CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

IDS: ‘You can’t stop skunk dealers by legalising cannabis’

Warning over link between 'gang warfare' and recreational drug market

03 October, 2019 — By Richard Osley in Manchester

Former Tory Iain Duncan Smith argues against legalising cannabis

A GOVERNMENT big hitter gave short shrift to the suggestion that legalising cannabis would disrupt drug dealers.

Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative Party leader, told a fringe meeting on Tuesday morning: “It is wishful thinking. We are still going to need police action.” The meeting was partly attended by Tories who think the law should be changed.

Tory MP Crispin Blunt spoke in favour of legalisation, but Mr Duncan Smith argued that because dealers offered the more potent strand of cannabis known as skunk, an uncompromising black market would still exist.

He said: “Dealers have already said categorically that they will continue to sell skunk. It will definitely be sold by them.”

He said he was well aware of the “gang warfare” on the streets. “The dealers see cannabis as a pathway drug,” he said. “They give cannabis actually to school kids on the basis that it invites them into harder drugs.”

He added: “Please don’t anyone give me a lecture: gangs are already doing what they will do if this drug is regulated.”

Camden Council ran a guilt-trip poster campaign last year, claiming recreational cannabis smokers were helping to keep vulnerable young people enslaved in a drug market. Mr Duncan Smith said more rehab centre support was needed to help the addicted.

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