Councillor wants all drugs legalised after Sheffield dad sentenced for cannabis business

A councillor has called for all drugs to be legalised in the UK after a Sheffield dad was sentenced for growing and selling cannabis.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 9:26 pm

North East Derbyshire district councillor Ross Shipman made the comments after 32-year-old father-of-three Sean Murray, of Longley Avenue West, who has chronic back pain, was given a 16-month sentence, suspended for 18 months, with 15 rehabilitation days and 100 hours of unpaid work.

Cllr Shipman, leader of the Liberal Democrats in North East Derbyshire, said: “The current system just doesn’t work. Another dealer will step into that void tomorrow.

“I long for the day we can have a grown up conversation about legalising, taxing and regulating drugs to take the market away from criminals. It’s safer for users and cheaper for the tax payer.”

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Councillor Ross Shipman, Lib Dem group leader in North East Derbyshire.

Cllr Shipman called on the UK to follow the lead of countries such as Canada, where cannabis was legalised in 2018, as well as Portugal, where all drugs have been decriminalised for personal use since 2001.

He added: "People then start saying ‘What about heroin and meth (methamphetamine)?’ My opinion on that is that it needs to be prescribed on the NHS.

"They do it now, it’s methadone. Speed, that’s what they give people in hospital. These are medical things.”

You could be jailed for seven years for possession of Class A drugs under current UK law.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer ruled out a liberalisation of drug laws if he was prime minister.

He told Sky News: “When I was director of public prosecutions, I prosecuted many, many cases involving drugs and drug gangs and the criminality that sits behind, and it causes huge issues to vulnerable people across the country. I’ve never gone down that route.”

The Liberal Democrats want to legalise cannabis and said it could raise £1.5 billion to fight crime.

Cllr Shipman said: “Like most people I have dabbled in drugs so I’m well aware of this issue and how it’s affected people, not just around Derbyshire, but even within my own family.

"The public response would be one of concern so we would have to start with the Canada route and see how that went. It’s one of the things where we would need to have public support.”