Letter: Legalisation of cannabis: freedom of personal choice or exposure to risk?

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The Independent Online
Sir: In some 500 column inches of drug news (2 and 3 March), the most astonishing assertion is that the 'legalisation debate' has not received widespread publicity. What was your reporter on? Newspapers, radio and TV have sustained a strident and partial pro-drug coverage for months, which sadly your Thursday leading article reflects.

Had this bias been removed or reversed, and backed up with the full facts on cannabis (such as brain damage, psychoses, faster lung cancer than tobacco, immune system damage, birth defects - vide more than 10,000 studies worldwide), you would have found even less than one in three supporting 'limited legalisation'.

'Legalisation beats crime' is as daft as it sounds. Wherever it has been tried (for example, Alaska and Holland's flirtation with decriminalisation), crime has worsened, and use of all drugs has escalated. What has been found to work is a combination of firm laws and quality community-based prevention, of which education is a key part. There is plenty of evidence that good drug prevention works.

Yours faithfully,

PETER STOKER

Consultant

Positive Prevention Plus

Slough, Berkshire

3 March

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