Drug use in the UK: high time for a fresh debate

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Drug use in the UK: high time for a fresh debate

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Only a few weeks after the American states of Washington and Colorado legalized marijuana, UK Liberal-Democrat leader Nick Clegg has expressed a wish to open the debate in his country. He fully backed a parliamentary report earlier this week, recommending that a Royal Commission look at the suggested options.

In an interview given to the BBC, Deputy Prime Minister Clegg said: “If you are anti-drugs, you should be pro-reform. That is my view.” Despite Prime Minister David Cameron’s rejection of his suggestion that a Royal Commission be set up to examine whether current drug laws should be relaxed, Clegg insists his suggestion is based on recent figures. One in five youngsters aged 11 to 15 admits having used drugs in the United Kingdom.

Clegg said these figures show the inefficacy of current policy on drugs: “It’s important now to pluck up the courage to speak.”

“We are losing the war on drugs on an industrial scale. We’ve been waging this war for almost 40 years, and I don’t think by any stretch of the imagination it has worked.”

Clegg has committed his party to pledging a major review of how to tackle the drug problem in its 2015 election manifesto. According to him, the UK could not relax drugs laws alone when it is an international problem but should be leading the debate.