A Cracking Idea 

A Cracking Idea 
Posted by CN Staff on July 02, 2002 at 21:49:51 PT
Leader: Blunkett should brave the drug critics 
Source: Guardian Unlimited UK
Most progressive reforms face resistance. None faces it more than efforts to reform our antiquated drug laws. The UK has the most draconian controls in Europe, yet surveys show our young people are among Europe's most frequent users. Undaunted by this contradiction, many conservatives continue to call for even tighter controls on even the least harmful drugs. 
Two years ago the Police Foundation's national commission on the law on misuse of drugs showed the current classification, which is meant to be based on harmfulness, no longer reflects modern medical or scientific findings.Nine months ago, David Blunkett, signalled his readiness to downgrade cannabis from class B to C, making possession of it a non-arrestable offence. Ever since, the resisters have been hard at work. The pilot scheme in the London borough of Lambeth, under which police have been cautioning rather than arresting people caught with small amounts of cannabis, has been an obvious target for this opposition. Destroy its credibility, and the proposed changes to the law on cannabis will look ill-advised. All manner of distortions have been heaped on its head as Brian Paddick, the Metropolitan police commander who introduced the trial, set out on our comment pages yesterday. Opponents have suggested the scheme is unpopular, yet a Police Foundation/Mori poll showed 83% of local residents supported it; only tiny proportions were opposed - 7% of the white and Asian communities and 10% of the black. A second charge suggested dealers were being ignored; yet statistics show an increase in arrests of dealers in both soft and hard drugs. A third charge is that the scheme has encouraged "drug tourists"; but a study of home addresses of those arrested shows no increase in the number of outsiders. Mr Blunkett should go ahead with his reclassification move. Since he signalled his intention, he has won the support of both the advisory council on the misuse of drugs and the Commons home affairs select committee. What he must resist is the push from chief constables to downgrade cannabis but retain the police's right of arrest. A major purpose of the change is to free police time from petty drug offences so that they can concentrate on more serious ones. Last week's report that crack cocaine dealers were spreading from London to other cities makes the point. The police need to ignore pot and concentrate on crack. Special Report Drugs in Britain:,2759,178206,00.htmlSource: Guardian Unlimited, The (UK)Published: Wednesday, July 3, 2002Copyright: 2002 Guardian Newspapers LimitedContact: comment Website: Articles & Web Site:Drugs Uncovered: Observer Special Chief Scorns Cannabis Pilot Critics Drugs Policy is Working Cannabis Pilot: The Facts 
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on July 03, 2002 at 10:39:46 PT
News Brief from
Blair Backs Drugs Trial 
The Prime Minister has refused to scrap the experimental "softly, softly" policing of cannabis use in Lambeth, south London.
Mr Blair told the Commons at question time the scheme had to be evaluated first to see whether it had worked or not.
He was repeatedly challenged by Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith.
"If it doesn't work then, of course, we won't extend it," he said.
Drug trafficking
"But it's important we take into account all the relevant views that are put to us."
Mr Duncan Smith said police figures were already clear. 
"They show drug trafficking has doubled and total drug offences have trebled in Lambeth over the last year."
The Tory leader said a year after the launch of the scheme to "decriminalise drug possession" in Brixton, police were critical.
He said the Metropolitan Police Commissioner had said: "`I don't think anything that exposes children to more contact with drugs should be tolerated'."
Last Updated: 16:08 UK, Wednesday July 03, 2002 
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Comment #1 posted by letsgetfree on July 03, 2002 at 08:40:45 PT
Brian Paddick should go down
down in Drug War history as the man with the balls to run head first into that first domino and shove it with all he's got. We all owe him a debt of gratitude.
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