MP:drivers must be tested for drugs (UK)

By Lunar Loops · Apr 27, 2007 ·
  1. Lunar Loops
    Don't you just love the Tories? This from the website:

    MP:drivers must be tested for drugs

    An MP today demanded the Government reclassify cannabis and test drivers for signs that they could be taking the drug.
    Tory Christopher Chope (Christchurch) said the Government had presided over a "disastrous policy" and that the drug "wrecked lives" - leading to increased schizophrenia among smokers.
    Mr Chope wants to see cannabis reclassified to a class B drug. His Drugs (Reclassification and Roadside Testing) Bill calls for the change and urges the Government to provide police with the technology to test for drug driving on the UK's roads.
    Cannabis was changed from a class B to a class C drug in 2004 following a report commissioned in 2001 by the then Home Secretary David Blunkett by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.
    Mr Chope said: "Who can be in any doubt? Cannabis wrecks lives. After 10 years of a Labour Government, more lives than ever, particularly those of children and young people, are being wrecked by cannabis."
    He went on: "The Government has been pandering to the misconception that cannabis is some harmless soft recreational substance.
    "Even the Health Secretary (Patricia Hewitt) when admitting this week that she had used cannabis, showed no remorse and, I think, seemed to deny that cannabis causes health problems among the general population."
    Mr Chope went on: "One good way of deterring drug use and ensuring increased safety on our roads would be to introduce drugalyser roadside testing."
    He claimed a third of drivers had said they would not use drugs if they knew they were going to be tested. The equipment was British made and was used in Europe and Australia.
    The Government was "stalling" on the introduction, demonstrating it was "soft" on the issue.
    But his Bill was opposed by Labour's Brian Iddon (Bolton S E) who said that while there were "issues" surrounding the connection of the drug to mental illness and the effect on driving, MPs should have a full chance to debate them.
    "If we are going to change the law in this respect we need a much wider discussion than we can have with a 10-minute rule Bill.
    Reclassification was done on the basis of advice of the "distinguished" committee. He said reclassification would "add to the confusion". He added: "Since reclassification was established there has been no increase in this country on the misuse of cannabis."
    On road testing he said that simple tests such as asking drivers to walk in a straight line or standing on one leg could signify fitness to drive.
    Cannabis stayed in the body for 30 days so if a person was tested it would not be possible to prove when it was taken.
    "It would be very unfair to detect cannabis in a person 20 days after they have driven a car after smoking one spliff. Would you criminalise a person for that?"
    The Bill received support from Tory MPs but has little chance of becoming law due to a lack of parliamentary time.

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