The Christian Institute

News Release

Howard could have blocked reclassification of cannabis

A leading Christian organisation is today blaming Conservative Party leader, Michael Howard, for allowing the law on cannabis to be weakened. Conservative Peers in the House of Lords together with cross benchers and probable Labour abstentions would have been enough to scupper the Government’s controversial proposals to reclassify cannabis. But Michael Howard’s decision to drop the Tory whip in the Lords’ vote sank any chance of success. When it came to the vote, the Conservative Front Bench abstained.

The Christian Institute’s analysis of the Lords’ vote, together with indications from many Peers, shows that the Government’s cannabis plans could have been defeated. But the Conservatives decided, instead, to move a ‘non-fatal’ motion which allowed the Government plans to pass while at the same time recording concern that reclassification would increase cannabis use amongst young people. In the Commons, while still under the leadership of Iain Duncan Smith, the Tories had a ‘three-line whip’ against reclassifying cannabis.

Speaking today, Colin Hart (Director of The Christian Institute) said: “The reclassification of cannabis is a backward step in the fight against drugs. Many people will suffer as a result. The Conservative party had a real opportunity to block the Government’s plans in the House of Lords. Michael Howard’s decision that Peers should not vote against reclassification is appalling. He deliberately sank any chance of stopping these damaging proposals.”

“The Bible bluntly teaches that drunkenness is wrong: ‘Do not get drunk on wine’ (Ephesians 5:18). Intoxication and loss of control are intrinsic to taking drugs. Intoxication is also wrong because of escapism. People cannot solve their problems by running away from them. Down the ages Christians have been at the forefront of battling against the epidemic of public drunkenness and the personal tragedy of alcoholism. Now Christians must take a stand as it becomes ever more fashionable to argue for the legalisation of all drugs.”

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