One for the road

Baroness Deech

Sir Peter North, distinguished legal academic, has recommended in a review that the limit for drink driving should be reduced from 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood to 50mg.  He estimated that this would save 168 lives a year, and also recommended that the offence be coupled with a mandatory 12 month ban.  The proposed new limit would bring us into line with most of Europe: indeed some countries (Czech Republic and Slovakia) have a 0mg limit. On the one hand, this reduced new limit would still allow for one glass of wine or beer and keep more people safe; on the other, why do we allow under 25-year-old males to drive at all, since they are responsible for an unduly high proportion of deaths on the road? A balance has to be struck.  I would be interested to know the reaction of readers before we are asked to change the law on this.

43 comments for “One for the road

  1. 20/06/2010 at 11:03 pm

    What about banning drinking in both houses, with mandatory drugs testing?

    After all, given the sterotype, why should we allow anyone to affect legistlation if they are as drunk as a lord?

    What about the drinks bill we are funding?

    The House of Lords is to spend £100million on new offices opposite Parliament, with a wine cellar and art store, The Times can reveal.

    The cost of the proposed redevelopment could more than double if approval is given for an underground tunnel connecting the new offices to the Palace of Westminster.

    The biggest overhaul of the Lords estate in a generation comes after years of complaining by peers about cramped conditions. But there is growing disquiet about the cost of the project. With only 117 of the 733 peers able to move into the building, the cost would approach £1million per peer, even before the tunnel was taken into account.

    Lord Blagger.

    Time to set up a building firm, to go with the drinks company

    • Lord Norton
      21/06/2010 at 10:08 am

      Lord Blagger: The Times were misinformed! No wine cellar, no new tunnel… I won’t comment on a ban on drinking in Westminster, as it wouldn’t affect me!

      • 21/06/2010 at 10:18 am

        So where’s your evidence? Are you saying there were no plans to do this?

        Lets look at some other bits as well.

        1. Why do the Lords state they replace their silver every 20 years?
        2. Why are you eating with silver in the first place?

        Lord Blagger.

      • 21/06/2010 at 10:44 am

        When you state – there is no wine cellar, perhaps you can explain this little snippet.

        This is a tender put out by the house of lords, for wine to put in their cellar. Delivered to the parliamentary estate.

        Value of the contract? 824 000 GBP excluding VAT.

        • Lord Norton
          21/06/2010 at 4:12 pm

          Lord Blagger: It appears to be the tender for the usual supplies for the next four years to cover the existing outlets. The cost will be recouped by the sale of same in those outlets.

          • 21/06/2010 at 4:19 pm

            And the wine goes into the cellar.

            It’s not just for the subsidised bars either.

            So are you now saying that the cellars do exist? or Are they phantom too?

            What about the original questions?

            Should we have drunk lords voting? Or MPs for that matter. There was one the other day that the speaker warned.

            Should we have the Lords running a wine list at the expense of the public?

          • 21/06/2010 at 7:18 pm

            No it won’t. Read the tender. A large proportion is for freebees.

            You have also ignored the question of subsidy within the houses. Why should we subsidise your drinking (peers in general)

            You are also confusing the reason for the link to the new cellar. It illustrates the problem. The lords were considering spending large amounts of cash on a new cellar and the wine. It shows a way of thinking when it comes to public money and the ‘club’.

            Just like attempted murder. Is it an offence to try?

            Is it wrong to try and get a cellar full of wine for the Lords and their private drinking club?

            Should we have pissed Lords legislating? ie. Back to the original post. If its wrong to be inhebriated and in charge of a car, why isn’t it wrong to be pissed when legislating? If its wrong to be pissed and legislate, why is there huge sums of money going on drinking in Parliament, funded by the tax payer.
            Lord Blagger

          • 23/06/2010 at 10:45 am

            Interesting that you say the cost will be recouped by the sale.

            Today with have this little snippet on the BBC.


            House of Commons bar prices are to rise to those of “high street” pub chains, as Parliament looks to make savings on subsidised food and drink.


            ie. We have been paying for drinking in the Commons and the Lords.

            This is at odds with the statement that the money will be recouped from sales. Until this change is implemented, the money will partly come from sales, and the rest will come from the taxpayer.

            Lord Blagger.

    • 21/06/2010 at 10:09 am

      Lord Blagger, that article is from June 2008! Even if it was ever true, it’s unlikely it would be still on the cards given the current state of finances.

      • 21/06/2010 at 10:28 am

        Isn’t that a bit like a bank robber saying, look, you’ve caught me but I didn’t get the cash. You can’t prosecute me since I haven’t managed to get away with it.

        Lord Blagger

      • 21/06/2010 at 12:01 pm

        That’s a dam good idea, Jonathan:
        let The Lords eat off cardboard plates (which would still be a luxury some of us plebs can not always afford).

      • 21/06/2010 at 1:07 pm

        Not the case Jonathon. There is a huge tender out for supplying the Lords with wine, spirits and beers.

        • Lord Norton
          21/06/2010 at 4:13 pm

          Lord Blagger: see above. The tender has nothing to do with the new island site, which is not yet finished.

          • 21/06/2010 at 4:21 pm

            And the wine goes into the cellar.

            It’s not just for the subsidised bars either.

            So are you now saying that the cellars do exist? or Are they phantom too?

            What about the original questions?

            Should we have drunk lords voting? Or MPs for that matter. There was one the other day that the speaker warned.

            Should we have the Lords running a wine list at the expense of the public?

            (Where you store our wine for your drinking pleasure isn’t the real issue)

            It’s being pissed in charge of the law, and billing us for the cost.

    • 21/06/2010 at 11:58 pm

      Lord Blagger, I still don’t know who you ‘are’; but I agree with your above first three sentences.

      Monitoring the compos-mentis level of each lord and lady in the House of Lords building should be carried on continually.

      If ‘under the influence’ they should be either excluded the while from participation in anything affecting the Legislation or legislative-process, or have a large upper-case sign hung around their neck “HALF-DRUNK 35” or “HAD A FIX OF’CRACK’, so that the monitoring-citizenry can see who and how-many are a possible-threat to the tightness of the legislation itself, and be thus enabled to jot quick notes as to the ‘queerness’ of any such member’s’ participation.

      Or simply limit their speaking-time to 30 seconds and exclude them from voting ‘whilst under the influence’ ?
      Lest we should lose anything positive an under-the-influence member might contribute, however, what’d be wrong with having them visit a nearby recording-room and spill-their-beans there ? the recording should soon thereafter be vetted by an elected Vetting Group comprised of one member from each of the parties or argument-positions in the House ?

  2. 20/06/2010 at 11:39 pm

    A balance has to be struck when it comes to preventing under-25s from driving, that’s true. Denying someone the ability to drive would cause them severe difficulties due to the terrible state of public transport in many parts of the country, and due to many employers still establishing themselves in locations inaccessible without a car (even public sector employers – but that’s going too far off topic).

    However, drinking is not essential, it’s as simple as that. It’s not at all necessary or important. So why should some “right” to drink be put before the safety of other people? Try telling the bereaved relatives of innocent people killed by drink drivers that you’d put the driver’s right to have a drink before the dead relative’s life.

    Having said that, I do have one reservation. Unfortunately, I feel it’s a view also being pushed by people who simply want the limit to stay as it is so that people can drink as at present, but putting that aside for the moment, it might have some merit. It is that reducing the limit will reduce people’s respect for the law, making it more widely ignored than at present. Given that, perhaps an effectively zero limit is more appropriate (surely not actually zero due to alcohol content of medicines, and those naturally occurring in the body). That way it would send out a clear message, which is what the police still recommend, and was subject to an advertising campaign a few years ago: “None for the road”.

    Alternatively, if the limit stays where it is, there should be much stricter penalties and enforcement. Police should have the power to randomly breath-test drivers, and anyone convicted of drink-driving should face a short prison sentence (a shock for otherwise law-abiding citizens, without being too much of a burden on the prisons) and lose their licence for a long time (5 years+) if not indefinitely (and should also face an automatic extended retest if they are allowed to drive again).

    There is often a view expressed in the media that drink driving is now socially unacceptable, yet I’m not sure it is to the extent claimed. While most people if asked would say drink driving in unacceptable, when it comes to the evening, and they are the ones enjoying a few drinks, I have found on a number of occasions professional, middle-class people suggesting it is OK “just this once” because it’s a “special occasion” and they aren’t driving far. They still seem to consider drink-driving something a small number of alcoholics do. The change in attitudes still has some way to go, and a change in the law of one sort or another could be just what is needed.

  3. 21/06/2010 at 8:06 am

    It was noted in The Times (via that an intoxicated pedestrian is 5-8 time more likely to die than a similarly intoxicated motorist.

    Lowering the drink/drive limit will result in more drunk pedestrians weaving their way home in the evening.

    I fear we are going to lower the headline rate for intoxication, and raise the underlying rate of casualties.

    On a frivolous matter though:

    “indeed some countries (Czech Republic and Slovakia) have a 0mg limit.” …did rather read like:

    “indeed some countries (Czech Republic and Slovakia) have an Oh My God limit.”

    • 21/06/2010 at 10:12 am

      IanVisits: at least pedestrians are primarily a risk to themselves. As I say in my comment, drink drivers kill innocent people.

      Also, we are not taking about people who are intoxicated, but people who are over a 50mg/100ml driving limit. I don’t know what level of intoxication your article refers to as the link is invalid.

      • 22/06/2010 at 9:30 am

        At the risk of my being seen as a ‘Bernard from Yes Minister’, Jonathan, IanVisits said “an intoxicated pedestrian is 5-8 time more likely to die…”;
        ‘more likely to be killed’ was not mentioned:
        therefore since there are 5 to 8 times more pedestrians than motorists in a street at the average drinking time-of-day, it is simply arithmetical that more pedestrians are killed by motorists
        {?? than motorists by pedestrians ??……. But , Roll on the Revolution and we’ll soon remedy that imbalance ….. heh-heh-heh-heh-heh ! }

        Furthermore, strictly speaking it is not so much the driver that kills people, it is the car, motorbike, party-limmo, overworked underpaid exhausted ten-ton heavy-goods-vehicle, battle-bundle-of-nerves tank trying to establish a peace, allied-defence aircraft performing “friendly-fire”…

        but enough!
        Anybody see ‘Fake Britain (BBC 1 2000M210610); combine forged labelling with poisonous ersatz contents, in cigarettes and vodka to mention but two {made in China} being smuggled into UK and massively distributed to genuine retail outlets and ‘snapped up’ by canny shoppers, and you have an added cause for dangerous-living than mere drink-driving.

        Incidentally, anybody else realise that a truly ‘good’ reason for inhaling cigarette smoke has been silently bequeathed to us from the thousands and tens-of-thousands of soldiers who had to cower half-starved in filthy and bombarded mud trenches in France, ‘psyching’ themselves up with a shared ‘sacramental’ last cigarette before fixing bayonets and charging the Enemy ?
        Of 10 comrades making the ensuing bayonet-charge only one, a previously devout Christian, returned.

        But he never attended a mass or holy-communion ever again, for his far deeper ‘sacramental’ memory was of his nine mates who had been chopped up in No-Man’s-Land by ‘Bosch’ machine-guns and left to rot in foul sludge worse than scythed noxious weeds. His ‘university-of-life’ had taught him the precious value of nine mates, and of the three last-cigarettes they had shared and joked about, to perk up enough ‘morale’ to believe-to-the-death in braving bullets and slaughtering the Other-Side’s Criminals.

        The ‘good’ reason for their smoking, however ?
        Nicotine breathed into the lungs is an almost instant stimulant; just what our ‘boys’ needed after their commander snapped “Fix bayonets” and blew the ‘Over The Top’ whistle.

        ‘We’ won the War; and our one precious soldier came home, now unobtrusively upholding an unspeakably deeper and more precious memory than the morsel of bread and the sip of wine: the last-sacrament, The Cigarette.

        But he relinquished even that ‘one last puff’ before his own dying day: for by the time lung-cancer eventually pained him such that he had to report sick, it was too late. That is the >90% ‘chance’ with lung-cancer.
        He had won the war;
        did he come home and also win the peace ?

        Yes, my Lords; we dare to say He most certainly did.

        It is all the others of us,
        led by ? ? ?
        who have since been Losing one peace after another !

        (‘) Every day to survive and thrive we must break the body and shed the blood of this Earth.
        When we do this skilfully it becomes a Sacrament.
        But when we do it unskilfully, clumsily, it is a Blasphemy (‘).

        I have no problem with ‘zero tolerance’ in these Issues of Excess, Abuse and Neglect.

  4. TSteffen
    21/06/2010 at 8:57 am

    I thought the answer to the age is obvious: you can choose to drink or not, but you cannot choose your age. And if we say you are an adult with 18, that comes with a set of rights and responsibilities, and access to driving is one of them.

    That being said more should be done for young drivers. A “first strike out” policy comes to mind, which is successfully used in many countries around the globe.

    • 21/06/2010 at 3:11 pm

      (Off topic) TSteffen: there is always the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act, but I suspect you mean more strict rules than that. I would favour a ban on young drivers from carrying more than one passenger. Too often I see very bad driving caused purely by showing off: invariably there are four other young people in the car. Alone, young drivers suddenly become much better.

  5. 21/06/2010 at 9:10 am

    Last time I checked, one could not choose to be an under-25 male, so comparing those two columns in the actuarial tables is just a little bit specious, really.

  6. Chris K
    21/06/2010 at 10:43 am

    By international standards, of the countries with limits (which is most, excluding Saudi Arabia and a few others), we have one of the most generous limits. It’s the same as in the USA and Canada and also in countries with similar roads and traffic rules to us, such as Malta, New Zealand and Singapore.

    Knowing that I feel much happier that we also have one of the toughest penalties for someone over the limit – the loss of their licence for 1 year.

    If the limit was reduced I feel rather uncomfortable that it would be the wrong people being criminalised.

    Who would be the people caught by the new limit? My suspicion is women at a restaurant who maybe had a large glass of wine while their husbands polished off the rest of the bottle.

    I’m not going to defend choosing to impair your driving ability by having any alcohol at all. But people drive impaired by other means seemingly quite lawfully. Driving sleep-deprived is said to be “about the same” as driving approximately at the present drink-drive limit. Driving with a bout of cold/flu the same.

    To my mind that makes the current limit more than just an arbitrary number because it actually seems to relate to an approximate level of impairment that can be achieved by perfectly innocent means. Yet for 50 I have yet to see any arguments along those lines – it really is just a number that’s lower.

    Do we really want police dealing with people who have had fallen between 50 and 80? Aren’t there much greater risks out there they should be dealing with, such as those who think they can massively exceed the current limit and drive? And drug drivers? And even tailgaters?

    I worry that, if the limit is reduced, it will eat up traffic police time. There is enough danger on our roads at the moment which is not being dealt with, and will continue not to be dealt with so long as it’s easier to catch people for blowing 51 than it is for being high on heroin/crack/cannabis.

    I always get rather angry watching ‘Road Wars’ and similar programmes. One I saw recently was a lad who was pulled over because he was seen smoking ganja while driving. Did the policeman do an impairment test? No because that’s far too much effort because there aren’t quick tests for drug use. He was sent on his way. Had he been seen drinking a stella then I guarantee he would have been breathalysed and dealt with accordingly.

  7. 21/06/2010 at 12:21 pm

    Drink-driving is one “let’s balance this see-saw” area where we need the see-saw to be anchored down at one end (and/or propped up at the other): therefore “zero-tolerance”.
    In being this deadly-serious, I would support a ‘weaning’ timeline e.g. 40% to start with for 12 months; then 20% for 12 months, then 10% for twelve months, then 5 -4 -3 -2 – 1 for twelve months each.

    “Right to drink alcohol” ?
    More crucially and of an Overarching Order is y/our long-term chronicly-terminal Failure to make detailed distinctions between Needs and Rights.

  8. James Walker
    21/06/2010 at 1:29 pm

    Speaking as an under-25 male driver, I find your post rather discriminatory. Plus isn’t it possible that the higher number of crashes is due to relative inexperience more than recklessness? Thus banning it would just move the problem up.

    In my view, they’re should prolly be extra test you can take ontop of the driving test, which if passed would also be guaranteed in lowering your insurance.

  9. Twm O'r Nant
    21/06/2010 at 4:36 pm


    The biggest problem for motorists, and it gets worse and worse.

    You have to remember that it is Driving Licence and not Driving Freedom.

    Nobody has a “right” to drive.

    They have a licence, which far more people should have taken away.

  10. Edward Brunsdon
    21/06/2010 at 5:54 pm

    I think it makes sense to cut it significantly. The 80mg level was to some extent a compromise, in an age where drinking and driving was less socially frowned on.

    The public would definately accept 50mg now, and there is really no sensible civil liberties argument against it.

    But whilst this legislation is being prepared – it would make sense to clear up other issues (1) It would also make sense to raise the driving age to 18. Seventeen now looks like a very peculiar anomoly. (2) The penalties against illegal and uninsured drivers are not all that harsh, these need to be toughened up.

  11. Baroness Deech
    21/06/2010 at 11:00 pm

    The majority opinion appears to favour lowering the limit, and I will remember this when it comes to a vote.

    We don’t eat off silver by the way. There is a very reasonable self service canteen, complete with plastic cutlery, in the basement; if you eat in a dining room in the Lords where you can take guests, the cost is very high.

    • 22/06/2010 at 8:35 am

      You should try reading the Lords accounts. You have a large collection of silver and the notes say that its useful life is 20 years.

      So I’m only going on the facts as to what’s the Lords are up to, not hearsay.

      You’ve not commented on the point about drunk in charge of legistlation.

      If you can’t operate a car after drinking because you don’t have the mental faculties, why shouldn’t that apply to the Lords?

      Why also should the public subsidise the drinking habits of Lords?

      Lord Blagger

      • 24/06/2010 at 3:01 pm

        Lord Blagger, this has all been covered on this blog numerous times. Many employers subsidise canteens for their staff. The outlets in Parliament are for staff as well as members, many of whom are not very well-paid. Peers are also unpaid. Both peers and MPs also often sit until late in the evening, when most people would long have left work – often to visit a bar. Why shouldn’t Lords have a break to have some dinner, maybe with a drink too? No-one is talking about peers or MPs legislating when drunk, and there’s no evidence that happens. Even if they were, they aren’t going to kill someone, unlike drivers, and their actions are soon undone or overruled by other members.

        Why always single out the Lords for criticism? Why not other organisations? The Lord Bloggers politely reply to you every time, but I think many other readers are now becoming very tired of your one-track, stuck-record approach.

        • Lord Blagger
          24/06/2010 at 8:47 pm

          The Lord Bloggers politely reply to you every time,

          No they don’t. There are many questions unanswered. There are lots of posts of mine asking questions that have been sensored, and yet we have one Lord breaking the rules of the blog and making personal attacks.

          On the question of canteens, that’s one thing.

          However, please tell me how many firms subsidise the drinking of their staff in bars. Do they provide vouchers for Weatherspoons for example?

          It’s not a one track issue. It’s fundamental. What do we get for 2,000 plus pounds a day per Lord? The answer is that the Lords can’t tell us. Even Phillip states its a difficult question to answer.

          So I’ve proposed various measures of productivity. Since the Lords here have a inkling about the real answers, they have decided that the answer is to make personal attacks, in a effort to avoid answering the question of productivity.

          Now you can do this sort of research for yourself. You don’t have to take my word for it, and it won’t take long.

          Pick a Lord, any Lord. Go to the Hansard site, and select them. Pick a year, I suggest the last complete year’s record, and look at how many days you can find them asking a question, written or spoken. Look at each day, and ask yourself the question, are these comments worth 2,000 pounds for the day?

          Then go and look at the expenses for that Lord. Look at the number of days they claim attendance allowances. Now you need to multiply the number of days by 2,000 and then re-ask the question. Are the contributions worth the cost?

          Ask again, is it worth one person on minimum wage working for a year to keep a lord going for one day?

          That’s the problem. You can’t isolate the Lords from their effects, good or bad.

          Lord Blagger.

        • 25/06/2010 at 9:19 am

          We should have a progressive Index on this site, so that the newcomer can catch-up on past entrenchments, eh ? D’accord if so.

          Jonathan, your subsequent stuff has been infiltrated by an insidious form of communicational-virus called Ad Hominem, attacking the person (when what is needed is a thorough tackling of the Problem).

          (Retorts such as “But s/he is The Problem” only drag in further Fallacies and Crooked Thinking (see also Thouless).

          • 26/06/2010 at 12:53 pm

            jsdm: Perhaps an indec would benefit you in this instance, but Lord Blagger himself (or whichever of his other identities he might use) will be quite familiar with all the times he’s posted exactly the same arguments on this blog. When I said it’s been covered many times, that’s almost always in reply to his own comments!

  12. 22/06/2010 at 1:05 am

    The current tests determine whether a driver is ‘under’ the limit and so a zero threshold is most easily understood. I would be happy with this if I knew how soon I could drive after a portion of sherry trifle. Reducing the limit to 50mg, or 25mg, or zero, does not answer this question. Should sherry trifle be off limits? Should I be prevented from babysitting after a chocolate liqueur?

  13. Senex
    22/06/2010 at 9:00 pm

    Sir Peter North’s argument for legislation is flawed if we take into account the work done by the Norwegian Centre for Addiction Research in 2009.

    Its conclusion states:

    “This study demonstrates that cannabis impairs driving ability in a concentration-related manner. The effect is smaller than for ethanol. The effect of ethanol and cannabis taken simultaneously is additive. Conjunctival injection, dilated pupils and slow pupil reaction are among the few signs to reveal THC influence.”

    Parliament must take issue with the ability of law enforcement to effectively police its laws otherwise both the law and its enforcers fall into disrepute. In this case lowering the limit to 50 mg/100 ml would not take into account the additive effect of ethanol and blood THC concentration. Indeed in his report the acronym THC is nowhere to be found.

    The law is found to be wanting by its inability to prescribe a legal limit for blood THC concentrations or limits when both ethanol and THC are detected together in blood samples. What must be a matter of serious concern for those that have suffered the loss of a close one is that a test result of 50 mg/100 ml in combination with a blood THC concentration might effectively work to place the level of intoxication higher than the 80 mg/100 ml attributed to ethanol alone?

    Ref: The north review of drink and drug driving law:
    Sir Peter North CBE QC; 16 June 2010
    Addiction: Volume 105 Issue 6, Pages 1080 – 1087
    Impairment due to cannabis and ethanol: clinical signs and additive effects

    • 23/06/2010 at 9:54 am

      Senex: I believe we already have a legal limit for THC in this country: zero.

      I say take the driving licence off anyone found in possession of cannabis. That way you solve two problems at once.

      • Twm O'r Nant
        24/06/2010 at 8:21 am

        “Senex: I believe we already have a legal limit for THC in this country: zero.”

        Surely possession and presence in the blood are two different things. How are tests done for presence in the blood of cannabis or cocaine?

        It’s not as though you carry alcohol around with you in your car, after you have been to a drinks party.

  14. Twm O'r Nant
    23/06/2010 at 8:12 pm

    Two slightly off topic points in reply to enjoyable reading above:

    I believe it is generally considered bad manners, certainly in the other place, to comment on members’ drinking habits.

    On the subject of the trenches, they say that country boys who had pink healthy lungs from all the fresh air of their your never suffered from gassing in the same way as the townees, most of whom died of it.
    I have heard of some who returned from the trenches gassed, and recovered to live long and healthy lives on the farm.

    I am in favor of a nil tolerance of alcohol while on the road but will it allow drivers to drive faster and faster and will they tailgate more and more and more?

    I am all in favour of “bonnetgating” in which you see how slowly you can go on a busy road
    to avoid catching up any where near with the car in front.

    Adjust your mirrors now so that you can not see a thing behind you and you will enjoy an empty and open road.

  15. Senex
    23/06/2010 at 8:20 pm

    Jonathan: I believe the view of the house (second report) is that cannabis should be legalised for medical use. There is evidence (wiki link) that injections of THC eliminate dependence on opiates. Lord Adebowale talks about the inadequacy of present drug control regimes and the legal point you make is discussed in the ninth report.

    Medical use of cannabis discreetly goes on. There are also trials in the UK of heroin being used instead of methadone to reduce or eliminate dependency because its more effective than methadone alone.

    The problem is with law enforcement. Random breathalyser testing might reveal somebody at a 50mg level but its unlikely because the breath test devices are go-no-go at 80 mg and not linearly calibrated. Somebody could be on medical heroin or cannabis at such times taking the effective measure of intoxication well over 100mg ethanol and get away with it.

    Parliament could do what it has been doing of late and pass a law that has no hope of being an effective deterrent just to get the public off its back. And when somebody dies in a road accident Parliament sticks its hand in the air and says: well, we passed a law to stop this. Not acceptable!

    The question is will putting a limit on THC encourage cannabis use generally? The police need to test for both ethanol and THC and if THC is found and the user is on prescription then a legal limit should apply otherwise book them.

    Ref: Science and Technology – Second Report; Mar 2001
    Science and Technology – Ninth Report; Nov 1998
    Medical Cannabis: Opioid Dependence
    Hansard: Jun 15, 2010 Column 959; Lord Adebowale

    • 23/06/2010 at 9:12 pm

      Senex: I have no problem with drugs derived from cannabis being used for medicinal purposes, particularly having known an MS sufferer who tried cannabis but found it made him feel sick, so would benefit from being able to use the active part of cannabis without the unpleasant side-effects. But this should not be an excuse for recreational use, just as diamorphine being used in medicine doesn’t mean heroin has to be legal recreationally. And absolutely no smoking of cannabis. The benefits can be delivered in other ways, such as nasal sprays; smoking affects innocent third parties just as tobacco smoke does.

      Given that only a relatively small number of people need to use cannabis-derived medicines, and many of them are already unable to drive, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be asked to surrender their licences if the amount prescribed by the doctor would impair their ability. It isn’t like alcohol where people are free to drink as much as they want without medical supervision. The doctor can examine the patient and calculate whether the prescription would cause problems.

      Using diamorphine to treat heroin addicts is a different issue. We’re talking about using cannabis to relive pain in people with other conditions, for which diamorphine is already used. Actually, I can see a field of opium poppies from my office window that will probably be used for just this!

      • 26/06/2010 at 12:01 am

        Is ‘recreational-use’ a legally-established term ?
        If so, where have the Monarch, Parliaments, the Judiciary, the Civil-Service and (although very nearly powerless and without influence) The People published the Facts supporting their evident premise “drugs such as cannabis, opium, cocaine, heroin, ‘speed’, ‘crack’ and alcohol can be used to re-create the person using them” i.e. to refresh and strengthen their user ? (recreational; social).

        [That only God can ‘create’, and Man merely alter, will be a quite minor and secondary premise in this reasoning].

        ‘Social’ drinking is a misleading oxymoron too; for “One more for the road” only leads to less socially-responsible/response-able people.

        {[Think of the Class-cases that could be claiming literally billions of pounds of compensation and damages for ‘ruined-lives’, all because The Government and The Private Sector and The Industry and The proprietor had all ruled that “The consumption of alcoholic-beverages is a good social activity and builds stronger relationships”, when it just doesn’t ] }.

        The originators, the powers-that-be, who wrote and publicised such lying adverts are liable, surely ? By commission of deliberate error.

        Likewise liable is any schoolteacher who fails to make pupils aware of such lying.
        By omission of right-teaching.

        Surely ?

        Cheerio !

        • 26/06/2010 at 12:50 pm

          According to the Oxford Dictionary, recreation means “enjoyable leisure activity”. While the etymology is Latin “creating again”, in current English usage it means the former.

          I don’t know whether it’s a legal term in relation to drugs. I used to to mean use of drugs other than for medical purposes. It wasn’t intended to imply that drug-taking is a pleasurable or everyday activity.

          “Social drinking” is a term I personally would not use.

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