Reply to the letter I previously sent to my MP arrived today:
Thank you for your email about Professor Nutt. I apologise for not replying sooner. I was interested to hear your view on this important matter but I am afraid that we disagree on this issue.
Professor Nutt’s abilities as a scientist and his qualification to offer advice on drugs policy are not in doubt but as the principle advisor to the Home Office, his role was to give advice and not to comment on Government policy. Scientific advice offered to Government is published for all to see and it is clear that Professor Nutt’s views differed from the Government. However, the media interviews conducted by Professor Nutt amounted to a campaign against Government policy and clearly made his position untenable.
In my view it is right that the final decision on policy, whilst being informed by the advice, should lie with politicians. It is politicians who are accountable to the electorate not scientists. Furthermore, I think it is wrong to characterise Professor Nutt’s research as the unquestioned truth. Scientific opinion on the danger of drugs is not united as Professor Robin Murray has made clear.
Many seek to argue that drugs such as cannabis and ecstasy should be considered in the same was (sic.) as alcohol and tobacco which are also are also (sic.) very harmful. I find these arguments disingenuous. There are cultural and historic reasons why alcohol and tobacco are not illegal drugs although restrictions have been placed on their use. The comparison belies the problems cannabis and ecstacy cause in our communities.
Cannabis use in Islington, particularly amongst young people, is largely tolerated these days – and I am concerned that this usage is creating sub-cultures of exclusion. Whilst alcohol use can also be damaging, there are social constraints on its use. I actually think that the semi-legalisation of cannabis gets the worst of both worlds – its use increases but without the benefits and constraints of socialisation, that might occour under full legalisation.
For this reason – based more on the social implications than the medical – I am not opposed to the upgrading of cannabis from class C to B.
I am sorry that we are not able to agree on this matter but I hope you can understand my reasoning. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me in the future, on this matter, or any other.
Emily Thornberry MP
So there you have it. The use of cannabis is creating sub-cultures of exclusion and so obviously we have to maintain the legal system which excludes in order to, um, reduce the social problems associated with exclusion? Or something.
It is indeed politicans who are accountable to the electorate. I suspect I’ll find it difficult to vote for one with reasoning like that.