Make it consistent
The decriminalisation of cannabis is an extremely vexing issue — here and around the world.
Would it encourage the dealers or would it see the end of them? Would it lead to more people using the drug?
In the paper today new Attorney General Mark Pettingill says there needs to be full parliamentary debate on that issue. This newspaper agrees and if it comes to a vote — it must be a free vote, not along party lines.
But in the meantime there is the more pressing issue of possession of small amounts of cannabis.
Here, it seems, Washington state may have reached a good compromise.
A new law removes criminal sanctions for anyone aged 21 or older possessing one ounce (28.5 grams) or less of pot for personal use.
The law allows possession of small amounts of cannabis but forbids users from lighting up outside the privacy of their homes.
Would this work here? It would stop young people who have ‘dabbled’ (who hasn’t?) in a bit of pot being placed on the stop list. And it would make official what are currently unofficial policies — which, because they are unofficial, can presumably vary in consistency.
But it would not stop the prosecution of those responsible for dealing.
The bottom line is, though, that carrying a small amount of cannabis for personal use in your own home is not going to have a devastating effect on society.