‘Cannabis ruined my daughter’s life’

Journalist Anne Atkins has opposed fresh calls to legalise cannabis, saying it “wrecked” her daughter’s life.

In a column for the Daily Mail, she rejected a new pro-cannabis report backed by several MPs, including former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

The report, released by free market think-tank The Adam Smith Institute and pro-drug group VolteFace, claims that legalisation would earn up to £1 billion every year in tax revenue.

’Wrecks lives’

Responding to the claim, Atkins said she did not care “how much it nets”, adding that “cannabis is not the cuddly, harmless puff we pretend it is: it wrecks lives, as it wrecked our daughter Lara’s”.

While at university, Lara stopped taking antidepressants and began using cannabis.

It soon began to seriously affect her personality and led to other problems including a period of homelessness.

She has recently been moved to supported accommodation, after going through a period that she calls a ‘four-year psychosis’.


Cannabis is not the cuddly, harmless puff we pretend it is: it wrecks lives.
Anne Atkins

Atkins wrote, “when I hear of the liberal elite, led by Nick Clegg, calling for the legalisation of cannabis because ‘it’s not very harmful’ or ‘everyone’s doing it’, it makes me not just sad, but angry.

“The U.S. states of Colorado and Washington decriminalised cannabis four years ago. Not surprisingly, use is way up, including by minors”.

Atkins added that it is only when “cannabis has become as unacceptable as hard drugs” that we will “really be getting to grips with it”.


Responding to the release of the pro-cannabis report, a spokesman for Home Office said: “This government has no plans to legalise cannabis.”

“There is a substantial body of scientific and medical evidence to show that cannabis is a harmful drug which can damage people’s mental and physical health.

“The UK’s approach on drugs remains clear – we must prevent drug use in our communities and support people dependent on drugs through treatment and recovery.”