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Legalise all drugs, Ben tells Holyrood; EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: By MARK SMITH

COMEDIAN Ben Elton last night called for all drugs to be legalised - including deadly crack cocaine.

He told a meeting of the Scottish Parliament that putting the highly-addictive substance under the power of the law would remove guns and criminal gangs from our streets.

The funnyman turned novelist said ending prohibition would allow the government to tax and licence drugs to make sure they are pure.

But as he lampooned the "blinding hypocrisy" of British society -saying even Prince Harry "enjoyed the odd spliff" - his outspoken views stunned MSPs and Scottish experts.

Elton claimed: "The greatest problem is not drugs themselves - it is the criminals who deal them. So I would say we have to look seriously at legalising crack cocaine.

"Licence it ... make sure it does not fall into the hands of children."

He added: "I must say that people taking crack is not a good thing.

"But streets without machine guns would be much better."

Elton's appearance before Holy-rood's cross-party drug and alcohol forum was arranged by a friend - the Rev Stephen Brown, a minister from Fraserburgh he met on the Channel 4's Richard and Judy Show.

He began his speech by listing celebrities who have allegedly taken drugs - including saying: "Pete Doherty probably washes in them.

"Even Prince Harry enjoys the odd spliff. And then there's Kate Moss on the front page of the Mirror.

"She's a good example of the nonsense that goes on - because we all knew she took cocaine anyway."

Elton, 47, whose 2003 novel High Society is about drugs, claimed "zero tolerance" policies do not work and the war on drugs had been lost.

He even insisted legalising drugs would not create more addicts.

MSPs have no influence on drugs policy, which is set by Westminster, though the Scottish Executive is responsible for health issues like rehab.

Voice of The Mirror: Page 6

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SHOCKER: Elton named Kate Moss (inset) - exposed in The Mirror - in his speech
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 1, 2006
Words:329
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