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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 10 July, 2002, 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK
'Smoking cannabis never held me back'
Cannabis plants
The government is to ease cannabis laws
Roger - not his real name - has smoked cannabis for most of his life. He is a company IT director, leads a full life and has never had a hard drugs habit.

I am 46 and have smoked cannabis for 33 years now, admittedly normally only an occasional joint every other week, but sometimes more.

Despite what some people may think of cannabis users I lead a full and normal life.

I am the UK IT director and a UK executive board member, ironically, for a leading multi-national pharmaceutical company and have studied up to doctorate level.


I have smoked dope in the last several years with, among others, an MP

My job means that I cannot be named, despite my strong feelings on the cannabis debate.

I grow my own cannabis and have not been dragged into the criminal underworld through my 'habit'.

I don't know where to buy the hard stuff these days and don't even mix the drug with tobacco.

Quite frankly, anyone who considers me a criminal needs to have their head examined.

'Try this'

Over the years I have taken other drugs - pretty much everything going - but I have never been a habitual user.

I don't think I have an addictive personality, but other people may latch on to something and that can be very dangerous.

When I was younger I would go to a dealer and they would not always have cannabis and would say 'why don't you try this instead?'.

I think that if cannabis was made legal it would take away that danger of people having easy access to things like crack or heroin.

Policemen

I am fairly open about the fact I smoke cannabis and when people find out many are shocked, but plenty admit they do as well.

Cannabis
'Roger' grows cannabis in his garden
It is far more widespread and accepted than it was in the past and I have even noticed potted cannabis plants in the garden of my middle-aged next-door neighbours in a nice London suburb.

I would also mention that I have smoked dope in the last several years with, amongst others, an MP, several policemen, the chairman of a plc and other people like me, who live full, relatively successful lives.

I go to the gym at least once a week and used to play a number of sports and only fail to do so now through work commitments.

I think the key to the debate is whether we want to live in a society that tells people what is best for them, or one where people are allowed to make their own decisions.


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