Ex-Minister Calls for All Drugs To Be Legalised 

Ex-Minister Calls for All Drugs To Be Legalised 
Posted by FoM on April 29, 2002 at 08:48:07 PT
By Alison Hardie 
Source: Scotsman UK
Mo Mowlam, the former Northern Ireland Secretary, continued her attack on the government yesterday when she bitterly criticised its drugs policy. To the surprise and dismay of her former Cabinet colleagues, Ms Mowlam called for the legalisation of all drugs, including heroin and cocaine. Ms Mowlam - who as Cabinet Office minister was responsible for the governmentís anti-drugs policy - said legalising and taxing drugs was the only way to deal with the problem. 
"Youíd have the money from tax, which if it were ring-fenced for working with addicts whether cannabis, pills, barbiturates, coke or heroin youíd have a chance of beating it," she said in an interview with a Sunday newspaper. "I think that is the most effective way because in the end I donít think you could ever stop it. "Why not regulate it, take the tax from it and seriously deal with addiction which has been around since the 1900s?" Her comments are likely to irritate ministers following the recent publication of her autobiography in which she criticised Tony Blairís style of government and the way she was forced out of her job as Northern Ireland Secretary. Ms Mowlam said in her book she blamed Mr Blairís closest aides for her demise, but stopped short of accusing the Prime Minister. The Conservatives pounced on Ms Mowlamís suggestions with Theresa May, the shadow transport secretary, warning that they could create "open season" and increase drug dependency. She told GMTV that Ms Mowlam was focusing on the wrong end of the problem and the Tories were looking more at the issue of cutting drug dependency. Mrs May said: "I fear if you legalise them all then you potentially increase dependency because people think it is okay and more people will try it, some of those who at the moment donít and donít move on particularly to hard drugs because of the legal situation," she said. "I think if it is legalised there will be that sort of open season." Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said there was a "perfectly credible case" to legalise drugs but it was not internationally legally possible. "We are bound by conventions that we signed in the UK some time ago that say you have to control narcotics, and without changing the conventions we could not do it without breaking our international agreements," he told GMTV. His party took the view that cannabis should be legalised, but not heroin or other drugs. "It is in a different category from the others. It is widely used. Although it does some harm it does minimal harm." The Dutch and Portuguese had gone down that route without international agreement but the EU and wider international community could be asked to renegotiate the conventions, he said. "What we have got to do is break the link between the criminal suppliers and people who use drugs whether it is recreational drugs like cannabis or hard drugs like heroin."Source: Scotsman (UK) Author: Alison Hardie Published: Monday, April 29, 2002 Copyright: The Scotsman Publications Ltd 2002 Contact: Letters_ts Website: Articles:Drugs Uncovered: Observer Special 'Legalise All Drugs' - Mowlam All Drugs and Let Me Have a Quiet Life
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