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Christians clash over politicians' report calling for drugs to be decriminalised

by Desmond Busteed

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform report has claimed a new global approach on drugs is needed, including the testing of legal cannabis markets.

The report claims that blanket bans and the so-called "war on drugs" have failed, and points to similar decriminalisation for possession policies in Europe, particularly Portugal.

"You will never get rid of drugs; human beings have always taken mind altering substances. They always will. We have to accept we need a safer policy, we cannot eliminate the use of drugs and the key message I think that we all have to accept," said co-author Baroness Molly Meacher, a Quaker, who also co-chairs the APPG on drugs reform on Premier's News Hour.

The report says the right to a private and family life could be used to back decriminalising possession or the purchase of small quantities of drugs.

But critics argue that decriminalisation would result in the proliferation of drugs use across society, similar to alcohol and tobacco.

"The evidence from alcohol and tobacco, which are legal drugs; and this, is turning the argument around, is that drug use would become more prevalent and more widespread if they were decriminalised" said Marilyn Watson from Christian anti-drugs charity, Hope UK to Premier.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons home affairs select committee, has criticised the committee's decision to link human rights laws to decriminalising drugs for personal use.

"This is a novel approach as far as decriminalisation is concerned. One exemption, even though minor, could open the floodgates. Human rights legislation is not designed to be used in this way."

A Home Office spokesman said: "This government has no intention of decriminalising or legalising drugs."

Listen to the News Hour debate between Baroness Molly Meacher and Hope UK's Marilyn Watson here:

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