Europe: Contender for British Tory Leadership Says Legalize Drugs 9/9/05

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In remarks that will shock many Tories, who have taken a hard line on drug use and abuse, David Cameron, a leading contender for the leadership of Britain's Conservative Party told the British newspaper the Independent Wednesday he thinks the United Nations should consider legalizing drugs. He also said he wanted British drug addicts to be provided with legal safe injection sites and prescription heroin.

David Cameron
Cameron said he favored "fresh thinking and a new approach" toward British drug policy, adding "we have to let 1,000 flowers bloom and look at all sorts of treatment models" for heroin addicts.

While both Labor and Liberal parliamentarians or party leaders have made similar calls, Cameron's remarks are the first from a leading Conservative. Drug reformers welcomed Cameron's words, with the Transform Drug Policy Institute's Danny Kushlick saying, "David Cameron deserves our utmost respect and admiration for refusing the 'war on drugs' rhetoric in calling for a discussion of legalization with the UN body that oversees global prohibition. Too many politicians support the status quo because of careerism," Kushlick added.

The reaction from Cameron's fellow Tory contenders was less positive. "This is a grossly misled view that will have very damaging consequences for society," said Anne Widdecombe, the former Home Officer minister who is supporting rival Tory Kenneth Clarke. "Most Conservatives would make the case that legalization is misguided. If you legalize hard drugs you would effectively be making the state give first-time users their first experience. "It's just not an option. And the World Health Organization is against it."

"Drugs fuel crime," said leadership contender David Davis. "The fact that an ecstasy tablet can be bought for less than a can of Coke is a shocking indictment of Labor's absolute failure to tackle the scourge of drugs."

"The move to downgrade cannabis was wrong," said contender Sir Malcolm Rifkind. "The government retained possession as a criminal offense but it could not be treated as a crime. That makes the law look foolish."

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Issue #402 -- 9/9/05

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Feature: Regional Anti-Prohibitionist Conference Gets Under Way in Buenos Aires | Weekly: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Europe: Contender for British Tory Leadership Says Legalize Drugs | Asia: Afghan Opium Production Essentially Stable This Year Despite Crackdown | Press Release: Lawrence, Kansas, Moving to Shift Marijuana Prosecutions to Municipal Court to Avoid HEA Drug Provision | Sentencing: New York Governor Signs Another Partial Rocky Reform Bill -- Will Free at Most 500 Prisoners | Marijuana: Surge in Arrests Has Little Effect on Use Rates, Study Finds | Canada: Vancouver Drug Users' Group Assists Users with Injecting in Order to Reduce HIV Transmission | Medical Marijuana: Virginia Nurses Association Reiterates Its Support | Crooked Snitches: Oregon Drops More than 40 Cases Tied to Bad Informant | Europe: Crackdown in Georgia | Quote: William Rehnquist on Mandatory Minimum Sentencing | Media Scan: HEA in Boston Globe, Medical Marijuana in New England Journal of Medicine, Medscape, More | Weekly: This Week in History | Job Opportunities: Marijuana Policy Project | Job Opportunity: Harm Reduction Position in New Mexico | Weekly: The Reformer's Calendar |

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