Cannabis Campaign: Big guns join queue for our conference

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The Independent Online
The European Parliament is to send a special delegation of its members to attend the Independent on Sunday's drug conference on 11 December. Its participation adds an international dimension to the debate which has already attracted the support of lawyers, prominent academics, drugs care professionals, MPs and two of Britain's most important business leaders, Anita Roddick and Richard Branson.

The subject under debate, "Cannabis: should it be decriminalised?" will take place before 700 delegates and invited guests in the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster. The IoS conference is the first response to the calls which were made earlier this year for an open debate on cannabis law reform made by Britain's most senior judges, Lord Bingham, the Lord Chief Justice and Lord Woolf, the Master of the Rolls.

The event is to be chaired by Channel 4 newscaster, Jon Snow, who will be joined by a panel of experts who will argue for and against the proposition. The platform speakers are to include Professor John Strang, of the National Addiction Centre, Nigel Evans MP, Chairman of the Cross-Party Drugs Abuse Committee, Mike Goodman, Director of Release, Anita Roddick, Professor Colin Blakemore and Rosie Boycott, IoS editor.

l Last week, Britain's brightest students revealed they were in favour of legalising cannabis. Some 2,400 students from Oxford and Cambridge universities took part in a poll that showed Cambridge students to be 74 per cent in favour of making cannabis legal, and 51 per cent of Oxford students agreeing. In the Oxford colleges, 19 per cent of students said they were occasional users of cannabis, while 13 per cent of Cambridge undergraduates said they were frequent users.

l On 6 December, the ICA in the Mall, London, will be dedicating a day- long event to 1960s culture and to the "Decriminalise Cannabis" campaign. The happening, which includes music, multi-media events, readings and food, starts at midday and lasts until 1am. Those taking part in the "Recurring Technicolor Dream" include the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, John's Children, film-maker Peter Whitehead, poet Michael Horowitz, Cream collaborator, Pete Brown and many others. Booking and further information on 0171 930 3647.

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