§ 16. Mr. Tony Banks
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what quantities of drugs have been seized by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise in each of the last three years.
§ Mrs. Gillian Shephard
The information is as follows: in 1989, 50,935 kilos of cannabis were seized, in 1990, 24,896 and in 1991 21,796 kilos; in 1989, 337 kilos of heroin were seized, with 576 kilos in 1990 and 357 in 1991; 409 kilos of cocaine were seized in 1989, 561 kilos in 1990 and 1,061 in 1991.
§ Mr. Banks
Obviously Customs and Excise must be congratulated on its vigilance. However, is it not time to consider the possibility of legalising soft drugs, especially cannabis? After all, cannabis does much less harm to a person's health than nicotine, and yet cigarettes are legal. It is the criminal activity surrounding the supply of illegal drugs that we should really worry about. If we were to legalise soft drugs, that would no longer be a problem.
§ Mrs. Shephard
I am delighted that the hon. Gentleman congratulated Customs and Excise. I remind him that its task is to enforce the law. Would it be the policy of the Labour party to legalise those drugs?