Original Version of the talk that Amanda gave in the
ROTOTOM SUNSPLASH FESTIVAL SOCIAL FORUM
in Benicassim, Spain, on 22 August 2012
To leave the third largest industry in the world worth about $350 billion per annum in the control of criminal cartels people with values opposite to those of civilised society is foolish to the point of insanity. Surely we must presume that the governments of the world, with the help of the necessary experts, can do a better job at minimizing the harms associated with drug production, marketing and use than will moral-free criminals.
The time has come for our leaders to recognise what has been obvious to many of us for a long time: that the prohibitionist approach of the War on Drugs has proved to be a failure. After 50 years of escalating expenditure, suffering and social devastation, it is time to rethink our basic approach to the control of psychoactive substances. It is time to consider policy options that have until now been too taboo even to discuss namely, control of these substances by a strictly regulated legal regime.
Psychoactive substances have been used by mankind since the earliest times, and are deeply interwoven with the evolution of our cultural development. It was only in the 20th century that a system of control based on prohibition began to evolve, almost by accident. By the mid-20th century this tendency had gathered force, and finally got fixated in the three UN Drug Conventions of 1961, ‘71 and ‘88. Signed by almost every country in the world, these Conventions have achieved the status of holy writ unalterable and beyond reasoned debate.