Ex-Health Minister: 'Legalise Cannabis'

Discussion in 'Marijuana News from The USA' started by Superjoint, Jul 18, 2001.

  1. Some MPs are calling for cannabis to be legalised
    Source: BBC News

    A former Labour minister has launched a parliamentary bid to legalise cannabis. One-time Welsh Health Minister Jon Owen Jones plans to introduce a bill to legalise the drug for both recreational and medicinal use, licensed for sale alongside alcohol at premises such as off licences.
    The Cardiff Central MP has admitted he smoked the drug several times while at university. Mr Jones called for a "radical solution" and said the House of Commons was the place to hold "an adult debate" on the issue - but the proposal is likely to fall flat without government support.

    His call came two weeks after Conservative MP Peter Lilley surprised party colleagues with his call to legalise the drug to break the link between hard and soft drugs.

    Party line

    Mr Jones has based his call along similar lines.

    He said Government policies were not working despite towing the party line as Welsh Health Minister between 1998 and 1999.

    "I always thought this privately," he told BBC Wales. "But my role was to mitigate against the effects of drug use rather than to prosecute people.

    "I didn't think then - and I don't think now - that cannabis is a relatively harmful pursuit.

    "Alcohol and tobacco are clearly far more harmful drugs than cannabis and I believe that the prohibition of cannabis actually works against the country."

    Mr Jones said there are many dangerous pursuits which the government does not regulate, and said cannabis gave drug pushers more money to sell harder drugs.

    'Huge profits'

    "It produces huge profits for organised crime which is able to use those profits to sell other, much more harmful drugs to people," he added.

    "It is working to create huge profits on which an international drug cartel works and that undermines civic society.

    "A high proportion of young people smoke cannabis"

    "Cannabis is a far less harmful drug than almost all the other drugs that you are likely to mention.

    "We have tried the prohibition route for 30 years and it obviously, patently isn't working."

    'Enjoyed cannabis'

    Last October, Mr Jones - a former teacher who narrowly won his constituency over the Liberal Democrats in the 2001 election - admitted smoking and enjoying cannabis several times when he was a student, but said he had not indulged in more than 20 years.

    There is scientific evidence to suggest that cannabis may be useful in treating a wide range of conditions.

    Tests indicate it maybe be able to help reduce the side effects of chemotherapy treatment given to cancer patients.

    Official Home Office figures show a third of adults in England and Wales have used the drug.

    Newport West MP Paul Flynn is also a vocal critic of strict drug laws.

    But anti-drugs campaigners have said the policy, if successful, would be an open door to increased drug abuse.

    Alcohol and tobacco are clearly far more harmful drugs than cannabis and I believe that the prohibition of cannabis actually works against the country - Jon Owen Jones MP

    Source: BBC News (UK Web)
    Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2001
    Copyright: 2001 BBC
    Website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/
    Feedback: http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/talking_point/
     

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