Molly Meacher vs. Peter Hitchensby Peter Hitchens / March 27, 2014 / Leave a comment
Published in April 2014 issue of Prospect Magazine
YES: Legalisation and regulation of some illicit drugs is now on the agenda; Nick Clegg is leading calls for a royal commission on Britain’s drug laws. This comes ahead of a 2016 United Nations special summit which will consider global alternatives to prohibition. Originally scheduled for 2019, it was brought forward at the request of several member states. Meanwhile, two US states (Washington and Colorado) passed laws at the start of this year to legalise cannabis, and Uruguay has become the first nation to make it legal to grow, sell and consume it.
Criminalising the users, as well as the producers, of drugs such as heroin, cocaine and cannabis has handed global criminal gangs and terrorists a market worth at least $300bn per year, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The current policy, which is based upon the UN conventions of 1961, 1971 and 1988 and the UK Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971, has destroyed the lives of countless young people, and cost the UK taxpayer £15bn per year.
Legalisation with strong regulatory systems can, I believe, be a much safer option. However, the case for each drug must be addressed separately. The legalisation of heroin supply to addicts, for example, must be limited to a clinic setting where the heroin is injected. This policy, in operation for more th…