Cannabis cafes would be permitted under secret Liberal Democrat plans. A leaked policy document calls for the decriminalisation of the drug in an approach even more radical than Amsterdam’s.
The paper also suggests allowing possession of cannabis, social supply to adults and cultivation of the plants for personal use.
It follows an internal party vote that commits the Lib Dems to making it ‘no longer a crime for the occupier or manager of premises to permit someone to use cannabis on those premises’.
The party’s constitution binds its leaders – in power – to implement votes carried at annual conferences.
The Tories, who unearthed the policy document, said the policy would go further than the Dutch model of turning a blind eye to ‘cannabis coffee shops’.
Cafe owners could allow customers to smoke the drug outside or buy ‘hash brownies’ and vaporised cannabis.
Chris Grayling, Tory Shadow Home Secretary, said: ‘Lib Dem policy on drugs is deeply worrying.
‘When you look at the detail of what they want to do it’s quite clear that they want to be soft on crime and want to sign up to more and more powers from Brussels.
‘I have spoken to countless people whose lives have been wrecked by hard drugs.’
Nick Clegg has also come under fire for suggesting heroin and other drugs should made legally available.
The Liberal Democrats are on course to see their number of MPs soar at Labour's expense, a poll revealed yesterday. The ICM/Guardian poll shows the party's vote is increasing more strongly in Labour-held marginal seats than in Conservative ones. They could end the election with 80 MPs - the most since 1923.
The Liberal Democrat leader claimed that criminalising drug use was restricting ‘individual freedom and civil liberties’ – and argued that drug offences should not lead to jail.
While serving as an MEP, Mr Clegg complained it was unfair that drug users were being pushed to the fringes of society.
He said heroin – currently a Class A substance – should be made available to addicts under medical supervision.
He signed a motion calling on EU member states ‘to take measures to make the fight against organised crime and trafficking in narcotics and psychotropic substances more effective, by establishing a system of legal control and regulation of production, sale and use of currently illegal substances’.
Last night, a Lib Dem spokesman said: ‘We will always base drugs policy on the independent scientific advice of experts.’
29th April, 2010
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