ASI conference line up grabs headlines with drugs debate

There was a host of great ASI events at party conference this year, with our offering leading the Spectators fridge guide listings, but one talk really caught he media's attention. 

The Independent reported:

"A former Conservative justice minister has revealed that he was discouraged from asking difficult questions about drugs policy – for fear that looking at evidence could “unpick” the status quo.
Crispin Blunt, who was in charge of prisons and probations at the Ministry of Justice from 2010 until 2012, said he was told during ministerial discussions that it would politically unwise to ask how much the prohibition of drugs was costing the UK prison system.
The MP, who now chairs the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said policy on drugs had “ceased to be based on the evidence” and that “a remarkable number of other public policy makers who’ve been in charge in policy in this area” had come to support decriminalisation, legalisation, or other fundamental change.
Mr Blunt suggested that the Conservatives should use their poll lead and the perceived long-term chaos in the Labour party to put forward ideas on drugs policy that might be controversial."

Buzzfeed reported:

"All drugs, including heroin and cocaine, should be regulated by the government, a Conservative MP has told BuzzFeed News. Crispin Blunt, the former prisons minister, said he would like to see measures in place so all drugs could be taxed and controlled, and has called for a public inquiry into whether the law should be changed.
Speaking after an event on cannabis decriminalisation at the Conservative conference in Birmingham, Blunt said he believed prime minister Theresa May could eventually be persuaded to back him due to pressure from the international community.
Blunt said he was unaware of any Conservative parliamentary colleagues who supported him on drug decriminalisation, saying there was pressure on MPs who wanted to advance their careers to not speak up about the “politically difficult” issue."