On The Pulse: Should certain illegal drugs be decriminalised in the UK?


Nick Clegg is backing calls to study the possibilities of decriminalising certain illegal drugs.


By Alex Christian, Cyrus Engineer & Lewis Garfield

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg yesterday backed calls for a royal commission to study the possibilities of decriminalising certain illegal drugs.

David Cameron has rejected the Home Affairs Select Committees report, which cited the example of Portugal where people found with drugs are not always prosecuted.

However Mr Clegg has said that government needs to be open-minded and look at all approaches.

The Deputy Prime Minister said: “We can’t be complacent, we owe it to the many many children in this country who still get snarled up by drugs, whose education chances are blighted by drugs.

“There are those whose health is damaged by drugs, we owe it to them to constantly and restlessly look for better ways of dealing with the scourge of drugs,” he said.

The US state of Colorado has recently passed a law legalising the limited possession and sale of marijuana and other states are considering the option.

SW Londoner’s Alex, Lewis and Cyrus took to the streets of Wimbledon to see what the locals thought of the Deputy PM’s comments and the issue of decriminalisation.

Norman, 36, said: “If you compare it to Holland, it lowers the rate of drug dealing. It also benefits the government in terms of tax and tourism.

“By decriminalising it, it might remove the whole taboo issue of it and make it easier for people to talk openly about it.

“The taboo nature of it comes more from the older generation.

“The idea of decriminalising it is worthy of discussion.

“It’s got to be done in a logical way.

For recreational use for older people maybe it is appropriate, but I saw a young kid smoking on my street the other day. That should never be accepted.”

Keith, 64, said: “If they have the money to back it up it would be good but does the government actually have the money for more treatment?

“Maybe they should be offer more treatment to youngsters and first time offenders but like any drug trade you have to catch Mr Big.”

Adrian, 23, said: “Depends on what type of drugs. Decriminalisation and legalisation has always been talked about but will it ever actually happen.

“Is cannabis for example really that different to alcohol? Alcohol affects a lot more people than cannabis does.

“There should be a discussion and we, as adults, should set the right example for youngsters.”

Kim, 22, said: “I guess it is a good idea but you have to careful you don’t go too far.

“You still need to send the right message and send a strong signal that any drug use is not acceptable.”

Catherine, 23, said: “I think prohibition of any kind is wrong. The government should be treating people with addiction, not legalising it.

“Alcohol is a far worse drug that the government should be working on.”

Amanda, 47, said: “As a parent I have a duty to be responsible and protect my children and prevent them from such drugs.”

June, 50, said: “I am for it to decriminalised as it is not readily available on the NHS for those suffering from cancer.

“I have lost friends to cancer and I know that their lives were made easier with the drugs in question.

“I cannot accept the argument that it will lead to harder stuff. The government need to accept that there are reasonable people out there.”

Anthea, 46, said: “I think cannabis is not really a problem but it shouldn’t be legalised because of the other things it could lead to.

“If they legalise cannabis it will lead to legalising harder drugs like cocaine.”

Claire, 28, said: “I don’t think any drug should be legalised. I do see cannabis smoked quite a bit where I live.

“But I don’t even smoke cigarettes so I am definitely against it.”

Picture courtesy of Liberal Democrats, with thanks.

Follow us on @SW_Londoner

Related Articles