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Lib Dem Candidate Supports Her Party’s Policy On Cannabis

Published on: 5 Jun, 2017
Updated on: 9 Jun, 2017

Dragon reader David Middleton, a former police officer recently posed a question to local Lib Dems on their Cannabis policy. The Lib Dem manifesto includes a commitment to legalise cannabis and the Lib Dem parliamentary candidate confirmed she is a supporter of the policy.

Middleton wrote: “Recently, through the medium of The Guildford Dragon, I asked my local ward and [recently elected] county councillor, Angela Goodwin and her husband David, another ward and county councillor, for a simple yes or no as to whether or not they supported the Lib Dem manifesto pledge to legalise cannabis.

She declined to answer my straightforward question on the basis that she didn’t feel her personal views mattered as it was a national Lib Dem policy and suggested that I ask the same question of Zoe Franklin as a prospective MP for Guildford.

So, through the same public medium, I ask that question of Zoe Franklin: does she support the legalisation of Cannabis, yes or no?

Today (Jun 5 2017) Franklin responded: “The Liberal Democrat policy to legalise cannabis is not about encouraging people to smoke cannabis nor say that it is 100% safe.

Smoking and drinking are legal but we know that they too are not 100% safe – they are addictive and have long-term health implications, just like cannabis. Also, unlike users of alcohol or tobacco, cannabis users are treated as criminals and carry a criminal record.

Legalisation would make it possible to:

  1. Regulate – Cannabis available today is more potent than ever before and is often mixed with all sorts other chemicals which dramatically increase the risk to those who smoke it.
  2. Tax – Revenue from taxing alcohol and cigarettes plays an important role in helping fund the NHS and more specifically helping and supporting those negatively impacted by smoking or drinking. The same principles would be applied to taxing cannabis if legalised.
  3. Stop criminalising users but instead focus on the gangs who supply them.

Finally, it is important to recognise that it is a twist of history that alcohol and cigarettes are legal whereas cannabis is not. We believed both had health benefits so should be legal and we wanted to tax them – we went in with eyes shut. With cannabis our eyes are open.

In short, yes, I support the legalisation of cannabis.

A list of all the general election candidates standing in Guildford:

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Responses to Lib Dem Candidate Supports Her Party’s Policy On Cannabis

  1. Sharon Buxton Reply

    June 5, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    Anyone who thinks this is a radical policy needs to stop being naive. Cannabis is virtually legal already. You only need to walk down Stoke Road and see people smoking it out in the open to know that. I see and smell it all the time.

    Instead of pretending this isn’t the case, tackling the problem by taxing cannabis use is a constructive approach. It’s great to see a mainstream political party finally putting forward a sensible solution to a problem the others are ignoring.

    And if it helps raise funds for more police officers to replace the thousands cut by Theresa May then it’s just another reason to support it!

  2. Dave Middleton Reply

    June 6, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    I would firstly like to thank Zoe Franklin for giving me a straight answer to a straight question; such a rare thing from a politician of any party and I hope that other politicians of all parties will follow her lead.

    On the subject of the legalisation of cannabis I must, however, disagree with her and her party, and Sharon Buxton above.

    Yes, I was a policeman, (please don’t call me a “police officer” – I am not an American) and I served for some 32 years, all in uniform and virtually all on patrol duty in direct contact with the public.

    During that time I saw all too often the ill effects of regular use of cannabis, in fact, one of the most frightening encounters I ever had was with a man who had developed cannabis-induced psychosis as a result of regular use, over a period of years.

    Yes, I agree that it is a quirk of history that alcohol and tobacco are legal and that cannabis is not. However, the fact that two potentially harmful substances are currently legal, cannot possibly be used as a valid excuse to legalise another harmful substance, with very real dangers to health. Both tobacco and alcohol are recognised as having health damaging properties and massive and expensive campaigns have been undertaken to discourage their use.

    While there may be some genuine medical benefits in a small number of cases for some people to have cannabis prescribed for them, I would be amazed if any mainstream medical professional would support the general legalisation and widespread use of cannabis.

    I genuinely believe that legalisation would inevitably lead to an increase in the use of cannabis and a commensurate increase in health issues arising from its use.

    As for the taxation and regulation argument, this simply does not hold water. I do not have access to the figures, but the proportion of the amount of tax raised on alcohol and tobacco that is fed into the NHS, cannot possibly cover the cost to the NHS of all the treatment of illnesses and issues arising from their use; particularly since the effective deregulation of the alcohol licensing laws by the Blair government.

    Likewise, I cannot believe that the tax generated from any duty on cannabis would cover the costs to the NHS and other public services of the illnesses and other issues arising from that substance’s use. Also, even if cannabis was legalised and taxed, I have no doubt whatsoever that the same people who produce it illicitly now, would continue to produce it to sell at a lower price, “duty-free”, in the same way that people produce and sell dodgy alcohol and tobacco products.

    As for the tired old mantra of “stop criminalising users”, the focus of policing today and for some many years previous, has been exactly that. Much more effort is put into disrupting the organised crime gangs and dealers that supply cannabis and other drugs than is put into prosecuting the so-called “casual user”.

    Pretty much the only time users of cannabis come to notice and are prosecuted is when they have come to notice on a second or third occasion and usually as a result of involvement in other crime. That’s probably why Sharon Buxton smells it so often, the casual users are typically left alone unless they’re stupid enough to draw attention to themselves.

    As a result of this Lib Dem policy, while I still don’t know who I will be voting for, it certainly won’t be Mrs Franklin.

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