Change in cannabis laws given the green light by E&S readers
The legalisation of cannabis has been given the green light by Express & Star readers, with two thirds of people calling for a change in Britain's drug laws.
The newspaper's State of the Nation survey saw a majority of respondents come out in favour of changing the law on the plant, which is currently illegal to possess, grow, distribute or sell in the UK.
One in three readers said they wanted to see the Class B drug stay banned and users prosecuted.
In recent years the Government's strict control of cannabis has been called into question, particularly from campaigners advocating its use for medicinal purposes.
A recent change in the law has made the drug will available on prescription, while doctors will be able to prescribe cannabis products to patients from November 1.
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Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant has campaigned to change the law on cannabis use.
Responding to the E&S survey results, the Conservative MP said: "The legalisation of cannabis for medicinal purposes, and possibly other drugs too, would stop pushers from approaching people and instead, those drugs would be freely available from outlets such as Boots.
"More importantly, the ingredients and strength of the drugs would be controlled. If people buy something from a pusher, they don't know what its purity and strength is, and this has led to some unfortunate tragedies in the past.
"Cannabis has been legalised for recreational use – let alone medicinal use – throughout Canada and in many states of the US, as well as a number of EU countries.
"So far, having visited some of these places, there is no evidence of drug crazed individuals prowling the streets.
"Indeed, the legalisation has led to reduced crime as people are no longer having to raise large amounts of cash to obtain cannabis from illegal sources."
Mr Fabricant said he believed the UK could revamp its cannabis laws over the next decade.
"With so many other countries legalising marijuana, I would not be surprised if it was made legal here within the next 10 years," he said.
"But clearly there would have to be an independent study into the likely effect of such legislation."
Possession of cannabis in the UK can result in up to five years in prison, or 14 years for those who supply and produce it.