Brits caught in possession of more than five pills or 5 grams of cannabis will soon be presumed to be drug dealers, under new guidelines proposed this week by Labour politicians.
The ultra-low thresholds mean millions of recreational drugs users could be at risk of receiving 14 year jail terms and were broadly accepted by rival political parties the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, the BBC reported, though Scottish Lib Dem MP Alistair Carmichael warned that the plan is foolish.
To draw up artificial thresholds in this way will simply result in people being prosecuted for the wrong crime, he told The Scotsman.
The newspaper suggested authorities have conceived the dramatic cut in thresholds for dealing in response to stories linking cannabis with mental illness just as US cannabis cancer doctor Donald Tashkin conceded defeat in his 30 year search to prove that cannabis causes cancer.
"We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use," Dr Tashkin told the Washington Post. "What we found instead was no association and a suggestion of some protective effect."
The Washington Post went on to point out that US authorities have relied heavily on Dr Tashkents earlier research to claim marijuana is dangerous, and even suggested THC (cannabis active ingredient) could be the component that prevents cancer.
Drugs Policy Alliance chief Ethan Nadelmann greeted the findings with interest.
"This study refutes yet another drug war fallacy: that marijuana smoke causes cancer. One by one, the myths and outright lies about marijuana are falling by the wayside due to sound science devoid of politics, he said.
We can now clearly see that the most negative consequences of marijuana revolve around the fact that it is illegal."
Jonty Skrufff (JontySkrufff.com)