One rule for them, another for us.
As we draw closer to the election for the new Conservative Party leader, and for the honour of Prime Minister, more and more candidates are admitting they have used cannabis, a drug which they have continually criminalised.
In a seemingly desperate attempt to seem relatable to the British public, leadership hopefuls from across the Conservative Party have become increasingly vocal about their historic drug use, forgetting that 100,000s of lives have been destroyed by laws which outlawed the very same use of the very same drug.
So far, 5 of the leadership contenders have admitted to using cannabis in the past:
- Boris Johnson
- Jeremy Hunt
- Andrea Leadsom
- Dominic Raab
- Matt Hancock
Boris Johnson famously told GQ in 2007 that he, like many students, had tried cannabis at university:
“There was a period before university when I had quite a few (cannabis joints).
“It was jolly nice.
“But apparently it is very different these days. Much stronger.
“I’ve become very illiberal about it. I don’t want my kids to take drugs.”
Despite admitting that he had regularly used cannabis as a youth, Boris has no issue with enforcing laws which seek to destroy the lives of others caught with the very same substance.
Stop and Search policies advocated by Boris have been proven time and again to disproportionately target poor, black youths, especially in London.
According to Full Fact there were over 300,000 stop and searches in 2016/17. The main reason for stops was drugs (including the very same cannabis Boris enjoyed as a youth).
Government officials explained the racial undertones to Stop and Search policies:
“While stop and searches on white people have decreased by 78 percent, stop and searches on people from BAME communities decreased by 69 percent. The decrease for black people was even lower, at 66 percent.”
For Boris, cannabis is apparently a luxury afforded only to the elite, white, class, made apparent in his absence from the most recent vote on legalising cannabis.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, also openly admitted to The Times that he used cannabis while travelling as a younger man:
“I think I had a cannabis lassi when I went backpacking through India.”
Hunt held the Health Secretary position during the introduction of medical cannabis into UK law, but like his fellow ‘pot head’ Johnson has abstained on the most recent vote to legalise cannabis.
One of the more surprising admissions from the Tory leadership candidates comes from Andrea Leadsom.
The former leader of the Commons made the shocking admission in response to the revelation that leadership rival Michael Gove had taken cocaine.
According to Leadsom:
“Everyone is entitled to a private life before becoming an MP.
“I smoked weed at university and have never smoked it again since.”
For Leadsom to casually brush off cannabis use as an ‘entitlement’ shows a complete lack of decorum.
Students caught with cannabis at university can have their lives ruined due to policies Leadsom’s Party gleefully enforces. Cannabis cautions can also prevent prospective students from getting a place at university.
Why are MPs the only ones “entitled to a private life”?
Again, Leadsom abstained from voting to legalise a drug which she personally enjoyed at university.
Dominic Raab also admitted to using cannabis as a student:
“At university, I tried cannabis, not very often as I was into sport.
“It was a mistake, particularly the more I know now about the link between it and mental health issues.
“But it was a long time ago and was particularly few and far between.”
While Raab got lucky, avoiding being caught, for the majority of the population in Britain it only takes getting caught with cannabis once to have your life ruined (depending on where you were caught and with how much, due to Britain’s “postcode lottery” where some police forces are more lenient than others).
Sources close to Matt Hancock, the current Health Secretary, informed the Telegraph of the Minister’s past drug use, claiming he had “tried cannabis a few times as a student, but has not taken any illicit drugs since.”
Hancock, like Leadsome, believes that “everyone has a right to a private life.”
Tory MPs are so far removed from the reality of life in Britain. They talk about their right to a private life, but find no issue with destroying the private life of UK citizens for doing the exact same thing they once did. This gross hypocrisy highlights the extent of the failure of the “War on Drugs.”
If Prime Minister hopefuls (the most prestigious job in the country) have used cannabis, then why is it wrong for their citizens to do the same? Their “Do as I say, not what I do” attitude is emblematic of everything wrong with Britain’s current drug policies.
Politicians should have a right to a private life, so long as this ‘luxury’ is universally applied.