Ken Clarke has said the government has no intention of changing the law on drugs and that problem will not be solved by decriminalisation.
He said: "The Government has no intention whatever of changing the criminal law on drugs.
"I have frankly conceded that policy has not been working. We are all disappointed by the fact that far from making progress it could be argued we are going backwards at times.
"But my own purely personal view is that I would be worried about losing the deterrent effect of criminalisation of youngsters who start experimenting.
"The really key thing is to try to work out how to get fewer young people to start experimenting with drugs.
"One thing that does put them off is that they would get into trouble with the police."
More top news
Some sunshine is breaking through the wintry weather as Spring arrives.
On this day in 1890 the Forth Rail Bridge was opened by the future King Edward VII and became one of the engineering marvels of the world.
Police are investigating the theft of two Harris hawks after a break-in at Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre in Scotland.