On February 17 this year, Cleveland Police released a report in which their Chief Constable declared Britain’s drug laws were not working. He endorsed the call for a Royal Commission to review the legal position on drugs. He is the first serving senior officer to make such a declaration on the matter.
Some might say unsurprisingly, but in a recent survey of nme.com readers, his opinion was mirrored by yours. A staggering 83% of you who replied to our survey believe cannabis should be legalised.
But now it is the turn of our beloved pop stars to have their say as we open the debate about the legalisation of cannabis.
We canvassed the likes of Terris, Muse, Blur, Campag Velocet, Travis, Shaun Ryder and many more to give their opinions on our archaic drugs laws, exclusively on nme.com.
Below is part one of the interviews. Come back to nme.com tomorrow to see the second part of the feature – and see this week’s issue of NME for the full cannabis debate, including interviews with Howard Marks, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Willie Nelson and more.
Mick Head (Shack)
Are you a toker?
“Yes. The first time I smoked properly was when I went to Amsterdam when I was 19, 20 with my mates. I hadn’t really got my teeth into a proper smoke to have a choice was amazing. I don’t smoke tobacco so I made a neat three skinner with Thai sticks, temple ball and sputnik. When I got back to the barge we were staying on the cabin was so small and dark I thought I was in a coffin and buried alive! I freaked….I smoke quite a lot still, though, mornin’ til night really. I don’t want to stop.”
Should it be legalised?
“I think the system in Amsterdam is a great example. Criminalising someone for smoking pot or buying it is ridiculous. The amount of people I know who smoke from across the board is vast.”
Chris Latham (Coldplay)
Are you a toker?
“No. I tried it once, I didn’t like it. It didn’t do anything for me.
Should it be legalised?
“I really don’t know enough about it.”
Fran Healy (Travis)
Do you think cannabis should be decriminalised/legalised?
“Of course, yeah. But I’d be much more impressed if they criminalised alcohol and cigarettes. Nearly everybody in Britain smokes fucking hash, do you know what I mean? So whether or not it’s legalised or not legal, you’re just going to get a caution if you get done for it. It should be decriminalised but I’d rather people stop drinking. I hate drinking. Personally, I know someone who’s a prosecutor for the state in Scotland and she says that all crime that they deal with – and they deal with a lot – at weekends and through the week, is drink-related. And never, ever, ever cannabis related. I think you’re letting people get mad drunk and fighting and all that kind of stuff and there’s loads and loads of things that are so stupid in law. But that’s law. Law is stupid.
“There’s a higher law. There’s a better law that doesn’t end in jail sentences but comes back on you big time and it will fuck you right up. So yeah, decriminalise it, legalise it, do whatever you like but I’d be more impressed if you got rid of cigarettes and alcohol. People would not be happy but I don’t care. In a hundred years, you’d be thankful for it.”
Roisin Murphy from Moloko
“I really don’t know. Yes. Just because it’s a bit of a laugh and stuff and everybody smokes it anyway. It’s just funny that it’s illegal. Typically British, that the whole country smokes it but it’s illegal.
“But it’s as carcinogenic as cigarettes, you can get addicted to it and it makes you paranoid.
“Everything in moderation. As far as drugs are concerned and any deviants of any kind, I have a lot of respect for people who are prepared to go there. We should explore the frontiers, you know, the explorers I’m thinking of people like Paula Yates, she’s an explorer at the forefront – usually it all ends up in a massive downfall. But somebody’s got to do it you know.”
Richard Blackwood, MTV Presenter
“I don’t smoke anything.
“I think if you legalise it then there’s going to be a lot of drug dealers put out of business. That’s a good thing. I’m not going to say it’s a good thing or a bad thing, because it doesn’t affect me.”
Thora Birch, star of ‘American Beauty’
“I think it should be legalised.
“I’ve known people that it’s actually really helped. I think it’s just about time it’s much better than all the other drugs you can do and it’s actually very helpful. Nobody says, ‘Oh my god I know somebody who died from smoking pot’. It’s better for you (than drink) because people don’t go driving and killing people after they have a joint. I think it should be legalised.
Come back tomorrow for the views of Blur’s Alex James, Muse’s Matt Bellamy and Shaun Ryder…