Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Legalise Cannabis for Medicinal Use'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Legalise Cannabis for Medicinal Use'

Article excerpt

Byline: Laura Hill Reporter bylinetwitter

CANNABIS should be made legal and used for medicinal purposes, Durham's Police and Crime Commissioner has said.

In a letter to the country's 40 PCCs, Ron Hogg said the "war on drugs" has failed and the UK's present approach is "unsustainable".

Mr Hogg highlighted the "genuine body of evidence" that cannabis brings pain and symptom relief to sufferers of various conditions.

And in an interview with us, Mr Hogg said he feels it's time to review the legalisation of the Class B drug.

He said: "I want the benefit of drugs to be explored. Look at morphine, it comes from poppy seeds, the same as heroin.

"All sorts of conditions can be eased by cannabis and I really support the idea of legalising the drug for medical use."

He added: "I have spoken to so many people who say the benefits are just superb."

Mr Hogg hit the headlines last year when he announced that Durham Police would no longer actively pursue cannabis smokers and small-scale growers in an effort to cut costs and keep users out of the criminal justice system.

Reiterating this approach, he said: "When it comes to recreational use my outlook is simple: if someone is smoking a spliff at home, not causing any bother to anyone, we are not going after them. If it is causing trouble then we will.

"We will continue to pursue drug dealers and the organised crime elements, but people who are just having fun, we're not bothered about. We'd rather spend our time going after burglars or child abusers."

Urging other PCCs to follow suit, Mr Hogg argued that legal drugs, including alcohol, cause more harm than some illegal drugs.

"Alcohol causes significant harm to individuals and to communities, and alcohol is the drug which causes most problems for the police service," he said.

"Our approach to drug taking should be increasingly to move away from criminal justice to health-based solutions in order to reduce drug harm. …

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