Letters: Fear of drugs

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The Independent Culture
Sir: How refreshing to see Charles Kennedy - a politician! - speaking out for open discussion of the drugs issue because it is the right thing to do, not because of political considerations ("Kennedy: Cannabis must not be taboo", 16 August).

Mr Kennedy is a welcome contrast to Paddy Ashdown - and to Tony Blair, who is perhaps the only man in the world with greater concern for election results and less concern for honest policy appraisals than my country's President, Bill Clinton.

The Canadian Senate is considering a commission of the sort proposed by Mr Kennedy, which would reconsider the drugs issue. Open debate of drug policy is going on at all levels of government in Australia, too. Meanwhile, in the United States - "Land of the Free" - the Senate will soon consider a Bill which would ban the exchange of any information whatsoever concerning the "manufacture and use" of any controlled substance, including medicinal marijuana (which is protected by state law in several states).

Leaders like Charles Kennedy recognize that this is not the sort of policy Britain should be emulating.