Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, yesterday criticised the
    Government?s new drugs strategy. Following the Home Secretary?s
    announcement that cannabis is to be a re-classified as a Class C drug, Mr.
    Lilley argued that the Government?s compromise would not further the fight
    against hard drugs and drug-related crime.

    Peter Lilley said after the statement in the House of Commons:

    “I fear that the Home Secretary?s proposals may land us with the worst of
    all possible worlds. By effectively removing penalties on use or possession
    of cannabis whilst reinforcing penalties on those who supply the drug, Mr.
    Blunkett?s new approach amounts to nothing more than an awkward halfway
    house. Either we follow the route of countries like Sweden, which has
    sought to prohibit the misuse of all drugs through punitive prohibition, or
    – as I would recommend – we move closer to the Dutch system, where cannabis
    supply is separated from hard drugs by allowing its sale through a few
    licensed outlets.

    “I believe the Government?s strategy will ultimately backfire. It will do
    nothing to reduce demand for cannabis. More worrying, it will continue to
    drive soft drug users into the arms of hard drug pushers. I fear that until
    we are prepared to rethink completely our attitude to the use of soft drugs,
    the link between the supply of cannabis and that of hard drugs, such as
    heroin and cocaine, will not be broken.