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Cannabis Possession Charges Are 'A Complete Waste Of Police And Court Time,' Says Isle Of Man Official

As the fight for cannabis reform continues in England, it seems similar sentiments have spread to the British Isles. Today, the Isle of Man has announced they will no long be prosecuting cases for cannabis possession.

Prosecuting minor cannabis offenses is "a complete waste of police and court time," says the Isle of Man's Home Affairs Minister Bill Malarkey. And with the sheer number of people that are being pushed through their legal system for just such charges, it's not hard to see why he thinks that. As the Isle's Chief Constable says, cannabis possession occupies a whopping 10 percent of all the recorded crimes in the Isle of Man.

Tweet from Gary Roberts, Chief Constable for The Isle of Man.

For this reason, Malarkey says it's time for things to change. His government has committed to a new program that seeks to help people with minor offenses, without prosecuting them. He believes this will "avert more crimes from going to court and taking up police officers’ time" while also providing offenders with aid, not punishment.

"We’re working on a project at the moment with a new approach for all levels of crime, not just cannabis possession, which will look at why they have committed the crime so we can try to help them," says Malarkey. "We will also look at social security, housing and addiction to try to make sure these people offending get the right help."

Malarkey's announcement comes in tandem with a statement from British police chief Mike Barton denouncing cannabis prohibition in England. Barton—who has also ceased prosecuting people for cannabis possession within his own jurisdiction of Durham—worked with Malarkey to help develop the Isle's new program.

"It is so sad and distressing that families and children have been caught up in the histrionics caused by the current lack of common sense about drugs which has been a taboo to debate for far too long," Barton told The Telegraph.

"Drug addiction is a health issue, not a criminal justice matter," he added. Prohibition did not work for alcohol in the USA and just like the States, prohibition in the UK is putting billions of pounds into the hands of our most dangerous criminals."

This is not all that's happening on The Isle of Man either. As Health Minister David Ashford says medical marijuana legislation is also in the works.

"We received a paper two months ago about [legalizing medicinal cannabis]. This will go before a drug and alcohol steering committee to see what we can do with it."

If Britain embraced recreational as well as medical use, it would become the first European country to fully repeal cannabis prohibition.

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