I refer you to an article that I have written today for my Nanny Knows Best site, on the subject of our failed drugs policy:
"....I say again, without any lack of clarity or fudging of the issue, drugs should be legalised.
Once legalised, they can be taxed and the public properly educated as to their effects.
The legalisation will bring about the end of the stranglehold that the criminal gangs currently have on many of the run down estates in this country. The ending of their supply of easy money will remove their power, kudos and "bling"; their power over others will end.
That surely is a good thing?
Is it not ironic that those who would most strongly resist the legalisation of drugs are those who currently make money of them?...."
Given that I am a middle aged accountant and company director, hardly a criminal or revolutionary, if I can see that the current situation is a shambles and am explicitly calling for the legalisation of drugs why is it that our elected representatives (some of who have taken/continue to take drugs) continue to pursue the same failed policies?
Ken Frost MA FCA FIPFM"
Here is the reply I received today from Richard Mullins (who recently was in a tiz over legal highs being used at music festivals such as Glastonbury).
As can be seen, Nanny has stated very firmly that she will not legalise drugs; stating in a patronising manner "there is good reason" for her actions. I might almost suggest that there is a tone of "shut and and go away" in the reply:)
Funny that, as a voter I thought that I was allowed to express an opinion and ask a question of my elected representatives?
I would note that whenever a politician says "never" in such "final" manner, and states that they have "no intention", then you know that they know that they are on intellectually, factual and morally very shaky ground.
Anyhoo, Nanny's reasoning is a tad "wobbly", here's a few reasons why:
1 She assumes that drug taking equates to addiction, ignoring the fact that there are thousands who use drugs in clubs every Friday and Saturday who are not addicted, nor will ever become addicted.
2 Nanny also ignores the fact that caffeine, fags and booze are also addictive and potentially dangerous drugs; yet they are legal.
3 Nanny is worried that legalisation would "confuse" her healthy living message.
4 I note with a degree of disbelief, that Nanny feels it may be difficult to tax drugs. Since when has the complexity of tax legislation ever stopped her before from taxing something?
5 There is an undercurrent of wishful thinking in Nanny's note that she would very much like to ban booze and fags as well.
6 Nanny states that legalisation would lead to a substantial increase in use. On what empirical evidence is this assertion based?
7 Nanny is worried that if other countries don't follow suit, in legalising drugs, then this country would become a shopping paradise for drugs dealers. Is that not for the customs officials of other countries to worry about?
Is it not ironic that the leader of the "free world" and, allegedly, the leader and chancellor plus others in another country have used class A drugs yet continue to deny others the right to abuse their bodies in the same way?
Drugs were banned in the early 20th century because the "morality movement" managed to gain the upper hand in the legislative process. Had events continued in their favour booze would have also been banned here, as it was in the USA.
We have this hypocritical duality of legislation (legal drugs vs illegal ones) because a single issue pressure group got their way, and the government has not got the political interest nor guts to reverse the situation (bad laws once enacted are very difficult to overturn).
Be warned, if Nanny had her way she would ban booze and fags as well!
This policy is failing and will continue to fail.
"Mr Ken Frost MA FCA FIPFM
Reference: T9577/10 28 June 2010
Dear Mr Frost,
Thank you for your email of 29 May to the Home Secretary about the legalisation of controlled drugs. Your email has been passed to the Drug Strategy Unit and I have been asked to reply.
The Government has no intention of legalising the recreational use of any currently controlled drug. Its view is that the drugs subject to our misuse of drugs legislation are controlled for good reasons. Many – like heroin and crack cocaine – are clearly addictive and harmful to health and there is no prospect of the Government authorising their production, supply and possession for that reason. They are and will remain illegal.
Legalisation of currently illegal drugs would also run counter to the Government’s health and education messages. The Government’s educational message – to young people in particular – is that all illegal drugs are harmful and that no one should take them. To legalise their supply for personal consumption would send the wrong message to the majority of young people who do not take drugs on a regular basis, if at all, with the potential risk of increased drug use and abuse.
The Government’s objective is to reduce the use of all illegal drugs substantially. If such drugs were to become legally available they would become easier to access and levels of supply and use, as well as the resultant harms and cost to individuals and society, would expand significantly. While our drugs laws cannot be expected to eliminate drug use, they do help to limit supply and use and deter experimentation.
Those who advocate legalisation suggest that this would reduce a range of harms associated with the illicit control and supply of drugs. But this view tends to take no account of the consequences of the significant increase in use that would follow legalisation; and only takes account of the acquisitive crime that feeds some drug habits, not the crimes committed under the influence of drugs or the drawbacks to a lawful, regulated market. Also, the legalisation of drugs would not eliminate the crime committed by organised career criminals. Such criminals would simply seek new sources of illicit revenue through crime.
A regulated market for drugs through controlled outlets (e.g. licensed pharmacies) would certainly provide the opportunity for tax revenue. But establishing the level of taxation would be difficult. Setting the price too high would open the door for the illegal markets, while setting it too low could feed that same market. Regulation also carries its own administrative and enforcement costs which can be substantial and are usually borne by the taxpayer, who needs to be persuaded that the tax is just. Unless drugs were freely available to everyone, it would not be possible to stop the illicit market operating at the margins of any regulated system, as alcohol and tobacco smuggling demonstrate.
Also, it is not clear how such increased access would reduce the incidence of drug taking, if at all. On the contrary, government backing in the form of making controlled drugs readily available might exacerbate the problems and the temptations rather than reduce them. Meanwhile, unilateral action on this or any other government's part would undoubtedly encourage unwanted drug tourism to the country concerned, not least from drug dealers, in the event that there were no similar move to legalise internationally.
The Government understands the arguments for legalising controlled drugs in a regulated way and considers that the disadvantages would outweigh the benefits. At a time when it is doing much to try to reduce the use of tobacco and misuse of alcohol due to ever greater concerns about their safety, it would be perverse to take the huge gamble with public health that would be involved in legalising currently illegal drugs.
Whilst there will always be calls to legalise, this will not deflect the Government from continuing to focus on its existing multi-faceted approach to drug control. It is committed to reducing drug use and drug harms through targeted actions which have the most impact. In the Government’s view, prevention, education, early intervention, enforcement, treatment and reintegration achieve the best results in addressing the problems of drug addiction, its causes and its impact on crime.
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