The news and views from the national media
Isn’t it time for a wider discussion on the potential effects of safe, regulated cannabis consumption on society?… In an age when every penny of government spending is fought for, the demonstrated potential savings and revenues at very least deserve serious investigation. Revenue raised from a regulated cannabis trade could be directed towards education on safe use of cannabis. That’s why the next government – regardless of who it is led by – should set up a Royal Commission into drug legislation.
Paul Birch, Telegraph, 4 March
It is important to remember that we do not consider the law against murder a failure simply because, year after year, there continue to be murders and that therefore the ‘war’ against murder has been lost. No law achieves exactly and only its ostensible purpose. We should be wary of applying the experience of other countries too directly to our own, however. For example, relaxation of the drug laws in Portugal had been followed by only a relatively minor increase in consumption. But in Britain, the relaxation of the licensing laws led to a vast increase in public drunkenness and alcohol-related problems. Genies are often difficult to put back into bottles.
Theodore Dalyrmple, Telegraph, 9 March
I found out a few months ago that Nick Clegg is astonishingly ignorant about the drug laws in this country. He really believes that the police cruelly persecute drug users (if only they did). Ignorance of this kind is wilful. The truth is readily available. He remains ignorant because he does not want to know.
Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday, 8 March
Cannabis, officer? No, it’s lucky heather. Gypsies given £1.3m of taxpayers’ money by the Welsh Government to improve their caravan site showed their gratitude by turning it into a giant cannabis factory… It is believed suspicions were aroused because no one could ever remember travellers actually buying garden equipment before.
Richard Littlejohn, Mail, 3 March
The problem isn’t just that the money we spend on welfare is out of hand. It’s the effect of that spending. Welfare has become, for many, not a helping hand in times of need – the help in need that almost everyone agrees we should offer to the vulnerable and those in temporary difficulties – but an alternative way of life… And that is not just financially reckless; it is morally reckless, promoting an entirely new and warped model for society itself.
Stephen Pollard, Express, 27 March