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Drugs tsar "in a dream world"

Alun Buffry

Letters, Evening News, Norwich

Monday 18 Dec 2000


Both Keith Hellawell, the UK Anti-Drugs Co-ordinator (Drugs Tsar) and Jack Girling, ex-chairman of the Campaign to Legalise Cannabis, seem to be living in dream worlds from their comments in the Evening News (December 13).

Mr Hellawell insists that cannabis has no medical use, just days after Dr Notcutt from the James Paget Hospital announced that trials using cannabinoid extracts have proved to be an overwhelming success.

The fact is that cannabis has been used as a medicine since the times of the Ancient Chinese and Ancient Egyptians.

Mr Girling, on the other hand, says that cannabis is virtually legal for his estimate of many million users in the UK.

Not so for the 150,000 or so who are arrested each year, about half of whom are prosecuted and all of whom are given criminal records.

Wishing that cannabis was legal is one thing, pretending so is completely different.

The tsar also insists that cannabis is a gateway to hard drugs use.

Whilst few would deny that a large number of hard drugs users first entered the world of illegal drugs through cannabis, the majority had previously taken alcohol and tobacco, both addictive and toxic drugs (unlike cannabis itself).

The real 'gateway' is people, usually driven by profit motivation, who lead cannabis users to more dangerous drugs.

This is largely because the law regards them all as illegal drug users irrespective of what substance they take.

The essential question in the legalise cannabis debate is very simply: "Does the present system help or harm cannabis users?"

The answer is plain to see when over one million have been convicted over the last thirty years, and few, if any, were guilty of a crime involving either victim or malice.

Alun Buffry
Legalise Cannabis Alliance




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