NORML – The potential health risks associated with cannabis are less than those associated with alcohol and do not justify the continued criminalization of the plant or its users, according to a report published by The Beckley Foundation – an independent British think-tank that analyzes drug use and drug policy. “There is no justification for incarcerating an individual for a cannabis possession or use offense, nor for creating a criminal conviction,” concludes the report, entitled “Cannabis Policy: Moving Beyond Stalemate.”
Authors of the report recommend that governments consider enacting legislation to tax and regulate the sale of cannabis, or – at a minimum – to institute administrative ‘fine-only’ penalties regarding its use.
“The rationale for severe penalties for possession offenses is weak on both normative and practical grounds,” authors state. “In many developed countries a majority of adults born in the past half-century have used cannabis. Control regimes that criminalize users are intrusive on privacy, socially divisive and expensive. . . They clearly do harm to the many individuals who are arrested, they abridge individual autonomy and they are often applied unjustly.