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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 November 2005, 17:04 GMT
Rock star's legalise heroin call
Lemmy arriving at assembly
Lemmy strides along Cardiff Bay towards the assembly
Rock star Lemmy has used an anti-drugs platform at the Welsh assembly to call for the legalisation of heroin.

He took time off from Motörhead's 30th anniversary tour to share a platform with Conservative AM William Graham on the fatal dangers of the drug.

But he said making heroin legal would allow it to be taxed and regulated and keep users away from drug dealers.

Mr Graham said Lemmy presented "alternative" views to his own, but the message was firmly against drugs.

The AM told the briefing in Cardiff Bay that that young people would listen to Lemmy more than any committee.

Lemmy was invited to the assembly on Thursday by Mr Graham hours before his band played to a more familiar audience at Cardiff University.

Lemmy and William Graham AM
Strange bedfellows: Lemmy and William Graham AM

A small crowd of assembly office workers gathered in the foyer for the arrival of Lemmy, who was clad in trademark black cowboy hat, motorbike boots and iron cross medallion.

He was subjected to the usual security, and had to remove his hat before going through the full body scanner - oh yes, and the cigarette he was politically ordered to extinguish.

As a security guard patted him down with a hand-held electronic detector, the star raised his arms in to a crucifix -like shape and good-humouredly muttered: "Guilty".

There was also a striking juxtaposition of the veteran rocker and the immaculately besuited Mr Graham in the milling area of the assembly. But the focus shifted quickly to the human tragedy of heroin use.

Lemmy sat at a table, pulled a sheet of paper from his pocket and quickly made his views plain.

Lemmy, who was brought up in Anglesey, said he first became aware of heroin users after he began touring with bands in north Wales in 1967.

Lemmy at the assembly
Lemmy was exposed to drugs when he began playing in north Wales

He met junkies on the music scene and described how one woman he lived with tried the drug "to see what it was like". She died within three years, and was one of many people he said he had known killed by heroin.

He explained how his hatred of the drug was so strong he once turned in a dealer to the police, who then went to jail. But he said the dealer was freed in about six months.

Lemmy said: "It turns them into thieves and liars.

"It removes them from the social circle. All they are thinking about is junk.

Lemmy certainly has an alternative solution to the one presently being tried
William Graham AM

"They will do anything. They will sell everything they've got and steal yours and sell that."

But Lemmy said legalisation was the way forward, as heavier policing had failed to beat drugs.

"You can't keep people from doing what makes them feel good. The reason they do heroin in the first place is because of the oblivion it gives them.

Decriminalisation

"There's more heroin on the street now than there's ever been."

He also questioned the point of sending drug offenders, particularly the young, to jail, which turned a generation of young, non-violent users into criminals.

When quizzed by journalists about drugs other than heroin, Lemmy refused to be drawn, saying he was at the assembly to talk only about heroin.

"Heroin is the only one that kills," he said.

Mr Graham made clear that he believed decriminalisation should be considered rather than legalisation.

'Destroying their lives'

He also said there could be "pilot areas" created in which heroin users brought before the courts would be treated rather than punished.

Mr Graham said: "Lemmy certainly has an alternative solution to the one presently being tried.

"The message is against drugs. If that's one way to stop people destroying their lives then it might be perfectly appropriate."




SEE ALSO:
'Get past celebrity drug debate'
05 Oct 05 |  UK Politics
Rock fans target 'hero' poll
28 Sep 03 |  Wales


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