WALES - Controversial drugs expert Professor David Nutt has called on the Welsh Government to pursue its own drugs policies. The 63-year-old, who is the Neuropsychopharmacology Professor at Imperial College, London, spoke in a debate on legalisation of drugs in Cardiff on Monday.
Prof Nutt was an adviser to the Westminster government on narcotics until he published a pamphlet in October 2009 in which he asserted his view that alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than LSD, ecastasy and cannabis.
The legal position of cannabis has continued to provoke arguments at Westminster including reports that the coalition has been split over legalisation. Speaking at the Temple of Peace in Cardiff, he said that current UK laws are illogical, racist and harmful to science and urged Wales to go its own way.
He said that the difficulty of undertaking medical research on cannabis and LSD represented “the worst censorship of life science research ever, in the history of mankind." He argued that MDMA could have a role treating post-traumatic stress disorder but that this was not being considered because of drugs laws that hinder scientific investigation. He went on to argue that keeping drugs illegal was a political rather than scientific decision. He said: “Why is cannabis illegal? The answer is simply that it’s political expedience. Cannabis is illegal because it serves politicians to keep it illegal, and to prosecute people who use it because they are non-voting, young, easily victimised people.”
He also claimed that government policies were “racist”, referring to “the disproportionate conviction rate for young black and Asian men, despite their being no increase in cannabis use among those people. The criminal records they get do much, much more damage to them than any amount of cannabis.”
Professor Nutt praised the establishment in Wales of the Wedinos Project, which tests new psychoactive substances, and concluded by suggesting that Wales should “go it alone” in drugs policy. “Why don’t you demand the right to make your own laws about drugs? Go down the Mexican route: if it grows in the ground here you can use it… It can’t get any worse, and you might gain something.”
The debate was organised by the Welsh Centre for International Affairs.
Wales Online/Oct. 14, 2014