Pubdate: Thu, 19 Aug 1999
Date: 08/19/1999
Source: Times, The (UK)
Author: Hamish Crisp


Sir, Charles Kennedy's call for a royal commission to examine drugs
policy should surely give a much-needed opportunity to review progress
in the past 20 years. Further imitation of the policies of the US,
which has the worst drugs problem in the world, can never have a
positive effect.

That the UK has the worst record in Europe is sadly beyond dispute.
Perhaps it might be prudent to have a look at the Dutch who, with
their licensed coffee shops selling cannabis, now have the most
successful drugs policy in all the world in terms of containing the
level of use. They have failed, some would claim, because they have
not eradicated drugs from their society. But any policy with a goal of
total eradication is frankly ridiculous.

I write as a medical cannabis user and founder member of the Medical
Marijuana Co-operative (MMCO). Recreational and medicinal use are two
separate, indeed disparate, issues.

Anti-drugs campaigners in Scotland have suggested in response to
Charles Kennedy's remarks that most people here do not want cannabis
made legal. However, were there to be a referendum, I believe that
people would overwhelmingly support its legalisation for medicinal

I cannot understand those in power who would continue to identify us,
a small but vulnerable social group, as deserving of being
apprehended, and consequently prosecuted and punished for using the
only means available to effectively treat their conditions. These are
not the actions of followers of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Yours faithfully, HAMISH CRISP, 10/18 Abbey Court, Edinburgh EH7  August 16.