Speaking during a panel discussion at the SNP conference in Aberdeen on Monday, Humza Yousaf said one of the first things he would want to do in a newly independent Scotland would be to implement a “progressive” approach to deal with the drugs crisis.
“I don’t know if any of you have seen the news this morning where the current Home Secretary Suella Braverman has said that she’s open to the idea of classifying cannabis as a Class A drug,” he said.
“How awful, how regressive, how dangerous a policy is that?”
One of the first things I know we will do upon independence is to make sure that we bring forward, through all of the appropriate legislation, the most progressive method of tackling that drugs crisis
Elements of the Misuse of Drugs Act remain within the powers of Westminster, meaning any change made to the classification of drugs at the UK level would also be made in Scotland.
Responding to a question about what he would do first should Scotland become independent, Mr Yousaf pointed to changes to drug policy.
Scotland has been struggling with high drug deaths in recent years, with 1,330 recorded in 2021.
“One of the first things I know we will do upon independence is to make sure that we bring forward, through all of the appropriate legislation, the most progressive method of tackling that drugs crisis so that once and for all we break that cycle of poverty, of substance abuse, of those individuals going in and out of the revolving door of services.”
He added that he was “quite excited” for the chance of a post-independence Scotland being able to address “deep-rooted problems that we’re trying to tackle but tackling with one hand tied behind our back”.