Iain Banks was a hugely influential author, perhaps most famous for his books The Wasp Factory and The Crow Road, but also widely acclaimed for the science fiction novels he wrote as Iain M. Banks.
He was also a supporter of many progressive causes, in particular drug policy reform. As we mentioned in our blog just after his death, he never hid his fascination with drugs and drug culture, and was actively and consistently opposed to the war on drugs – including in his novels. Iain was a longtime Transform supporter and donor, calling us a "necessary voice of sanity in the debate about drugs".
I emailed him in April 2013, when he announced his terminal illness, and his reply included the following:
"Ah well. Hoped I'd live to see the world come to its senses re drugs, but I guess it's not to be. Still, don't regret the small part I've played trying to turn things around. One day..."
We recently came across an old interview he gave us for our old (printed) newsletter back in 1998, in which he expands on his views about drugs and drug policy. In case it's of interest to any of his many fans, we've shared it below. Here's a choice quote:
"... a democratic society is, I think, entitled as a whole to place restrictions on the availability of powerful drugs (this is, after all, exactly what we do already with tobacco and alcohol), but banning something completely, where there is obvious demand, just puts the whole production and distribution network into the hands of criminals, with all the obvious problems that that entails."
1998 Transform interview with Iain Banks (Click the full-screen button in the bottom-right corner if you have trouble reading.)