UK MoJ: Please...Enforce the laws...We don't want our kids on drugs!
An informal All-Party Parliamentary Group on drug policy reform, co-chaired by Green Party member, Caroline Lucas and by Crossbench Peer, Baroness Meacher, has issued a report which calls for "experimental" liberalisation of the UK's current drugs policies, particularly around cannabis possession.
Even though the report has no legislative authority, it is obviously being used to test public opinion, just at the same time as a couple local constabularies, like in Durham, have stated that they will turn a blind eye to laws which punish the possession and growing of cannabis.
This type of policy change, however, not only goes against the rule of law, it also goes against the clear warnings of the NHS about cannabis and mental health issues (see below). And, it also goes against the best interests of society, as drug use can lead to increased fatalities in work-related accidents and on the road, and where a lack of motivation at work, brought on by drugs use, can lead to reduced economic productivity.
This petition, therefore, calls on the Ministry of Justice to do two things: one, to reject the guidance contained in this report; and, two, to continue to enforce the existing laws on drugs.
So, how does this All-Party Group suggest circumventing the UN conventions on drugs, which form the infrastructure of the UK's current laws on drugs, and to which the UK is a party?
Specifically, they propose absurd notion that recreational drugs use can somehow be treated as a so-called "human right". Using the European Convention on Human Rights as cover, they assert that, the "...possession or purchase (or cultivation of drugs for personal use) (particularly in small quantities) do not injure other people's rights either directly or indirectly and therefore should not be criminalised [under Section of the European Convention]." (p.7)
With this logic, the all-party group goes on to propose a variety of options for legalisation or decriminalisation, including the legalisation of Amsterdam-type "coffee houses" on the British landscape. But, as above, what this group seem to ignore in their report, however, are the very real, negative consequences of cannabis, on individuals and on society, as laid out by the NHS.
As these quotes from the NHS webpage, "Your Health...Your Choices", indicate, cannabis can have the following negative effects:
*Cannabis can harm your mental health. Regular use is associated with an increased risk of developing a psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia.
* Some people find it affects their memory, making it harder to remember things.
* It makes some people feel confused, anxious or paranoid, and some experience panic attacks and hallucinations.
* It can make you demotivated and uninterested in other things going on in your life, such as education or work. Long-term use can affect your ability to learn and to concentrate.
As the last bullet-point indicates, these effects not only affect the individual, but also affect greater society, as well.
And, another aspect of drug legalisation which is not taken into account by the All-Party Group is that the evidence from other countries shows that drug use is highest where it is most easily available. For example, in the US, drug use is highest among youth in states where cannabis has been legalised. Therefore, legalising drugs in the UK would increase the likelihood of a young person experimenting with drugs because of greater availability. (Please see the report below, The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact)
Fortunately, Mr Keith Vaz, MP, who is the chairman of the Commons all-party home affairs select committee, has said about the legalisation of drugs: "One exemption, even though minor, could open the floodgates." And, further, of the All-Party Group's attempt to use the European Convention on Human Rights as a means to achieving a major change in drug policy: "Human rights legislation is not designed to be used in this way".
Because of this threat to the health and well-being of Britain's youth, please sign this petition, which asks the Ministry of Justice to both reject the guidance given in this report, and to enforce the existing drug laws.
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Sign this petition now!
Protect genuine human rights, not drug abuse.