Pubdate: Sun, 21 Jul 2002
Source: Sunday Telegraph (UK)
Copyright: Telegraph Group Limited 2002
Author: David Bamber, Home Affairs Correspondent
Bookmark: (Cannabis - United Kingdom)


Oliver Letwin, the shadow home secretary, is to outline a new hardline 
policy on drugs tomorrow, calling for zero tolerance of cannabis users and 
the enforced treatment of all offenders.

If drug users refuse to co-operate with rehabilitation, under Mr Letwin's 
proposal they could be jailed for possession of even a small amount of 

In a statement reminiscent of Ann Widdecombe's controversial and 
short-lived call for UKP100 fines for all cannabis users, Mr Letwin will 
set out plans for the police to tackle anyone caught with soft drugs.

He will say that officers must not turn a blind eye to them, as David 
Blunkett is proposing by downgrading cannabis possession for personal use 
from class B to C.

Mr Letwin is visiting Sweden next week, where he says strong anti-drugs 
policies have worked.

He said yesterday: "Just 11 per cent of Swedish schoolchildren have tried 
drugs compared with 45 per cent in Britain."

"The Swedes realise that rather than waiting for young people to be tempted 
on the conveyor belt of drugs, it is better to prevent the problem in the 
first place," he said.

"Drug education in schools is compulsory. Rehabilitation programmes offer a 
mixture of voluntary and coercive treatment,"he added.

Mr Letwin will outline a new programme aimed at children, including a 
publicity campaign in junior and infant schools.

He will also suggest that the monarchy should join the fight, citing the 
example of Queen Sylvia of Sweden who campaigns against drugs.
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