October 3, 2008
Cannabis is less harmful than drinking or smoking cigarettes, according to a report.
The Beckley Foundation's Global Cannabis Commission document said the cannabis ban had backfired and called for a "serious rethink" of drugs policy.
The ban has had little or no impact on supply and has turned users into criminals, it said.
"Although cannabis can have a negative impact on health, including mental health, in terms of relative harms, it is considerably less harmful than alcohol or tobacco," the report claimed.
Historically there have only been two deaths worldwide attributed to cannabis, whereas alcohol and tobacco together are responsible for an estimated 150,000 deaths per annum in the UK alone.
"Many of the harms associated with cannabis use are the result of prohibition itself, particularly the social harms arising from arrest and imprisonment," the authors concluded.
They added that, by legalising dope, it would be regulated and would make it easier to stop children becoming users.
"It is only through a regulated market that we can better protect young people from the ever more potent forms of dope, known as 'skunk'," the report said.
Cannabis was downgraded to class C in 2004, making police unlikely to arrest people carrying small amounts.
Report Author: 'There's A Case For Legalisation'