Make dope legal
Shock verdict by MPs after year-long inquiry into drugs
Shock … over drugs report
By KEVIN SCHOFIELD, Chief Political Correspondent
Published: 20 hrs ago
Today’s Poll 25636Votes so far
Do you want cannabis legalised?
You voted for ‘Yes’
A DRAMATIC call for Ministers to urgently consider legalising cannabis will be made by senior MPs today.
They say the present approach to the UK’s massive drug problem is not working — and even decriminalising harder substances such as heroin should be looked at.
The shock verdict comes in a groundbreaking report from Westminster’s influential Home Affairs Committee.
It follows a year-long Parliamentary inquiry which heard evidence from witnesses including comic and former heroin addict Russell Brand — who called for drugs possession to be no longer a crime.
The committee urges PM David Cameron to set up a Royal Commission to look at ALL OPTIONS and report back before the next election. And it says the Government should fund detailed research into “the overall costs and benefits of cannabis legalisation” — and how such a move has worked abroad.
The MPs were impressed by the system in Portugal, where possessing small amounts of drugs — including HEROIN — has been decriminalised.
But the committee calls for the prosecution of senior bank officials responsible for laundering the profits of drugs gangs and for better drugs education in schools.
It also wants more done to tackle drug-taking in prison.
Chairman Keith Vaz said the scale of the problem meant it was vital that Ministers do not “kick the issue into the long grass”.
He said: “Drugs cost thousands of lives and the taxpayer billions of pounds each year.
“This is a critical, now-or-never moment for serious reform.
Ex-addict … Russell Brand
“If we do not act now, future generations will be crippled by the social and financial burden.”
A report ten years ago by a previous Home Affairs Committee calling for a liberalisation of the drugs laws was never acted upon.
Ironically, Mr Cameron was on that committee — although he has changed his views since then.
Russell Brand told the MPs in April: “Penalising people for possession of drugs is expensive. The costs would be better spent, I think, on education and treatment.
“Making it illegal isn’t working anyway. Being arrested isn’t a lesson, it’s an administrative blip.”
Experts were split on the issue last night.
Sun GP Dr Carol Cooper said: “It’s clear the current drugs policy isn’t working. But it is a worry that many drugs are linked with mental health problems.”
Danny Kushlick, of drugs legalisation group Transform, said: “Prohibition has created a vast market for organised crime, has failed to protect our children and is bringing misery to deprived communities.”
But Marjorie Wallace, of mental health charity Sane, warned it was vital to “take account of the specific damage that cannabis can do to the developing brain”.
Colonel Richard Kemp, former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, said it was “nonsense” to argue that legalising drugs would badly hit Taliban income.
He said: “Any impact would be marginal at very best. Poppy farmers, drug dealers and narcotics traffickers are one source of Taliban funds but far from the greatest.”
A YouGov poll for The Sun this year showed six out of ten Britons support making drugs legal.
But the Government appeared to dismiss the report’s central recommendations last night, saying a Royal Commission on drugs “was simply not necessary”.
A spokesman said: “Drugs are illegal because they are harmful.
“They destroy lives and blight communities. We have no intention of downgrading or declassifying cannabis. Our cross-government approach is working — drug use is at its lowest level since records began.”
Additional reporting: LEE PRICE and GRAEME CULLIFORD
Should the UK take this huge leap?
By RICHARD BRANSON, Virgin tycoon
THE war on drugs has failed. After four decades and $1trillion spent, what do we have to show for it?
A global increase in drug use, drug-related crime, violence, immense suffering and millions in prison for non-violent crimes.
The facts are overwhelming. If the drug trade were a country, it would have the 19th-largest economy in the world.
Treating drugs as a health issue could save billions, improve public health and help us better control violence and crime in our communities.
By ANNE BREMNER, Washington State lawyer
PROHIBITION does not work. I do not smoke marijuana and I do not condone the use of it. But should smoking it be illegal? No way. The change in the law here was a long time coming.
Most people in the legal profession in Washington state — and also large numbers of the police — were in favour of legalising marijuana.
The question we kept asking was: Why are we spending all this time and money to prosecute people for smoking small amounts of weed? I think it comes down to the view: Stay out of our private lives.
By DEIDRE SANDERS, Sun Agony Aunt
I AM receiving more and more problems from readers about drug abuse — mainly cannabis, cocaine and heroin.
It can take a terrible toll on family life.
I am very aware of the damage some drugs do to some families, but that doesn’t mean that keeping them all illegal is the right way forward.
I hear from even more families being damaged by excess alcohol, but no one here dreams of banning booze. A blanket ban gets in the way of helping people be properly informed.
JOHN O’CONNOR, Ex-Flying Squad chief
TALKING about legalisation is not only a retrograde step, but an utterly stupid step.
We live in a modern society where there are stupefying drugs already legally available, such as alcohol.
To make more available is nonsensical. How can you legalise something that’s caused untold harm?
The lunacy of politicians interfering in drugs is unbelievable.
It’s so utterly irresponsible that these MPs are trying to garner the support of young people. How are they going to manage it? We’ll become the drugs centre of the western world.
HARRY SHAPIRO, of DrugScope
I DOUBT that there’d be much public support for a move like this.
I think there’s a misconception that the Dutch legalised cannabis. They absolutely didn’t. What they did was allow it in very specific circumstances.
If you smoked very small amounts of cannabis in particular premises, the so-called coffee shops, you wouldn’t be arrested.
It’s difficult to know how it would work here.
The two countries are so different in attitudes. The Dutch don’t like the idea of drug tourists, which would be a concern for us.
PHILIP DAVIES, Conservative MP
I DON’T want any relaxation of the laws.
So much crime is fuelled by people getting addicted to drugs, so the idea that you’ll solve that by legalising everything is for the birds.
Reputable retailers are not going to start selling hard drugs, so this would have the effect of legitimising some very unpleasant people.
Drugs cause so much misery, not so much to the people taking them, but to their families and the victims of crime.
It’s naive to think that by liberalising the market you will solve the problem.
Pop into a cafe for coffee and cannabis
By JONATHAN REILLY
BRITAIN would be following the lead of several other countries if it does relax drug laws.
Cannabis has been sold legally in some licensed cafes in AMSTERDAM since the 1970s.
But Dutch authorities, worried about the sleazy red-light image linked to drugs, have outlawed sales to tourists.
Studies reveal that the Netherlands has fewer hard-drug users than many other parts of Europe.
Drug capital … Amsterdam
PORTUGAL was the first major European country to de-criminalise all personal drug use in 2001.
Therapy rather than jail was offered to users of cannabis, cocaine, heroin and ecstasy.
There has been a drop in drug use by teenagers, and HIV cases caused by sharing dirty needles have plummeted.
The number of Portuguese receiving treatment instead of punishment for addiction rose from 23,654 to 40,000 between 1998 and 2010. But more adults have started smoking cannabis.
WASHINGTON state last week became the first place in the US to legalise cannabis.
Supporters say it could be more significant than the end of alcohol prohibition in 1933.
Marijuana vs Cocaine
This is an interesting point of view, and while I don’t share it in a number of different ways there is something worth discussing in the wording of this confession itself. First, I wouldn’t say used. I strongly believe that Andrea’s brief encounter with Shane and on going fling with the Governor doesn’t have anything to do with Andrea getting used.
It was just sex. She wasn’t looking for a lifetime commitment in the car that day with Shane, and neither do I believe she is looking for the same in her little thing she has going with the Governor. I don’t see any evidence that Shane used her. In fact, she was the one the initiated it in the first place and he wasn’t exactly knocking on her tent door afterwards. It was just sex, a stress release and an adrenaline high after their close call with the walkers in that neighborhood while looking for Sophia.
As far as I can tell, up until the current episode at least, the Governor and Andrea’s sexy times are based on mutual attraction and enjoyment. I don’t think Andrea is being used by the governor at all in regards to sex. Again, I think it’s just sex. I am sure in a general sense, in the coming episode the governor will certainly use their closeness to get her to fight with Woodsbury and trust him initially over the others, but that being said, he never counted on this eventuality in the first place so it isn’t like he set out to use her through sex for this very purpose.
…Just my thoughts.
^love your thoughts and agree 100%.
I found Andrea a little hard to like in some parts of season two and three, but ‘despise’ is a strong word. I also think that she is going to be instrumental in what happens between Woodbury and The Prison going forward and I think we’re all going to love her by the end of the season.
does anybody no what this is,i don’t think it is a pistol or a new node.