Letter: Lib Dems' drugs debate: a question of responsibility

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The Independent Online
Sir: It concerns me that the Liberal Democrat leadership is unable to stomach the vote at their party conference to decriminalise cannabis. They are the only party that is strongly campaigning for constitutional change and a broadening of the democratic structures; what future for them if they cannot accept the result of a democratic vote at their own party conference?

As a natural supporter of the Lib Dems, I find it hard to have faith in a party that cannot espouse a particular policy because, in Charles Kennedy's words, it 'sends out the wrong signals to the electorate'. Any political party worth its salt should espouse its policies because it believes that they are right.

Personally, I think that legalising cannabis is right. Like others who have gone public on the subject, I am prepared to admit to having smoked it and I fail to see why it arouses such concern. If it replaced alcohol as the primary recreational drug, there would be incalculable benefits to society as a whole.

Alcohol makes a person boisterous and sometimes violent, where cannabis makes them dozy and incommunicative. A whole range of common crimes can be linked to alcohol, including dangerous driving, wanton vandalism and domestic violence. As far as I am aware, none can be linked to cannabis. The only exception is dealing in the stuff. So, legalise the weed and reduce crime (a new Tony Blair soundbite?).

Yours,

OSWALD McMANUS

London, SW9

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