Professor David Nutt has recently been fired as chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) by Home Secretary, Alan Johnson.

Hackney Citizen reporters Emma Ailes and Demian Smith have been on Ridley Road market, Dalston, asking people their views on whether politicians should make drugs laws based on their own opinions, or on scientific evidence.

After giving a lecture on drugs that criticised the moral tone of policy decisions, Johnson said that Nutt had gone beyond his remit and risked undermining the Government’s attempts to provide clear messages on drugs.

The ACMD, the Government’s science advisory panel, has provided clear evidence that shows cannabis and ecstasy to be less harmful to the user than tobacco and alcohol. However, drugs laws do not reflect the relative harm of ‘soft’ drugs such as cannabis.

Professor Beddington, the UK’s chief science advisor, agrees with Nutt’s comments on the harmful effects of cannabis.

Six out of the 31 science advisors on the ACMD panel have now resigned in protest against the Home Secretary’s decision (as of 11 November 2009).

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