UK cannabis users have cause for cheer this week, as the country’s National Police Chiefs’ Council has announced a new policy that gives individual officers discretion when it comes to small time marijuana possession. Though the laws on the books say small amounts can land you five years of jail time, the officers’ association says that constables are now allowed to let people off with a mere recommendation that they seek addiction treatment.
The announcement follows a high profile comment from West Midlands Chief Constable Dave Thompson, who said last week that his force declines to document cannabis possession offenses by young people.
“My answer is let’s not give everyone a cannabis warning — it’s disastrous for their life chances,” Thompson explained to the House of Commons’ home affairs committee.
The Police Chiefs’ Council spokesperson Jason Harwin put a finer point on it this week, saying, “There is strong evidence to suggest that recommending minor offenders for early intervention treatment instead of pursuing convictions can prevent re-offending and result in the best outcome for both the user and the criminal justice system.”
Harwin underlined that individual constables will have wiggle room when it comes to operational priorities, and reminded that