Source: The Morning Star, London

Pub date: October 1997

Pub LTE: Cannabis Campaigners are not irresponsible

Author: Alun Buffry


In a recent interview the Home Secretary, the Rt. Hon. Jack Straw described people who advocate the decriminalisation or legalisation of cannabis as "irresponsible".

Mr. Straw said, "What I regard as so irresponsible about those who say we should decriminalise possession of small amounts of cannabis is this: one thing which would follow, as sure as night follows day, is that consumption would shoot up."

One wonders upon what the Home Secretary has based this statement. As the only real model we have is Holland, who decriminalised in 1976, one would imagine that he would have consulted the Dutch Government.

On reading the Dutch Government's recent report "Drugs Policy in the Netherlands, Continuity and Change", p. 4.1, we see "The decriminalisation of the possession of soft drugs in 1976 did not result in increased use. The level of consumption stabilised in the first few years.....Both regards the extent of cannabis use and trends in use, the Netherlands differs very little from other countries...The policy pursued by the Netherlands does not appear to have led to an increase in use."

So, it appears that Mr. Straw was ill-informed and unread of the facts he ought to be fully aware of before making such outrageous accusations about so many campaigners and supporters. He must surely owe the people a public apology.

It was Mr. Straws own statement which was irresponsible as is the stifling of debate. It is also entirely inappropriate to his office and his duties.


Alun Buffry