Derbyshire police don't want to 'blight' futures of young people who 'experiment' with cannabis

Cannabis is a class B drug.
Cannabis is a class B drug.

The chief constable of Derbyshire Constabulary has said his force does not want to 'blight' the futures of young people who 'experiment' with cannabis.

Peter Goodman made the comment on the back of national newspaper reports which said the National Police Chiefs' Council had told individual chief constables they can now decide whether to arrest and charge, caution or warn those caught with the class B drug - or simply let them go.

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Mr Goodman said: "I am well aware of the serious developmental and mental health issues - particularly for young people - that cannabis can pose. And of particular concern are the stronger strains that have become increasingly prevalent across the country.

"However, we have no intention of blighting young people's futures because they decide to experiment with cannabis.

"With that being said, the law is the law, and where there is serious risk and harm posed by an individual concerned in the supply of drugs then we will use the full weight of the law to bring those responsible to justice."

According to a recent report in the Daily Mail, Jason Harwin, Cleveland Police's Assistant Chief Constable, said that asking cannabis users to go for treatment rather than prosecuting them could prevent re-offending and provide the 'best outcome'.

The Daily Mail also reported that Dave Thompson, Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, told MPs: "We took some policy decisions about what we do about cannabis. My answer is let's not give everyone a cannabis warning - it's disastrous for their life chances."

As the law stands, possession of a class B drug such as cannabis can lead to a five-year prison sentence and an unlimited fine.

Growing or dealing cannabis can theoretically bring 14 years' jail and an unlimited fine.

There is an ongoing debate about whether the use of cannabis should be legalised and what the degree of risk is to users.