WASHINGTON - September 8 - A Tory member of Parliament who is in contention for the leadership of his party has surprised fellow conservatives with his strong position in favor of more liberal drug policies. Tories have traditionally been adamantly prohibitionist, but David Cameron has repeatedly diverged from the party line with a call for "fresh thinking and a new approach" to drug policy.
The Independent reports that he spoke of legalization and regulation as possibilities to be explored in conversation with the United Nations in order to "to tackle the global drugs dilemma."
Danny Kushlick, director of the Transform Drug Policy Foundation in the UK, spoke to the Independent in support of Cameron's remarks, saying, "David Cameron deserves our utmost respsect and admiration for refusing the 'war on drugs' rhetoric in calling for a discussion of legalization with the UN body that oversees global prohibition."
Cameron has a history of advocating alternative drug policies. He was on a parliamentary committee that issued a report in 2002 calling for safer injection rooms for heroin users. The report also supported changing the classifications of marijuana and ecstasy to lessen the criminal penalties. A spokesman for Cameron said, "Drugs strategy has been failing so it is important politicians can keep an open mind about how to deal with it."
The Tory party is expected to choose a new leader later this fall.