The Times has boldly gone where few newspapers – and very, very few politicians – have ever dared to go before by declaring itself in favour of legalising drugs in Britain.
In a leading article, “Breaking Good”, the paper has supported a call on the government by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) to decriminalise both the possession and use of all illegal drugs.
Accepting that it “is radical advice”, the Times thought it “sound” and urged ministers to “give it serious consideration”.
Newspapers have usually shied away from adopting such a stance. In 1997, the Independent on Sunday, then edited by Rosie Boycott, came out in favour of decriminalising cannabis. The following year, thousands gathered in London’s Hyde Park in support of her campaign to change the law.
But 10 years later, long after Boycott had departed, the paper changed its mind. It argued that new strains of cannabis, notably skunk, were dangerous, causing disorders such as psychosis and schizophrenia.