issue is one that has split political parties as Councillor Graham Vincent, portfolio holder for health and well-being on South Lakeland District Council and fellow Liberal Democrat, said: "I would be against any move to legalise cannabis because we have massive problems with tobacco and alcohol and these are legal substances.

"The cost to the health service and the ruination to people's lives is massive."

The legalisation of cannabis was discussed in parliament in October after a petition demanding the production, sale and use of cannabis be made legal attracted almost 237,000 signatures.

A response from the government at the time said: "Substantial scientific evidence shows cannabis is a harmful drug that can damage human health.

"There are no plans to legalise cannabis as it would not address the harm to individuals and communities."

John Woodcock, MP for Barrow and Furness, said: "While there are some valid arguments in favour, I don't think this is a priority and I would want serious study into the effect on mental health that would be caused by an increase in cannabis use triggered by legalisation.

"Only today I was contacted by an informed constituent claiming support for mental health campaigns and support for cannabis legislation were incompatible - I fear that may be true."

Ian Stewart, cabinet member for public health and community services, supports Mr Farron's view.

He said: "The simple answer is yes. 

"I believe because of the direction in which things are moving that it will not be long before the call to legalise the recreational use of cannabis becomes too loud for the government to resist.

"Over time the view of society has changed and I think it's no bad thing that people are being encouraged to make their own decisions rather than the state dictating what people should do."

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Lorraine   Hill , Barrow Wednesday, 17 February, 2016 at 12:19PM
17th Feb 12.19 - No comments published so far. I left a comment about 24 hours ago - did anyone else try?
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    , Wednesday, 17 February, 2016 at 10:51AM
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Lorraine   Hill , Barrow Tuesday, 16 February, 2016 at 12:18PM
Cllr Vincent says ""I would be against any move to legalise cannabis because we have massive problems with tobacco and alcohol and these are legal substances" - and THAT'S his only reason?? For goodness sake Cllr Vincent have a look at the 'cost to the NHS' from tobacco and alcohol, compare that with the cost to the NHS from Cannabis and then honestly decide which should be 'legal'. All praise to Tim Farron and Ian Stewart for being political voices of reason within Cumbria. Shame on all the others who refuse to look at the real figures/information and come out with the usual anti-Cannabis propaganda.
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Noel   Duncan , RAMSGATE, Kent. Tuesday, 16 February, 2016 at 11:49AM
I am Cannabis user, for Depression Anxiety and Insomnia. Fed up with breaking the law.
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Derek   Williams , Norwich Tuesday, 16 February, 2016 at 10:28AM
I'm in Norwich and have just heard about this poll and I can't day I'm surprised at the result, the present drugs policy has never been properly debated in this country and yet cannabis use is so widespread as frankly to be regarded as normal. It really is time to accept that change has to happen. The claims of mental health damage have not been proven, indeed if it exists at all it's a pretty small risk. The claims all centre around the increase in THC content of "modern" cannabis strains. Because of prohibition we don't know for an absolute fact that this change is indeed happened, but if it has it's done so under the prohibition regime. Proper regulation through a fully legalised system would allow proper control of the THC levels and so address this concern. Under prohibition, there is nothing that can be done. The true debate we need to have isn't whether to regulate cannabis sales, but how to. Prohibition has no role to play.
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rock   star , uk Tuesday, 16 February, 2016 at 9:53AM
To say there are massive problems with alcohol and tobbaco is stating the obvious. They are far more harmful than cannabis and deadly in thens of thousands of cases per year in our country alone. Cannabis is safer than both of these and should be legal and treated as a health issue like these other 2 dangerous drugs. I would like to point out that recently the work done on public awareness especially tobbaco smoking has seen a decrease in people using it. It should be about educating the public to make informed choices for themselves rather than trying to dictate to them and criminalise them for soing something far less harmefull than alcohol and tobbaco. Studies have proven prohibition of drugs to be more harmfull than the drug itself.
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malcolm   kyle , Keswick Tuesday, 16 February, 2016 at 9:50AM
The discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is the single most important scientific medical discovery since the recognition of sterile surgical technique. As our knowledge expands, we are coming to realize that the ECS is a master control system of virtually all physiology. The total effect of the ECS is to regulate homeostasis and prevent disease and aging. The more we learn, the more we realize that we are in the infancy of this scientific field of study. The ECS is a control system which involves tissue receptor proteins, cellular communication and control, molecular anatomy and the scavenging of oxygen free radicals. This new field of science will change medicine forever and prove cannabis the gold standard for many disease processes. Its effect on scavenging oxygen free radicals is applicable to all disease processes and this is why it has such wide medical application and is considered a cure-all by many. The discovery of the ECS will replace the current medical system of managing and treating disease. Instead of management of symptoms after disease has occurred, we will prevent disease and cancer by manipulation of the ECS. Research and education of medical students involving the ECS is being intentionally restricted by politics. No justification can be made for the restriction of the scientific study of cannabis and the endocannabinoid system. What is the danger of providing government-grown and tested cannabis to researchers? Diversion of research cannabis for non-scientific or recreational purposes does not seem to be a serious threat to national security. By Dr David Allen
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