Saturday, 2 August 2008

An argument for the legalisation of all drugs: an update

Since I posted my argument for drugs legalisation a month ago, it seems that many others in positions of far more influence than me are taking a similar line. Last Wednesday, the UK Drugs Policy Commission released a report that claims the war on drugs has had "little adverse effect" on the availability of drugs in the UK.

According to the report, although £380 million, which the report states is "about one-quarter of the total cost of delivering the drug strategy," was spent on enforcement and cutting off the supply of drugs in 2005/06, the effect has been minimal. This is because "drug markets have proven to be extremely resilient" and "they are highly fluid and adapt to law enforcement interventions." Moreover, the report unequivocally finds that "enforcement can have a significant and unintended negative impact on the nature and extent of harms associated with drugs" and insists that this problem needs to be "recognised and minimised."

Of course, the problem is being recognised now. The report is just the latest evidence against the drug war policy, and more than one senior police officer has come forward in the past year to argue in favour of legalisation to some degree. Some have argued for addict prescription whilst others, like myself, have insisted that full legalisation and removing the trade from criminal hands is not only necessary but vital.

Either way, more and more people are opening their eyes and starting to realise that, when official figures "
estimate the size of the UK illicit drug market to be £5.3 billion" and thus "the single greatest organised crime threat to the UK," then those willing to bypass the law for profit will never be deterred by crackdowns and drug-busts.