17 Jul Letter To Jeremy Browne, Drugs Minister, On The Big Booze U-Turn

Call Yourself A Liberal? Call Yourself A Liberal?

Dear Mr Browne,

Today’s announcement on alcohol policy shows yet again how irrational the government is about cannabis.

You said today:

“…alcohol-related crime and health harms are estimated to cost society about £21 billion every year.”

All experts agree that cannabis is very much less harmful than alcohol. Professor David Nutt has suggested that if cannabis were legally available to adults in Britain as in Holland, alcohol consumption could fall by up to 25%. Have you considered the benefits of this?

“We want fair and effective policies. We are not in the business of making laws that do not work.”

Cannabis policy is unfair and ineffective. The law does not work. One million people have criminal records for cannabis. Three million people use it at least once per month. We consume more than three tonnes every day. More than 50% of people want the law changed.

“We do not yet have enough concrete evidence that its introduction would be effective in reducing harms associated with problem drinking—this is a crucial point—without penalising people who drink responsibly.”

Why do you penalise the vast majority of people who use cannabis responsibly? What moral, scientific, political or practical reason is there?

Please will you meet with me to discuss this issue? I am the only democratically elected representative of cannabis users in Britain. Please will you give me half an hour of your time?

Yours sincerely,

Peter Reynolds