Police Force Urges Legalisation 

Police Force Urges Legalisation 
Posted by FoM on February 16, 2000 at 19:58:22 PT
By Alan Travis, Home Affairs Editor 
Source: News Unlimited
Cleveland has become the first police force to warn the government that the war on drugs is not being won and to say it is time to consider the "only serious alternative - the legalisation and regulation of some or all drugs". The report from Cleveland's chief constable, Barry Shaw, which has been endorsed by the force's Labour-led police authority, is the first time that senior serving police officers have declared that Britain's drug laws are not working and endorsed the call for a royal commission to reconsider the legal position. 
The only police figures who have, up until now, voiced their support for a serious debate on legalisation have been retired officers. The most senior officers in the Cleveland force, which covers the Redcar constituency of Mo Mowlam, the cabinet minister responsible for drugs police, said they strongly supported Tony Blair's 10-year strategy to combat drug abuse because it stressed the need to treat drug users as victims as much as offenders. But they said that underlying it all was a prohibition style approach which relied upon bans and enforcement to restrict availability. "We have to consider whether this is realistic," said the report written by Cleveland's former assistant chief constable, Richard Brunstrom, and endorsed by Mr Shaw. "There is overwhelming evidence to show that the prohibition based policy in place in this country since 1971 has not been effective in controlling the availability of or use of prescribed drugs. "If there is indeed a 'war on drugs' it is not being won; drugs are demonstrably cheaper and more easily available than ever before. The same picture can be seen in the USA and elsewhere." The report added that there was no logic in making alcohol and nicotine freely available despite very clear evidence of their harmful effects while the ban on cannabis was being enforced with severe penalties, despite being seen as less harmful by many medical scientists. It said this approach was based on little more than historical accident and led many young people to level the charge of hypocrisy, a view which was very difficult to counter. The force argued that Britain had yet to learn the lessons of 1920s alcohol prohibition in the United States, Gandhi's civil disobedience campaign in India in the 1940s, or from the campaign against the poll tax in Britain in the 1980s. "If a sufficiently large, and apparently growing, part of the population chooses to ignore the law for whatever reason, then that law becomes unenforceable. A modern western democracy, based on policing by consent and the rule of law may find itself powerless to prevent illegal activity - in this case the importation and use of controlled drugs." The Cleveland police said there was a strong link between crime and drugs but added that was a product of prices remaining high because drugs are illegal. A serious heroin user needed to find 50 in cash each day and so turned to crime, mainly shoplifting, selling drugs and burglary. The report noted that nationally about a third of all crime was geared to the purchase of heroin, cocaine or crack. The officers insisted that most drug users did not commit significant amounts of crime and their only offence was to choose to use a drug which was technically illegal. "The best example of this is cannabis - the UK has the highest rate of cannabis use in Europe, higher even than in the Netherlands which has a tolerance policy." The Cleveland police policy paper said that overwhelming health reasons added to the reasons for considering changes in legalisation. It said the illegal nature of the trade caused further unnecessary risk to drug users because of uncertainty over the quality and purity. Heroin might be cut with additives as wide ranging as chalk dust, quinine, lactose, boric acid and talcum powder. "Legalisation and regulation of currently banned drugs has never been tried properly anywhere in the world so there is little hard evidence available," it said, adding that the experiment in Netherlands in tolerating the personal use of cannabis had resulted in a lower rate of use than in the UK. Some European cities, such as Geneva, were experimenting with issuing heroin under prescription to addicts with results showing some startling reductions in crime. It concluded by saying that the evidence strongly suggested that prohibition had not been effective in reducing availability of, or demand for, controlled drugs, and might even be counter-productive. "If prohibition does not work, then either the consequences of this have to be accepted, or an alternative approach must be found," said the report. "The most obvious alternative approach is the legalisation and subsequent regulation of some or all drugs." Ken Walker, the chairman of Cleveland police authority, which endorsed the report, said it was a serious, sensible and constructive approach. "No one wants to rush into legalising some or all of the drugs proscribed because there are so many serious and complex social implications. But we have to face reality and open up the debate about all the options." Battles the Law Won:1998 drug seizures and offender statistics:  Total number of drug seizures increased by 8% to 149,000; 76% involved cannabis.  Cannabis seizures increased by 7%, but the quantities seized dropped by 28%.  The number of heroin seizures went up by 19%, but quantity seized fell by 40%.  Number and quantity of cocaine (including crack) seizures increased, by 36% and 25% respectively.  Quantities of ecstasy type drugs went up by 9%; the number of seizures fell by 7%.  Drug offenders up by 13% to 127,900; 90% possession cases, mainly cannabis.  Cocaine offenders up 32% (excluding crack); a 30% rise in heroin offenders; and a rise of 13% in cannabis offenders.  47% of offenders were cautioned, 23% were fined and 8% sentenced to immediate custody. Published: February 17, 2000Guardian Unlimited  Guardian Newspapers Limited 2000CannabisNews Articles On The UK:
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on February 17, 2000 at 10:40:29 PT
Bearcreek Ampitheatre
Greenfox,I would love to be able to make one of the events this year. I think they hold an event at Bearcreek a little north of New Philadelphia Ohio. 
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Comment #4 posted by greenfox on February 17, 2000 at 06:23:01 PT
Beyond the realms of death
Don't ask me why I'm posting this: it's an old rock song that I particuarly care for... it really has nothing to do with cannabis prohibition but it DOES express the way i feel about government drug expresses the belief that sometimes i wish I could just close my eyes and go to somewhere where I am truly free with all my friends..."Beyond the REalms of DEath" by Judas PriestHe's had enough...couldn't take anymore..he found a his MIND... and slammed the doorno matter how they tried, they couldn't understand..they washed and dressed him...fed him by hand..."yeah! I've left your world behind..I am safe here in my mind..I am free to speak with my own kind..This is my life, this is my life, i will decide- not you!"Withdrawn he'd sit there,And stare into blackest spaceNo signs of life would flicker on his face..Until one day he smiledit seemed as though with PRIDEthe wind kissed him...goodbye..and then he DIED!"yeah! I've left your world behind..I am safe here in my mind..I am free to speak with my own kind..This is my life, this is my life, i will decide- not you!"So KEEP your world, and all it's's not fit for living in...YEAH, I *will* start again!It can take forever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and EVER... but I'll still win...Beyond the realms of death...
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Comment #3 posted by greenfox on February 17, 2000 at 06:16:42 PT
kaptinemo's wisdom
Kap: I think I'm going insane. Everytime i get up and read the news, (as stated before,) it depresses me. I'm probably one of the most active people that there is. I go to rallies, I do speeches on hemp in class (college,) and I inform. Yet, for whatever reason, US drug policy still depresses me craplessly. And THEN I come on here to read your wellthought out educated comments and it ALMOST brings me hope again. ;) Say I was wondering, would anyone on this board (including YOU Fom cuz I knwo you live in Ohio) be willin to do a picnic or something? It couuld be cool for the members of the board to meet and put faces to the names. ::shrugs:: just a thought...
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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on February 16, 2000 at 20:45:40 PT
One more nail in the Prohib coffin
Friends, you've just read what may have been a shot across the bow for Tony Blair. Because when the police, the front line troops in this insane war, start to grumble, you bloody well better listen. This latest statement, given it's timing, is coming close on the heels of Tony Blair's incredible (as in the old meaning of the word, 'not believable') statement of wanting to increasingly use the American model in waging a DrugWar. As if you could douse a fire by throwing gasoline on it.Blair's hold on his party, despite his attempts to reign in people like Hellawell and Mowlam, is slipping. The cracks are showing, and no amount of plaster and plywood is going to cover it up now. Especially when the police are telling him in no uncertain terms that his American-style DrugWar won't work anymore. You can bet our own pols are watching this very nervously, now. This is one 'British Invasion' they are not going to want any parts of.
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Comment #1 posted by military officer guy on February 16, 2000 at 20:42:03 PT
elect that guy for pres...
wait he's british, oh well give him a US citizenship...bring him on our side...i like him...
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