Straw rules out drugs inquiry

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The Independent Online
The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, remained defiant yesterday and refused to set up a government inquiry into the decriminalisation of cannabis, despite pressure from the most senior judge in England and Wales. He said it would be "utterly irresponsible" to legalise soft drugs which lay behind a huge number of crimes.

His latest firm rejection came the day after the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham of Cornhill, suggested an independent look at the case for decriminalisation.

Mr Straw, who has repeatedly made clear his opposition to relaxing the drug laws or to setting up a Royal Commission to look at the issue, insisted that such moves would only increase the temptation of drugs for young people.

The Government had a "settled view" opposed to decriminalisation of soft drugs so there was no point setting up a Royal Commission which could cost up to pounds 2.5m, he said.