A former police councilor has called for cannabis to be legalised, claiming current laws to deal with the Class B drug are “broken”.
County Matt Wynne previously served in Cheshire Police but now represents the people of Edgeley and Cheadle Heath while studying for a postgraduate law degree.
He recently accompanied police on a raid on a Stockport house where cannabis was being grown on a “commercial scale”.
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While the arrest warrant, part of Operation Avro, threw up few surprises for Wynne County, it reinforced its belief that a review of the law was long overdue.
“I have increasingly thought for a good number of years that the way we ‘deal’ with cannabis in this country is screwed up,” he told the magazine. Local Democracy Reporting Service .
“ In the living room there was a boy in handcuffs, he must not have been much more than 20 years old, all the rooms except the living room were full of cannabis plants almost ready for harvest.
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“As a former police officer in my salad days, I regularly received such arrest warrants, so I wasn’t too surprised by what I saw.
“After ten years, nothing has changed, except that the technology for growth seems to have advanced, except that it seems common knowledge that doing business is much more lucrative.”
The 30-year-old traveled to Montreal in September to visit his partner, who was working out there at the time.
Canada legalized cannabis in 2018, and Wynne County says it was “impressive” to see the system the country now has.
“A government-regulated, government-licensed, quality-controlled product sold by government employees out of the hands of organized crime gangs,” Wynne County said.
The Edgeley councilor also says he never came across anyone smoking cannabis on the streets, or smelled it while going about his business.
“It’s working there,” he said.
“That’s why I think he’s so prolific here on the street, which I hate, by the way, he’s antisocial.
“People smoke it because they know it’s taboo, it’s an act of obtuse subversion. It feels like you can’t walk down many streets in Greater Manchester without smelling it.”
And he thinks the UK is taking a retrograde approach compared to countries like Canada, Portugal and the Netherlands “who have realized the war on cannabis is lost”.
“Even one of the most conservative European nations, Germany, announced the intention to legalize it in December 2021,” he added.
“Here successive governments have buried their heads in the sand, hoping it will all go away, terrified of the repercussions on voters for daring to mention it while organized crime gangs get richer every day.
“Young people are exploited and brought in to be sold on the streets as it pays better and gives them better status than any job they could get, all while society pays the price for the absence of policies: domestic premises meant for proper families. for the operation, people from all over the world are trafficked to grow it, residents who suffer the risk of fire that is generated when the electrical supply in the houses is diverted to manufacture it”.
Wynne County added that “spillover violence in the community” is an inevitable consequence of “fierce market competition” among traffickers.
And he lamented that the police have to spend vital resources “fighting the never-ending war on drugs”, while the NHS “has to deal with the public health problems caused by use”.
“You will not find anyone against the legalization and regulation of cannabis, other than an organized crime that makes a living from it. I see this in front of me as a local politician,” Wynne County said.
As a Labor councillor, however, he is aware that his position is very much at odds with that of the leader of his party.
Last year, Sir Keir Starmer told Sky News that he had “never subscribed” to the legalization argument, having “seen too much harm” in his previous role as prosecutor.
He reiterated his point of view during a recent phone conversation with LBC, saying he did not agree with changing the law, although he was in favor of more “health responses” and “anything that helps people with addictions.”
“I am certainly not defending my Party’s view on the matter,” said Earl Wynne.
“Clearly, the leadership is trying to properly address the growing concerns that workers have about drugs and street crime, which we have seen over the last decade, but to promise to maintain the status quo is to ignore the reality of the damage that the absence is causing. of a policy. .
“Hopefully the stance will change in due course.”
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