Monitor: Decriminalising Cannabis

When the earth shook
British reaction to Charles Kennedy's call for a public debate on reforming UK drug laws

The Daily Record

NEWLY ELECTED Lib-Dem leader Charles Kennedy has to make his mark quickly, so he postures and calls for a royal commission on soft drugs. As party president five years ago, when the Lib-Dems still had hopes of being taken seriously, he described as frivolous a conference call for exactly that. The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Bishop Richard Holloway, has for years specialised in sermons of spectacular silliness. But they all share the same theme - society's morals are not the church's, so it is the church that has to change.

The Spectator

IF TONY Blair were tomorrow to announce a comprehensive and open-ended review of drugs policy, a third of the Conservative party, two-thirds of the Labour party and nearly all the Liberal Democrats would tell the press they had long suspected this was needed and were glad a prime minister had found the courage to say so. (Matthew Parris)

The Times

CHARLES KENNEDY proposed a national debate on legalising cannabis. There are arguments for that, but it is a dangerous issue for politicians. Legalising cannabis does have support in his party; to Paddy Ashdown's embarrassment, their conference once passed a resolution to that effect. There is no shortage of pot in Somerset; it is sold as freely as cider; it is far easier to buy pot than, for instance, to buy The Spectator. The 45-to 54-year-old white Somerset homeowners, who are the core Lib Dem vote, do not want to legalise cannabis. Paddy Ashdown knew that. They are too worried about their children being introduced to it at school, which happens all too often. (William Rees-Mogg)