A new approach to drugs and crime

The Lib Dems will bring about real drug reform - we'll legalise and regulate cannabis to stop criminal gangs and the black market, invest in services to help fight addiction and allow those who use medical cannabis to do so without fear of prosecution.

The prohibitionist attitude to drug use of both Labour and Conservative Governments over decades has been driven by fear rather than evidence and has failed to tackle the social and medical problems that misuse of drugs can cause to individuals and their communities. Liberal Democrats will take a different approach, and reform access to cannabis through a regulated cannabis market in UK, with a robust approach to licensing, drawing on emerging evidence on models from the US and Canada. To combat the harm done by drugs, we will:

  • Move the departmental lead on drugs policy to the Department of Health and Social Care, and, crucially, invest in more addiction services and support for drug users.
  • Divert people arrested for possession of drugs for personal use into treatment, and imposing civil penalties rather than imprisonment.
  • Help to break the grip of the criminal gangs by introducing a legal, regulated market for cannabis. We will introduce limits on the potency levels and permit cannabis to be sold through licensed outlets to adults over the age of 18.

Our approach will support and encourage more clinical trials of cannabis for medicinal use to establish a clear evidence base. In the meantime, we will allow those who feel that cannabis helps to manage their pain to do so without fear of criminal prosecution.

Read more about our plan for a brighter future

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