Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - News -

Pity the plight of Drugs min­is­ter Vic­to­ria Atkins.

Not only does she have the em­bar­rass­ment of hus­band Paul grow­ing cannabis (legally) for a liv­ing, but now she must wres­tle with how il­le­gal drugs can be tested for safety legally without fall­ing foul of the law.

Le­gal mine­field, eh, Vicky?

She’s got around this by leav­ing it to po­lice to de­cide whether to turn a blind eye to what’s un­der their noses, say­ing: “We’re not stand­ing in their way.”

More than 8,000 peo­ple came for­ward to have their drugs tested at mu­sic fes­ti­vals over the sum­mer. Not-for-profit drug testers The Loop set up shop at 11 rock con­certs where stashes could be anony­mously checked by chemists.

They found drugs four times stronger than usual, cut with such un­savoury bal­last as crushed an­ti­malar­ial tablets, body­build­ing sup­ple­ments and plas­ter of Paris.

This, of course, re­quires po­lice to stop be­ing law en­forcers.

But bet­ter that than for young peo­ple to end up dead. Last year’s Gen­eral Elec­tion cost £140mil­lion. Not enough, ap­par­ently.

Con­sti­tu­tion min­is­ter Chloe Smith says re­turn­ing of­fi­cers in 236 con­stituen­cies ex­ceeded their ex­penses limit. On the plus side we’ll save £108mil­lion by can­celling next May’s EU elec­tion. But what if there’s a se­cond ref­er­en­dum in­stead?

A lead­ing Tory Brex­i­teer told me: “How ironic if the money saved by leav­ing Europe is then spent on stay­ing in it.”

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