One of the revelations from the Daily Mail's serialisation of Lord Ashcroft's book Call Me Dave is that David Cameron smoked marijuana while at the University of Oxford. Aside from this making him more relatable, it has been reported that as a young MP he was open to the idea of decriminalisation. A stance which he now believes to be wrong, saying in 2012: "I don't support the decriminalisation of any drugs that are currently illegal."
Lord Ashcroft's book speculates that a young Mr Cameron was willing to stick his neck out over drug policy because of a loved one's involvement in drug taking. But as the years have progressed, Mr Cameron's views on the matter have changed with some saying that it has been in the interest of keeping the Conservative Party united.
Though as a revelation surfaced today that an influential think-tank member said that Mr Cameron does not believe in anything, I believe that if he had managed to maintain the convictions of his youth then he would easily manage to stave off any question of his principles. Increasingly so as now there are more and more calls for the Government to approach issues such as the criminal status of drug addicts through more accepting means. Figures ranging from Russell Brand to Sir Richard Branson have called for treating it as an illness as a more effective way to tackle addiction.
Research conducted has shown that decriminalising drug use has led to reductions in drug related death. Meaning that treating addiction as an illness and not as a crime will help people.
By allowing people the opportunity to be open and honest about the situation they find themselves in, we greater improve the possibility that they will get better. As demonstrated by Portugal leading way through decriminalisation.
As James Delingpole, Mr Cameron's friend at University and now a prolific right-wing journalist wrote in the Spectator, through an eventual legalisation of drugs you allow them to be monitored and regulated in a much safer capacity. Mr Delingpole is right in saying that the weed they both smoked at University will be very different to the stronger version people smoke today. Only through bringing drugs out into the open are we able to fully understand and guide how they are used.
This does not mean that drugs are good or that they are something to be desired in everyday life. But through consistently denying the benefits that come with legalising and regulating them and persisting in an expensive and useless war against them, you only prolong and worsen the issue.