Prohibition isn’t working

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Yesterday I introduced a bill in Parliament to legalise cannabis for recreational and medicine use.

The evidence is clear – prohibition isn’t working.

It is total hypocrisy that the most dangerous drug of all, in terms of harm to yourself and others, alcohol, is consumed in large quantities right here in our national Parliament, whilst we criminalise others for using a less dangerous drug – with many using it for the relief of pain.

It is shameful that we continue to criminalise people who use cannabis for the relief of pain.

It is shameful that we criminalise many young people for using cannabis, when many people in Government will have themselves used cannabis at some stage of their lives.

And it is predictable that rational, evidence-based reform was opposed by Conservative MPs.

The war on drugs has been a catastrophic failure, leaving young people vulnerable to dangerous strains of cannabis sold by dealers who have absolutely no interest in their welfare.

Meanwhile, the Government’s botched reforms on medicinal cannabis are still leaving thousands of people in chronic pain every day.

We need a system that puts public health first.

A system that allows people safe and legal access to cannabis – and takes the market out of the hands of criminals.

My bill offered a rational, evidence-based alternative.

It would have allowed governments to control

  1. who can buy cannabis
  2. who supplies it
  3. maximum potency

But the Conservatives once again marched through the voting lobby to block reform of our harmful and outdated drugs laws, while the Labour Party shambolically sat on their hands and abstained.

The Liberal Democrats will continue to campaign for a legal and regulated cannabis market, with an age limit of 18 and strict controls over the price and potency of what people can buy.

The tide is turning on cannabis reform. We can protect our young people and end the suffering of thousands.