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  • December 10th, 2012

MPs Urge Drug Policy Reform


MPs are urging the government to consider a system of drugs de-criminalisation that has been pioneered in Portugal as well as considering funding detailed studies of new systems in Washington and Colorado where cannabis is being legalised. In Portugal possession of a small amount of drugs for personal use is not a criminal offence however drugs are still not legal.

The Commons home affairs select committee has said that decriminalisation “merits significantly closer consideration” following the year long inquiry. They also said that efforts to combat drug barons had failed and there was not enough focus on helping users and their habits.

Read more about UK Drug Offences

The year long inquiry was the committee travel to Portugal, Columbia and US. In the report the MPs say: “We recommend the establishment of a royal commission to consider the best ways of reducing the harm caused by drugs in an increasingly globalised world.

“In order to avoid an overly long, overly expensive review process, we recommend that such a commission be set up immediately and be required to report by 2015.”

MPs continued to say “We need to take the hysteria out of looking at drugs policy and look at two very important facts,”

“First and foremost the victims – those who are the victims of those who deal in drugs and those who use drugs. And secondly the criminality of those in the system.

“We need to be pretty tough on those who go to prison and acquire the habit of using drugs in prison. We need to make sure we cut down on re-offending but we also need to look at other systems and monitor them carefully.

“After a year scrutinising UK drugs policy, it is clear to us that many aspects of it are simply not working and it needs to be fully reviewed.”

However the committee members haven’t had such a positive response. The Home Office has already made clear that it doesn’t believe the ‘Drugs: Breaking the Cycle’ report’s central recommendations need to be enacted and said “Drug usage is at its lowest level since records began and people going into treatment today are far more likely to free themselves from dependency than ever before.”

Mental health campaigners have also warned that it was vital not to ignore the links between cannabis use and psychotic illness.



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