Let Farmers Ruined by Foot-and-Mouth Grow Cannabis, Says Labour MP
Nigel Morris Political Correspondent, The Independent (London, England)
STRUGGLING FARMERS should be allowed to grow cannabis as a cash crop, an MP said yesterday when he launched a Bill to legalise the drug.
Jon Owen Jones, Labour MP for Cardiff Central, said it would provide a lifeline to farmers reeling from the impact of foot-and- mouth disease.
His Bill seeks to "legalise and regulate the sale, supply and use of cannabis for recreational and therapeutic purposes". Under his plan, a licensing system, regulated by the Home Secretary, would be set up to regulate the cultivation and sale of the drug. Users would be allowed to smoke soft drugs in "cannabis cafes". Mr Jones said the illegal cannabis trade in Britain was estimated to be worth pounds 1.5bn a year - "a very significant amount of money, which farmers would welcome".
The Bill, due to be debated next week in the Commons, is being sponsored by nine Labour and two Liberal Democrat MPs, including Jenny Tonge, the party's international development spokeswoman.
Mr Jones, a former Welsh Office minister, has admitted enjoying cannabis in his youth. "All over the world it is becoming clear cannabis use is a fact of life and trying to deal with it through the criminal justice system is absurd," he said. …