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Large Drop in Prosecutions for Possession of Cannabis Seen Across the UK

Research from the UK Parliament statistics bureau has shown a significant decrease in prosecutions
for cannabis possession over the past decade. According to figures obtained from the House of
Commons library, such prosecutions have decreased from 160,733 in 2010 to 110,085 in 2020 –
representing a decrease of 32%.

The UK government has rejected calls to legalise recreational drugs but statistics show a growing
unwillingness to prosecute may lead to ‘decriminalisation by the back door’, according to The

This drop has been widely credited to both police and prosecutors across the UK using ‘diversion’
tactics to deal with the possession of recreational drugs, rather than initiating criminal proceedings.

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