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The pros and cons of drug legalisation 1

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Medical cannabis will soon be made available on prescription in the UK to treat conditions such as chronic pain, nausea caused by chemotherapy, and severe epilepsy.

The Home Office decision, expected to be announced in parliament within a month, follows a high-profile campaign by the mother of 13-year-old Billy Caldwell, whose medical cannabis for his epilepsy was seized following a trip to the US in the summer.

Following a public backlash and u-turn from Home Secretary Sajid Javid, patients are now able to apply to a panel of medical experts for permission to use the oil, although many have been rejected.

The new law “will place Britain among the most liberal countries in Europe on medical cannabis”, says The Times.

Yet many are saying it does not go nearly far enough and that the continued war on drugs has been a monumental failure and requires a complete overhaul.

Last month Lord Falconer, who served as Tony Blair’s justice secretary and was Jeremy Corbyn’s justice spokesman until June 2016, said the ban on drugs such as heroin and cocaine was responsible for killing “tens of thousands” of British people and represented “an attack on the working class”.

Claiming ten people a day die in Britain as a result of drug-related deaths, he argued it was “better to sell mild and medically safe versions of drugs that give a high than ones sold by gangsters” and publicly challenged Corbyn to live up to his radical image by scrapping Britain’s tough anti-drugs laws.

The Daily Mail says Lord Falconer is “the most senior political figure to call for all drugs to be legalised”, and joins a growing number of scientists, doctors, politicians and police officers calling for drug legalisation.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph in June during the cannabis oil row, former Tory leader and foreign secretary William Hague said the war on cannabis had “failed utterly” and used his weekly column to attack “deluded” policy-making in Whitehall.

Calling for cannabis to be fully legalised, Hague wrote: “Everyone sitting in a Whitehall conference room needs to recognise that, out there, cannabis is ubiquitous, and issuing orders to the police to defeat its use is about as up to date and relevant as asking the army to recover the Empire. This battle is effectively over.”

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