Letter: Hidden drug money

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The language of Tony Blair's announcement on mandatory drug tests for crime suspects demonstrates the incoherence of our policy-makers. You cannot use the word "drugs" as a generic expression.

Alcohol and tobacco cost the National Health Service more than all the other drugs put together. Talking about drug users committing crime to feed their habit, the Prime Minister is talking about heroin and crack cocaine and he is right to be "petrified about drugs in respect of my own children and other people's children."

However, cannabis the drug choice of the majority, yet as far as I know no one has ever died from smoking too much pot. It seems mad to spend billions and incarcerate tens of thousands for growing or smoking the weed that is shown to have serious medical uses. Why on earth does our Prime Minister refuse a Royal Commission on decriminalisation of cannabis? It is in a class of its own and has to be treated as such.Why cannot we learn from the experience of other countries where the kids turn their back on heroin? New Labour still means old drug policies that continue to be shown not to work.

RICHARD JAKUBOWSKI

London N8

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