And these words were said by? ………..
Former UK minister Norman Baker in an interview with The Independent which you can read fully here.
These are my edited highlights:
Alcohol is a much greater threat to people’s health than cannabis, former Home Office minister Norman Baker has warned, saying its dangers are being underplayed.
Pointing to figures that show there were only 13 deaths related to cannabis use last year compared with more than 7,000 caused by alcohol, the Lib Dem MP says there is “hysteria” over drug use in the UK.
Mr Baker, who resigned from the Home Office after saying that the experience of working with Theresa May was like “walking through mud”, said he had been shocked to learn of the extent of Britain’s drinking culture during his year as Crime Prevention Minister.
His battles included trying to shut down a JD Wetherspoon motorway pub on the M40 which public health experts and charities say offers a “ deadly temptation” to motorway users (read the full story about this pub here) a move allegedly blocked by Number 10 and calling on shops to stop “irresponsible” alcoholic drinks promotions. “I’m in favour of evidence-based policy, and we underplay the dangers of alcohol. Politicians need to reflect that society has changed since the 1970s, so the rhetoric should change.”
In response, Crime Prevention Minister Lynne Featherstone said: “The Government currently has no plans to legalise cannabis or to change our approach to its use as a medicine. However, the Government takes all harms caused by alcohol and drugs seriously and will keep an open mind as evidence evolves on this complex issue.”
I heard Lynne Featherstone speak at the Alcohol Concern conference in November and she left after her speech and was therefore unable to take any questions. Pity as I’m sure there were plenty of delegates that day who would have liked to ask some tough questions about the issue of alcohol in this country ……