According to an article in today's Independent, a report put together by a panel of experts that includes Mike Barton, the Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary, Professor David Nutt, the former chair of the Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs, and Niamh Eastwood, executive director of the drugs charity Release- has come to a series of conclusions that strongly favour the UK wide legalisation of cannabis. With several American states successfully legalising the drug, the conversation around UK legislation has (slowly) started to move on from the blanket 'drugs are bad' rhetoric that has dogged attempts to have any sort of serious debate.
The panel, put together by Lib Dem (remember them?) MP Norman Lamb, has claimed that the sale of cannabis would net somewere between £500m and £1bn yearly. They also claim that legalisation would help reduce the harm done to both users and society at large.
“Drug policy to date has (almost) always been driven by political and ideological agendas that have ignored scientific, public health and social policy norms,” the panel write.
“We are fully aware of the health harms associated with cannabis use, but contend that a rational policy must pragmatically manage the reality of use as it currently exists, rather than attempt to eradicate it using punitive enforcement," an approach, they conclude, “however well intentioned, has historically proved to be ineffective and counterproductive”.
The Lib Dems now look likely to adopt a stamce in favour of legalisation - the first mainstream UK political party to do so. Unfortunately they have MPs in the single figures, so it's doubtful we're going to be seeing any change any time soon - especially as the public still remembers former leader Nick Clegg's shameless ability to drop policies quicker than you can say "take me David" (bit of a NSFW link there)