DURHAM’S Police and Crime Commissioner has confirmed he will not be signing a petition to legalise cannabis as activists declare war on prohibition.
PCC Ron Hogg made international headlines last week after telling The Northern Echo that Durham Police would no longer proactively target cannabis users.
In the days following the contentious announcement, cannabis campaigners launched a petition asking the government to legalise the class-B drug.
The petition now has more than 180,000 signatures, surpassing the 100,000 needed to have the matter debated in Parliament.
As pro-legalisation activists across the world celebrate, the man at the centre of the heated debate firmly confirmed he will not be adding his name to the list.
Instead, Mr Hogg underlined his own stance saying that he supported the decriminalisation of users, not of the drug itself.
He said: “I have always maintained that drugs policy needs reform. And that requires sensible, grown-up debate.
“I am not surprised that the petition has reached this many signatures, since there is clearly a large number of people who feel very strongly that cannabis should be legalised. However, I am not one of them.
11 things humans do that dogs hate (Mother Nature Network)
17-year-old GAA player kills himself after Facebook prank (IrishCentral)
When One Punch Kills (OZY)
American Mafia Gets a Makeover (OZY)
First photograph of James Connolly taken before his 1916 execution is published (IrishCentral)
How to Impeach a Witness in Small Claims Court (Dummies.com)
“Personally, I would prefer Parliament to debate ways that we can reform our whole approach to drugs in this country, and how we can treat drug addiction as a health issue rather than a crime.”
John Holiday, activist and founder of the Teesside Cannabis Club, said the petition proved the time for prohibition was over.
Claiming Durham Police is leading the way in bringing about “long overdue” drugs reform, he said: “I understand Ron Hogg’s stance and the whole country is backing him in starting something that could get this into the House of Commons.
“He has the support of the country, which is proven in the fact this petition got almost 200,000 signatures so quickly.”
Repeating a growing call for legalised medicinal use, he said: “It proves it is past time for a debate, the war on prohibition has begun and we will keep fighting and keep pushing.
“People across the world have heard of Ron Hogg and the majority of the country is behind us – even the readers of right-wing tabloids are supporting legalisation in polls.
“This came about because people were prepared to speak out and we promise to keep the momentum going.”