Reading & Leeds festival boss awaits drug testing licence for 2017 festivals3rd July 2017
Reading and Leeds organiser, Melvin Benn, hopes to follow the lead of several other festivals this summer with the introduction of drug testing, but claims the Home Office need to issue a special licence for this to take place.
Melvin told the BBC: “The drugs testing is complicated because of the law [but] it’s not complicated because of a desire to do it. “
“The people that are doing the drugs testing have to have a licence from the Home Office to be in possession of controlled drugs, otherwise they are in possession of illegal drugs.”
“We haven’t got that permission yet. When we get that permission, we can announce that it’ll happen at Reading and Leeds, but until I get that permission I can’t say it will.”
“I’d say to the critics – open your eyes. Like it or not drugs are part of society.
“Anecdotally the evidence coming out of Holland is that, in the places that have this testing there hasn’t been a death associated with MDMA since the testing came in. That to me is sufficient reason to go forward.
“Do I want people taking illegal drugs? Of course I don’t. Am I condoning it? No of course I’m not. But testing is important.”
“As far I was concerned until last Thursday, it was going to happen and then I got an email from the Home Office that said they hadn’t got that licence, they can’t do it.
“So now I’m waiting on the Home Office to give me the special licence.
“I think it will happen. There’s a will for it to happen from West Yorkshire Police and Leeds City Council. Clearly we can’t do it until we abide by the law.”