Cannabis should be legalised and sold over the counter in convenience stores and off-licences, North Wales’ Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) claims.

Arfon Jones, PCC for the region, told local newspaper The Daily Post that current drugs legislation needed to be re-thought.

He believes that drugs should be legalised and that “softer” drugs such as cannabis should be sold in the same way as alcohol, in licenced stores and by responsible retailers.

“If we went back to day one and we were legislating this again I’m sure people would realise that alcohol causes a lot more harm than cannabis does and I think the categorisation would reflect that,” the former police officer and Plaid Cymru member said.

“Hard drugs like cocaine and heroin could be sold or prescribed from a secure pharmacy.

“But I think cannabis could be sold with the same level of security as alcohol is sold at now in an off-licence. This would be with suitable age restrictions to prevent children buying it which is something we do not have now.

“A lot of the addiction and the harm that is caused is caused because of the illegality of drugs. People are taking substances that they haven’t got a clue what is in them. At least if we regulated them it would be the same as alcohol, we’d know what the strength of what they were taking was,” Jones added.

The vast majority of US states and the District of Columbia now allow for limited use of medical marijuana under certain circumstances, while nine states have legalised marijuana for recreational use, with California the most recent to do so in January.

In Massachusetts, retail sales of cannabis are expected to start this July.