Pubdate: Wed, 18 Aug 1999
Date: 08/18/1999
Source: Independent, The (UK)
Author: C G Stewart
Sir: The Bishop of Edinburgh is the latest in a long line of public figures
to have stated the obvious fact that it is absolutely counter-productive
to impose a blanket ban on soft drugs such as cannabis ("Our primitive fear
of drugs", 17 August).

The evidence from the Dutch social experiment with decriminalisation
shows that the attraction of soft drugs is much reduced among adults
once the novelty of adolescent experimentation has faded.

The British attitude towards soft drugs also helps foster the
phenomenon of drug tourism to many parts of the world which have for
centuries incorporated moderate use of cannabis in their culture.

In Goa and many Thai resorts, the sudden influx of (relatively)
wealthy drug-seeking tourists has had damaging consequences for the
local economies, encouraging the rise of organised crime and
institutional corruption.

It is the very fact that soft drugs are illegal in this country that
makes them an object of great interest to young people.