PCC candidates enter the debate as 90% back legalisation of cannabis in Lincoln poll

The majority of people in Lincoln would support legalising the sale of cannabis from licensed shops, a poll on The Lincolnite has found.

A rising total of 1,748 readers took part in the poll this week, with 87% stating that they would support a move to decriminalise the Class B drug.

Just 11% of people who shared their views on the drug’s legal status said they would be against seeing it sold in shops, and 2% were unsure.

The results follow a national study, which suggested 47% of people would support legalisation.

Some 2,000 people across the UK took part in the survey by polling company ORB for The Independent, with 39% of people stating they would oppose the move and 14% unsure.

Commissioned by the Liberal Democrats, the first UK party to support legalisation, backers of the campaign argued that controlled sales of marijuana would generate £1 billion of tax revenue.

Possession and sale of cannabis is illegal in most countries, however some, including a number of US states, have relaxed laws for possession of small quantities.

A petition put to UK parliament in October 2015, which argued legalisation would save £400 million on policing a year, forced a parliamentary debate on the production and sale of cannabis after reaching more than 200,000 signatures.

The response from the government in January of this year however, was that there are “no plans to legalise cannabis”, and that “substantial scientific evidence shows cannabis is a harmful drug that can damage human health”.

Some readers of The Lincolnite disputed claims that the drug is damaging to health:

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While others agreed the risks we concerning:

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What the PCC candidates said:

With the countdown having begun to the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner elections, many readers were keen to hear the candidates’ views on the issue.

Three out of the four candidates responded after being contacted by The Lincolnite:

Marc Jones – Conservative 

Lincolnshire County Councillor Marc Jones, the Conservative Lincolnshire PCC candidate

Lincolnshire County Councillor Marc Jones, the Conservative Lincolnshire PCC candidate

“When you speak to the parents of a young person who started out in life like every other kid on their street and then hear of the devastating effects the taking of cannabis had on that young life, it’s hard to listen to opposing arguments for legalisation.

“I do however appreciate that there are many points in favour of legalisation from regulation and taxation to some arguments about pain relief.

“On balance though I still believe that legalisation would not be in the public interest and support Lincolnshire Police’s current approach regarding class B drugs.”

Victoria Ayling – UKIP

Victoria Ayling, UKIP candidate for the Lincolnshire PCC election

Victoria Ayling, UKIP candidate for the Lincolnshire PCC election

“I am opposed to the legalisation of cannabis, and would like some of the so called ‘legal high’ drugs maybe included as a class B category.

“My reasons are that cannabis is often a gateway drug to harder drugs pushed by the same dealers. Cannabis is not harmless and can kick off mental health problems which are potentially fatal or can destroy the quality of life for the user.

‘There is the argument that legalising cannabis would generate income for the Inland Revenue. However we must then ask these questions. How much more crime and anti social behaviour would result? How much more would the NHS be burdened with more health issues caused by cannabis use? The costs of the fall out from increased useage could well cancel out the tax revenue. Not only that, why create more victims of crime?

The problem is the government funding for our police in Lincolnshire has stretched things to the limit. Realistically it is not possible to deal with all cases of illegal posession or dealing, even with harder drugs.”

Lucinda Preston – Labour

Lucinda Preston, Labour's candidate for the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner elections

Lucinda Preston, Labour’s candidate for the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner elections

“The question of whether to legalise cannabis is ultimately a matter for the government to decide.

“From a personal point of view I have clear reservations about legalisation of cannabis for recreational use. Some research seems to indicate that cannabis use may prove harmful to young people, especially those who have an underlying predisposition to mental illness.

“In terms of the impact of legalisation on policing, whilst it might lead to a small reduction in some areas of workload, there would doubtless need to be controls placed upon the sale and distribution of the drug, as there currently are with tobacco and alcohol and this would create its own workload.”