Pubdate: Mon, 18 Dec 2000
Source: Evening News (UK)
Copyright: Eastern Counties Newspapers Group Ltd,2000
Author: Alun Buffry


Both Keith Hellawell, the UK Anti-Drugs Co-ordinator (Drugs Tsar) and Jack 
Girling, ex-chairman of the Campaign to Legalise Cannabis, seem to be 
living in dream worlds from their comments in the Evening News (December 13).

Mr Hellawell insists that cannabis has no medical use, just days after Dr 
Notcutt from the James Paget Hospital announced that trials using 
cannabinoid extracts have proved to be an overwhelming success.

The fact is that cannabis has been used as a medicine since the times of 
the Ancient Chinese and Ancient Egyptians.

Mr Girling, on the other hand, says that cannabis is virtually legal for 
his estimate of many million users in the UK.

Not so for the 150,000 or so who are arrested each year, about half of whom 
are prosecuted and all of whom are given criminal records.

Wishing that cannabis was legal is one thing, pretending so is completely 

The tsar also insists that cannabis is a gateway to hard drugs use.

Whilst few would deny that a large number of hard drugs users first entered 
the world of illegal drugs through cannabis, the majority had previously 
taken alcohol and tobacco, both addictive and toxic drugs (unlike cannabis 

The real 'gateway' is people, usually driven by profit motivation, who lead 
cannabis users to more dangerous drugs.

This is largely because the law regards them all as illegal drug users 
irrespective of what substance they take.

The essential question in the legalise cannabis debate is very simply: 
"Does the present system help or harm cannabis users?"

The answer is plain to see when over one million have been convicted over 
the last thirty years, and few, if any, were guilty of a crime involving 
either victim or malice.

Alun Buffry, Legalise Cannabis Alliance,
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