Vice Squad
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Pot and the UK Election

Former British Home Secretary David Blunkett shepherded through a reclassification of cannabis in the UK that meant that many users found in possession would be fined, not arrested. Blunkett was forced to resign -- the precipitating scandal even was alluded to on Vice Squad! -- and his replacement, Charles Clarke, has been pushing hard for some of Blunkett's agenda, including the national id card plan and the detention of uncharged terror suspects. But on cannabis, and with an election looming, Clarke has signaled a willingness to undo what Blunkett did -- much to the consternation of Times columnist Simon Jenkins. And Jenkins wouldn't stop drug policy reform at the current re-classification:
Making drug use illegal, and thus plunging young people into a world of high-pressure criminal salesmanship, is madness. The 1971 Act is lethal and should be abolished. Cannabis should go where nicotine, alcohol, retail drugs, off-course betting, gambling and prostitution have gone before, into the realm of regulation and control.
Thanks to Harry Hutton of Chase Me Ladies, I'm in the Cavalry for the pointer. Harry, it seems, is no fan of national ID cards: "I would forbid my daughter to marry a man if that man were in favour of a compulsory ID card scheme, if I had a daughter."

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