Pubdate: Mon, 18 Mar 2002
Source: East Anglian Daily Times (UK)
Copyright: 2002 Eastern Counties Newspapers Group Ltd
Author: Don Barnard
Cited: Legalise Cannabis Alliance,


Sir - Colchester Lib Dem MP Bob Russell   believes his Party's Annual 
Conference adoption of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance's  Aims, and 
Proposals for cannabis control [soft' line on soft' drugs not ok] would 
give the party a "soft on drugs" name  - A vote loser.

He said he was against drug abuse and said: "A teenager is more likely to 
die from an Ecstasy overdose than being murdered by a complete stranger."

This argument is fundamentally flawed. There is no authenticated recorded 
death directly attributed to cannabis use in the world.

Tobacco and alcohol poisons and kill more young people than all the drugs 
currently controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Around 450 children in the UK start smoking every day and 9% of 11 to 
15-year-olds regularly use tobacco - all obtained from illegal supply.

The social cost of tobacco and alcohol in the UK is estimated to be at 
least UKP 10 billion annually.

Studies now suggest those who start to smoke tobacco at an early age are 
almost twice as likely to drink alcohol, and 3.5 times more likely to use 
cannabis than those who have never smoked tobacco.

One could argue:  maximum penalties for illicit possession and Illegal 
supply of tobacco involving children under 16. Giving Alcohol to under 
5-years-olds, should be brought in line with penalties available for 
possession and supply of illegal drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. 
After all, not only are they dealers in socially harmful, addictive killer 
drugs - but they specifically target the young.

However, I suspect this would be a much bigger vote-losing policy than 
legalising Yawnabbis which has never killed anyone.

Get real Bob.

Don Barnard
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