Major Review of Drug Policy Planned 

Major Review of Drug Policy Planned 
Posted by FoM on July 25, 2001 at 17:16:45 PT
By Matthew Tempest, Political Correspondent
Source: Guardian Unlimited
The troublesome issue of cannabis decriminalisation will return to haunt the government this autumn after the home affairs committee announced today it would investigate drug policy when the House of Commons returns. A major review of the government's drug policy will form the first major inquiry of the new parliament, reopening serious splits within the Labour party over attitudes to soft drugs in particular.
Witnesses will include key government figures such as the lord chancellor Lord Irvine of Lairg and the home secretary, David Blunkett. The committee will look at the effect of liberalisation on the availability and demand for drugs. It will also study the effect of relaxing restrictions on drug-related deaths and crime. The committee, which will meet in October, will also examine whether decriminalisation is desirable and if not, discuss "practical alternatives". The move comes amid growing backbench calls, including former Tory cabinet minister Peter Lilley, for the liberalisation of cannabis laws. The inquiry will coincide with a private members bill from Cardiff MP Jon Owen Jones for the legalisation of cannabis.Although that bill, which receives its second reading in October, stands no chance of becoming law, it will attract cross-party support, including a number of Labour dissidents who argue the current "war on drugs" is unwinnable and extortionately expensive.The new committee will look at the effectiveness of the 10 year national strategy on drug misuse and take into account the Police Foundation's report on drugs which was chaired by Dame Ruth Runciman. Its chairman is former junior minister Chris Mullin who left the government of his own accord after the election because he wanted to return to chairing the committee. The issue arose earlier this month when Mr Lilley rocked die-hard traditionalists in the Conservative party with his call to legalise cannabis. The former deputy leader of the Tory party envisaged magistrates issuing licences for outlets selling cannabis to over-18s. Downing Street has firmly resisted any liberalisation of the drugs laws, although Mr Blunkett has said there should be an "adult, intelligent" debate on the issue. Leading charity DrugScope today welcomed the inquiry as a valuable contribution to a more open and mature debate on drugs in the UK. DrugScope's director of communications, Harry Shapiro, said: "Last year's Police Foundation inquiry gave the drugs debate a much-needed impetus. "We have seen evidence in recent weeks that more politicians are ready to take on this complex issue and explore the possibilities for change. "It is a subject which interests a large number of ordinary people and an open and mature debate could help re-engage many, particularly the young, in the political process."Source: Guardian Unlimited, The (UK)Author: Matthew Tempest, Political CorrespondentPublished: Wednesday, July 25, 2001 Copyright: 2001 Guardian Newspapers LimitedContact: letters Articles & Web Site:DrugScope (UK) To Consider Relaxing The Law on Cannabis Use Committee To Put Spotlight on Cannabis Articles - UK 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #2 posted by desertshaman on July 25, 2001 at 23:01:39 PT:
man im so happy...
im so happy at the state of things in britain right now...i think because the conservatives lost the election, they started makinf 'maybe we should decriminalise' party and a coupla others have been saying this for ages but theyre quite when a few tories said they wanted to decriminalise, labour cudnt look like it was being left behind so a few labour mps have also been saying it should be decriminalised. so many house of lord inquiries have been ignored, but it seems like there will at least be a debate this autumn...the beginning of the end?in brixton, its just a warning for, i think the end is all this political nonsense, maybe us peaceful tokers will be allowed to smoke our faborite herb.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on July 25, 2001 at 18:51:52 PT:
Figure This
As noted in my previous posting, few in the UK think that parliament will actually legalize or decriminalize cannabis. So, what's the big deal?Consider this: Would such a rational debate even take place in the Halls of Congress? It could not. It would be squelched in an instant. The British debate will likely focus more attention on the issues, and a few eloquent minority speakers will call generations of bad policy into question. A few fencesitters will fall into our camp. In the meantime, the law enforcement community will do less and less about it, while the justice system will continue to provide token if any punishment for abrogation of cannabis laws. The people will feel more free, and the existing policy will be less and less of an issue. England will become a de facto Holland.Yes, this is news, and Amerika is light years behind in attitudes and actions.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment