After a six year study which came to conclusions similar to those achieved in Portugal, Britain's leading scientists, police officers, academics and experts have concluded that it is time to introduce decriminalisation for possession of small amounts of controlled drugs.
The experts say the criminal sanctions imposed on the 42,000 people sentenced each year for possession of all drugs -- and the 160,000 given cannabis warnings -- should be replaced with simple civil penalties such as a fine, attendance at a drug awareness session or a referral to a drug treatment programme.
They also say that imposing minimal or no sanctions on those growing cannabis for personal use could go some way to undermining the burgeoning illicit cannabis factories controlled by organised crime.
But their report rejects any more radical move to legalisation, saying that allowing the legal sale of drugs such as heroin or cocaine could cause more damage than the existing drugs trade.
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