Drugs Strategy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 9th November 2001.

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Photo of Jacqui Lait Jacqui Lait Conservative, Beckenham 11:30 am, 9th November 2001

I, too, must apologise to the House, as I have constituency engagements that I must fulfil. Coincidentally, one is at a neighbourhood law centre, where the subject of drugs abuse is almost certain to come up. I shall also visit the local police station, where a similar matter is likely to be raised.

It is an honour to follow Paul Flynn, who has long been known for his campaign on drugs. Although I do not intend to follow his path, as I am sure he will understand, I hope that one or two points of agreement will emerge from my brief comments, which are much more related to my constituency than to national policy.

However, I have one point to make on national policy. I should be grateful if the Minister would either put his answer on the record or write to me, as I shall not be present for the winding-up speeches. The debate about cannabis use focuses on the legal and criminal implications, and makes only passing reference to the health implications. The hon. Member for Newport, West referred to the good that cannabis can do for multiple sclerosis sufferers. I hear similar evidence from my friends in the health professions, but they also tell me that long-term cannabis use leads to chest and heart problems, cancer and mental health problems, which is much more worrying.

I seek an assurance that the full weight of medical views on the effect of long-term cannabis use on people's health will be taken seriously into account in any decision by the Home Office and the advisory council.