Alex Salmond Admits He 'Dabbled' With Cannabis As A Student

09/03/2016 18:27 | Updated 09 March 2016

Alex Salmond today admitted he smoked cannabis while at university, but claimed he didn’t “exhale”.

The former SNP leader made the confession on his weekly radio phone-in show on LBC, after being asked if had “dabbled” with cannabis while a student in the 1970s.

Salmond appeared to paraphrase former US President Bill Clinton with his reply, who famously said he “didn’t inhale” when he smoked cannabis as a student.

After being asked by LBC presenter Iain Dale if he had experimented with drugs while studying economics and medieval history at St Andrews University, Salmond said: "I didn't exhale. I think there's lots of dabblers, including yourself Iain."

Dale replied that he had never taken drugs, leading Salmond to say: "For goodness sake, what a life you've led.

“Until Iain Dale got on the radio he did nothing at all exciting, folks."

Despite owning up to his dabbling past, Salmond did not back Lib Dem calls for cannabis to be legalised.

Cannabis is currently classified as a Class B drug, with possession carrying a maximum sentence of five years in jail or an unlimited fine. Those supplying or producing cannabis face tougher penalties, with up to a maximum of 14 years in jail.

This week Lib Dem leader Tim Farron supported legalising the drug, and said: "It is waste of police time to go after young people using cannabis and ludicrous to saddle them with criminal convictions that can damage their future careers.

“A legal market would allow us to have more control over what is sold, and raise a considerable amount in taxation.

“I have always said that we must have an evidence led approach to drugs law reform, and this report should be taken seriously. Britain has to end our failed war on drugs. The status quo causes huge damage and we urgently need reform.”

Speaking on LBC this afternoon, Salmond disagreed with the conclusions of the independent review set up by the Lib Dems.

He said: "The difficulty with legalisation is the nature of the types of different aspects of cannabis.

"The only thing I've been able to nail down as a deliverable objective is cannabis for medicinal purposes for people with long-term conditions and illnesses. I'm hugely sympathetic to doing that.

"In terms of broad legalisation you would have difficulty now in trying to differentiate between a variety of categories of drugs.

“You can quite easily see types of cannabis as less harmful than tobacco or less harmful than alcohol.

"There are other types of cannabis which are clearly not of a modest impact."

Cannabis laws around the world

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