“Punitive drug laws are failing.” Says Home Office study, claiming there’s no evidence that harsh sentencing on illegal drug use works, and documents that Portugal’s decriminalisation has brought about success.
Home Office study finds no evidence that harsh sentencing curbs illegal use and documents success of Portugal’s decriminalisation. Something many of us knew already? Thought we knew at least? Nonetheless, the study, signed off and published by Tory home secretary Theresa May and unsurprisingly Lib-Dem minister Norman Baker.
The international social and political consensus up to this groundbreaking document has always reported that harsher penalties would curb and tackle problems caused by illicit drugs. Baker claims “banging people up and increasing sentences does not stop drug use” and goes further with “if anything the evidence is to the contrary.”
The paper defines detail on the health-led approach in Portugal which combined decriminalisation with related policies which has led to falls in all types of drug use alongside falls in ‘drug-related’ HIV and Aids cases.
Ironically; the study has emerged as the government wanted to highlight and assist in the banning of legal highs. The Lib-Dem coalition partners have gone far enough and to call for the decriminalisation of possession.
Baker has repeatedly warned of the dangers of legal highs, citing evidence that some cannabinoids synthesised in chemical labs are 100 times more powerful than traditional strains of cannabis.
The expert report says there were 60 deaths related to new psychoactive substances in 2013 – up from 52 the year before.
MPs will now debate our current drug policies amid the call for a review of the current legislation. In terms of timing of these reviews, turning into legislation drafts, into an actual Act Of Parliament may be later than sooner.
The process starts off with a proposal from a legislative committee within Parliament, then trickles, gets amended and withstands scrutiny. After this, the proposal gets flung from house to house from the Commons to the Lords, adding amendments and maybe even blockages which could last up to a year. After these stages, the policy is brought through by the Queen herself, and then implemented.
Public legislative speculation stands at anywhere from 6 to 10 years, if at all. A vague answer, but well into our lifetimes may scare some, whilst potheads rejoice…