Norman Lamb, a candidate in the two-horse race to succeed Nick Clegg as leader of the Liberal Democrats, has called for the UK to legalise cannabis.
The former care and support minister said Britain would benefit from legalising, regulating and taxing the sale of cannabis - drawing on the examples of US states such as Colorado.
Lamb said there the "war on drugs" had been a "catastrophic failure", with thousands of lives lost. He added that drug laws were:
Criminalising so many young people, which blights their lives because of a decision about personal use which then affects their careers and creates a global criminal network”.
As a parent, I have real concerns about the dangers of drugs, both legal and illegal. But I think that it’s much better to take a rational, education-based approach rather than the approach that we take at the moment.
He argued for the immediate legalisation of the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, while saying that recreational use should be subject to an evidence-based policy change.
Lamb is facing Tim Farron in the leadership contest, who is the party's former president and favourite to succeed Nick Clegg.