Investigating Cannabis

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The aim of this article is not to patronise you about why you shouldn't take illegal drugs, rather our aim is to inform you about the facts, and about the new legal implications. We're not going to pretend that none of you have smoked cannabis, we just want to let you know what will happen to you if you are caught. In the same way this article should serve to warn potential users about what they are letting themselves in for.
Firstly, obvious as it may sound cannabis is still illegal, the government has launched a major campaign to combat confusion about this. Just because cannabis is now Class C it is still illegal.

The Criminal Justice Minister of Northern Ireland summarised this point quite well; he said "It is against the law to have, give away, or deal in cannabis in any form, including plants". he also pointed out Reclassification "does not mean that cannabis is now a legal drug, or that it is not harmful to health," this is a key point, the reason cannabis has been downgraded to Class C is that firstly it is not as harmful as other drugs, and secondly it means Police time can be spent on cracking major hard drug organisation rather than wasting time on those who casually smoke marijuana.

So what happens if you are caught with cannabis on you? If the amount you have on you is seen to be only for your own personal use then the police officer is expected to make a "presumption against arrest," if you have lots on you then you will be arrested for dealing, and the maximum sentence for this was increased in January to 14 years. However this is not to say that it is safe to carry cannabis on you, ultimately the decision as to your punishment is up to the police officer involved, and he in turn is influenced by the position of his police division to Cannabis. In some areas you may be arrested anyway, while in others you may get off with just an informal warning.

The other thing which may affect your punishment is where you were caught smoking, many areas enforce a zero-tolerance policy on people smoking cannabis in public, and especially in front of young people.

So what do we suggest? Well we don't think it is our job to inform you about what you do with your life; we take the view that it is your right to do what you want with your life assuming you are informed (as you now are) and that you do not harm other people in doing so. All that said and done, just remember Cannabis is more dangerous than smoking, and we've all seen the horrific QUIT adverts currently showing on the TV. Also remember that the average cigarette smoker spends over £30,000 on cigarettes in their lifetime (so we estimate you can probably double that for a cannabis user), just think of all the other things you could spend that on...