Pubdate: Sun, 27 Mar 2005
Source: Observer, The (UK)
Copyright: 2005 The Observer
Author: Peter Coltman
Bookmark: (Cannabis - United Kingdom)


Charles Clarke's decision to review the evidence about the consequences of 
cannabis use is the latest in a long line of government failures to deal 
with the evidence of the dangers of drug abuse. There may well be health 
risks in the use of cannabis but they are minute in comparison to known 
risks of alcohol abuse. Street violence when pubs close is the tip of an 
iceberg beneath which lies gross domestic violence, including murder, 
largely fuelled by alcohol. The cost to the NHS of alcohol abuse outstrips 
by millions the cost of other drug abuse.

The government doesn't deal with alcohol because it raises revenue from 
sales, whereas it gets nothing from the illegal sale of cannabis, heroin 
and other drugs. The logic is to decriminalise these drugs and treat them 
like alcohol and cigarettes. There is an obvious risk in this strategy but 
it is small compared with the known risk from alcohol.

Peter Coltman,

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