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Should heroin and cocaine be legalised?

06:29 UK time, Thursday, 16 December 2010

A former government minister has called for all drugs, including heroin and cocaine, to be legally available. Do you agree with this approach?

Bob Ainsworth, who was responsible for the issue under Tony Blair, says successive governments have failed in their approach and the current policy has left the drugs trade in the hands of criminal gangs.

Mr Ainsworth has called for a strict system of legal regulation under which different drugs would either be prescribed by doctors or sold under licence.

Does the government's drug strategy need changing? Have you struggled with drug addiction? How can criminal drug gangs be stopped?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 13

  • Comment number 1.

    Yes. Take the massive profit away from the dealers and the gangs will no longer have a purpose. Just take a look a the years of Prohibition in the USA. All it achieved was to make millionaires out of the Bootleggers. It did not solve any of the social issues caused by alcohol, in fact it made them many times worse.

  • Comment number 2.

    Yes. All evidence points to this as the sensible, humane, and RESPONSIBLE option.

  • Comment number 3.

    the momentum behind the argument for decriminalisation has grown so much i think its a matter if when rather than if.

    think what we could fix with those extra billions

  • Comment number 4.

    i have read bob ainsworth's blog. There is not one point he has made that i could honestly disagree with. 10 mins i think it took a reporter to get drugs on the streets of london and this was without any contacts.


    use will never stop( no matter how great the intension of prohibition is)


    its time for the goverment to take billions and billions from criminal gangs and terrorist's.

  • Comment number 5.

    Yes, they should. It is the impurities, as a result of poor manufacturing techniques of the criminals that causes the deaths of many drug users. Legalise them & overnight you'd cut a swathe of criminality from the system. Only then would we be able to effectively tackle the issue of drug use safely and humanely.

  • Comment number 6.

    Supply side controls rarely work. Better to concentrate on reducing demand. Once decriminalised the trade can be taxed and the money currently going to the criminals can be used to treat and educate. It will also lead to a large reduction in crime.

  • Comment number 7.

    The trouble with de-criminalising drugs is that unless the system makes them easily and openly available the black market will remain in place. But, with easy and free availability we will end up awash with drugs. There is absolutely no upside to heroin addiction. It is totally destructive, whether legal or not.

  • Comment number 8.

    Surely decriminalising these drugs which are highly addictive gives the impression that they are not harmful and they do not destroy people's lives. Whatever some drug-users may say, many of their dismayed families confirm this.

    A few years down the line will we have people suing the government for allowing them to take these substances legally? Warning packets on cigarettes which are sold quite legally seem to have little effect.

    Drug addicts will still need to pay for their fixes, and money for this frequently seems to come from illegal activity - if doctors are prescribing them will the NHS pick up the bill? Whilst many addicts say that they wish to kick the habit, many of them drop out of programmes designed to help them do so. The desire for their drugs seems to mean in some cases that otherwise reasonable people have no morals left and will do anything to get their next fix (I know this can also tragically be the case with alcohol addiction).

    If we cannot prevent fencing of stolen property, should we decriminalise that too in order to remove it from the hands of the criminals?







  • Comment number 9.

    Yes. Criminalising drugs has proved to be a complete failure in solving any drugs problem.

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    Prohibition does not work. De-criminalizing drugs will take the profit out of drug trafficking and put an end to it. This would free up police and the courts saving great wads of money that the government seems not to have. Less people will get a stay at the crowbar hotel and that will save even more money.

    When it comes to the handing over of drugs to the addict, if the drugs are administered by injection then include a clean needle and syringe as well as an antiseptic swap. I Vancouver Canada there is a safe injection site. This could be used as a model for a home grown system.

    The best thing is to not do drugs.

  • Comment number 12.

    Yes he is right, But it will never happen why ? Many types of vested intress in many countries,and very powerful organization depend on the illegal drugs trade for massive profits, and to fund crime world-wide!!! have done for many years. This government would collect enought taxes' to afford to expand all the social and welfare programs in the U.K. and The N.H.S. make all our armed forces' modern, and update all the equipment, this would also make many thousands of well payed proper jobs, around the U.K.

  • Comment number 13.

    Yes. Criminalising the problem has never been the solution.

  • Comment number 14.

    If we treat them the same as alcohol (another dangerous drug) then it will be fine. Let shops buy a licence to trade it, the government import and sell it to the shops and suddenly lots of money rolling in.
    Like alcohol the quality and quantity can be controlled as well, making them less harmful.

    Decriminalisaing it will also remove much of the fobidden aspect of why some people try these drugs.

  • Comment number 15.

    It might sound harsh, but I believe that all drugs should be decriminalised and no special help be given to addicts. Everyone knows the consequences of taking drugs, so they do not need to take them. With one or two possible exceptions, no one is forced to take drugs.

  • Comment number 16.

    Not all drugs should be legalised, just cannabis for now. It's less harmful than nicotine and alcohol and the government could tax it and get some money back into the economy

  • Comment number 17.

    The rise of the criminal gangs has been fuelled by prohibition. Have Governments of all persuasions never learned anything from history? People will always use drugs legal or not so if they were properly regulated then the criminals would be unable to maintain a stranglehold over the addicts and users. These drugs should have been legalised many years ago and the money saved could have been used to fund proper informed education about the risks of taking drugs and into the NHS for treatments , not just drug -related , but all procedures.

  • Comment number 18.

    End the black market and decriminalise all narcotics, the tax man would make millions, crime rate would drop and people would be able to get clean and safe narcotics.

    Its the people who sell narcotics that creates the problems, mixing dangerous products with certain narcotics to make them more money, it is this that is killing people and causing serious ill health.

    If the government was to decriminalise drugs, they would not only be able to monitor peoples habbits but also help them to wine off them by providing clean drugs and a safe and clean environment to purchase them.



  • Comment number 19.

    I can't recall Mr Ainsworth saying this whilst he was the Minister with responsibility for drugs policy.

    So why did he not say this before then, when he had some power on the issue ? Maybe he thought he would end up like Professor Nutt - i.e. if he said what he really thought he'd get the sack ?

  • Comment number 20.

    Yes. And not before time. Mrs May has it all wrong - decreasing supply (if that can even be effectively done) will only increase the cost of drugs and thus fuel more crime. Haven't any lessons been learnt from 40 years of this ridiculous prohibition policy? It's about time politicians (in government! Not after they leave) grasped the nettle. The trouble is, they are too afraid they'll lose votes - although seeing as many, if not a majority, are warming to the idea of legalisation I don't see what their big problem is.

  • Comment number 21.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 22.

    The vast majority of money from illegal opiates goes through terrorist organisations in the middle east, who use to fund all kinds of other illegal ventures. Drug crimes are throttling our justice system (with more crimes being drug related than any statistic can accuratley represent), with drug users excluded from society and forced into crime by th government, where problems can only grow. Fix The System.

  • Comment number 23.

    Yes drugs should be legalised, it maddens me that alcohol is legal and yet causes such misery in SOME lives. Many people drink to their hearts content and suffer no problems, many people drink and cause untold suffering to partners, themselves and unfortunately many people have lost their lives directly due to the offender being under the influence of drink.
    I have smoked cannabis since I was 16 years old, I am middle class England wife and mother of one. I live in a very nice house, have always worked, but at the end of the day I come home to a cannabis spliff not a glass of wine.(cannot stand the stuff for the record)
    Now, before the do gooders jump on, I smoke pot not weed,I agree that the skunk that is being produced IS very strong, does require caution, but is no different between a half pint of shandy in comparison to a double scotch.
    The present system of regulation on classing drugs does not work, I would say that it is hypocritical that alcohol is not treated the same as other drugs - but of course that would cause huge outcry by the majority. Listen to any radio conversation about what are you doing this weekend - having a glass or so.
    There is no difference - there are many people that are decent members of society that take drugs the same as someone would drink.
    It ALL should be treated the same, regulated, different strength etc, my own sad "dream" has been that Tesco would have an isle with different brands of cannabis just the same as the isle of different strength alcohol.
    And coalition government - just think of the revenue that you are losing out on with all drugs currently being sold on the black market, think of all the taxes you could collect!

  • Comment number 24.

    Well we can start by legalising cannabis. 6 million citizens criminals under UK law for smoking a plant is not a just law. Currently in the US the largest growing legitimate business is cannabis. Just imagine what kind of revenue legalising cannabis alone will generate. Yet .gov.uk insists that it is "lethal" and wont even adhere to the Schengen for medical users.

    However I fear it is all in vien. .gov.uk has far too much invested in big pharma, alcohol and cigs to change its stance in our lifetime. That would require people in power to work for the citizens. Which frankly doesnt seem to be the case anymore.

    Legalise, tax, regulate

  • Comment number 25.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 26.

    A lot of people seem to think legal equates to available in newsagents like tobacco. The key would be to legalise and regulate with the drugs advisory council sitting to advise the government on degree of regulation required.

    For example, Heroin, the boogeyman of drugs culture might be available only through licensed needle exchanges which have a duty of care and harm reduction. Their job remains the same as it is now, ensuring that Heroin users remain as healthy as possible and enabling those who want to to break the habit. Their job becomes substantially easier as the clients will have more reason to come into the exchange and they can no longer be prosecuted for providing safe materials to users as they can be now.

    That's legal, but it's hardly heroin over the counter.

  • Comment number 27.

    If you think drugs are bad, you have never been in a household wrecked by alcohol. Legalise drugs, get rid of this paranoia brought over by America that all drugs are addictive & destructive. With the money from taxing drugs, we could have a much healthier view of them, stop them being cool, become the norm. It will not be the end of the world as the Yanks would like us to think.

  • Comment number 28.

    "A former government minister has called for all drugs, including heroin and cocaine, to be de-criminalised. Do you agree with this approach?"

    I have no experience or expertise in this area. But, as a complete layman, I would say yes, drugs should be legalised, and controlled.

    Anti-drug strategy, involving criminalisation, has been tried for years, and hasn't worked. Legalisation and control might work.

    I look at Prohibition in the USA between the world wars. It didn't stop people drinking. It did create organised crime.

  • Comment number 29.

    Yes. Aside from the power and funding handed to criminal and terrorist groups, there is the cost of acquisitive crime due to the elevated cost of drugs, the risks of contaminated drugs, and the damage done by criminalising people who have committed no other crime than buying something to alter their own state of mind.
    Current policy would be made less objectionable if it was genuinely harm-related but the recent stance on advice or even the existence of the ACMD shows that this is not the case. The drugs laws are not fit for purpose, and this results in more damage than benefit, so legalisation I feel would be the best response.

  • Comment number 30.

    Well we can't win the war on illegal drugs the way things are going. Even the police admit that. Arrest one dealer and there's another half dozen waiting to take his or her place.

    I think they should be legalised. We may well risk an increase in addiction (although I don't know that for certain) but we'd stop all the gang crime to do with the supply of drugs. Some of the tax raised from selling legal drugs could be used to help prevent and treat addiction.

    There is nothing more 'wrong' (morally) about taking heroin or cocaine than taking alcohol or nicotine as far as I'm concerned. Problems occur when people become addicted to drugs, whether they're legal or illegal.

    It seems to me that those who really want drugs will get them regardless of the law, so we may as well get some tax from it and reduce associated gang crime in the process.

  • Comment number 31.

    Isn't it strange, us humans with our extreme arrogance lording it over everything, get laid low by a few plant extracts, and those that don't get laid low kill and maim each other, rob and steal off everyone else to either get to it or supply it, and then hide away in grubby little hovels making everyone elses life miserable. The other way of course is to suck up cocaine at middle class parties pretending to be a bit edgy and cool because you have talcum powder, chalk, probably some laxative and a wee bit of illegal drug hanging out of your nose and then boring everyone rigid. There is no upside to legalising these drugs as far as I can see, why don't we make life really hard for smugglers, dealers and addicts? After all in many places they make everyone elses life miserable, I don't suppose in the vast majority of cases anyone had a gun to their head to start taking drugs, I have no sympathy, it was a choice probably to look cool at the time, it ain't, and legalising it will only make life worse, for everyone.

  • Comment number 32.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 34.

    There seems to be a naïve assumption shared by all proponents of decriminalisation of drugs that once decriminalised then the current covert global network of drugs producers and distributors will sort of melt into the forest like morning mist……………..

    Such assumptions are similar to Government’s myopic belief that passing legislation to ban legally owned handguns and certain types of rifles post the Dunblane and Hungerford tragedies would solve gun crime.

    Now the main singular difference between the drugs of choice and alcohol (invariably used as the primary benchmark) are that alcohol in moderate quantities does not drastically change behaviour: neither is it addictive, per se.

    Alcohol is a poison: and it acts as a depressive, contrary to many people’s belief.

    Nicotine, taken by way of smoking, is hugely addictive: more addictive in fact than Heroin. However, once again, tobacco consumption doesn’t particularly alter behaviour.

    Increasing numbers of Western people suffer Addictive Personality: and this reality is worsened by a sort of frenetic synthetic lifestyle, detached from core human values and benefits and suffering increasing imposed stresses from work, debt, frustration and social aggression of many forms.

    Assuming currently proscribed drugs were to be legalised for both supply and possession, then the whole supply chain from growers to retail suppliers would be formalised. Most present drugs growers (i.e. those which cultivate raw feedstock) would find their rudimentary production methodologies outlawed, with the core exception, perhaps of poppies grown for raw opium.

    Government departments such as the FDA in the USA and Defra and NICE in the UK would formalise guidelines for production and purity.

    All suppliers in the chain would need to be licensed to ensure both purity and product marketing.

    Of course, Big Pharma would take over the business of production and supply through extant distributors, licensed wholesalers and similarly licensed retailers.

    Naturally, government would add on whopping taxes, similar to tobacco products: Excise Duty plus VAT on total retail cost.

    Thus end product would not be cheap.

    Perhaps the largest hurdle to overcome is testing and approval: and every company in the supply chain sharing product liability.

    The finally successful multi-billion class actions against US tobacco corporations are the benchmark.

    Which major suppliers do you honestly believe would market a product range that they very well knew was highly addictive and ruined the health of the consumer? And would allow an open door to a flood of claims in this highly litigious age?

    And more critically, who is going to underwrite the manufacturer’s and product liability?

    The alternative – believing that if currently proscribed drugs were to be de-criminalized, then all in the supply chain would not cut marginally pure product in order to maximise profits – is simply cloud cuckoo land!

    How in any case, would addicts fund their habit? Working? Honest endeavour?

    Of course not: they have sunk to the pits of social and personal despair only and purely because of their addiction: as any case worker involved in drugs counselling could tell you. They have become so socially dysfunctional, that work is simply not tenable: thus women sell their bodies and men steal.

    In order to support this dysfunction, wherein the only focus of concern is obtaining the next fix, it would matter not whether their chosen poison or poisons are illegal or legal: their behavioural pattern dictates sacrifice to their pre-eminent and compelling need.

    Why is it that those wishing to sanitize deviant habit use fuzzy cuddly and warm descriptors in the vain attempt of trying to legitimise aberrant behaviour? An example being the telling phrase, “Recreational Drugs”!

    If a person needs drugs, in order to “enjoy” themselves, then clearly, something is sadly amiss with their psyche.

    Would major drugs traffickers simply sit and watch their cash cow vanish?

    Of course they would react by trying, as do all businesses, to create competitive advantage: and the one major weapon they have is price: since they would be free of all the added layers of cost.

    As government increased and increased tobacco taxes, the direct result was an epidemic rise in smuggling.

    De-Criminalizing drugs would be no different.

    http://www.drinkanddrugs.net/backgroundinformation/briefings/may1605/backgroundbriefing.pdf


  • Comment number 35.

    We must try legalisation. Getting it out in the open will create greater opportunity for prevention and cure whilst reducing the intolerable burden of crime these drugs have inflicted on our communities.

  • Comment number 36.

    Even if drugs are decriminalised what then?

    The drugs will have to be paid for by the users. This is mostly funded by crime as figures and commentators quote. All that will change is that the government becomes the dealer.

    The price charged for these drugs, I assume they will not be free from the government, will lead to drug dealers offering lower priced fixes so still the problem remains.

    Crime will not reduce, the users, if using government dealers, (sorry Doctors and Chemists but that is what you will become) will get better grade drugs and in the end blame the government in due course for supplying and not curing the addiction.

    Drug dealers or manufacturers will invent new drugs so the government will be playing catch all the time.

    Decriminalisation cannot work in this way.

    Best bet is to treat the social problems that encourage drug use. I have gone through some hard times in my life but never felt I needed this type of crutch although in my teens it was there in the crowd I was in and I always wondered why some friends, to their ruin, have fallen on this path.

    No to decriminalisation YES to treatment of the social disease.

  • Comment number 37.

    Absolutely! Legalise all drugs as soon as possible, control the supply, monitor those in danger, and watch the prisons start to empty virtually overnight.

    Like most people, I do not particularly care who wants to alter their brain chemistry with whatever substances they so choose!

    What I do care VERY passionately about, is that the streets are not safe to walk for ANY of us, almost entirely because of the prohibition of drugs.

    If you want to see fewer new users...Legalise drugs.
    If you want to see fewer dead users....Legalise drugs.
    If you want the crime rate to fall like a stone....Legalise drugs.
    If you want to avoid being robbed on the street for drug money...Legalise drugs.

    There is not one sensible argument for not doing so, historically, prohibition NEVER works, it only glamourises the prohibited item, and creates huge black market profits for the criminal elements of society, as it did with handguns, alcohol, opium, certain films, certain music etc.

    Seems like history is a mystery to most governments.

  • Comment number 38.

    Yes they should be legalised. The tax revenue will come in handy.

    Why didn't Mr Ainsworth say these things when his party was in power?

  • Comment number 39.

    Since banning drugs has been, and continues to be, worse than a complete failure (as it puts the 'business' in criminal hands) then it really is time to take a different approach. Prohibition does not work.

  • Comment number 40.

    Although I think Cannabis should be decriminalized Heroin and Cocaine are so destructive and harmful I think they should remain a class A drug.
    As for the argument that we fail to stamp it out so may as well give up.
    So when is prostitution and rape going to be decriminalized ??
    It might be a crazy way to treat adults but proscriptive measures have to be brought in as Joe Public "ain't too bright"
    Thousands still not wearing seat belts and using mobile phones when driving.

  • Comment number 41.

    Yes, Bob Ainsworth is entirely correct.

    In a time of economic stress we should do away with the expensive, failing and vindictive dogma of prohibition.

    Take the power away from violent street gangs and dealers.
    Bring the market back into the control of society.


    As a reply to ruffled_feathers

    Heroin on prescription for all addicts paid for by the NHS would be cheaper for us all than the current status quo.
    The total NHS costs for Heroin would be far less than we currently pay in insurance premiums to cover crime needed for a Heroin fix.

  • Comment number 42.

    after having most of adult life addicted to heroin and crack cocaine, resulting in 5 year prison sentence. i believe at least a tempary trial in legalising these drugs should be attempted along with assisted care. i left prison after serving 30 months and was helped by drug agencies to a degree that i know live a relatively drug free life with the odd lapse but my time inside only cost taxpayers more money.drugs and crime come hand in hand, control one and you control the other.

  • Comment number 43.

    Yes, legalise all drugs. Tax the sale, like alcohol and tobacco, and use the revenues to subsidise the health service. I hate smoking but I would defend to the hilt people's right to smoke. Stop the nanny state. Legalising drugs will make them cleaner, safer and regulated. Doses will be standardised. Not everyone who uses drugs is an addict, although I accept that addiction can be wretched. Problem is prohibition does not work. Legalising drugs will reduce criminality. It won't get rid of it entirely, but, if production, distribution and sales are legitimised, the reason for the hideous drug wars, dealers and cartels will reduce. Might help stop the war in Afghanistan too - the poppy is a major revenue earner for the Taliban - while stabilising incomes for poor third world farmers. Clearly, the current system does not work.

  • Comment number 44.

    NO NO NO
    Anyone that says Yes is a fool or just pure ignorant, only when you see addicts first hand can you really comment.
    This is more stupidity from the misguided do gooder brigade like the KEN Clarke's and the send less to prison idiots.

  • Comment number 45.

    UK Drug policy has needed a major overhaul for decades - its a shame Mr Ainsworth was too stupid or too spineless to address the issue when he was in Government! Prof Nutt proven correct (again!)+ the need for a debate greater than ever, but will anything change? Unlikely! Yes we should decriminalize all drugs.

  • Comment number 46.

    Since drugs have been made illegal the use and the price of the illegal drugs have increased, it is estimated that over 50% of people held in prisons is due to drug related crime, most prostitutes are plying their trade to support their drug habits. Would it not be better to use the money spent on keeping drug users in prisons and the cost of fighting a losing battle on the drug trade to educate people/children on the effects of these drugs, I feel this would be a better use of this money. It is a known fact that if criminals cannot make money with a product then they will not sell it. If drugs where sold on the open market then the government would be able to control this more easily than when it is sold on the black market. Making drugs illegal only makes sense if you are one of the people who make money on the illegal sale of these drugs!

  • Comment number 47.

    yes, good idea, and it has been a topic of HYS before.
    however i have a fear that due to incompetance, misinformation and the greed of governments, any move to decrim would no doubt be hijacked for profit instead of the good of the people, health, crime etc.
    but yes decrim is a positive step, as years of prohibition have proved useless and a massive drain on legal and healthcare resources.

  • Comment number 48.

    I agree with Bob!

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    Yes, but will the Home Secretary / Government listen NO, why because THEY KNOW BETTER. Just like Tony Blair and his WMD.
    Did anyone expect a competent government, I think not just a bit less than the last one.
    It is a shame that they are not accountable to anyone!!
    Mike

  • Comment number 51.

    No, not ALL drugs. Hash and grass should definitely be legalised. Alcohol, which is legal, causes more damage and pain then smoking a joint will ever do. Who goes out and starts fights or gets sick the next day after a few joints??.

  • Comment number 52.

    A quick read through the comments shows around 80% in favour of some sort of change. If this is representative of the wider public opinion then why, if we live in a democracy, is this not being given serious consideration.
    The plain fact is that crime would be reduced at a stroke. As long as the system persists then the criminal gangs will continue to grow and eventually they will take over from the criminals currently running the country.
    The fact that our "leaders" will not address the issue leads me to seriously consider that they have a darker agenda.

  • Comment number 53.

    Yes. See no reason not to. All the negative press is just that, press.

  • Comment number 54.

    36. At 08:03am on 16 Dec 2010, John Mc wrote:
    Even if drugs are decriminalised what then?

    If the government becomes the "dealer" at least some of the money pouring into the pockets of criminals could be diverted to treat those lame brains that use the stuff and also fund education, thus helping to treat this social disease.

  • Comment number 55.

    Its a no brainer.Look at the facts. Half of all people in prison are there because of drug offences.The cost of keeping them there is staggering.The extra police needed to "try" and keep drug smuggling under control is massive in terms of manpower and resources and they are not winning that war.The total loss to the country in taxes is measured in billions.If illegal drugs were legalised then they at least would be on par with drink and fags both also dangerous but because of vested interests also legal.No one has ever answered the reasons why the herion trade hasnt been destroyed in Afghanistan where 90% of the world heroin comes from?Why should UK tax payers pay to keep Afghan terrorists in weapons which these drugs buy?All of the total hypocrisy churned out by government is not to protect the population its there to ensure the price is kept high for the dealers who have politicians in their pockets via many respectable companies.Legalisation would wipe out drug dealers and government could apply the same taxes as it does to current legal drugs.The inbuilt cost of tax would then be used to treat those who abused drugs much as is done through current legal highs.The difference would be the tax payers would not be paying for it all.Will it ever happen?Not until we have honest politicians.

  • Comment number 56.

    At last, an MP talking some sense. None dare while they're in government however.

    It's scandalous how these low and high level criminals make vast amounts of tax free money, and we are allowing them to do it. The point made about prohibition in the US is totally valid.

    Now watch for the outrage in the tabloids like the Daily Express (owned by a porn baron by the way).

  • Comment number 57.

    34. At 08:02am on 16 Dec 2010, Michael C Feltham wrote:
    "There seems to be a naïve assumption shared by all proponents of decriminalisation of drugs that once decriminalised then the current covert global network of drugs producers and distributors will sort of melt into the forest like morning mist…………….."

    There seems to be a naive assumption shared by many HYS contributors that they have some sort of right to tell me which substances I should or shouldn't ingest, inject, or inhale. Well, you don't. Just because you disapprove of something, doesn't mean your attitudes should be forced on others. Don't like recreational drugs? THEN DON'T USE THEM.

  • Comment number 58.

    Of course.

    Reduce crime, reduce violence, defund the Mexican gangs and the Taliban and save a pile of cash.

    Those are the obvious 'reasons.' But we don't need reasons. The government has no moral authority to tell me what I can do with my body.

  • Comment number 59.

    the law is the law.

    A simple amendment would be - six months grace to allow those already hooked to get themselves clean. Remove jail or fine sentencing for possessing any amount. Add automatic death penalty for possession, supplying or intent to supply.
    Simples

  • Comment number 60.

    I agree with few reservations that currently illegal substances should be legalisd for all the reasons stated. One matter that has not featured in your programme article is the damage that a criminal record does to a persons life chances. Some young people for example who use substances rarely and purely for personal use are cautioned or convicted for possession. The conviction can set a cycle fo social exclusion or in people already socially excluded it adds to the impact of this creating an underclass.
    I will be glad to discuss.

  • Comment number 61.

    Clearly all policies relating to the "War on Drugs" have failed. These substances are now a fact of life, and like alcohol and tobacco, when criminalised only make millionaires out of the suppliers and dealers. The only sane way forward, and secretly every government knows this, is to decriminalise and regulate. That way, any operation outside the regulated framework can be hit and hit hard. This trade is the most perfect example of supply and demand economics that you will ever see, and the supply side MUST be controlled. The only way to do this is to decriminalise. If oranges were declared a banned fruit tomorrow, by next week there would be a market in illegal oranges. Ban something, and you immediately create an illegal market with all the oncosts on policing that illegality. We need to grow up and work with this situation a whole lot better. The Ainsworth view is the only logical way forward.

  • Comment number 62.

    This is excellent news and pray God that it makes progress. As Baroness Meacher said in the House Of Lords in June,"There is no more obvious waste that the £19 billion per annum cost of the UK's war on drugs".

    We are wasting huge amounts of money, police time and actually destroying lives by current policies. James "Broken Britain" Brokenshire, the present drugs minister, really is one iodf the most dangerous men in poliotics with his dumb, myopic and self defeating policy. This is a cross party initiative. Well done Bob Ainsworth, Peter Lilley, Tom Brake and Paul Flynn.

    The government's new drug strategy is a flawed and inadequate response. We must grasp this nettle!

    See this analysis:

    http://peterreynolds.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/breakthrough-in-the-drugs-debate/

  • Comment number 63.

    The use of all drugs must be decriminalised. Once the profit motive is taken from the international drugs trade the criminals who make millions from it will be put out of business. Such a 'small step' could save countless users from a lifetime of pain and degradation. Those victims who want to lose their addiction must be given all
    the sympathetic help possible.



  • Comment number 64.

    Finally, someone involved with politics (albeit an ex minister) with an gram of intelligence! It's about time politicians stopped acting like their attempts for tackling drugs are fabulous when actually they have been failing for decades, policy after policy.

    I am not a drug taker and do not condone the use of drugs but I realise the only way to take control of this situation is to leaglise all drugs. Just look at Portugal - a sensible country which has taken note of the situation and leaglised drugs...and has one of the lowest levels of drug use in Europe! Hopefully the British Government will stop acting like a wet blanket on this situation and face the reality!

  • Comment number 65.

    Drug taking causes both a law and order problem and a public health problem. Legalising drugs would solve the law and order problem at a stroke by putting the drug gangs out of business and making it unnecessary for addicts to resort to crime to afford black market prices for their drugs. And while legalisation would not have the same impact on the public health part of the problem - legal access to pharmaceutically pure drugs available in standardised doses would do a lot to reduce the risks involved in drug taking.

    The government should setup state run drug shops that as well as selling drugs provide access to medical advice and services to help addicts. The whole enterprise could be funded by profits from drug sales. Let’s use drug money to fix some of the problems drugs cause instead of using it to buy mansions and private jets for gangsters.

  • Comment number 66.

    Drugs should be legalised, however drug-related crime should be punished harshly. I couldn't give a stuff if Pete Doherty spends his many millions on heroin, however if my car stereo gets stolen to pay for an addiction then I am going to be justifiably angry. There is also the issue that parents/family/friends of people who overdose on drugs will pressure the government to change the law - as happened with legal highs. I believe that the choice to take drugs should be made at a personal level, and that person should accept full responsibility for and the consequences of their actions.

  • Comment number 67.

    Whilst I can see merit in what Ainsley is saying, it has all been said for a while now by experts so it's nothing new or revolutionary. What disgusts me is that he felt like this while in a position to do something about it. He sold out to the party line and spent millions of our taxpayer pounds pursuing policies that are not in line with what he believes, which is an absolute disgrace! If he continued in this vein when he was Defence Secretary and pusued policies at the MOD that he did not believe in then he should be sent to the front line in Afghan and to the high street in Wootton Bassett on repatriation day to explain himself in person to the troops and the families of the dead. Is traitor too strong a word? Potentially not!

  • Comment number 68.

    It would be wrong to decriminise all drugs, but society well knows several are looked upon to be more dangerous, when alcohol from a health perspective is by far more dangerous and costs society much more.

    Heroin is still classes as a class A drug, and on the dda register, yet it's more refined option is by far the better analgesic.

  • Comment number 69.

    Why weak-willed politicians always have to wait to be out of office before the voice their genuine views is beyond me? But, this is a welcome intervention in the debate and Ainsworth is spot on - legalise all drugs, mitigate the harm that some of them do, control the quality and supply of the others through a regulated market and watch a MASSIVE drop in crime and disorder.

    Before anyone brings up alcohol - it is a drug that is different to illegal ones. People will behave differently on cocaine and heroin than on booze and the drugs most likely to grow in their use are dope and pills, neither of which makes users as prone to violence as alcohol.

  • Comment number 70.

    44. At 08:10am on 16 Dec 2010, DrRoy wrote:
    NO NO NO
    Anyone that says Yes is a fool or just pure ignorant, only when you see addicts first hand can you really comment.
    This is more stupidity from the misguided do gooder brigade like the KEN Clarke's and the send less to prison idiots.

    --------------------------------------
    Do you have any facts to back up your opinion or do you only rely on insults to win an argument?

  • Comment number 71.

    Having previously lived in the same small block of flats as drug users who also sold, I say yes, if only because it stops people turning up at all hours calling out for "a bag" and occasionally finding users in the stairwell.
    I thought it has been legalised actually, rarely saw the police!

  • Comment number 72.

    Is this what we are destined to become?!!!!!! Authorities peddling drugs to seedy social dropouts!!! Bob Ainsworth needs a reality check. I don't care if we can benefit from the taxes that legalised drug-peddling can bring.
    Build more prisons and get these foul drug-peddling pariahs off our streets. Much harsher sentences for drug-dealers and drug users. I don't want them in society until they are clean.

  • Comment number 73.

    Of course decrimilisation is the rational thing to do. Full legalisation would be even better. Yes, more people would take drugs and therefore become drug addicts. However, the cost to society of a single addict would be tiny in comparison to what it is currently. So we could afford a few thousand more junkies. They would lead numb lives of quiet innebriation, but that would be their choice, and the harm to others would be drastically reduced.

  • Comment number 74.

    Yes drugs should be legalised as the current laws just provide a good money making system for the importers, dealers and law enforcement without achieving anything good.

  • Comment number 75.

    Sounds like it could work. It would make a lot of people very rich – legally. Although you would have to live knowing your money was made from the suffering of millions of people.
    If they are not illegal how do you regulate the supply to the user?
    How does it reduce the demand? Addiction would increase exponentially as most people still DO try to obey the law and once its legal will give it a try – again and again. Everyone who smokes (which is only mildly addictive) will tell you how easy it is to succumb to peer pressure and how difficult it is to give up - again and again.
    People who smoke cannabis regularly risk the jump to harder drugs if its legal readily available and known to be free of contamination.
    All addicts can justify their addiction.
    It is NOT the same as alcohol where people can drink responsibly. The vast MAJORITY would become totally addicted and they willingly destroy others to satisfy that addiction.
    True addicts cannot hold down a job for very long and would still be committing the crime to pay for the next fix. New addicts would soon become fully addicted.
    The tax payer would be paying for their treatment under the NHS and the country would become bankrupt in a lot less time that its taking now.
    I DO agree we should be buying the raw materials from the farmers at the market price and then destroying it instead of funding a war. It would increase the production but it would remove it from the criminal market and distribute wealth to the poorer people who are forced to grow the drugs through poverty. I will buy a greenhouse today in anticipation!
    The current laws do not work because the punishment does not fit the enormity of the crime – at all levels and not just drugs.

  • Comment number 76.

    All available evidence, both toxicological and societal (see Portugal and The Netherlands) suggest that we would not be in any worse position if we underwent a decriminalisation process. Humans have imbibed substances for thousands of years in order to attain an altered perception, and they will not stop now. Providing a regulated, safe, taxed system of provision will reduce the levels of crime associated with supply that we currently see, whilst concurrently increasing the safety of the product (substances that are licensed will have to be a known purity and only mixed with safe buffering compounds).

    Sadly, this will NEVER happen. We are too far into a fruitless 'War on Drugs' to turn back. Successive Governments have ignored advice from scientists who frankly are in possession of the facts of the matter (ie Professor Nutt).

  • Comment number 77.

    definitly not, what the government should be doing is finding out how much money addicts cost as a country, including dui from these drugs, robberies with the resulting multiple court cases at our expense, and the inability to work, because instead of prescribing these drugs to addicts, giving them extra benifits bacause it's an addiction, giving them dole or individual rehabs im sure the gov can build a FEW 'jail style' rehabs and anyone caught under the influence should instantly took off the streets and admitted, the government are treating this problem individually instead of a national problem, legalizing these 2 drugs will do nothing, the drugs trade will still undercut any price the government can come up with,

  • Comment number 78.

    44. At 08:10am on 16 Dec 2010, DrRoy wrote:
    NO NO NO
    Anyone that says Yes is a fool or just pure ignorant, only when you see addicts first hand can you really comment.
    This is more stupidity from the misguided do gooder brigade like the KEN Clarke's and the send less to prison idiots.

    --------------------------------------------
    You don't convince people by just being insulting. Do you have a reasoned argument?

  • Comment number 79.

    There are two different problems caused by drugs.
    First, the possible health issues caused by taking drugs.
    Second, the criminal issues caused by making drugs illegal. Which in turn is creating high numbers of innocent victims of crime who are neither drug takers or dealers.
    Legalising drugs won't solve the first, but will solve the second.
    Instead of money being wasted dealing with crime, that money can be spent on better health education, etc, to deal with the first issue. Drugs can also be made safer, i.e. of better production quality.
    Most importantly, it stops the highly profitable criminal supply of drugs from having any incentive to 'push' drugs or create addicts. Hence the health problem will be reduced in that regard.

    Whilst I understand that some will find the legalisation of drugs difficult to sanction, surely everyone must admit that today's approach isn't working. It does nothing to stop the supply of drugs, and everything to increase the crime associated with it.

    The other alternative is total and utter criminalisation of all drugs, which should include tobacco and alcohol, which are just as much a health risk, and with very high punishment. e.g. lifetime imprisonment even just for possession. But no one has the stomach for that either it seems.

  • Comment number 80.

    There has been a call for decriminalisation so why is the headline:-

    'should heroin and cocaine be legalised?'

    ?

    Nobody thinks these drugs should be freely available over the counter but they way we deal with them does need adressing. For starters posession should not be a crime.

    Secondly we need 24/7 injection clinics.

  • Comment number 81.

    I think it makes some sense to listen to Bob Ainsworth. Cocaine and heroin become more and more criminalised because government is embargoing them.

  • Comment number 82.

    oh great, an ex-minister finally develops gumption. what a shame said gumption was nowhere to be found when in a position of power and is only aired now the party is in the wilderness of opposition. these people make me sick to the stomach. young girls are selling their bodies for combined hits of crack and heroin (called a snowball), two habits to fund instead of one, men in their young twenties are having to do twice as many robberies. when are you idiots likely to wake up and smell the disgusting state of the nation AND you want iraq and afganistan to grow up to be the same as here... call yourself a democracy, ha!,!) i call it a perverted autocracy, roll on the revolution.,.]simon.x

  • Comment number 83.

    I find it astonishing, looking at the comments here - the vast najority of people are absolutely in favour of legalisation and yet, still, the government continues to bury its head in the sand and carry on with its bizarre, politically-motivated, totally unhelpful and counter-productive policy of banning everything. I work in the City of London, in the financial services sector. Although I'm not a drug user myself (apart from, obviously(?!), alcohol and the occasional cigarette) the vast majority of my friends, colleagues, clients, suppliers - all intelligent, otherwise law-abiding, well-paid, well-educated people do drugs in some form or another on a regular basis socially and continue to perform perfectly well at work. My girlfriend is in the fashion business and, if anything, drug use is even more widespread there. This is 2010 - nearly 2011 for goodness sake - wake up and legalise what nearly everyone does anyway! It's mad the way things are!!!

  • Comment number 84.

    The illegal drug trade adds a lot to "legitimate" economies. Most governments know this and turn a blind eye. Hell, even a lot of big banks profit dfrom the huge amounts that are laundered through their various operations, both on and offshore. Laundered money finds it's way into legitimate businesses as venture capital. It's not like it's hoarded under the mattresses of the big drug lords!
    Decriminalisation will go a long way to saving the public money. Yes, there are the nay-sayers in government but most of them have a vested interest in keeping the status quo. Portugal went down the decriminalisation route and drug related crime went down, as did hard drug use, and the number of people signing up for rehab went up.
    It's not like we are all going to rush out and become smackheads all of a sudden! When the governments own experts resign and are then ridiculed for speaking sense because it doesn't fir government policy, you have to wonder just what the real big issues are and why it must remain banned.
    In the USA of course there is a huge private prison industry that must be fed, the same with various government departments who all want to keep, if not expand, their budgets fight ing the drugs menace.

  • Comment number 85.

    Some people on here seem to have the NIMBY attitude. I do not use drugs so legalise the and only the users will have to be dealt with. No matter what the cost to the NHS if free drugs are given away what about the cost to society? Free drugs might and probably would lead to more use. more use means more carnage on roads, in families, in drug related accidents, in overdoses because its free right so it must be ok!

    Get your sensible heads on, Cannabis I accept having lived in Holland for years but I see the dealers on the streets, I see the damage done to users, it is more relaxed in Holland etc if you are a user but the damage to each of these decriminalised users and the families is the same. It is horrendous.

    Do you really think that dealers will dissappear, do you really think drug crime will go down (it all has to be paid for) do you think that giving away drugs on the NHS will improve society, do you think that quote "junked up hookers" will vanish from the streets????? Really....then I suggest you are drugs yourself friend....

    Tackle the problem, opiates from Afghanistan, we are going to use that old argument again, protect our borders, most customs people, more detection systems for packages coming into the country, more naval or marine protection of our borders. stop the flow, yes prices will be high but what is the option?

    Those who want it decriminalised I suggest you look at your children and their children to come...do you really want to see them in a drugged up stupor, destroying the family you think is so secure now???

    You are in cloud cuckoo land if you think you will not be affected in a possibly worse way than now. by decriminalistion

    As for the government collecting taxes are they not big enough dealers in fantasy already?

    Tackle the sources, take away funds and property of the dealers and suppliers, make routes in more difficult, instead of burning poppy fields in Afghanistan bring the Forces home and protect the borders from inside.

    Years of prohibition in the states led to massive money because it was supported by massive payouts to corrupt politicians and the law.

    Why not pass a law that says you can drive at any speed you want, then your child gets killed how would you vote then?

  • Comment number 86.

    Of course they should be legalised ... We just need an totally honest approach to education ... Heroin, Crack Cocaine and Crystal Meth are seriously habit forming and cause misery to millions ... And if you are going to take drugs you have to take responsibility for your own actions ... There are always people who will be allergic to things ... Just like peanuts and bee stings ... You could die, but its very very unlikely
    Drugs are going to be legalised eventually ... They probably would have in many places already if it wasn't for the interference of america ... Their mismanagement has and causing the funding of terrorism and major crime problems all over the world

  • Comment number 87.

    Thank goodness for Bob Ainsworth. Pity there aren't more politicians with the guts to come out and speak the obvious.

  • Comment number 88.

    Most if not all drug addicts,do not wish to be addicts,if you understand drug addiction,most addicts have to take daily drugs just to feel like the non user feels every day,but they have to find a £100 plus every day.
    If the drugs are supplied by a clinic,they can help the addict off the addiction,and he or she does not have to commit crime for drug money.
    The only possible downside of this is we might have to make about 20,000
    police officers redundant.

  • Comment number 89.

    77. At 08:37am on 16 Dec 2010, steveboro wrote:

    definitly not, what the government should be doing is finding out how much money addicts cost as a country, including dui from these drugs, robberies with the resulting multiple court cases at our expense, and the inability to work, because instead of prescribing these drugs to addicts, giving them extra benifits bacause it's an addiction, giving them dole or individual rehabs im sure the gov can build a FEW 'jail style' rehabs and anyone caught under the influence should instantly took off the streets and admitted, the government are treating this problem individually instead of a national problem, legalizing these 2 drugs will do nothing, the drugs trade will still undercut any price the government can come up with,

    ------------
    nice idea, now back to the real world.
    you will never stop the flow of drugs EVER the police only get something like 5% of the total drugs trade to think they will magically increase this number by another 95% is sheer stupidity!

    if you say why not decriminalize something else this is also sheer stupidity drug taking effects 1 person its their body their harming not yours. so comparing theft robbery murder is yet again! sheer stupidity!
    i also notice the people saying stuff like that offer no REAL workable solution just spew nonsense.

  • Comment number 90.

    Is this not already obvious? You don't have to condone drug-taking to see that taking the supply side away from criminals will dramatically reduce both petty crimes committed by those who want/need to fund their habit and the larger violent crimes committed in turf wars.

    Like it or not, there is a market for narcotics. Just look at what is happening in Mexico today to see the effects of that market. Then imagine the supply side controlled by the US government. Suddenly no massacres in Mexico. No mafia drug money either.

    It will happen one day, but it will need leadership, logis and persuasion: it's just a shame that the politicians don't have the guts to do it and probably won't have for a while yet.

  • Comment number 91.

    yes
    if people want to ruin their lives we may as well make so tax off it.
    alcohol is legal-i dont drink
    tobacco is legal-i do smoke
    if drugs are legal i wont use them, but if people choose to ,,,,well **** them , i dont care as long as they aint robbing my telly.

  • Comment number 92.

    Drugs, especially cocaine and heroin, should not be decriminalised because they are addictive and can ruin lifes. I myself have seen this happen to people of a young age and it does not give them many options in life once they are hooked. What do they hope to achieve from this? Drug dealers will still be in 'business' as they will find a way because believe it or not they are smart. If they were selling before then they will still sell if this gets passed. It will not stop or reduce other crimes relating to drugs such as theft as people will still do this to get what they want. Once they are hooked their life's are over and if the government decriminalise drugs then this is giving out the message that they don't care about the health, safety and welfare of the UK citizens. Wouldn't it be better instead of wasting money and sense on this idea to help regain the lifes of those hooked on drugs so that they can start life afresh?

  • Comment number 93.

    So does this mean that we'll be reversing our agricultural policy in Afghan whereby we're getting farmers to grow proper crops (ie stuff they can eat) to cut down on the export of heroin to the West. Are we going to outbid the Taliban so we can sell it a lot cheaper and also cut off their funding for weapons?
    Far be it from me to sound cynical (tongue firmly placed in cheek) but this is possibly the most ridiculous idea I've heard since someone told me that the moon was made of cheese. Just because a problem is not easy to solve you don't just throw your arms up in the air and ignore it. The only way to stop trafficking/dealing is to impose absurdly high or brutal punishments on those who fall into the legal system. The same applies to those caught in possession of Class A drugs. If they are caught committing any crime post the drugs arrest and test positive then immediate incarceration to get them clean. Sounds harsh but the softly softly approach hasn't worked has it?

  • Comment number 94.

    "76. At 08:37am on 16 Dec 2010, James wrote:
    All available evidence, both toxicological and societal (see Portugal and The Netherlands) suggest that we would not be in any worse position if we underwent a decriminalisation process ..... H

    Sadly, this will NEVER happen. We are too far into a fruitless 'War on Drugs' to turn back. Successive Governments have ignored advice from scientists who frankly are in possession of the facts of the matter (ie Professor Nutt)."
    =========================================================

    Well said James! One thing I would add though .....

    One reason why we won't decriminalise drugs, and control and tax them, is because we're hung up on morality and 'sending messages'. Prostitution is another very good example.

    Because some (many?) people think something is morally wrong, they simply cannot countenance society allowing the activity. "It will send all the wrong signals, encourage (young) people to indulge" ... what rubbish.

    Very often in life decisions are not about what is the right or best course to take, but rather what is the least bad one. I give no encouragement to drug-taking, prostitution, or whatever, but if legalisation and control offer the best, the least bad, course then let's go for it.

    If you find it immoral, please keep your morality to yourself!!!

  • Comment number 95.

    Did not realise that the drugs were criminal, I thought it was the possession and supply that was criminal.
    Should possession and supply be decriminalised - NO definitely not.

    Should it be licenced is a slightly different question. For example it is a crimial offence to sell alcohol unless you have the appropriate licence and meet certain conditions. It is also illegal to sell alcohol to someone who is drunk but it is obvious from city centre streets at night that this law is not being obeyed or correctly policed. If you legalise the supply and possession on the same basis as alcohol you will have to ensure that it is policed correctly, not just have the laws in place but not enforced, or you are going to have an even greater problem than is already caused by alcohol.
    People keep saying that many drugs are less dangerous than alcohol. This is simply rubbish. The effect of alcohol, like drugs is different on different people. Some people like a glass of wine with their meal and stop there, others feel the need to go on to something stronger and stronger and it becomes a problem. It is the same with recreational drugs, some will like to relax with a mild joint, others feel the need go on to stronger and stronger drugs. It varies with individuals.
    Just because alcohol is legal and causes problems is NOT justification for legalising other problem causing products.
    Nor will legalisation reduce criminal activity. In the states many prohibition criminals just moved from one product to another but there is still a market for illegal (i.e. cheap and untaxed)alcohol. Legalise drugs and the same will happen with that, some criminals will move to other products but some will continue to supply the cheaper, untaxed drugs just like the back street alcohol and cigarette sellers do now.
    People need to relaise there is no simple solution to the problem caused by drink and drugs. It requires not only laws but the will and ability to enforce them if you want to stamp it out completely. Doing it on the cheap only restricts but does not cure the problem.
    Any solution will need a carrot and stick approach but will also involve money, which is not available. Legalising drugs will certainly not solve the drug problem, it is just abdicating responsibility and as the alcohol problem has grown so will the drug problem. The best we can hope for at the present is to restrict its growth.

  • Comment number 96.

    oh what the heck do it...

    Lower the age limit on cigarettes and alcohol too, make it a free for all.

    Might give my kids methadone for their 18th, theyll have a great time.

    I Cant help thinking we are just part of some sick experiment in this country.

    Lets just have all the weak willed and socially inadequates on drugs, it will subdue them and keep them off the streets.

    Then we wont have to worry about fewer police and fewer courts oh and emptying the jails.

    Or it will be carnage on the roads and streets.

    UK you are a joke.

  • Comment number 97.

    72. At 08:34am on 16 Dec 2010, Chris wrote:
    Is this what we are destined to become?!!!!!! Authorities peddling drugs to seedy social dropouts!!!

    Pretty much like they already do with alcohol and tobacco really eh? Those seedy newsagents and pub landlords peddling their wares on the social inadequates in this country. Disgusting!

    Bob Ainsworth needs a reality check. I don't care if we can benefit from the taxes that legalised drug-peddling can bring.
    Quite right too. It's far better that a few enterprising drug barons should take all the profits and get themselves filthy rich without having to contribute anything back into this seedy society we live in.

    Build more prisons and get these foul drug-peddling pariahs off our streets. Much harsher sentences for drug-dealers and drug users. I don't want them in society until they are clean.
    Indeed. We really must spend more tax payers money building institutions to house these pariahs, and continue a failed policy with much more vigour than we have done in the past. In fact, an idea mentioned above to introduce a man made substance into the general domain (probably using our drinking water) that will attack anyone who has used drugs and provide a nice easy exit route for these people would be even better. We'd only need to spend a few quid then on mass graves for these low-lifes and we would never be bothered with them again.

    I know that sarcasm doesn't come across well when printed, so I will leave the reader to decide whether the statements in italics, or normal text were said with tongus planted firmly in cheek.

  • Comment number 98.

    What will the criminals, who make their money from drugs, turn to next?
    They will not just go away, will they?

  • Comment number 99.

    @bob and chris. Are you seriously suggesting that people that smoke weed should be murdered or imprisoned for life? Are you mad? You cannot tell me what I put in body or the plants I choose to grow. I am not an addict, scum or pariah. I am a hard working tax paying citizen who chooses to relax using a plant that has a symbiotic relationship with my body. a plant that has been revered by humans for their entire existance bar the last 70 years. No sirs, I put it to you that you are the problem.

  • Comment number 100.

    steveboro writes: "the drugs trade will still undercut any price the government can come up with,"

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

 

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