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to the Editor The Times - 24-1-2000
the Director of the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit
I welcome the news that the Police Foundation's inquiry
into drugs legislation (report, January 17) may recommend
reducing the burden on the criminal justice system from
cannabis offences. However, I am concerned about the
level quoted to distinguish between possession and supply.
grams of cannabis is less than the size of the most
common "street deal" (1/8oz or 3.5g), and is completely
unrealistic as a limit.
users buy cannabis weekly, fortnightly or monthly, the
average use being around 1g per day.
figure must surely be 2oz (56g or more probably 50g),
which would be similar to or lower than such limits
in other European countries.
growing their cannabis routinely face "supply" charges,
as to be self-sufficient at least two months' supply
is needed per indoor harvest, or a year if grown outdoors
- prison sentences are common for growers even with
small domestic systems.
suggestion that Ecstasy may be brought into line with
its cousin amphetamine is also long overdue, although
users should be aware that Ecstasy will do no less harm
to serotonin synapses as a class B drug than as a class
the committee of inquiry is concerned with political
expediency as much as with a sensible system of control
and regulation. Around one in 2,000 cannabis transactions
comes to the notice of the police; thus "parking" type
fines would represent a very inefficient form of "taxation"
compared to excise duty.