Cannabis factories could create jobs in deprived areas, says ex-minister – The Telegraph

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Building cannabis factories in Britain’s neglected post-industrial towns may be the solution to unemployment problems, a former Conservative justice minister has suggested.

Jonathan Djanogly, who served as an under-secretary for justice under David Cameron, said towns in Canada with declining manufacturing industries had reinvented themselves as hubs for the cannabis industry.

Mr Djanogly travelled to the country on a research trip to explore the possibility of legalising cannabis in the UK, which will be the subject of BBC documentary available today.  He told The Daily Telegraph: “We had a meeting with a mayor of a town. 

“I would call it a post-industrial town, the likes of which we have many in this country, where the main employer, the only main employer in town, had moved out and closed down their factory, and there had been mass unemployment.”

“A cannabis factory had opened up,” he said. “[The Mayor said], ‘Look, this has provided us with jobs and better jobs than we had before’.”

While Mr Djanogly said legalising and regulating cannabis was “easier said than done”, he suggested that the cannabis industry could provide the UK with a solution to unemployment in formerly industrial northern cities.

“I don’t know about the scale involved, but cannabis is now roughly half a per cent of GDP, so it must be creating jobs somewhere,” he said.

Mr Djanogly acknowledged that any legalisation of cannabis in the UK would have to be accompanied by regulation that allowed market forces to operate without putting users at risk.

Sir Norman Lamb and David Lammy joined Mr Djanogly on the research trip, which was organised by the Volteface drugs think tank. Mr Lammy told the BBC: “I want the market legalised and regulated, taken away from criminal gangs, young people not criminalised by use and properly educated. 

“But I want to see the strength of the stuff reduced, labelled and properly organised in our country.” 

While Sir Norman added: “There does not appear to be the same level of debate about mental health and psychosis as there is in UK. I would have a cap on potency if legalised in the UK.” The BBC documentary, Legalising Weed – Canada’s Story, is available online today and follows the three MPs exploring cannabis legalisation policy in Canada. 

All three said they expected cannabis to be legalised in the UK in the next decade.  The documentary will also show Sir Norman, who does not usually use recreational drugs, taking a cannabis “capsule” bought in a legal dispensary. 

The Home Office has repeatedly stated that it has no intention to legalise cannabis for recreational use.

This article originally appeared here in https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/29/cannabis-factories-could-create-jobs-deprived-areas-says-ex/

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