The Liberal Democrat are expected to call for an independent inquiry into the decriminalisation of possession of all drugs, which will be debated at their annual conference next month. If the motion, put forward by Ewan Hoyle, is passed it would become party policy, but they would still need the agreement of the Conservatives before an official government inquiry could be set up.
The motion insists that current drugs laws are “harmful” and “ineffective” and urges the government to set up an expert panel to consider the decriminalisation of personal drug use.
The proposed inquiry would look at:
• Whether possession for personal use should not be a criminal offence.
• Whether possession should still be prohibited but police could only summon individuals to appear before panels tasked with determining education, health or social interventions.
• Potential frameworks for a strictly regulated cannabis market and the potential impacts on organised crime and the health of the public, especially children.
The motion also proposes the widespread availability of heroin maintenance clinics for the most problematic and vulnerable heroin users.
This is not be the first time the Lib Dems have discussed changing the drugs laws at their annual conference, in 2002 delegates voted for the legalisation of cannabis.
The Beckley Foundation whole heartedly supports any informed and objective debate on the direction of future drug policy reforms by the current government. 2011 sees the launch of the Beckley Foundation’s Global Initiative for Drug Policy Reform, which has commissioned a new Draft UN Convention on All Illegal Drugs that would allow signatory countries more freedom in deciding their own drug policies. Together with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform, the Foundation has also commissioned the first ever Cost/Benefit Analyses of a Regulated and Taxed Cannabis Market. Both will be launched at a Meeting at the House of Lords on 17/18 November 2011 as well as other evidence to support the need for change in our approach to controlling illegal drugs. The Meeting will also enable the Global Commission on Drug Policy, to present their recent findings, which are closely in line with those of the Beckley Foundation.
To read more about this issue click here for an article from the Independent.