GREEN minister Lorna Slater has sparked controversy with a claim that drugs are not “inherently” dangerous - but they become so when criminalised as you “can’t get them safely”.

Slater made the comments in an interview with the Untribal podcast when questioned about her stance on full decriminalisation.

Asked if the policy would result in more people taking drugs, the Scottish Green co-leader said that making drugs illegal clearly did not stop people using them.

She went on: “The problem is that, and you can see this from when you see high-profile people using drugs, celebrities and high-profile politicians and so on, using drugs is not inherently dangerous.

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“Many celebrities and rich people use them, some well-known politicians have used drugs, so using drugs is not inherently dangerous, but using drugs becomes dangerous when the drugs are illegal because you can’t get them safely.”

Prominent politicians who have admitted to having taken drugs include Levelling Up Minister Mihcael Gove, who said he took cocaine on "several occasions", and former prime minister David Cameron (below), who said he got "off his head" smoking marijuana while at Eton.

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Slater's comments were leapt on by the Scottish Tories, who urged Slater to “urgently retract” the “irresponsible” comments.

MSP Murdo Fraser said the Green minister was "rapidly turning into an embarrassment and a liability".

However, others have said that Slater was right.

Campaigner Peter Krykant, who runs Scotland’s first safe consumption van, wrote on Twitter that the Conservatives were playing “games” with the drugs deaths crisis.

Krykant commented: “[Scottish Tory] games make me sick, 17 people on average are dying daily directly because of the punishment policies you enforce.

“Lorna Slater is right dangers are due to illicit supply.”

In Portugal, where all drugs were decriminalised in the year 2000, a significant fall in the rate of drug death followed over the subsequent half decade. Rates since have remained below pre-decriminalisation levels.

Addressing the Scottish Tories criticism of Slater, the SNP’s equalities convener Fiona Robertson commented: “This kind of moralising bullshit is a big part of why we can't properly address addiction.

“Drugs are seen as magical, mystical things which are inherently bad in a way that horseriding and cycling and rugby and all the other dangerous things people choose to do are not.”

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Right-wing political commentator Alex Massie wrote: “A day to remember: Lorna Slater is right.”

Slater’s Green colleague and the party’s drugs spokesperson, MSP Gillian Mackay added: “Lorna Slater is correct on drug use.

“There is more we could be doing though. We need safe consumption rooms and we need the UK Government to allow Scotland to regularly test drugs to make sure people aren't taking drugs laced with rat poison and baby powder.”