HC Deb 26 October 1967 vol 751 cc1868-9
17. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration he is giving to making traffic in drugs illegal, in view of its continued increase.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

The existing law severely penalises any unauthorised transaction in hard drugs and prohibits unauthorised possession or importation of scheduled soft drugs. I do not think further provisions are required at present to deal with the problem of trafficking.

Mr. Rankin

Does my right hon. Friend realise that the Office of Health Economics tells us today that the narcotic smugglers and pushers are now professionally prepared to operate in Britain, which is wide open to them, as they are doing in America, where illegal drug Acts already exist? Can my right hon. Friend assure us that our incoming Bill will stop all the holes which are open in the American Acts?

Mr. Jenkins

The position in this country is, I am happy to say, in many respects basically different from that in the United States, but none the less we have taken steps and, in a Lords Amendment proposed by the Government and accepted by this House only this week, we put up the maximum penalty for smuggling from two years to ten years.

Mr. Onslow

Has the right hon. Gentleman any intention of taking action against those who advocate the legalisation of soft drugs?

Mr. Jenkins

No. I think that whatever view we may hold on this issue, it would be a very extraordinary view, which I doubt if even the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg), if he were here, would propose that we should take action against those who express opinions with which we do not agree.