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British Lib Dems to Call for Drug Decriminalization

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #696)
Consequences of Prohibition

The British Liberal Democratic Party, junior partner in a coalition government with the Conservatives, is expected to pass a motion calling for an independent panel to study the decriminalization of the possession of all illicit drugs and for a regulated marijuana market, according to various British press reports. The motion is to be voted on at the party's annual conference next month.

The motion also calls for the inquiry to review the impact of the Misuse of Drugs Act and whether the government should seriously consider heroin maintenance programs. It cites the success of the Portuguese decriminalization model, as well as the call for reform from the Global Commission on Drug Policy, and the findings of Britain's own Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which called for the decriminalization of drug possession during the national review of drug strategy last year.

Aides to Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democratic Party head Nick Clegg told the Daily Mail they expected party members to approve the motion next month, making it official policy and putting the Lib Dems at odds with their Conservative partners.

But The Guardian reported that Lib Dems believe Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May can be persuaded to allow an open-minded inquiry into the controversial topic. Earlier in his political career Cameron called for drug legalization, but he has since retreated from that position.

"There is increasing evidence that the UK's drugs policy is not only ineffective and not cost effective, but actually harmful, impacting particularly severely on the poor and marginalized," the motion said, citing "the need for evidence-based policy making on drugs with a clear focus on prevention and harm reduction."

The motion also calls for the inquiry to "examine heroin maintenance clinics in Switzerland and the Netherlands which have delivered great health benefits for addicts and considerable reductions in drug-related crime."

Even if the motion is passed, it is unlikely to become law. Its proposals will be opposed not only by the Tories, but also by Labor, which briefly entertained a dalliance with lessening penalties for marijuana before doing a U-turn on the issue in the face of public and political pressure. But passage of the motion would mean that one of Britain's major political parties is now lining up behind serious drug reform efforts.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Guitarod (not verified)

Gov'ts in the free world study drug policies and laws. yAWN.

How long have they studied marijuana? Years.

Results: no progress & keep studying until they can find anything wrong with it. I have never heard of a pothead doing a B&E or getting violent other when mixed with harder drugs like cocaine or alcohol.

Why not try decriminalization on trial basis for one year, and study the results as well as financial savings by cops, courts & prisons. if there is no benefit then go back to current system, which is no better than what we had 40 years ago.

Concentrate on gangs & sealing borders to keep out guns & cocaine.

Don't prosecute drug addicts. Try treating them.

Learn from countries like Portugal. There situation is a real study, not done by gov't scientists.

Spank me please, as I am a law abiding Canadian who smokes Pot. We are many who believe that our marijuana laws are unjust & stupid. Are these laws not originally based on stupidity & pure lies.

Religion has to have enemies to justify itself. This drug war is really a Holy War not. The real God still loves us Tokers.

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 11:32am Permalink
DiamondInDaRuff (not verified)

In reply to by Guitarod (not verified)


Portugal..I know nothing about that place, but I will look into that, since you mention it.  :0)   takin out my research scrubs

I agee with all you stated.


try something new, if it doesnt work(although you know there will be those who will give it their all to make it not work(for their own self cynical greed and desire to hold on to 'power')...we can always go back to what doesnt work....with what destroys families...etc..


Concentrate on gangs & sealing borders to keep out guns & cocaine/crack, meth, etc.      why?...i want everyones kids to a have a childhood they can brag about...about how much fun they had with their family and friends...all the sports they played or watched their friends play, etc.

law enforcement is in the middle like we are...they uphold the laws....they will help with securing these changes and keeping everyone enforcement is not the enemy.....neither are the governments...we need to learn to communicate with words effectively so they can help us and at the same time keep the goverment working even more efficiently and not too intrusively...but effective so we all benefit along with the government--they keep us safe in the event of terrorist attacks remember......empathy for all........


As a pain patient I am grateful for my doctors, their medications, and i wish we could have it all if we choose to oil/electric power and solar as a team....doctors, medications, cannabis..a team....really good teams...forever. , medications, cannabis..a team....really good teams...forever.  ,medications, and cannabis a team..really good teams


Fri, 08/12/2011 - 5:01pm Permalink
The Truth Need… (not verified)

The US Government has known since 1974 that Cannabis CURES cancer completely. Richard Nixon wanted more funding for his 'War On Drugs' so he wanted to prove that Cannabis caused cancer. He donated millions to a research facility in Virginia. This facility spent 2 years researching Cannabis and the end result was Cannabis CURED Cancer. Richard Nixon was so furious that he deemed the entire study 'Classified' and wouldn't let anyone read it. We only know the truth about what happened now, because of 'Freedom of Information' requests that were submitted to the Government a couple years ago. This is how it works.. THC when ingested in its purest form (Hemp oil) immediately attacks all mutated cells in your body while strengthening healthy cells. It is THE PERFECT CURE. It doesn't make people sick, it works fast and it ALWAYS works. I have seen people who were virtually on their death beds, get cured of their cancer. It doesn't just work on Cancer either. It works with all tumors and even certain diseases like diabetes. In America people all over the country are started to use this cure, but sadly the UK doesn't want to hear it. I have contacted Cancer Research UK but they dont want to hear it. Infact, they have blocked me from their websites and Facebook pages because I was posting articles about Cannabis as a Cancer treatment. In all reality.. The people running the company don't want a cure. They make far too much money. If they found a cure, nobody would donate and Cancer Research UK would cease to exist.

According to a recent Government statistic, 42% of the UK population is going to get Cancer in their lifetime. It is a BIG business. The companies who make make FAR more money than any other companies in the world, are Pharmaceutical companies. They make BILLIONS off cancer medication and chemotherapy every single year. Cancer treatment drugs are worth more than their weight in gold. They know that people would pay ANYTHING if they knew it could save their life. If word came out that we can grow our own Cancer cure, these companies would lose TRILLIONS in profits. They know this! I know they know the truth because my brother runs a Pharmaceutical company. I told him about the cure and HE ALREADY KNEW. It caused a huge fight in my family but I know the truth is far more important than company profit. Money is not worth peoples lives. The sooner people force the Government to be honest, the better.

Wed, 08/10/2011 - 10:20pm Permalink
Simacmilan (not verified)

You say the government 'briefly entertained a dalliance with lessening penalties for marijuana before doing a U-turn on the issue in the face of public and political pressure.'

There was no pressure from the public, and the only political force which called for a reversion to the previous classification were the police. 

Thu, 08/11/2011 - 1:08pm Permalink
DiamondInDaRuff (not verified)

Even though money is tight and and people(me too) are understandably upset(rightfully so) about the economic situation, with the spare time I do have right now, I would like to THANK so many people, so many countries(especially Great Britain in its entirety), ALL OUR AMERICAN MILITARY FORCES(RETIRED AND ACTIVE), all OUR AMERICAN GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL, ALL AMERICANS, all visitors, anyone who came to the United States's aid as a result of the unnecessary violent attacks against Americans on September 1, 2001.  THANK YOU  THANK YOU  THANK YOU  THANK YOU  THANK YOU      please God, bless everyone for all of their sacrifices.     Thank you for keeping America safe.    Thank you God.

Fri, 08/12/2011 - 4:10pm Permalink
sicntired (not verified)

In spite of claims to the contrary in an earlier comment.Just look at the way Barack Obama went from a proponent of harm reduction to a drug warrior by simply discovering he had a real shot at being President.His stance has gotten consistently harsher ever since.It's a disease that affects most of the people in Washington and Ottawa and is unlikely to change as long as voters keep returning these drug warriors to office.Libertarians and Greens oppose drug prohibition.Jack Layton was a friend to cannabis but did little to further any policies.I have no idea what the NDP without him even stands for.PS,this is an anti prohibition site.Not a place to air personal political opinions about totally unrelated issues.America is not so safe for drug users.Not so safe at all.As for the UK.England used to have a heroin maintenance program that was the envy of the world.Many thought it was because of the years that they forced the Chinese to buy their Indian opium.I spoke to some of the locals that made the trip and loved working and living there on that program.The Americans forced them into switching everyone to methadone.A drug that at least 50% of addicts never get accustomed to and that is far more addicting than heroin.The only people opposed to heroin maintenance are the uninformed and the evangelicals and fundamentalists.

Tue, 08/16/2011 - 1:10am Permalink

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