Vice Squad
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
Cannabis in the UK

The reclassification of cannabis in the UK took place last week. There is now a presumption against arrest for those found with pot, but police officers still have the option to arrest. According to an article by Lewis Smith in The Times (London) on Saturday (January 31, 2004), this discretion is being used in widely varying ways: "In the City of London, for example, people who smoke the drug in public may escape arrest even if caught half a dozen times, while in Hull they will probably be prosecuted on the second offence. In Nottingham, people smoking the drug in their living rooms or gardens could be arrested, but in Durham they may be able to smoke with impunity in public parks and gardens." (Looks like the Sheriff of Nottingham is still pursuing merry men.) Further, according to The Times article (unlinked due to subscription requirements), "The biggest trap for users is in Scotland, where officers remain under orders to detain everyone found with cannabis."

In somewhat related breaking news, "A Scottish radio phone-in gardening program gave new meaning to the term "potting shed" when its experts unwittingly offered listeners useful tips on how to cultivate cannabis."

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