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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 July, 2003, 20:26 GMT 21:26 UK
Drugs minister admits taking cannabis
Caroline Flint, Don Valley MP
Caroline Flint says she was put off the drug because it was illegal
The newly appointed government minister responsible for drugs policy has admitted that she has taken cannabis.

Caroline Flint, 41, told BBC News she tried the drug as a student but did not like it.

The revelation emerged during a discussion about drugs policy when Ms Flint was asked whether she had taken cannabis.

At first she did not answer but when pressed on the issue she said she had tried it about 20 years ago.

The Home Office says Home Secretary David Blunkett is aware of the issue and is fully supportive of Ms Flint.

Law change pressure

The Don Valley MP indicated she had not taken cannabis regularly and the fact the drug was illegal "acted as a brake".

The government has rejected calls to decriminalise cannabis but has moved to reclassify it as a less harmful drug.

'Honest answer'

The Home Office said Ms Flint supported the government's view that cannabis should remain illegal.

A spokesman said: "She has taken over the brief and she is going to carry that through.

"She was chosen because she is the best person for the job. Everyone has full confidence in her."

He added: "The minister was asked if she had ever taken drugs.

"She confirmed that she had tried cannabis as a student more than 20 years ago. She gave an honest answer to a straight question."

The episode is reminiscent of the time in 2000 when Conservative Ann Widdecombe's anti-drugs speech was undermined by the revelations that eight members of the then shadow cabinet had smoked cannabis in the past.




SEE ALSO:
Tory vow to tackle drugs 'crisis'
03 Jul 03  |  Politics
Eighth Tory admits cannabis use
10 Oct 00  |  Politics
Cannabis laws eased by Blunkett
11 Jul 02  |  Politics


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