U.K. Police Chiefs Call for Decriminalization of First-Time Drug Offenses

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A group of police chiefs in the United Kingdom is developing a plan to effectively decriminalize the possession of drugs including cannabis and cocaine. But the plan is at odds with the country’s Conservative Party government, which has floated proposals to stiffen the penalties on recreational drugs including cannabis. We will be publishing our response in due course.” But drug policy reform advocates and health professionals are resisting the government’s proposed tougher approach to drug use. In October, U.K. Home Secretary Suella Braverman revealed that she was considering tightening the classification of cannabis under the nation’s drug laws over concerns that marijuana is a gateway drug and can lead to serious health problems. Those who fail to complete the drug program or who are subsequently caught with illicit drugs would still be subject to criminal prosecution.

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A group of police chiefs in the United Kingdom is developing a plan to effectively decriminalize the possession of drugs including cannabis and cocaine. If adopted by the government, the use and possession of small amounts of recreational drugs would be treated as a public health issue for first-time offenders, rather than a criminal offense subject to prosecution and jail time or other punishment.

The proposals, which were developed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing, would effectively decriminalize the possession of Class A drugs including cocaine and Class B substances such as marijuana. Under the plan, individuals...

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