Ex-Oxford Professor appointed Chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs

first_imgEx-Oxford Professor Les Iversen has been appointed Chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to the government.The post has been empty since David Nutts, the previous Senior Drugs Advisor, was controversially sacked by Home Secretary Alan Johnson over his criticism of tougher cannabis laws.However, as Cherwell reported in January 2008, Iversen was also a critic of the government’s plans to upgrade cannabis to a Class B drug.Cannabis was upgraded from a Class C to a Class B drug later in 2008, after the government rejected the recommendations of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.Iversen had stated in Cherwell that if the government was to reject the Council’s findings and proceed with the reclassification, it would “call into question the whole function and future of this group.”His position towards the role of the council appears to have changed in the intervening two years. In an interview on BBC Radio 5, Iversen stated, “The way I look at this is that the Government should have respect for the experts on the advisory group and the advisers should have respect for the Government’s prerogative to govern.”Further controversy has also arisen over the content of a 2003 lecture Iversen gave where he called for the legalisation of cannabis. However, he has commented in the past few days that due to the newer and more potent forms of cannabis that are now available, he has changed his position.Iversen worked at the University from 1995 as Professor of Pharmacology, and has served as the director of the board of ACADIA Pharmaceuticals since 2000.His publications include The Science of Marijuana, Drugs: A Very Short Introduction and Speed, Ecstasy, Ritalin: The Science of Amphetamines.last_img read more