A REFORMED drug addict claims legalising cannabis would be the equivalent of “aiding and abetting murder”.
Steve Pope, who now runs the SPA Rehabilitation Centre in Bispham, made the comments after two American states sanctioned the recreational use of marijuana earlier this week.
He has now warned politicians on this side of the Atlantic Ocean that using the legalisation of cannabis as a “vote catcher” would lead to a rise in the number of people suffering from the misery of drug addiction.
He said: “In the front line of drug rehabilitation we find we have more problems per head of addicts coming in who have used cannabis to start with.
“People who think cannabis doesn’t do any harm are led into a false sense of security, it’s very strong and very addictive.
“It’s dangerous and the message has to be all drugs are dangerous and to start legalising is aiding and abetting murder.”
It is sometimes argued the effects of cannabis are less harmful than legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco, and if decriminalised it could be made safer due to supplies being controlled by the Government rather than criminals.
Mr Pope speculates drug legalisation would be a popular policy for politicians in this country to push following Colorado and Washington giving the go-ahead for the decriminalisation of cannabis, but has cautioned this will lead to more people using harder drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines as a result.
He said: “I would think it’s a vote catcher, but I work day in day out with people with drug problems and cannabis goes hand in hand with harder drugs so while it may be a vote winner, it’s not worth it.”
Mark Shear, a recovery drugs worker at HMP Kirkham, is also a recovered drug addict.
He said: “I don’t believe it should be legalised, although some people do. A lot of young people get into it. I got into it as well and I don’t think I achieved my potential when I was younger as a result.
“It would probably be taxed to high heaven if it was legalised too.”