Cannabis should be legalized and regulated to ease pressure on police time, according to Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton.
The call comes after latest figures from a Drug Seizures and Offender Characteristics report showed 60 per cent of drug possession crimes involved cannabis in 2016-17.
A regulated cannabis market was part of the Liberal Democrat manifesto at last year’s general election.
Cole-Hamilton said the policy was backed by medical and scientific evidence.
“These new figures show that when it comes to drug related crime, police time is dominated by cannabis. Despite this, cannabis is freely available and widely used,” he said.
“The ‘war on drugs’ just simply isn’t working. It is costing millions and filling the pockets of criminal gangs. That is why Liberal Democrats believe in introducing a regulated cannabis market in UK, with robust and responsible licensing, as opposed to an unregulated criminal market. This will improve public health and protect communities.”
Almost all cannabis seized by police is now high-strength varieties, while seizures of psychoactive drugs such as diazepam and other benzodiazepines have almost doubled in the past two years in Scotland.
In total, Police Scotland found 18,000 cannabis plants, approximately 8,600 ecstasy-type tablets and 2.2 million Class C drugs such as diazepam.
The Scottish Government is expected to update its drugs strategy in the summer.
A spokesman said: “Substance misuse devastates too many families and communities across the country. We want to address that and change the provision of treatment and support for those who are most at risk.
“That means taking forward evidence-led measures, even if they were to prove controversial.”