Foundation backs lower penalties for cannabis growing

People who grow small amounts of cannabis in their home for personal consumption should only face the same penalties as those caught in possession of small amounts, according to a report commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

"It would be logical and sensible to adjust penalties so they were consistent with possession," said Mike Hough, of South Bank University, co-author of the report A Growing Market: The Domestic Cultivation of Cannabis.

"If small-scale home cultivation attracted an on-the-spot warning rather than a caution or a court conviction, it is likely that more users would switch to growing their own and stop buying from dealers."

At present the highest jail sentence for possession is five years, soon to be reduced to two, while there is a mandatory seven-year sentence for a third offence of "production".

Home growing is the least unacceptable form of cannabis production, said Hough.

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