So you want to legalise cannabis You must be as dumb as Nick Clegg



00:50 GMT, 16 December 2012

Perhaps 15 years from now they will be selling Cannabis Cookies in the supermarkets, and the drug itself will be available at your local corner shop. You can guess which famous brand names will be on the packets. I couldn’t possibly comment.

Let us hope that, at least, the State will by then have built enough mental hospitals to house the poor victims of this squalid drug, the young people who will take cannabis and lose their reason.

But the desire of a few rich cynics for a legal market for marijuana is the real reason for the endless dishonest propaganda on the drugs issue which has fooled so many gullible and ignorant politicians and journalists.

Looking for a legal high: Businessman wanting marijuana legalised for their own profit has helped fueled dishonest propaganda about the drug

Looking for a legal high: Businessman wanting marijuana legalised for their own profit has helped fueled dishonest propaganda about the drug

In this unpleasant future, greedy businessmen will make enormous fortunes from the misery of others, and the avaricious State will find a new source of tax revenue, to pay the interest on the vast debts it can never meet.

As in all important debates, it is crucial to distinguish between the actively evil and the lazily stupid. It is kinder to assume that the Deputy Prime Minister is one of the dumb ones.

More from Peter Hitchens…

Alien nation: The new census reveals a Britain that would be unrecognisable even to our grandparents

Lowering our flag is a shameful surrender to Ulster’s gangsters

The good ship 'Tory Party' is finished – please keep calm and head for the lifeboats

PETER HITCHENS: If the zealots truly cared about equality, they'd fight for female dustmen

Dragging us into a futile war is a job for the political blowhards, General – not YOU

Crime ISN'T falling, it's just that we've given up trying to combat it

Today, children, we're teaching underage sex and debauchery

Enter a church and you should hear echoes of eternity – not the Sugababes


Fondly imagining that he was being bold and original, Nicholas Clegg said on Friday that there was a ‘war on drugs’ in this country. Then he called for a Royal Commission on the subject.

Now, there would be nothing wrong with a proper Royal Commission on drugs, which genuinely reflected the full range of opinion and wasn’t packed by the immensely powerful pro-drug lobby.

But this is a country where senior politicians (I know who they are, but cannot name them) have snorted cocaine in their adult lives, where the political, media and academic establishment is crammed full of former or present dope-smokers, and where the police themselves are broken defeatists in the face of drugs.

Such a Commission would undoubtedly be stuffed with the apostles of dope, as every single body has been that has considered the subject since Baroness Wootton’s original committee in 1968-69.

Haven’t heard of it No surprise there. Nor have most of the people who write, broadcast and speak about drugs. But it was the key moment at which the alleged ‘war on drugs’ in this country was abandoned.

Lady Wootton, a mighty Left-wing battleaxe, defeated that wily old beast Jim Callaghan in a terrific Whitehall struggle.

Heavily influenced by a brilliant lobbying campaign, featuring all four Beatles, Lady Wootton’s cabal urged two crucial things.

One, that cannabis should be given a special status, as less serious than other drugs. And two, that the offence of possessing drugs should be seen as less serious than selling them.

She also arranged to ensure that the law was constantly under review, so that it was steadily weakened, in a salami-slicing process that few would notice. Ever since then, governments have been pretending to be tough while actually being weak and defeatist.

A Bill was quickly put through Parliament to do these things. It was officially supported by both Labour and Tory parties and heavily backed by a strong soft-on-drugs lobby among Home Office civil servants (led by a man called Henry ‘Bing’ Spear).

Soon after it was passed, Lord Hailsham, then Tory Lord Chancellor, told the magistrates of England and Wales to stop sending anyone to prison for possessing cannabis. They obeyed.

/12/15/article-2248650-15382A55000005DC-18_634x442.jpg” width=”634″ height=”442″ alt=”War on drugs: Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has called for a Royal Commission on the subject ” class=”blkBorder” />

War on drugs: Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has called for a Royal Commission on the subject

Nor did she live to see John O’Connor, a former head of the Scotland Yard Flying Squad, write in February 1994 that ‘cannabis has been a decriminalised drug for some time now’.

Well, if the police and The Times could see this so long ago, do you think it has got any less decriminalised since then

But Barbara Wootton would have rejoiced at the efforts of Lady Runciman and the Metropolitan Police, who in 2001 helped to create the ‘Cannabis Warning’, a sort of official shrug that is now the preferred police response if they catch someone with this drug. There is no punishment and no record. This retreat was never even approved by Parliament, but it has stripped the spine and bones out of what was left of the law.

Mr Clegg does not seem to know any of this. Nor does Will Self, the pretentious former illegal drug abuser who, on the BBC’s Question Time on Thursday night, noisily barracked me on this subject. They claim, absurdly, that our problems come from a non-existent ‘prohibition’ that vanished 40 years ago.

All these people calling for a ‘debate’ don’t really want any such thing. They want to hurry us into legalisation – though they will not call it that, hiding behind such words as ‘regulation’ or ridiculous, unscientific claims that cannabis can be smoked for medical purposes.

Once they have won, it will be incredibly hard to go back. /12/15/article-2248650-1675F988000005DC-624_634x522.jpg” width=”634″ height=”522″ alt=”Moving sight: Guardsman Jatinderpal Singh Bhullar parades and stands guard for the first time at Buckingham Palace ” class=”blkBorder” />

Moving sight: Guardsman Jatinderpal Singh Bhullar, pictured centre, parades and stands guard for the first time at Buckingham Palace

Sikhs have repeatedly fought for this country – wearing turbans while they did so. In both world wars they refused to use steel helmets in battle, because the turban is such an important part of their beliefs, and sustains their indomitable bravery.

Rightly valuing their courage, the highest of all the virtues because none of the others is possible without it, the Army has made a special effort to recruit British Sikhs.

I find myself unexpectedly moved by the sight of Jatinderpal Singh Bhullar guarding Her Majesty in his turban. Those horrible modern rifles still look silly with a ceremonial uniform, though.

Any day now, the Peter Hitchens Blog will welcome its ten millionth visit. It could be you.

Since I began it, almost six years ago, it has built up a lively readership of several thousand people each day.

It features a number of articles by me each week, on politics, foreign affairs, religion and anything that takes my fancy, as well as book and film reviews and debates with contributors.