Decriminalise Cannabis: Want some dope? Try the Houses of Parliament

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The Independent Online
They still do not want to talk about it, but cannabis is now at the heart of Government and the Independent on Sunday has the proof. Last week, IoS reporter Graham Ball was supplied cannabis inside the Houses of Parliament. The full story of how he "scored" marijuana in the corridors of power is on page 22.

Pressure on the Government to debate liberalisation has intensified with a call from Lord Woolf, Master of the Rolls, for a discussion on whether cannabis should be legalised.

Lord Woolf's intervention means that since the IoS launched its campaign, the two most senior judges in England and Wales have publicly called for a proper debate on reform of the laws on cannabis.

Previously, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, has called for a debate. Lord Woolf said: "Should we not at least be considering whether it would be preferable for drugs or at least some drugs to be lawfully available in controlled circumstances, so that it would no longer be necessary for addicts to commit crimes to feed their addiction." Melanie Field, Lord Woolf's Private Secretary, said that he "was referring to cannabis in making these remarks".

As well as senior judges, the Prince of Wales's charity, the Prince's Trust is also taking a lead, providing a meeting room and a formal note- taker to an inquiry into drugs legislation, which includes the laws on cannabis.

The investigation is being sponsored by the Police Foundation, an organisation of which Prince Charles is president, and has met twice since its launch in August.

William Saulsbury, secretary to the independent inquiry into the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, confirmed that the law regarding cannabis is under scrutiny. He said: "It would be hard to look at the whole issue of misuse of drugs without taking a look at the difference between the hard and soft drugs scenes, and the recreation end of the scene of which cannabis is a part."

Last Friday, lawyers representing a cabinet minister threatened the IoS with a High Court injunction to prevent publication of a story concerning alleged cannabis use in 1979.

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