Express & Star comment: We must look at all evidence over Cannabis

The simplest of questions sometimes have the most complex range of answers.

What should we do about cannabis?
What should we do about cannabis?

Like, what we should do about cannabis.

The use of cannabis within our society is so widespread a body of opinion has grown that to try to combat it, and indeed other aspects of drugs use, is to adopt the pose of a modern King Canute.

The argument says legalise cannabis, which would at a stroke undermine the criminal gangs who thrive on the trade of illegal drugs and control the lives of users.

Usefully, a body of evidence is gradually building up which will help in judging the consequences of such a move.

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There are places, such as several American states, where cannabis use has been decriminalised.

As recently as last year the recreational use of marijuana by adults was legalised in Canada.

The motives in these moves have been to change the landscape from cannabis use being an illegal activity inhabited by crooks preying on victims and with no controls or quality standards to one in which regulation and control plays its part, and users are thus protected from the malign and criminal elements.

In Britain, there does not appear to be a critical mass of opinion which would lead to something similar happening here, at least not yet. Of course the mood may change.

Today we embark on an investigation into the various aspects, including the impact of cannabis use on mental health and its claimed medicinal benefits, which have led to some high profile stories which have tugged at the heartstrings and posed a real moral dilemma.

The debate as to which is the best approach in dealing with cannabis is reflected within law enforcement.

While individual officers will have their own views on the matter, as a body the police in our region say they are as committed as ever to fighting the illegal trade, which they say is linked to organised criminal gangs, modern slavery and other serious crimes.

But this takes us back to the earlier point, which is the argument that decriminalising cannabis would deprive these gangs of their levers of power.

Perhaps one way of looking at it is not by considering what is achievable, but by what our aspirations are for society – and whether a society wedded, or indeed weeded, to drugs is what we want

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