Debate: Should the UK follow Washington's example and permit the legalisation of drugs?

Share
Related Topics

 

What's going on?

A group of influential MPs has released a damning report that calls on Government to reconsider its drug policies.

The central demand in the MPs' 147-page review is that Britain establish a commission for reform, since the current policy is both failing to tackle the drug barons at the heart of the illegal trade and doing too little to help users emerge from addiction.

It also called for an examination of other countries which had introduced more liberal drug regimes, including Portugal where users are not prosecuted for possessing small amounts.

Ministers should, it said, open discussions with the UN on ways to tackle the drugs trade, including "the possibility of legalisation and regulation".

But the Government quickly moved to quash debate last night and ruled out any shift in drugs policy. Should they have listened more closely?

Case for: Change is coming

What really discredits the case for legalisation is the number of pot-heads parroting half-baked arguments and plastering "Legalize" posters across their student hovels. This report, however, comes from quite different pedigree. And its case is unanswerable. Each year drugs cost thousands of lives and billions of taxpayer's money. With a sensible programme of reform, we could minimise the harm done to users and reduce the seismic economic impact of abuse. The example from America is clear. Change is coming. Britain should lose the stuffiness and move with it.

Case against: Spreading Disaster

The natural (and probably immediate) consequence of decriminalisation or – even worse – full legalisation will be a drastic increase in consumption. On what possible grounds is the drastic increase in consumption of highly addictive and ruinous substances individually, socially, or morally desirable? In any case, as Peter Hitchens argues in his book “The War Never Fought”, the point about the alleged ‘War on Drugs’ is not that it was ineffective; it’s that we never actually fought it. An excessively soft approach means we are, in effect, admitting defeat before engaging in battle. That is what cowards do.

React Now

The UK should legalise drugs

Read Next
The House of Lords in session  

Even if the House of Lords reform is such a good idea, why is the trigger for it Lord Sewel snorting coke with a prostitute?

Jane Merrick
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that once swathes of northern Syria are cleared of Isis fighters, “safe zones will be formed naturally” (AFP)  

Our policy in the Middle East is bad and getting worse

Rachel Shabi
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food