Europe: Fired British Drug Advisor Calls for Royal Commission on Marijuana Decriminalization

Professor David Nutt, the former head of Britain's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), who was fired late last month by Home Secretary Alan Johnson for criticizing the government's drug policies as driven by politics instead of science, is now calling for a Royal Commission to study whether to decriminalize marijuana.
David Nutt
As head of the ACMD, Nutt had recommended that marijuana not be up-scheduled by the Labor government, but the government ignored that advice and moved marijuana back to a Class B drug, where it had been before the government down-scheduled it to Class C in 2004. Nutt and the ACMD had also recommended down-scheduling Ecstasy, another position the government rejected.

Nutt's firing three weeks ago has led to considerable criticism of the government from the scientific community. It has also led to the resignations of five members of the ACMD.

Now, Nutt has told BBC's Radio 4 that a Royal Commission examining decriminalization was a "sensible" idea that could bring "big health benefits." Nutt added: "We've seen some countries like Portugal make real progress in terms of drug-related crime and drug-related harms by decriminalizing drugs of personal use. You could make a moral position that why should people be imprisoned for possessing something that effectively will only harm themselves?"

The Dutch model was one worthy possibility, Nutt said. "I certainly am interested in the idea that we might de-penalize possession and even allow the Dutch model for cannabis -- the coffee shops -- which could potentially have many benefits. I think it's perfectly sensible to think about the Dutch model for cannabis and explore whether that might be a tenable way of allowing young people to get an intoxicant which is safer than alcohol, and which they could then use in a controlled, safe environment."

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Jean Boyd's picture

Reminds me of Joscelyn Elders

Although the situations are certainly different, the case of Professor David Nutt brings me back to a time in U.S. history. During the Clinton administration, Surgeon General Elders suggested that we look into and study drugs and the war on drugs. Not long after that she was ousted from her position. Her son was also set up by federals and busted after many attempts to get him to supply a drug. Professor Nutt's position is the same in that he is suggesting that we de-penalize possession. However it is said, we are asking for social justice and an end to the atrocites commited in the name of the Drug War.

borden's picture


Nice to meet you at the conference, Jean.

David Borden, Executive Director the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

Yes. The great push-back

Yes. The great push-back against the truth of marijuana reform is formidable. I believe the ultimate level for reform is to expose those powers that protect and maintain this monstrous persecution. I say we must stop acting like the prohibitionists have the public's best interest at heart and are only "misguided." -- They're not. They know the truth, and still they perpetuate this horrific injustice - for the same old, sordid reasons - power and profit.

If I had the money, I would buy a piece of land in D.C. and build a memorial wall for all the people who have died as a result of marijuana prohibition. And another for all those lives ruined from a marijuana "conviction." The latter would be a mighty wall, since there are now 20 million innocent people who have been made second-class citizens for life because of those false arrests. --- Then there would be one more "wall of shame" with the names of those in power who fight to keep the American Inquisition going.

I'd support a wall

I like the idea of a "wall of shame".
I would support it. Maybe around the wall there could be granite inscriptions of drug truths and myths, drug laws that undermine human intellegence, failed policies, and perhaps a complete list of "innocent" victims in the drug war; ie: anyone caught in a police crossfire, "wrong house" raids, and what not...
It would be deppressing, but no more than any other memorial wall.
I'd give a few bucks 2 ya...

I, too, would contribute

I'm not at all rich but I would contribute $50 to build such a wall.

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

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