Theresa May dismisses call from former Tory leader to legalise cannabis

From The Guardian: William Hague, the former leader of the Conservative party, has urged Theresa May to legalise cannabis, saying the UK’s drug policy is “inappropriate, ineffective and utterly out of date” and that the “battle is effectively over”.

Lord Hague said issuing orders to the police to stop people smoking cannabis were “about as up to date and relevant as asking the army to recover the empire”.

In an article in the Telegraph on Tuesday, Hague says the prime minister should be bold and lead a major policy change because it is deluded to think cannabis can be “driven off the streets”.

Downing Street dismissed the idea. “In terms of decriminalising cannabis there are no plans in that respect,” Theresa May’s spokesman said. “The evidence is very clear that cannabis can cause serious harm when it is misused.”

Separately, the Home Office reiterated that the government “has no intention of reviewing the classification of cannabis” and “it will remain a class B drug”.

It stressed that any debate about the medicinal benefits of cannabis “does not extend to any review regarding its classification” and “the illicit possession, cultivation and trafficking of cannabis will remain the same”.

Hague’s comments come amid calls by a growing coalition of MPs, experts, campaigners and families whose children have epilepsy for the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal use, after the confiscation last week of cannabis oil supplies intended to treat Billy Caldwell, a 12-year-old boy with severe epilepsy.

Canada is preparing to legalise recreational cannabis after both houses of its parliament voted in favour of the move, making it poised to become the first G7 country to do so.

In Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and most of the US, medical products containing the drug, such as the oil used by Billy, are allowed to be licensed.

Hague claims criminal gangs benefit the most from the drug being illegal and that many police forces have “stopped worrying about it”.

“When a law has ceased to be credible and worth enforcing to many police as well as the public, respect for the law in general is damaged,” he writes. “We should have laws we believe in and enforce or we should get rid of them.”

In response to Hague’s article, Vince Cable, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said “decriminalisation is an obvious step to take”.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]