WHILE I truly feel sorry for the mother of Michael Harris, even your own Shirley Mathias concludes that we cannot know if her supposition that skunk was to blame is correct or not.

Second to alcohol, cannabis is said to be the most frequently misused substance among patients with schizophrenia.

In fact, even this statement is misleading. Nicotine is used by more schizophrenic people than either alcohol or cannabis.

I make this point because it's important that we approach the subject of reforming the cannabis laws in a rational manner.

Nobody is currently suggesting that alcohol is responsible for schizophrenia are they?

The anti-pot campaigners have very effectively used a possible link between cannabis and the onset of mental illness as an excuse for a return to the reefer madness propaganda that was prominent in the United States in the 40s and 50s.

The fact remains that no scientific study has proven such a link.

I would be quite happy to accept damning evidence, but so far none exists.

What we are currently experiencing is an unproven theory being given prominence because it suits the needs of people who want to attempt to put the cannabis genie back in the bottle.

Let's be honest, cannabis is used by millions of people in this nation alone on a casual basis.

The vast majority of these people display no sign whatsoever of schizophrenia.

Those people who do indeed have schizophrenia may or may not have used cannabis.

In fact, if they are under 50 the chances are that they will have experimented with pot at some point in their lives. This doesn't amount to a proven link.

By all means let's run proper scientific trials on people to establish the truth of this matter.

In the meantime isn't it time we accepted the judgement of the majority and legalised this recreational drug?

That way should problems be found with high strength grades of pot it can effectively be removed from circulation.

We can also raise tax on cannabis, which can be earmarked for drug treatment centres and the treatment of serious mental illness.

Perhaps if more money were available for intervention in mental health issues we would not be blaming pot but instead treating those who become mentally unstable before they damage themselves or other people.


Toothill, Swindon