Michael Gove is a man who invites a number of opinions, a great deal of them unflattering, even within the Conservative party, but I am yet to meet a Tory MP who sincerely believes that it would have been better for anyone had he spent a decent chunk of the early noughties in prison. Yet the official position of his party, and that of the main opposition, is that it would.
Stephen Bush, Observer, 9 June
Eight out of the 11 Tory leadership candidates have at various times admitted to taking illegal drugs. But all politics is hypocrisy, an edifice of pretence, insincerity and deviousness. The art lies in how you pull it off… The regulation – or non-regulation – of narcotics is quite simply the greatest social curse in modern Britain. It blights every corner of society. Gove should lead a campaign to end the indefensible 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, and set Britain on the road to reform now being pursued by governments on both sides of the Atlantic. As a former justice secretary, and former drug user, he would be uniquely qualified for the task. At present, eight out of 11 candidates for British prime minister are criminals on the run.
Simon Jenkins, Guardian, 10 June
In this day and age, many people from all walks of life and in all levels of seniority, have experimented with drugs – and politicians are no different. But it shows a certain hypocrisy when they lecture the rest of us about the dangers of substance abuse. However, their experiences will not go to waste if whoever wins No10 launches an open and honest debate about drugs in our society… Only a Royal Commission examining all the facts can establish the right policy for this country. And the next PM should set one up without delay.
Mirror editorial, 9 June
Opponents of legalisation are fond of taking the worst drug scenarios and saying, ‘So you want to legalise that, do you?’ To which the answer is, ‘no’. Much is made of the link between potent strains of cannabis and psychosis, for example, but the fact those strains have spread owes much to their illegality. You could say similar things about crack cocaine and heroin, or Spice, the horrible synthetic cannabinoid that now saturates our prisons. Legalisation of cannabis in some American states has, admittedly, led to a free-for-all, with little focus on regulation of any sort. Starting later, this country could do something more controlled.
Hugo Rifkind, Times, 3 June