Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner is set to be quizzed next month on his views on legalising cannabis.
Representatives of Suffolk Cannabis Club say they will attend PCC Tim Passmore’s next public meeting, which is due to take place at the Limes Hotel, in High Street, Needham Market, at 6.30pm on September 3.
The club, which was officially set up about three weeks ago, already has around 500 members and more than 10 times as many followers on its Facebook page.
Spokesman Darryl Noe said: “We’ll be asking whether we can have his support in our campaign for medical and recreational legalisation. Some members also want to know about funding for police forces and, if drugs were decriminalised, could money (currently used on drug law enforcement) stay in the county or would it just disappear.”
The group’s long-term aim is to see cannabis - currently classified as a Class B drug - legalised for recreational use and have its alleged medicinal benefits recognised.
Mr Noe, 36, said some members with health complaints, including multiple sclerosis (MS), depression and Asperger’s syndrome, used the drug to ease their symptoms, or for pain relief.
“Marijuana and cannabis aren’t dangerous - alcohol is much more dangerous and is already legal,” he said.
Mr Passmore, however, is ‘totally opposed’ to legalising cannabis. He said: “There is evidence that use of cannabis can lead to addiction to Class A drugs which can have a devastating effect on individuals, families and communities. Drug abuse can lead to many other crimes and social decay.
“Since becoming PCC I have allocated over £750K of public funds to combat substance abuse, it is a huge issue nationally and I want to do all I can to combat the terrible issue locally. Legalising cannabis in my view sends out completely the wrong message, especially to our young people, that somehow drugs are acceptable- they are not!”
He added: “If it is used as a medicinal therapy, prescribed by the medical profession, I would consider that acceptable, provided there are the appropriate tests, monitoring of side effects etc and it has been cleared for use by NICE, like any other medicine.”