A UK senior police chief is said to be “impressed” by the UK cannabis clubs popping up around the country.
Over the years, Hardyal Dhindsa, who is a Police and Crime Commissioner has come to recognize that the war on drugs is not working.
Mr. Dhindsa has spent this year visiting various underground cannabis clubs around the country to speak to the people who run them.
There are 140 of the clubs throughout the UK where like-minded people enjoy cannabis quietly and peaceably mainly through edibles or dry herb vaporizers (smoking is banned indoors). However, what impressed him most was the support these clubs offered to their members and how they self-regulated; they have a strict age verification process for example.
Mr. Dhindsa was left to conclude that people who want cannabis will smoke it anyway and the law in its current form is ineffective at stopping this. Cannabis clubs are providing those who need it with a way to enjoy cannabis without having to buy from street dealers as well as gives them a safe place to consume it.
Whilst, Mr. Dhindsa was clear to point out he does not support criminal activity, he recognized that decades of prohibition has failed. Instead, criminals are making a fortune out of selling cannabis and they are prone to using dangerous substances to bring costs down and happily sell to children.
In the UK, over £900m per year is spent on policing and prosecuting cannabis. Many argue that this money could be better spent on healthcare or providing jobs.
Earlier this year, the BBC conducted a poll of all 39 UK Police and Crime Commissioners and asked them their thoughts on decriminalizing cannabis.
Of the 33 that replied :
- 7 believed that making criminals out of cannabis users was unnecessary
- 6 said chasing cannabis users was not a focus for them
- 16 were directly opposed to legalization of cannabis
- 2 visited cannabis clubs
Unfortunately, the current UK government has no plans to change any cannabis laws because they believe it would send the “wrong message”, this, of course, flies in the face that all evidence shows that crime and cannabis sales to minors would decrease.
Whilst the rest of the world is making progress it appears that the UK has even longer to wait until they can enjoy an approach to cannabis reform that is in line with both public and scientific opinion.