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United Kingdom: First-Time Pot Smokers Will Still Receive Warnings Despite Reclassification
10-24-2008, 03:23 AM,
#1
United Kingdom: First-Time Pot Smokers Will Still Receive Warnings Despite Reclassification
Quote:United Kingdom: First-Time Pot Smokers Will Still Receive Warnings Despite Reclassification

London, United Kingdom: First-time pot possession offenders will continue to receive a verbal warning from police despite new law enforcement guidelines set to take effect next year.

The guidelines follow a May 2008 decision by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to reclassify cannabis as a Class B drug under British law. The new rules are scheduled to take effect on January 26, 2009.

Under the forthcoming policy, cannabis offenders will receive a verbal warning for their first offense and a spot fine for their second infraction.

Third-time offenders face arrest and jail time.

Cannabis has been classified as a Class C 'soft drug' in Britain since 2004. Since that time, marijuana use by young people age 16 to 24 has fallen approximately 20 percent. According to statistics published by the British Home Office last year, only eight percent of Britons now report using cannabis, the lowest percentage ever recorded by the agency.

Despite the pending change to pot's legal status, it is unlikely that minor marijuana offenders will face arrest - even for their third offense. According to news reports, the Home Office will not document verbal warnings in a national database, making it difficult for police to know whether a defendant is facing their first, second, or third offense.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500, or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director.
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