Quantcast
The VICE Guide to Right Now

An Area of England Has Basically Just Decriminalised Weed

Is this the start of cannabis' march to freedom in the UK?

Mac Hackett

More in-depth stories about drugs in the UK:

Here's Everything a British Drug Dealer Will Say to You
What the British University You Go to Says About Your Drug Taking
In Defence of Poppers: The Banned 'Gay Drug' That Everyone Loves to Ridicule

A police chief in the North East of England has effectively given weed smokers the go-ahead to grow plants for their own use. Ron Hogg, Durham's Police and Crime Commissioner, says that local cannabis users will only be targeted if they grow for commercial gain or if they smoke it in a "blatant" way.

Hogg said that he hoped to open up the conversation around drug policy in the UK: "We are not prioritising people who have a small number of cannabis plants for their own use. In low-level cases we say it is better to work with them and put them in a position where they can recover.

"In these cases the most likely way of dealing with them would be with a caution and by taking the plants away and disposing of them," he continued. "It is unlikely that a case like that would be brought before a court.

"Of course it is up to the government to change the law but I am trying to open up a debate about drugs and drugs policy."

Ron Hogg, Durham's Police and Crime Commissioner and hero to the North East's stoners

The move is a rare chink of light for Britain's drugs reform campaigners, who have spent recent times watching lawmakers worldwide rethink their attitudes to drug use. Meanwhile, our Tory government has only become more anti-getting-fucked-up, using bullshit statistics to introduce a blanket ban on legal highs earlier this year.

"By and large we are saying it is not the top of our list to go out and try to pick up people smoking joints on street corners," said Hogg, who in the past has called for harder drugs like coke and heroin to be made available to addicts on the NHS, "but if it's blatant or we get complaints, officers will act."