In the UK possession of marijuana can land you 5 years in prison, but a reform in the law is now allowing first offenders or small-scale possession offenders to receive a cannabis caution. The caution is used to stop first time offenders from going to prison and does not show up on the permanent record. This then allows a person to still get a job and be an active member of the community. With the caution in place, many young offenders are offered a fresh start and rehabilitation rather than suffering huge consequences costing them their future.
In Avon and Somerset, the police have been working with small scale users to help them recover from marijuana addiction by offering courses on drug awareness and harm reduction. The police believe that by offering courses and support people are less like to re-offend. Which leads onto one of the biggest organisations working with marijuana addiction.
Marijuana Anonymous are a global organisation that have 10 meeting locations in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. Other countries providing the service include the United states, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Japan and New Zealand.
By using a 12-step programme for the peer support groups, they work with people to help achieve sobriety from marijuana. The programme has been modelled from Alcoholics Anonymous and uses a 12–question survey to assess if an addiction is present.
MA is non–religious, but they state that there is always room for a person’s beliefs and faiths. Currently working to stop stigma and working with people to feel more comfortable talking about their addiction. The service is mainly low threshold as they understand that relapse happens and want to unsure that service users return even if relapse occurs.
Service users are also advised to be clean from other substances when starting the recovery process. Therefore, MA can work with service users to help overcome other addictions. On the website are downloadable pamphlets on how to detox from marijuana, the steps included in the programme and what to expect as a newcomer.
If you would like to find out more about MA visit:
Written by Amber Sinisalo