UK MoJ: Please...Enforce the laws...We don't want our kids on drugs!

Using Drugs...Not a "human right".

 

UK MoJ: Please...Enforce the laws...We don't want our kids on drugs!

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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.

Thank you!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0c_8hkDJu0DY2tEUE9rUlRqY1k/view

http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/drugs/pages/cannabis-facts.aspx

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11810347/Taking-drugs-is-a-human-right-say-MPs-and-peers.html

http://www.in.gov/ipac/files/August_2014_Legalization_of_MJ_in_Colorado_the_Impact(1).pdf

http://www.factcheck.org/2015/04/is-marijuana-really-a-gateway-drug/

http://www.unodc.org/documents/wdr/WDR_2008/WDR_2008_eng_web.pdf

https://www.unodc.org/documents/wdr2014/World_Drug_Report_2014_web.pdf

https://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/ondcp-fact-sheets/how-illicit-drug-use-affects-business-and-the-economy

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Protect genuine human rights, not drug abuse.

To Members of Parliament in the Ministry of Justice, Rt Hon Michael Gove, Rt Hon Mike Penning, Rt Hon Dominic Raab, and Rt Hon Keith Vaz:

Recently, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform - which is an informal group set-up to discuss drug policy reform - released a report entitled, "Interpreting the UN Drug Conventions".

This report is meant to stimulate debate on this topic, in advance of a UN Special Session on drugs in 2016. In their report, the Group spends much of the time trying to make the unfortunate equation between drug use and genuine human rights.

The Group also spends much of its time trying to justify the legalisation of cannabis.

And, unfortunately, that is also the message that is being transmitted by some local constabularies, as they refuse to enforce the law on cannabis growing and possession.

What this Group and the local police Commissioners actually seem to want to say, without saying it, is that individual freedoms (or, in this case, individual license) trump the right of families not to have their kids on drugs...and, the right of workers not to have to shoulder the extra burden of their dopey colleagues...and, the right of drivers and pedestrians not to have to face an increased incidence of road fatalities caused by drug driving...and, the right of families, friends and care workers not to have to have to deal with an increase in mental illnesses brought on by cannabis use, etc.

Indeed, in their zeal to push their individual-over-society agenda, this All-Party Group neglected to do even the basic research of what the NHS says about cannabis use. 

As these bullet-point quotes from the NHS webpage, "Your Health...Your Choices", indicate, cannabis can have the following negative effects:

* Like tobacco, it contains cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens) that increase your risk of lung cancer.

* 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, not only in relation to education and work. The same NHS page says that a study has shown that drivers who are under the influence of cannabis are twice as likely to cause a fatal car crash.

In addition to their neglect of basic research on the medical and mental health sequelae of using cannabis, one of the most worrying aspects of this document is that the All-party group appears to have misinterpreted the very reports which they cite as evidence for their theory that the current approach to drugs has failed. For example, in their Introduction, they make the claim that UN reports show that drug use, "has risen relentlessly at world level" (p.1). But, this is not actually true. In both the 2008 and 2014 drugs reports which they cite, the UN authors clearly state that, "the prevalence of illicit drug use and problem drug use is generally stable...[increasing] commensurate with the growth of the world's population". (UNODC Drugs Report, 2014, p. ix).

This little fudge is important because in order to justify their call for reform, the group need to establish that the current policies have actually failed. And, here, at least where prevalence of drug use is taken as a key metric of success or failure of current policy, they fail to demonstrate that the current policy is not working.

One clear-headed thinker in relation to not legalising drugs, Mr Keith Vaz, MP, has stated: "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, Mr Vaz said: "Human rights legislation is not designed to be used in this way".

We agree.

And as such, we, the undersigned, call on you to reject this All-Party report and its findings. And, seeing how this type of fuzzy reasoning could force its way into more and more local constabularies, we also call on you to enforce the current drugs legislation.

Should the government wish to consider the palliative nature of some of the compounds found in cannabis, we await the publication of green and white papers, with contributions from the NHS. But, for the moment, let's consign this notion of "drug use as a 'human right'" to the annals of history. And, please, let's enforce our laws.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

[Your Name]

UK MoJ: Please...Enforce the laws...We don't want our kids on drugs!

Sign this petition now!

05,000
  2,966
 
2,966 people have signed. Help us reach 5,000 signatures.