Cannabis is a "gateway drug" and should not be legalized, a report has warned.
In the report published by think tank The Bow Group, author David Sergeant highlighted research that shows "an upsurge in the number of people using the drug" in places where it has been legalized.
He called for the normalization of cannabis to be resisted and the existing law to be properly applied.
"Facts and Evidence: A Case for the Eradication of Cannabis," describes cannabis as a "hugely damaging drug that causes misery, particularly for our poorest citizens."
It highlighted that: "Every single location in which there has been meaningful analysis of usage rates before and after legalization or decriminalization, including Portugal, Colorado, Southern Australia and Amsterdam, show an upsurge in the number of people using the drug."
"If cannabis [were] legalized, it would be a monumental mistake."
He added that: "We owe it to everyone to resist, with all our might" the social pressures to normalize and legalize cannabis.
"To eradicate cannabis, we require only the practical application of existing legal provision by responsible judges and a police service, uniformly educated in and committed to this endeavor."
Sergeant also criticized "distinctions between supposed 'hard' and 'soft' drugs", saying: "The consumption of any illegal drug is morally wrong and so the use of all drugs must be discouraged with equal vigor."
Describing cannabis as a "gateway drug," he warned that users were likely to experiment with other illegal drugs.
"Legalization would result only in more cannabis users and thus a higher secondary demand for and entanglement within the remaining illegal drug market," he said.
Cannabis is a Class B drug, which carries a maximum sentence of five years and an unlimited fine.
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