Nick Clegg calls for reform of drugs laws

Deputy prime minister says David Cameron must show courage over debate on drugs

Britain is losing the war on drugs on an industrial scale, Nick Clegg has said as he called for a reform of drugs laws.

The leader of the Liberal Democrats said the prime minister needed to show courage over the debate on drugs, after David Cameron ruled out a review into the government’s approach earlier this week.

In an interview with the Sun, the deputy prime minister said: “If you were waging any other war where you have 2,000 fatalities a year, your enemies are making billions in profit, constantly throwing new weapons at you and targeting more young people, you would have to say you are losing and it’s time to do something different.

“I’m anti-drugs – it’s for that reason I’m pro-reform.”

He insisted he was not in favour of full legalisation of drugs but thought targeting dealers and traffickers, while decriminalising possession, might be a solution.

The Commons home affairs committee found the government’s drugs policies to be failing in a report published on Monday, and recommended that a royal commission look at alternatives.

Clegg told the Sun he would include a “clear commitment” to a royal commission on drugs in his party’s 2015 manifesto.

He added: “I told the prime minister that this was a missed opportunity. He knows my views on this. He and I don’t agree on this.”

The Lib Dem leader said he had ordered the Home Office minister Jeremy Browne to compile a report on liberal approaches to drugs across the world which have worked, including in Portugal, Amsterdam, Latin America and several US states.

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