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Sunday, 28 April, 2002, 03:04 GMT 04:04 UK
'Legalise all drugs' - Mowlam
Mo Mowlam
Mo Mowlam says many people support her view
Former cabinet minister Mo Mowlam has called for the legalisation of all drugs - including ecstasy, heroin and cocaine.

Dr Mowlam, once responsible for the government's anti-drugs policy, told the Independent on Sunday she would tax drugs and use the revenue to help reduce addiction.

"You'd have the money from tax, which if it were ring-fenced for working with addicts whether cannabis, pills, barbiturates, coke or heroin you'd have a chance of beating it," she is quoted as saying.


We have to face up to the reality

Mo Mowlam

Her comments, made ahead of the launch of her autobiography next week, follow anti-drugs visits she made to Colombia.

Dr Mowlam told the newspaper she had been struck when in Colombia by the money which drove the drugs market there.

If the black market prices were removed by legalising the trade, she said, there would be less incentive behind it.

Reclassification

"I think that is the most effective way because in the end I don't think you could ever stop it," she is quoted as saying.

"Why not regulate it, take the tax from it and seriously deal with addiction which has been around since the 1900s?"

Dr Mowlam, who stood down from politics at the last election, claimed there was support for her idea all over the world.

Heroin
Calls have been made for heroin to be available on the NHS
"I don't think we can stop it, and there are a number of people in other countries and police and social workers who agree with me," she said.

Earlier this week Liberal Democrat MP Jenny Tongue said cocaine should be legalised and that heroin be made more available on the NHS.

She said the drug should be "medicalised" in order to treat addicts.

The government has signalled that it wants to re-classify cannabis from a class 'B' to a class 'C' drug.

But Home Secretary David Blunkett has emphasised that although he wants to reclassify the drug, he does not intend to legalise or decriminalise it.

Dr Mowlam's views on drugs are the latest outspoken comments which have arisen from her much-leaked autobiography Momentum, to be published on 2 May.

Other allegations have included claims she was "knifed in the back" by the Labour party because of her popularity with voters.

She also accuses Peter Mandelson of campaigning for the job of Northern Ireland Secretary while she was still in the post.


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22 Apr 02 | UK Politics
22 Apr 02 | UK Politics
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