Drugs Policy - Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:05 pm on 21st November 2016.

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Photo of Lord Maclennan of Rogart Lord Maclennan of Rogart Liberal Democrat 8:05 pm, 21st November 2016

My Lords, I support the case of the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, for legalising cannabis. It is a drug that helps and does not seem to harm. She has made the case very strongly. I note that the British Medical Journal has also called for the legalisation of illicit drugs. It is a source of expertise and is evidence that drugs can be helpful to those needing pain killers and could help stop illegalities. The international trade in drugs is colossal, particularly for heroin and cocaine. The current ubiquity of drugs in this country is a function of their illegal status.

I wish to draw attention to what is happening in Glasgow, where it is proposed that fixed rooms should be set up to enable people to inject under supervision, particularly heroin and morphine. Drug-related deaths in Glasgow so far this year amount to 345—quadruple the number of decades ago.

The nature of drug addiction is causing the international trade in drugs to be colossal. The ubiquity of drugs and the corruption and violence which illegality confers should be eliminated from society. The illegality of drug addiction spreads infection, and injecting equipment left in public areas is dangerous. They should be legalised.

Max Rendall wrote a book in 2011 called Legalize: The Only Way to Combat Drugs, in which he expresses the view that legalised drugs could be regulated and controlled. I wish to recommend this book to Ministers. The author is very knowledgeable about the problems in this area.

I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, for bringing forward this debate.