Dutch Model for UK Drug Laws 

  Dutch Model for UK Drug Laws 

Posted by FoM on December 22, 2001 at 18:20:03 PT
By Nick Paton Walsh 
Source: The Observer  

Ministers have demanded changes to Britain's drug laws that would allow officials to focus on the treatment rather than arrest of drug users. In a significant change of policy, they have used the Netherlands as a model to demand the prescription of heroin and an end to the prosecution of people who grow cannabis for themselves. The Home Office told Parliament last week that it had reversed the Government's hardline stance on prosecution of drug users. Minister Bob Ainsworth announced new elements to the drugs strategy, including: 
* Focusing on treatment for drug users - known as 'harm minimisation' - rather than their prosecution 'to minimise the harm that drugs do to individuals and their families'. Some campaigners will see the move as effectively decriminalising possession of drugs. * Advising senior police to focus on dealers, not users, asking them to 'pay the highest regard to the more serious crimes of trafficking and possession with intent to supply'. * Government plans for new measures to prescribe heroin to addicts. The Department of Health also told the science and technology select committee that police should not prosecute people who grow cannabis for their own use. This contrasts with the Home Office's recommendations to the Runciman inquiry into drug laws which demanded jail for growers. The offence carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison. The Home Office had insisted that a 'soft approach' to drug possession was not an option. Experts say the Government should be seen to be tough on drugs and related crime, while addressing the problem of placing increasing numbers of users in jail. Roger Howard, director of the Government-backed charity DrugScope, said the emphasis on harm reduction was 'a pragmatic and sensible step. The Government has recognised that a crime-led response to drug use has not been effective and that other options must be explored. 'If this includes lesser punishments for cultivation of small amounts of cannabis for personal use, thereby diverting trade away from organised crime, so much the better,' he said. A Home Office spokesman said the measures were an expansion of plans outlined by the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, last month. Although the focus would be on 'harm minimisation', Dutch cannabis cafés were not being considered. The Home Office 'does not want to encourage people to smoke cannabis', she said. 'We recognise that people will always want to take drugs. We want to make sure they have the information and help to ensure their safety.' Newshawk: puff_tuffSource: Observer, The (UK)Author: Nick Paton WalshPublished: Sunday, December 23, 2001Copyright: 2001 The ObserverContact: letters Articles & Web Site:Drugscope Body Says Punishment Does Not Stop Drugs Advised To Legalise Cannabis Cafes Britain is Going Dutch 

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Comment #8 posted by Digit on December 25, 2001 at 07:56:21 PT:

blind progress (im sure iv used that title before)
Hey, this is great. Things are moving in the right direction despite the consistant blabing of the antis. Problem is... if the way this is to be set out ... " * Focusing on treatment for drug users - known as 'harm minimisation' - rather than their prosecution 'to minimise the harm that drugs do to individuals and their families'. Some campaigners will see the move as effectively decriminalising possession of drugs. " ... then doesn't this simply add to the increasingly vague uncertainty of the drug laws. As it is no one is really certain of what will happen to u if u get caught. The official line is still as it was a decade ago (and longer) but the reality is far from it. It is well understood in the cannabis comunity that to half remove the barbaric drug laws is almost as damaging as the barbaric drug laws themselves, and maybe more so. ... and i'm going to stop myself there before i go of on a huge rant.Digit
ps. I'm with u on that one FoM, Lets hope that the new year brings a new dawn of kindness to tokers :)

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Comment #7 posted by Lehder on December 23, 2001 at 10:29:27 PT

We've had some pretty thorough discussions on jury nullification at cannabisnews before, and they can be found by searching the site for buzz words voir dire and nullification. Search this site or the net for Laura Kriho to find out what happens to jurors who attempt to exercise their right to make a determination of law, the essence of nullification, as well as a determination of fact.Personally, I would never attempt to invoke nullification, and I would indeed promise to accept without question direct ion from the judge in any determination of law. But our judicial system and our police have been so corrupted by the war on drugs that I would likely be unable to find any defendant of any crime guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt." It is reasonable today to expect that the police are lying, that witnesses have been manufactured or paid, and that the judge and prosecutors are corrupt. Very likely I would not feel that the witnesses were fully truthful, nor would I be likely to fully believe the testimony of "experts." Not Guilty, Your Honor.But no matter how questionable the evidence, one must consider too the fate of a juror who would vote "not guilty" in a high profile case in which the government had invested much time and propaganda as in, for example, the trials of Manuel Noriega or Carlos Lehder.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on December 23, 2001 at 09:01:59 PT

Hi Dankhank
Hope you have a nice holiday. I've looked and I haven't found any news to post to top the articles that are already posted. I can't remember exactly how it was last Christmas but I'm sure it was slow. I have a feeling that after the first the news will pick up. I don't know what the future will bring but I hope it will be good news for us.Merry Christmas!PS: I remember you said your wife makes great spaghetti. It's funny what you remember. I love real Italian spaghetti sauce. Yum!
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Comment #5 posted by Dankhank on December 23, 2001 at 08:50:30 PT:

For more information on tactics related to the dissemination of information regarding "Jury Nullification" the curious should attend: www.fija.orgInformation is there relating to the political writings of the founders of our country and why they thought the Jury should be able to nullify. A tactic that I like is handing a pamphlet to prospective jurors early Monday morning as they arrive for "void duire." I'm SURE that is misspelled.There is lots of info at this site ... check it out
Hemp N Stuff
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Comment #4 posted by goneposthole on December 23, 2001 at 06:53:42 PT

tug of war
"If this includes lesser punishments for cultivation of small anounts of cannabis for personal use, thereby diverting trade away from organised crime, so much the better."- Roger HowardPunishment is not necessary for growing a plant. Tobacco is a plant, a cultivar, and no one gets arrested and placed in prison for growing tobacco.Nicotine is the most addictive substance known to man. The numbers the industry produces is proof enough.You can't win them all. 
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Comment #3 posted by BGreen on December 23, 2001 at 03:14:21 PT:

I wish
Jury nullification hasn't been widely used for two reasons. First, Judges won't allow it. Anytime I've heard of a juror trying to invoke JN, the Judge has ruled that a juror can only decide the case based on the specific instructions given to the jury by the judge. Second, and most importantly, prosecutors routinely disqualify potential jurors they feel might damage their chance of a conviction, so potential nullifiers are rarely seated on the jury.We can't win this battle in the corrupt judicial system.
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Comment #2 posted by p4me on December 22, 2001 at 22:42:30 PT

jury nullification
I was reading at Yahooka about jury nullification at this link: nullification is the term associated with a jury not convicting someone if thay feel the laws are bad. From reading some of the links I found reference to the fact that jury nullification was very important in ending alcohol prohibition. One source said that Kentucky juries often used jury nullification not to enforce the insane MJ prohibition laws.I wonder why NORML does not promote this technique to right the wrongs of the MJ prohibition laws. We all know that the DEA did not charge anyone with any crimes in relation to the raid on the West Hollywood Cannabis Resource Center because they knew no jury would convict people that were sick and dying or were helping the sick and dying. It is not right what the government is doing and the citizens of this country need to use whatever tools are necessary to change these bad laws and teach the journalist in the media just how sorry a job they really are doing. When Vietnam and other countries try to limit or end the scourges caused by tobacco by stopping imports we threaten them with everything we can. When poor peasant farmers in Columbia and Bolivia want to grow Coca plants we shoot them, develop genetically modified fungi to attack the plants, and spray pesticides from 3000 feet up to avoid gunfire and lie in saying that we use controlled spraying only on coca plants. The citizens of this country have got to straighten some things out and I hope that jury nullification is mentioned on this site everyday. If FoM does not cut me off you may be reading this paraphrase of Richard Cowan's closing line for the next little while.Who have you talked to about jury nullification today?
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Comment #1 posted by p4me on December 22, 2001 at 19:27:14 PT

Someone with pragmatism-Oh My!!!!
It is good news that the NarcoImperialism led by the US is starting to crumble. The MJ laws in this country have done far more harm than the substance itself and it still barely penetrates the media. The next thing you know the UK will be saying that MJ has medicinal value and incorporate it into their medical system while the US government continues the stonewall approach of lying and intimidating the media by threatening to cut off access. It sure is an interesting story in the making. It is just ashame that so many people are unaware of such historic events and in denial about the government tharting the effort of a clear majority of Americans that believe in the legalization of medicinal MJ.The estimate I heard for the advertising of hard liquor on television is 300 million dollars in the first three years. The substance that causes more harm than any other is advertized over all channels without any warning notices of its dangers and the politicians are gloating about how much they allocated in the new education bill that just passed. The politicians are not concerned about education. They are only concerned about getting reelected. What a country this is alright. Advertise the most damaging form of a substance that is a bigger scourge than all the illegal substances combined and raid, seize medical records,confiscate property and seize bank accounts of compassion clubs while hiding behind the stonewall that has "lies" spray painted all over it.I sure wish people would send this current batch of politicians home to pasture and get a whole new team of management.
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