The Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron is calling for cannabis to be legalised for recreational use, despite mounting evidence of the drug’s harmful effects.
Farron is set to support a motion at the Liberal Democrats’ spring conference, to be tabled by the former health minister Norman Lamb, which urges the party to back an even weaker stance on cannabis.
Currently the party is in favour of legalising the drug for ‘medicinal’ use – the former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is supporting a campaign pushing for this change in the law.
The Liberal Democrats are set to release a report “in due course”, claiming that legalising cannabis would generate large amounts of tax revenue.
The panel working on the report included the controversial former Government drugs advisor Professor David Nutt.
Farron commented: “I personally believe the war on drugs is over. We must move from making this a legal issue to one of health.
The Government has said it has no intention of liberalising current drugs laws.
A large study carried out in the US and published earlier this month revealed that smoking cannabis can cause irreversible damage to short-term memory.
Researchers at the University of Lausanne looked at the progress of 3385 people over 25 years and tested them on verbal memory, processing speed, and ‘executive functioning’.
The results showed that of the 392 participants who continued to use cannabis into middle age, “cumulative lifetime exposure was associated with worse performance in all 3 domains of cognitive function”.