Europe: British Cabinet Full of Former Marijuana Users

In the week since new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that his government will consider rescheduling marijuana from a Class C (less serious) to a Class B (more serious) drug, nine members of his cabinet have admitted smoking weed. The announcements are likely to both embarrass the Brown government and open it to charges of hypocrisy if it moves to make marijuana use, possession, and sale subject to harsher penalties.

Marijuana was down-scheduled to Class C in January 2004 under the Tony Blair government, but the move has been controversial from the beginning and is even more so today with much of the British media and political class seemingly in the grip of cannabis psychosis.

The Brown government has asked the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to investigate if marijuana is now so much stronger than before and the links between it and mental illness are so strong that it should be moved back to Class B. Less than two years ago, the ACMD investigated the same question and decided marijuana should stay where it was.

The cascade of dope-smoking admissions began in the middle of last week when Home Minister Jacqui Smith, whose office is in charge of the rescheduling review, admitted that she had smoked pot while an Oxford University student in the 1980s.

"I did break the law... I was wrong... drugs are wrong," she said in what is the now obligatory mea culpa and ritual abasement that must accompany any admission of drug use by prominent politicians. She did not say whether she thought she would have been better served by being hit with the harsher penalties once again facing marijuana users if the drug is rescheduled.

Smith was only the first of seven current cabinet members to admit past marijuana use last week. The others were Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling, Transportation Secretary Ruth Kelly, Business Secretary John Hutton, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Andy Burnham, Skills Secretary John Denham, and Deputy Labor Leader Harriet Harman. Two other cabinet members, Housing Minister Yvette Cooper and Communities Secretary Hazel Blears had previously admitted to past pot smoking.

Deputy Labor Leader Harman was typical of her fellow pot-smoking cabinet members, all of whom said their use was experimental and long past. When asked if she, too, had indulged, she replied: "I did, when I was at university, smoke cannabis once or twice." But since then, she's gone straight, she said: "I have indulged in the odd glass of wine but not cannabis."

The opposition Conservatives have forsaken the opportunity to jump the Labor government over the issue, most likely because many members of the Tory shadow government have also admitted past marijuana use. Current Conservative leader David Cameron has repeatedly refused to say whether he used drugs before becoming a public figure, despite persistent rumors that he did more than smoke a little weed in the past.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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rodney williams

now i know whats wrong with the goverments of the world,,they are all ex smokers,,,this explains a lot

True, if they all were still

True, if they all were still smokers and not Ex smokers, this world would be a better place.

MJ is not the problem, nor is its use. The problem is how people have been taught to respond to it through "pot head" demeaning skits and movies, all that show MJ smokers as a bunch of lazy low lifes that do nothing but get high and the munchies.

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