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I Would like to spell out for Don Barnard (Issues of legalisation, Postbag, October 24) why I want the law on cannabis changed.

I want to see an overall reduction in drug use. The Dutch have succeeded in reducing cannabis use amongst its young people through decriminalisation. Clearly a move in the right direction.

I simply cannot understand why Don Barnard believes that the Dutch system could not work here. The Dutch system copes with supply via licensed premises which is nothing new for the UK.

I want to see an end to people who use cannabis being imprisoned and or being given a criminal record. I am opposed to fines as a general principal not just for cannabis because fines are unequal. To a rich person, a hundred pounds is nothing. To a person on the national minimum wage it can be a catastrophe.

Cannabis has only been illegal for some 75 years; arguably it is one of mankind's oldest cultivated crops, grown for its food rich seeds and fibrous stalk as well as its medicinal and relaxant uses. Indeed at the time of Henry VIII in England people who farmed over a certain acreage were fined if they did not grow hemp on a percentage of their land.

While cannabis is illegal, experimentation and research into its undoubted medical potential are virtually non existent. People with multiple sclerosis, for instance, are left to seek for a drug, which some believe helps their condition, from illegal sources.

Take cannabis out of its current illegal position and we can see the financial collapse of many criminals who rip off the public

That can only be a good thing.

Councillor Don Quinn (Labour Member for St. Andrews Ward). King Stephens Road, Colchester. Essex

MAP posted-by: Doc-Hawk
Newshawk: Don Barnard
Pubdate: Sat, 28 Oct 2000
Source: Colchester Evening Gazette (UK)
Copyright: 2000, Quicksilver Media
Contact: gazette_postbag@essex-news.co.uk
Address: 43-44 North Hill, Colchester, Essex CO1 1TZ
Fax: 01206 508295
http://www.thisisessex.co.uk/scripts/email.asp?section=Email The Editor
Website: Essex Live - Latest local news, sport & business from Essex
Author: Don Quinn, Labour Member for St. Andrews Ward.
Referenced: UK: PUB LTE: Issues Of Legalisation