Call for debate on council drug policy

Source: [UK] Braintree and Witham Times

Subj: Call for debate on council drug policy

Pub Date: Thursday 18 September 2003

Author: Ben Attenborough


Web site:

Call for debate on council drug policy

CALLS have been made for an open debate on Braintree Council's drug policy.

A Braintree campaigner and a councillor both claim the council has dismissed their requests for an honest and open debate on the council's drug policies.

Don Barnard, a Legalise Cannabis Alliance member, says he is annoyed at the council's refusal even to consider holding a debate.

He said: this is something David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, has called for.

He said it is important that communities sit down and discuss the issues around drugs.

It is an issue which affects all of society and it's a cross cutting issue.

Among the issues Mr Barnard thinks the council should he discussing publicly are whether council employees should have random drug tests, and their policies on drug education, especially the education of children and youths.

But he said ever since he first proposed the forum idea in 1999 the council has refused it.

And his call was backed by councillor James Abbott.

He said: I think it's always healthy for a public discussion on any issue and I am quite comfortable should Braintree Council host debates on the issues related to drugs.

"I forwarded Don Barnard's request for a forum to the council but got a similar answer to him."

He added: I think it's regrettable Agenda 21 forums are not held any more as that could have been the perfect forum for this sort of debate."

Agenda 21 forums used to be public debates about a range of issues including the environment, but they were phased out by the council.

Graham Butland, executive councillor for health and community, said there were issues to be looked at like the use of medicinal cannabis for multiple sclerosis suffers.

But he said there are already forums where the issues could be raised and he added the council is only expected to debate issues where it can help.

He added he was willing to talk to Mr Barnard about his forum idea, but added he was making no promises.

Back to List