The high-profile celebrities have supported the campaign by signing an open letter to the Prime Minister criticising current drugs policy.
The letter, which was also signed by former Home Office Minister Bob Ainsworth, demands a “swift and transparent” review of drugs laws, followed by “immediate decriminalisation” if the review found laws had failed.
This call is not shared by many, though. This is especially the case with drug experts. Mary Brett, a trustee of charity Cannabis Skunk Sense said
This is naïve in the extreme. These people have never read the literature on the harms drugs such as cannabis can do. There is no doubt that cannabis can cause psychosis, and skunk users are even more likely to become psychotic as a result. The message decriminalising drugs sends out is that they are safe.
A spokesman for the Home Office has made a statement about the calls and said
We have no intention of liberalising our drugs laws. Drugs are illegal because they are harmful – they destroy lives and cause untold misery to families and communities. Those caught in the cycle of dependency must be supported to live drug-free lives, but giving people a green light to possess drugs through decriminalisation is clearly not the answer.
The open letter created by the campaign group Release has said
The failure of the current UK system of criminalisation is clear – alternatives must be considered. It is time for the UK to review its policy, to reduce its reliance on an overburdened criminal justice system, and to adopt an evidence based and health focused approach to drug use.
The letter was signed by 40 people including celebrities, lawyers, academics, artists and former police chiefs. In 2004 the Government sparked a storm of protest by downgrading cannabis from a class B drug to a class C. The policy proved to be a disaster and the Government was forced to revert cannabis to class B.
These sort of ‘calls’ make me despair. Were these people high on drugs when they wrote this letter? I have experienced first hand the trauma that the drugs society causes. I have seen the effects that it has on people. I’ve been a part of the destructive aftermath that drugs has on families who have been affected by drug users and drug takers.
There is clearly no thought gone into this call at all. Of course, we must take into consideration that the laws currently in place aren’t working. And this may be true to an extent. Unfortunately, corrupts in the law system (such as police officers and suchlike) may turn a blind eye to cannabis farms and other drug houses, and so it makes drug use and dealership impossible to fully control. But what law 100% works? To me, there seems to be only one solution for drug abuse, and that is to make punishments harsher for those who are dealing and using the drugs, to educate children more on it, and to make sure that there is a zero tolerance policy applied within the UK law system in general.
People are continually pushing the barriers further and further away. People will try to see how far they can go without getting punished. I’m just glad that the spokesman made it clear that ‘liberalising’ is not the way forward.
Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre.
Read More @ http://deanroberts.net/about
The war on drugs has failed, but I still have doubts about making some drugs legal like meth.
However, I do believe drug charges should be decriminalized; jail time for non-violent drug users, imo, is pathetic.
But it depends on their effect on the rest of society…
Rehab may be a possibility, but in all my experience, drugs are bad news.
I don’t think you’re understanding why people are calling for a decriminalization of all drugs. I’m on the side of it so I know the arguments exactly.
This isn’t to say that certain drugs don’t cause trauma or break up families or do all of the horrible things you say they do (except for marijuana, really, please look into it more than you have). No one is pushing for legalization just because we think there isn’t a problem.
First of all, (and this is an excellent point made by Ron Paul), if heroin was suddenly made legal do you think that everyone would rush off and try it? No! Nothing would really change. People who are hooked on it and people who would try it otherwise would continue to do so, and people who don’t, won’t.
Second of all, drug abusers should be treated like patients, not criminals. We treat people with an alcohol addiction, we don’t jail them, we don’t treat them like criminals (unless of course they did something bad while under the influence) And for god’s sake crazy freaking society, you especially do not send cannabis smokers to jail with actual, real criminals.
And lastly, the stricter the laws, the more money you are putting into the pockets of violent drug gangs and dealers. That’s just the truth. Obviously the laws do nothing to keep the drugs out, and the harsher they are the more the smuggler or the dealer can charge for their product, because there is so much more risk involved. You suddenly make it legal, and the person who is smuggling drugs across the border has no reason to charge extreme amounts of money for his services. You take away the money, you take away the power of the gangs. Most violence surrounding drugs and drug trafficking has nothing to do with being under any drug influence (and if it does, it is probably alcohol). It has to do with money.
When alcohol prohibition ended, the power of the gangs was taken away, and did everyone suddenly become an alcoholic? No. Just like everyone wont suddenly start using heroin or crack of drugs are decriminalized. We have a real world example to base the decimalization of drugs on and and I don’t see why we are not referring to it.
Please watch “The Union: the Business behind getting high,” for more information on Cannabis. And, the movie doesn’t cover this, but the whole entire history of it’s criminalization is basically a racist one, against black and Mexicans. For that information you might want to see “Grass: The History Of Marijuana.” available on youtube.
More and more information is coming out every day for how useful cannabis can be, even in the realm of curing cancer. I for one use hemp oil for my headaches and knee problems and it is a MIRACLE. I’ve tried everything and I did not want to resort to pharmaceuticals, which, as a whole, are a much bigger health scourge on society than the arbitrary plants and substances that we have arbitrarily decided to ban.
Of course I don’t advocate all drugs. But cannabis, LSD, peyote, magic mushrooms, and other hallucinogens have no toxicity towards humans and when used correctly (ie; not just to get “messed up”) have almost others risks. As for the others, like heroin and crack, the people who unfortunately abuse them need help, not jail time (if they are non-violent drug offenders).
The ridiculous amount of power that we give to violent gangs through these ridiculous laws is an insult one our intelligence and any thinking society should see how absolutely messed up this whole situation really is. But people don’t think, so I guess our intelligence deserves to be insulted.
I think I would still disagree, Eva. It’s about protecting society as a whole. We have huge problems with Alcoholism in the UK which are costing lives and draining the NHS of money.
It would be exactly the same for drugs. Both cause horrible abuse in families, trauma, illness and death.
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