UN Treaty 'No Bar' To Easing Drug Laws 

  UN Treaty 'No Bar' To Easing Drug Laws 

Posted by FoM on August 27, 2001 at 21:44:29 PT
By Alan Travis, Home Affairs Editor 
Source: Guardian Unlimited 

A reform of Britain's drug laws could be introduced without the government breaching its international obligations under UN drug control conventions, according to a legal study published today. The research shows there is no obstacle in international law to ending the criminalisation of cannabis possession or low level drug dealing among friends. The conclusions of the study, entitled European Drug Laws: the Room for Manoeuvre, are important because opponents of drug law reform have argued that Britain could not liberalise its drug laws even if it wanted to because it would breach the UN treaty. 
The French government has accused the Netherlands of being a "narco state" because it tolerates cannabis possession and small scale supply - technically criminal offences. The study, published by the charity Drugscope, is part of a follow-up to the Police Foundation inquiry into Britain's drugs laws. It showed that the penalties in this country are severe compared with six other European states. Britain's maximum prison sentence of seven years for possession of class A drugs such as heroin and five years for possession of cannabis, contrasts with a maximum of just one year for both classes of drug in France and the Netherlands. Personal use of these drugs in Italy and Spain is not even illegal. The findings may influence the inquiry by the Commons' home affairs committee into the future of the drugs laws, and in the evaluation of a six-month experiment by Lambeth police, in south London, which involved not prosecuting for cannabis possession. The study, which was edited by Nicholas Dorn and Alison Jamieson, said that European practice showed there was room for manoeuvre under the three main UN conventions on illicit drugs ratified by more than 150 countries. It concluded that there was nothing in the conventions requiring Britain to use the criminal law exclusively to control personal drug possession. It would be possible to introduce civil drug offences - dealt with like parking fines - alongside the criminal law, allowing a choice of action against the offence. Local authorities rather than the police might impose the fines. The study also said that there was a case for making available a civil law alternative with regard to "social supply" - especially to deal with the increasing number of cases involving home grown cannabis. Roger Howard, chief executive of Drugscope, said: "This study dispels the view that we are tied rigidly by the UN conventions and shows we have considerable flexibility within them to radically modernise our drugs laws. "The government needs to decide if allowing otherwise law abiding citizens to get caught up in the criminal justice system for possessing cannabis, is a proportionate response in the 21st century." Source: Guardian Unlimited, The (UK)Author: Alan Travis, Home Affairs EditorPublished: Tuesday August 28, 2001Copyright: 2001 Guardian Newspapers LimitedContact: letters Articles & Web Site:Drugscope MPs To Consider Relaxing The Law on Cannabis Committee To Put Spotlight on Cannabis Articles - U.K.

Home    Comment    Email    Register    Recent Comments    Help


Comment #9 posted by usa on August 28, 2001 at 07:02:06 PT

critical mass reached
USATODAY poll results showed 34% of those polled favored pot legalization. How can this be brought to a vote? If 50% of the voting population show up at the polls in a general election (like always), I think the results would be 68% in favor of legalization (All 34% of those in favor would vote).Congressman: It has been reported that 84 of your colleagues have been convicted on drug related charges. Was the justice that you received going to be the same as the average Joe, in your cases shall we say'john'?The President drove home drunk, won't answer questions related to alleged past drug history.A critical mass has been reached and it is time for this issue to be resolved at the congressional, executive and judicial level. Do it, pronto. What is being done a the presnt time is wrong and shameful.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #8 posted by ekim on August 28, 2001 at 06:29:36 PT:

this is how Madison handles it
Subject: Re: Does Madison have a ticket law> Here is our ordinance. I'll see if I can get an answer to your question.>> Gary Storck> founding member, list administrator/webmaster> Drug Policy Forum of Wisconsin>> owner-dpfwi> ----------> 23.20 REGULATIONS CONCERNING MARIJUANA AND CANNABIS.>> (Section 23.20 Cr. by Ord. 5833, 4-18-77)>> 1) Purpose. The people of Madison specifically determine that the> regulations herein contained concerning marijuana and cannabis arenecessary> to serve the ethical purpose of providing just and equitable legaltreatment> of the citizens of this community and to preserve the respect of such> citizens for law, its process, and its administration.>> 2) Definitions. In this section:>> Cannabis. The resin extracted from any part of the plant Cannabis Sativa> L., or any other nonfibrous extract from any part of the plant containing> delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.>> Casually possess. The possession of not more than twenty-eight (28) grams> of cannabis, or one hundred and twelve (112) grams of marijuana.>> Marijuana. All parts of the plant Cannabis Sativa L., whether growing or> not; the seeds thereof; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative,> mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds. It does not include> cannabis or any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or> preparation of the mature stalks, fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized> seed of the plant which is incapable of germination.>> 23 - 12a Rev. 6/15/00>> Sec. 23.20(2) OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC POLICY>> Practitioner.>> 1. A physician, dentist, veterinarian, podiatrist, scientificinvestigator,> or other person licensed, registered, or otherwise permitted todistribute,> dispense, conduct research with respect to or administer a controlled> substance in the course of professional practice or research in thisstate.>> 2. A pharmacy, hospital, or other institution licensed, registered, or> otherwise permitted to distribute, dispense, conduct research with respect> to, or administer a controlled substance in the course of professional> practice or research in this state.>> Public place. A place which is in public ownership or a place to whichthe> public has access; distinguished from a private place.>> (3) A person may casually possess marijuana or cannabis in a privateplace.> Such casual possession is not a crime and is not subject to forfeiture.>> (4) No person shall casually possess marijuana or cannabis in a publicplace> unless such marijuana or cannabis was obtained directly from or pursuantto> a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course> of her, his, or its professional practice.>> (5) A violation of Subsection (4) of this ordinance shall be subject to a> forfeiture of up to one hundred dollars ($100). (Am. by Ord. 9244,8-14-87)>> (6) A violation of this ordinance is not a crime and shall not subject a> person found in violation thereof to loss of civil rights or to other> disabilities imposed upon a person convicted of a crime. No entry orother> record may be made which indicates that a person alleged or found to have> violated this ordinance has been arrested for, charged with, prosecutedfor,> or convicted of a crime.>> (7) Separability Clause. If any subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or> portion of this ordinance is for any reason held invalid orunconstitutional> by any court of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed a> separate, distinct, and independent provision, and such holding shall not> affect the validity of the remaining portions hereof.>> (Section 23.20 Cr. by Ord. 5833, 4-18-77)>
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #7 posted by dddd on August 28, 2001 at 06:04:04 PT

See for Yourselves
Sounds nice
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #6 posted by dddd on August 28, 2001 at 05:58:16 PT

Yes.....that would be nice...keep a roll of 'fins',in the glovebox,incase a tailight went out,,and when officer O'Flannigan says,"smellslike Marijuana!",,,you hand him a fiver,,and continue on your way....I would seriously consider moving to Montana if this was the case.I'll bet it's rather nice there...Montana has alot of countys,,,,have you ever been to Beaverhead County Ethan?
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #5 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on August 28, 2001 at 05:20:48 PT:

The Montana Solution
Firedog has a great idea. As an adopted Montanan, I think that our state should lead the way on this one. A $5 bill on the spot with no criminal record should be the way to go on cannabis offenses. If Anslinger could only see that!
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #4 posted by dddd on August 28, 2001 at 00:32:18 PT

..I know it's about as likely as Gary Condit being re-elected,,,but Ilike Firedogs idea of splitting up the US,,and I dont think it's"un-American" to think it,,,quite the contrary,,it's very"American",to fight for basic rights and freedoms,even if itmeans creating a new country,and government....I always liked what Ross Perot said when he was running forprez..; "Time to clean the Barn"....It would be great to re-startour political reality,and try to go back to a government for thepeople,and by the people....dddd
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #3 posted by firedog on August 27, 2001 at 23:35:24 PT

I remember the days when the U.S. speed limit was capped at 55. But states could designate their own penalties. So Montana, which did not approve of the Feds sticking their noses where they didn't belong, imposed a $5, payable-on-the-spot fine for speed limit violations. What's to prevent a state, or nation, from doing the same thing and also reducing cannabis prosecution to the minimum enforcement priority for their local peace officers? Would that violate the U.N. treaty?What happens when two U.N. treaties conflict, such as the Single Convention on Narcotics and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? One could certainly argue that these conflict. Is there a way to address this? Who can we complain to? Is there an equivalent of the U.N. Supreme Court? Granted, the U.S. will just do as it pleases anyway, but maybe the E.U. will respect the U.N. I desperately hope that the E.U. comes together more, if for no other reason than to counterbalance the U.S. ego.Some may call me anti-American, but I think the only way to preserve the spirit of the United States is to destroy it. It may be time to split it up into four or five pieces and let each piece go its own way.This nation is very polarized. A majority of the population are completely alienated from the government that is supposed to represent them, and this country is acting more and more like an empire with every passing week. The U.S. government robs the American people and every other nation of the right to self-determination. And that's what America is supposed to be all about, isn't it?Sorry, I'll get off the soapbox now. I just get rather emotional about this issue, and no matter how hard I try to ignore it, it's never far from the surface of my mind.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #2 posted by natural_mystic on August 27, 2001 at 23:01:40 PT

restating the obvious?
After reading this article, I began thinking about how the Netherlands and their pragmatic drug policies clashed with the UN drug-control conventions.I assume that the Netherlands has ratified the treaties mentioned in the article. Yet this country has been able to co-exist politically peacefully with the other UN member countries. To date there has been no drastic political backlash (i.e. getting booted from the UN) in the 30 years since the Netherlands "woke up".So why is every other member country is so afraid to stand up for what is right and proper?I don't want to seemingly disparage the worth or this report, in fact, I see it as a great explosion at the very base of the prohibitionist structure!
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #1 posted by E. Johnson on August 27, 2001 at 22:54:29 PT

Treaties are choices, they can be unchosen
What's to keep one country, say, the Netherlands, from treating this UN drugs treaty the same way our President is treating the Kyoto treaty and the ABM treaty?Can't they simply decide that the treaty is "flawed" and announce that they will no longer abide by it?If Bush can do it, then so can everyone else.
[ Post Comment ]

  Post Comment