Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Rupert Matthews has joined the growing band of people calling for recreational cannabis to remain illegal.
Following the publication of a report from independent think tank Civitas, which showed that Leicestershire would see 112,229 new cannabis users if the Class B drug was legalised, the PCC said that cannabis should remain an illegal substance.
Speaking today he said: “I’m shocked and appalled by these figures. In my view Cannabis is a gateway drug to other, harder, more dangerous substances. While in itself habitual use can cause long term health issues, there is a clear trail from cannabis to Class A drugs.
“The harm caused by drug use impacts upon all levels of society. Families and people are destroyed by drugs and the effects of drugs, addicts can become embroiled in criminality to help fuel their habit, organised crime groups target vulnerable addicts using violence, extortion and exploitation to ply their trade. Very often the damage to people and families are irreparable and destroys everyone concerned.
“The report emphasises that parents do not want to see cannabis legalised and they are concerned for their children’s health in the future if it were to be legalised.
“They want to see the police enforcing this and as a parent, I understand that. I fully support the force’s operational approach here in Leicestershire, but this is not just a police problem. The police can only work with the legislation and information at their disposal.
“I strongly believe that we will not enforce our way out of this tragic scourge in society. The only way to successfully overcome the problem is to develop greater and more productive partnerships across the social sectors including police, health, education, social services, housing etc.
“The police should and do use their discretion to deal with individuals within the framework of the law. I would like to see more proactive intelligence led operations, more stop and search, more education, greater collaboration with the education establishments and more convictions for those who sell and distribute cannabis and other illicit drugs. Selling to young people should be seen as an aggravating factor when sentencing people for the sale and supply of cannabis.
“I want to try to reduce the use of drugs amongst our communities, which is why it is so important that we deter young people from becoming addicts of the future. Through my commissioning responsibilities I intend to work with other agencies and the third sector to educate people away from drugs in the first place and to rehabilitate those who need that extra support to return to a healthier lifestyle.”
You can download the full report here: https://www.civitas.org.uk/content/files/Cannabis-FINAL.pdf
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Posted on Tuesday 5th July 2022