Lib Dems praise joint stand with Caroline Lucas MP on legalising cannabis.
Last week MPs in Westminster debated the legalising of cannabis. This followed the submission of a petition to Parliament with 221,019 signatures. More signatures in the petition came from Brighton and Hove than any other part of the UK.
The wording on the petition said: “Legalising cannabis could bring in £900m in taxes every year, save £400m on policing cannabis and create over 10,000 new jobs. A substance that is safer than alcohol, and has many uses. It is believed to have been used by humans for over 4000 years, being made illegal in the UK in 1925.”
Liberal Democrat MP and former Care Minister Norman Lamb called for legalisation for medicinal purposes. He highlighted the hypocrisy that some MPs and ministers who smoked cannabis in their youth were prepared to see young people today criminalised by the practice.
Green MP Caroline Lucas lent her support to Lamb’s speech, and condemned Conservative Justice Minister Mike Penning for his refusal to consider the medicinal benefits to MS sufferers.
The Liberal Democrats have set up an independent panel of experts from the fields of drug policy, public health and crime to develop a workable model for the legal sale and taxation of cannabis. The panel will be chaired by Steve Rolles, Senior Policy Analyst of Transform Drug Policy, and will include Professor David Nutt, founder of DrugScience.
Norman Lamb urged the need to take an evidence-based approach, including the scrutiny of data from Colorado, Washington State and Uruguay, where cannabis has been legalised.
Paul Chandler, former Brighton Kemptown Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate, said: “I am delighted to see Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb and Brighton’s Caroline Lucas taking a joint stand on the subject. A rethink on cannabis legislation is long overdue and the Lib Dems welcome further cross-party collaboration on this issue.”