Whatever view of the cannabis issue is taken – and The Independent has always been open-minded and pragmatic in its belief – the medicinal use of cannabinoids is a narrower and more straightforward matter. Hospitals and GPs, by analogy, already make use of opioids, real and synthetic, both as painkillers and as heroin substitutes for certain addicts. It is something that is happening every day and, on balance, is something that has relieved human suffering. Even the most militantly conservative sections of opinion shouldn’t challenge those. Yet cannabis oil, a far less hazardous potion than the opioids, has provoked a moral panic as only the British are capable of.
Independent editorial, 18 June
The problem with these rancorous but sterile arguments for and against legalisation and decriminalisation is that they divert attention from what should and can be done: a sustained campaign to persuade people of all ages that cannabis can send them insane.
Patrick Cockburn, Independent, 25 June
Young people who take drugs at music festivals are only victims once they die. Until then they’re criminals, and know it… To change this, all we really need to do is care about drug users before they die, rather than only afterwards.
Hugo Rifkind, Times, 4 June
A smart government would decriminalise milder [cannabis] variants for those over 21, and make skunk a class A drug… While decriminalisation is the policy of the Liberal Democrats and the aptly named Greens, even Jeremy Corbyn, that doyen of Glastonbury, hasn’t adopted it for Labour. Legalisation will come eventually. The demographics of age make it inevitable. No one under 60 who isn’t a Tory MP believes that non-skunk cannabis is a serious menace. Already, a plurality of those polled favour its licensed sale. The margin will grow with natural wastage until the electoral maths make even the Mail’s opposition irrelevant.
Matthew Norman, Independent, 3 June
For a generation obsessed with all things ethical, isn’t it unethical to buy drugs when there’s so much baggage surrounding the trade?… with cocaine use on the rise in Britain – an estimated 3.6p per cent of millennials took the drug last year, well above the EU average – this is one area where young people clearly have a moral and ethical blind spot. As a millennial myself, I find my generation’s complicity hard to stomach.
Tomé Morrissy-Swan, Telegraph, 14 June
It is the thousands of selfish people, with more money than sense, who buy illegal drugs and sustain the whole great stinking heap of wickedness which they bring into being. They should be made to be ashamed of themselves, and to fear the law, made for the benefit of all, which they callously break.
Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday, 17 June