I was wrong on cannabis while in government, says Jacqui Smith, raising questions about why she was on cannabis in government in the first place

Jacqui Smith on cannabis
Jacqui Smith on cannabis, obviously

Very, very quickly. I’ve written more times than I can count (eight times) about drugs, evidence and government policy. Once about evidence-based policy; once about David Cameron being a coward; once about Peter Tosh, because why not; once about California’s Proposition 19 on legalised marijuana; once calling the Government a bunch of chickens; once about The Wire; and once about Portugal. I feel I’ve been banging this drum a bit pointlessly for a while now.

But I’m feeling a bit prescient because a year or so ago I wrote this one, which touches on how it’s always former Home Secretaries and heads of state who come out and say they got it wrong while they were in government, but none of them have the guts to say it while they’re actually in power.

Because Jacqui Smith, the former Home Secretary, yesterday came out and said she got it wrong while she was in government.

She told the Radio Times: “Knowing what I know now, I would resist the temptation to resort to the law to tackle the harm from cannabis.

“Education, treatment and information, if we can get the message through, are perhaps a lot more effective.”

Seriously. What is it? Is it fear of looking Soft on Crime? I’m not going to bother putting a call in to the Home Office for a repeat of their perennial statement (“Drugs are Bad”). But I am going to make a prediction: at least one elected official currently working in the Home Office will, in the years after they leave government, admit that the current hardline drug laws do more harm than good.

Maybe, one day, some non-cowardly politician will have the cojones to say it while it might actually affect their career.


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