In its recent submission (pdf) to the Sentencing Advisory Council (SAC) Consultation on Sentencing for Drug Offences, Transform endorsed Release’s submission (pdf) and made a call for the entire Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 to be reviewed, using the Impact Assessment framework.
We are well aware that this call falls outside of the SAC’s remit, so you might wonder why we bothered submitting at all. There are two basic reasons for taking this approach:
1. We are keenly aware that organisations like Release have far greater expertise and experience in the law. And we are supportive of their submission.
2. Sometimes it is more important to repeat a campaign position – such as, the need to evaluate the outcomes of the Act – than to engage with the detail of a consultation.
We find it hard to understand how the Ministry of Justice can contemplate tinkering with the detail of an Act whose operation is so blatantly counterproductive and discriminatory. It is the same approach that we took with regard to an earlier consultation with the Sentencing Advisory Panel (which the SAC replaced).
Now that the European Commission has decided to conduct an Impact Assessment of so-called ‘legal highs’, we hope that our call will begin to have more…impact.