A Bristol drugs expert called for cocaine to be legalised telling an influential Commons committee it was the only way to stop the powerful criminal underworld.
Steve Rolles, who was called to give evidence in Parliament on the cocaine trade, compared users to people who drink alcohol, with some developing addiction problems while the majority do not.
Those who take cocaine weigh up the risks and costs with the pleasure they get from it, he added.
"People use cocaine for the obvious reasons that they like it," he told the Home Affairs committee.
"There is a spectrum of drug using. There is a difference between having a glass of wine with dinner and a bottle of rum with breakfast. We need to be able to make that distinction with cocaine."
Whether it would be acceptable, however, for British troops to use the drug he refused to be drawn on despite being pushed by MPs.
Mr Rolles is head of research at charitable think tank Transform Drug Policy Foundation, based at Easton Business Centre on Felix Road, which campaigns for an end to drugs prohibition.
That includes drugs like crack and heroin, although the organisation advocates a system where the most dangerous substances are prescribed by doctors while others could be sold at Dutch-style coffee shops.
Mr Rolles said: "We see prohibition as a failed policy and a reckless policy.
"We think a better alternative would be government regulation where you can control the products, vendors and outlets."
Appearing alongside him was Professor Neil McKeganey, from the Centre for Drug Misuse Research at Glasgow University, who disputed the claims.
He said: "It is wrong to characterise the current laws as a failure. In populations terms less than one per cent of adults are affected.
"The drug laws have served well in not allowing that to expand.
"I would not want to see the government in a price war with the criminals over the cheap supply of drugs."
October 21, 2009
This Is Bristol