Friday, August 05, 2011

Lib Dems consider drug law reform at conference

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We're excited to see that a promising development in the UK debate is being widely reported today; the Lib Dems are to debate a motion at this years annual conference that takes a wide ranging look at drug law reform - specifically considering both decriminalisation of personal drug possession, and regulated cannabis markets. In many respects this isn't new territory for the Lib Dems - who have a long history of more rational thinking on the drugs issue than the other two main UK parties. They have had a call for legalisation and regulation of cannabis (albeit with some caveats) as official policy since 2002, and something resembling the decrim call (minus specifics) was actually in their 2010 election manifesto:

"Ensure that financial resources, and police and court time, are not wasted
on the unnecessary prosecution and imprisonment of drug users and addicts; the
focus instead should be on getting addicts the treatment they need. Police
should concentrate their efforts on organised drug pushers and gangs."
Party leader Nick Clegg, has also gone on the record in the past in favour of progressive drug law reform including legalisation and regulation (as indeed has David Cameron). The significant development then is not the emergence of the proposals themselves, but the fact that they have been accepted for debate at conference. The Lib Dem campaigners responsible for the motion (The Lib Dems for Drug Policy Reform group) have been pushing such motions for years without much luck. It could be that the Lib Dems are keen to put some distance between themselves ad the Tories with some progressive liberal ideas, but nonetheless, it's a clear sign of the changing climate that this motion is now on the table, and will be fascinating to see how the debate develops if it is adopted by one of the coalition government partners.

It's worth reading the conference motion (below) in full - which hasn't been included in any of the media coverage thus far (although the Independent has a supportive leader). Its almost alarmingly measured and reasonable. Event the Daily Mail reports it fairly straight, paying lip service to the usual antis, and not editorialising on it. It's almost as if they couldn't be bothered to get outraged about it...

The motion also highlights the important observation - thus far seemingly unnoticed by the media - that the ACMD, in effect backed the decrim concept (albeit calling it the more politically palatable 'diversion', rather than the more loaded term 'decriminalisation') in its submission to the drug strategy consultation last year.

We're delighted to see that the motion begins with a call for an Impact Assessment of the Misuse of Drugs Act. A position that Transform has been advocating for many years.

Protecting individuals and communities from drug harms

Conference notes:

1) That drugs are powerful substances which can have serious consequences for the individual user and society in general; and that it is therefore right and proper that the state should intervene to regulate and control the use of such substances as it does the consumption of legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco and both prescription and over the counter medicines.

2) That the misuse of drugs can blight the lives of individuals and families and the purchase of illegal drugs can help to fuel organised crime.

3) The need for evidence-based policy making on drugs with a clear focus on prevention and harm-reduction.

4) 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 marginalised.

Conference further notes:


A. The positive evidence from new approaches elsewhere including Portuguese reforms that have been successful in reducing problematic drug use through decriminalising possession for personal use of all drugs and investing in treatment programmes.

B. That those countries and states that have decriminalised possession of some or all drugs have not seen increased use of those drugs relative to their neighbours.

C. That heroin maintenance clinics in Switzerland and The Netherlands have delivered great health benefits for addicts while delivering considerable reductions in drug-related crime and prevalence of heroin use.

D. The contribution of the ACMD to the 2010 Drug Strategy consultation which states that “people found to be in possession of drugs (any) for personal use (and involved in no other criminal offences) should not be processed through the criminal justice system but instead be diverted into drug education/awareness courses or possibly other, more creative civil punishment”.

E. The report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy whose members include former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former heads of state of Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and Switzerland, the current Prime Minister of Greece, a former US Secretary of State and many other eminent world figures, which encouraged governments to consider the legal regulation of drugs in order to, “undermine the power of organised crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens”.

F. That the United Kingdom remains bound by various international conventions and that any re-negotiation or new agreements will require international co-ordination.

Conference believes:

i) That individuals, especially young people, can be damaged both by the imposition of criminal records and by a drug habit, and that the priority for those addicted to all substances must be health care, education and rehabilitation not punishment.

ii) Governments should reject policies if they are demonstrated to be ineffective in achieving their stated goals and should seek to learn from policies which have been successful.

iii) At a time when Home Office and Ministry of Justice spending is facing considerable contraction, thereis a powerful case for examining whether an evidence-based policy would produce savings allowing the quality of service provided by these departments to be maintained or to improve.

iv) That one of the key barriers to developing better drugs policy has been the previous Labour government’s persistent refusal to take on board scientific advice, and the absence of an overall evaluative framework of the UK’s drugs strategy.

v) That the Department of Health should take on a greater responsibility for dealing with drugs.

Conference calls for:

a) The Government to immediately establish an independent panel tasked with carrying out an Impact Assessment of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, to properly evaluate, economically and scientifically, the present legal framework for dealing with drugs in the United Kingdom.

b) The Panel should also consider reform of the law, based on the Portuguese model, such that i) possession of any controlled drug for personal use would not be a criminal offence;

ii) possession would be prohibited but should cause police officers to issue citations for individuals to appear before panels tasked with determining appropriate education, health or social interventions.

c) The panel should also consider as an alternative, potential frameworks for a strictly controlled and regulated cannabis market and the potential impacts of such regulation on organised crime, and the health and safety of the public, especially children.

d) The reinvestment of any resources released into effective education, treatment and rehabilitation programmes.

e) The widespread provision of the highest quality evidence-based medical, psychological and social services for those affected by drugs problems. These services should include widespread availability of heroin maintenance clinics for the most problematic and vulnerable heroin users.

45 comments:

rdj said...

Addition (I wish)

Conference notes:

5) There is increasing evidence that many people across the country use drugs responsibly and recreationally long term with no ill effects to themselves or others.

Legislation thus far has proved that this demand will remain regardless of the punishments put in place, as large numbers of people actually enjoy taking drugs. No amount of legislation or punishment will remove this demand, and as long as it exists, supply will always exist.

Sunshine Band said...

I can hardly believe it talks about legal and illegal drugs again - you cannot progress whilst labourring under this misconstruction of reality.

Anonymous said...

You might also like to consider supporting the Vienna Declaration which also supports drug law reform.

See http://www.viennadeclaration.com/

Anonymous said...

Clegg is personally now said not to believe in any of this. He needs to bolster his credentials and whatever our conference decides will not be taking any decrim proposal into the coalition. This is just about political positioning, all parties have pro drug fringe members, particularly on cannabis. The LibDem pro cannabis fringe is just rather larger than in the other main parties and even includes senior people like Evan Harris.

But Evan Harris is no longer an MP and his pro drug views probably played a large part in losing him his seat.

If Clegg allows this story to dominate the future he may gain a few votes at one end but lose them at the other, from the grown-ups.

Peter Reynolds said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gart Valenc said...

@ Steve Rolles,

Any thoughts about the Public Petitions website recently launched? According to Directgov homepage:

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Nl1/Newsroom/DG_198694

«Any petition that gets more than 100,000 signatures will be eligible for debate in Parliament.»

I wonder whether it could be used by Transform, Release, The Beckley Foundation or any other big player to move campaigns such as "Impact Assessment of Drug Policy" or "Drugs - Time for Better Laws" forward. I think it's too good an opportunity to miss, and it could be a good platform to marshal support for drug reform.

Gart Valenc
http://www.stopthewarondrugs.org

Steve Rolles said...

Gart - personally im not convinced the petitions route is that useful, but its cetainnly something to consider. I doubt we could get 100k to call for IA and the debate on cannabis legalisation will likely be similar to all the previous ones - polarised and largely pointless. Might be useful but I think its probably better to work on the media. opinion formers and wider public opinion - politicians are clearly reluctant to take a lead so Im not sure thats where the change is going to come from. at the moment anyway.

Anon - pro reform isnt pro drug - dont be so childish/insulting. And given what ive pointed out in the blog re lib dem and cleggs thinking historically, the manifesto, and their official policy document on the subject (go read it) I think you're rather deluding yourself.

Peter - Nazi analogies will never win you friends - if you have some models to propose lets see them. Regulation will have to be strict to start with for both political and practical reasons as Ive discussed in blueprint. hopefully, once established, things can be progressively relaxed when a regulated approach is shown to work, and social controls can replace legal ones. Re the Mail - the point is that they reported the actual details of the motion pretty straight (I did mention the antis - the cannabis silliness is part of that; they just feel obliged to drop it in). There is, however, a change in tone in the actual reporting from previous years - even in the Mail - which is progress of sorts.

re sunshine - I understand the point but dont think a conference motion is the place to have it out, and as we have discussed many times, dont agree on the importance of that line of argument.

Gart said...

@Steve,

«I doubt we could get 100k to call for IA»

I apologise in advance should you have explained it before, but why do you think that's the case? For instance, is it the message or the messenger? Lack of access to information? Low penetration?

Gart Valenc
http://www.stopthewarondrugs.org

Steve Rolles said...

looking at how these things have played out in the past, i suspect 100k would really need a media campaign, or saome big names behind it - and i dont think IA is sexy enough, not impossible - but unlikely. If a legalisation petition threatens to reach 100k an anti-legalisation one would probably get a tabloid behind it etc etc - all just feels a bit pointless, esp as i dont think just having a token debate would change minds in the house that werent already changed. There are easier ways of getting debates going in parliament anyway.

I wrote a bit about drug policy e petitions here a while back http://transform-drugs.blogspot.com/2007/03/no10-drug-policy-e-petitions-total.html

Anonymous said...

"Anon - pro reform isnt pro drug - dont be so childish/insulting".

Sorry. No wish to insult. Plainly some of it is it seems to me, some of it is just (people=users) wanting freedom to use their own particular poison. Is it too differrent to tobacco smokers campaigning about limitations on their freedoms?

Peter Reynolds said...

I'm fully supportive of the motion and congratulations to Ewan for getting it on the conference agenda.

I'm sympathetic to ol' Sunshine's concerns about language but as usual he's letting pedantry overwhelm pragmatism.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by Nazi analogies Steve unless it's something to do with the Daily Mail. It is certainly reining in its most rabid anti-cannabis ranting, mainly because it has to deal with a PCC complaint every time it does so.

I removed my earlier comment because I think it's better to focus on what unites us rather than our differences

Steve Rolles said...

Peter - Im not defending the Mail - which has been a regular target of this blog (but you did ref Mein Kampf in your post!). But I agree its better to focus on common cause (so thanks for that) and I generally think much of this sort of disussion is best done in emails not blog discussions (that goes for you too casey).

David said...

The problem is only the Lib Dem MPs have any real say in the matter, if the conference decide to make it policy and the elected Lib Dem MPs don't take up the fight (and I doubt they will, they're to spineless, weak and opportunistic) what will it actually count for.

I'm waiting to be proven wrong on this though.

Anonymous said...

The politicans aren't bothered about petitions, and they actually really don't care if drugs are legal or not. They care about public opinion, they don't try to lead public opinion anymore, they just want to follow it to stay in a job.

We need to change public opinion, we will have to lead where they will not.


But how to change public opinion?...

Sunshine Band said...

So, even political conferences are not the right place to discuss my point. I actually think its worth thinking about again Steve, I was reading what Casey said about Somerset walking into court as 'property' and coming out as a man and I realised the full impact of this point.

The real underlying problem is that societal arbitrary discrimination between different classes of drug users based upon cultural and historic precedents (see Command Paper CM6941). The whole issue of International drug control was packaged and securitised (thanks Danny) to make it beyond the reach of everyday politics and made entirely unfathomable to ordinary persons. Ideas were introduced to make us believe in something that is impossible, the idea of a war on drugs, the idea of there being legal and illegal drugs, illicit drugs, or that these drugs could be de-criminalised, legalised or regulated. All these ideas are utterly meaningless.

It is imperative to recognise straight away that the law does not regulate objects, and these particular objects (drugs) are intimately connected with their users. The law can only regulate persons with respect to objects, the expression 'illicit drug' does not exist in law. By shifting the regulatable person to nothing more an association with a fictitious illicit object, the possibility of regulation is lost. This is because you cannot regulate some-thing that is illegal; you can only regulate persons by differentiating between uses that are peaceful and misuses are causing societal harms. This is impossible when you start from the premise of any drug or substance, and the problem is yet more intractable when you give the object an impossible taboo quality of illicitness. What happens when you talk about a war on objects is that you actually reduce the human subject to an object. The law regulates a person's drug property, but by referring to that property as illegal we avoid the truth of what is happening, ie your discourse is reducing that person to the status of property. We are truly all slaves to a policy that misconstrues the law and treats persons as 'illicit'.

Steve Rolles said...

SB - again - Im baffled as to why you ascribe such earth shattering importance to a point which is - with respect - so obvious. Saying the law regulates people not objects is *not* some big revelation. Its utterly obvious - and pointing out what everyone knows doesnt change the debate in any useful way. Everyone knows what is meant in practical terms by illegal drug and legal drugs - in terms of how the legal structures and institutions we have deal with them. Thats where the fight is. Its the same with laws that ban anything - people know that and they dont need you to tell them. It changes nothing.

Its the reality and injustice of that difference that your work usefully highlights - not this obsession with a semantic point that no one I have ever spoken too (many and varied) think is a useful thing to push (ie the whole no such thing as an illegal drug).

Keep on with it if you must but its going nowhere. Its a great shame IMHO because the wider point of the DEA is extremely useful.

I've given it due consideration - I really have - but on that specific point Im done and dont want to talk about it any more. You'll alienate people if you continue, not bring them into the more important and meaningful aspects of your - honestly, its getting boring now. So with genuine respect in so many ways - thats all I have to say on the matter.

Sunshine Band said...

I can't give up because I am right and the full importance of it has not yet been understood. I am exposing the rift between the actual law and the way it's being administered - yes people understand what is meant but not the implications of the difference between being concerned with "illegal drugs" and being concerned with controlled drugs. Controlled is not anotehr word for illegal, controlled refers to the persons being controlled, ie regulated with respect to it, not the other way round. When they refer to "illegal drugs", by direct association users are enslaved to their policy of prohibition as objectified to be absolutely taboo, illegal, illicit etc - yet no other group will recognise that none of these descriptions are valid.

Steve Rolles said...

Your point is right, im not questioning it - its your over emphasis of it that is misguided and counterproductive. thats all.

Criticism seems to entrench your position - not make you question it, and I dont think that's healthy. There's no dialogue on this anymore - its just repetition and borderline ranting now.

I dont want to dissapoint you - but its not the key to unlcking the whole thing that you think it is. The other aspects of the work are very useful and positive - this line of thinking is going nowhere.

Amanda said...

Well I hope this gets past the comment moderator...I get this feeling in the pit of my stomach looking at this tired old rhetoric.by contrast... I like the DEA approach. A person is not an object. The notion of an "illegal drug" seems to make sense we all think we know what it means but honestly there is no such thing. Treating a person as an object disregards rights to equality re persons acting peacefully vs. persons causing harm. And it's the maladministration by the Minister who fetters the Act to certain objects that violates the objectives of the Act. Any inequality therefore is not legitimate interference. People of privilege have a hard time understanding this: it takes work to articulate rights not just repeating what has been taught to us by rote sloganeering. We have all heard the rhetoric ...it goes nowhere. Time for a new approach.
"If a law be bad..."

Amanda said...

"the problem is prohibition, the solution is regulation" ?? Looking at the old 1920s prohibition Acts...I have a book on this...the way to distinguish between prohibition and regulation is whether an Act prohibits "use"..if "use" isn't in it is not an Act of prohibition, it's an Act of regulation or what they called strict license. It's that simple.

Steve Rolles said...

I really dont want to have to say this again - I understand and agree with the concept - i just dont agree with the level of importance placed on that very specific line of argument *relative* to the wider point about contrasting responses between drugs and maladministration - which is far more important and has great political potential. I dont think this narrow psemantic point is 'the key', and i think its failure to gain any traction reflects that. Its something for a blog post or maybe a journal article - not the focus of a political campaign. Its unltimately counterproductive to put so much energy into one tiny and not especially important part of the DEAs work. As a catchphrase its just not useful. I also dont want to have to discuss this and have it clogging up the forum every single time we say 'illegal drug' (not to mention every other discussion forum). Its moving from dialogue to more like trolling.

No one can accuse us of not giving it due consideration - we have. honestly and at length. That you dont agree with our conclusion should not reassure you of your rightness. It should make you at least reconsider the focus of your gernerally very valuable efforts. Its really not a big deal but you make it one by being so dogmatic / repetitive about it.

Steve Rolles said...

Amanda - re your second point - please tell me what isnt crystal clear about what is being advocated in Blueprint and the reasons given for so doing. How could is possibly be any clearer?

Amanda said...

I agree that your proposals for policy in BluePrint are well written. But I live in Vancouver, Canada. We have seen that policy is a very changeable thing. People have prescriptions from their doctor and there is another level of licence that comes from the federal government. All of these groups wait with fear through each election to see what the next government will do in terms of policy. People are harassed by police, refused housing, and treated badly because their status, being dependent on policy, is never secure. We must recognize the constitutional right of a person who is not causing harm to be peaceably left alone and the only way to do that is to pay very careful attention to what the law says. Whatever policy that ensues from a constitutional right once recognized will provide safety for the user. If you think that changing policy alone leads to some sort of shangri-la you are mistaken. Come and visit Vancouver, BC, and you will see the error of focusing entirely on policy.

Steve Rolles said...

Weve never claimed any kind of shangri-la. Blueprint actually specifically makes that point - regulation will improve outcomes, and reduce harms - not create a perfect world.

Govt regulation is onlyone element of policy - there are many others, in wider drug policy and social policy more broadly. Obviously you cant legislate for culture - but you can at least create an environment that doesnt destroy healthy social norms - but rather nurtures them. this point is in Blueprint too.

I have visitid Vancouver many times, have studied it and have good friends there.

Amanda said...

I apologize if that re visiting Vancouver seemed condescending. I am skint, work with people with disabilities and cannot envision flying across the world that often. But look here’s the point, it is very difficult for people to assert their rights if they do not understand the law or the Act. A careful analysis of the Act such as what the DEA offers is a valuable tool. I think it is important that we allow debate in public forums to encourage people to think critically about this issue whatever views are put forward because otherwise, as Friere understood, people are vulnerable to mass manipulation. It’s the antithesis of all we are fighting for to censor this debate. For example, I see you are aware that legislating for culture failed here. Supreme Court of Canada found there is no discrimination against a minority. But that judgement was flawed in many ways and the judge had a failing argument before him based on prohibited grounds of discrimination. The judge could only decide on what was before him, a failing argument. It is rather that they have opened the door to discrimination by violating the Rule of Law principle of equality. These nuances in understanding are not so difficult to grasp but understanding is impossible if discussion of the law is always censored and people kept in ignorance and the law manipulated by a monopoly..the law societies. Many people here think the whole case re culture was a scam that hindered our efforts.

Steve Rolles said...

As I have said - I agree that the DEA analysis of the act is useful, in the UK atleast (less so in the international arena ofcourse where different legal systems operate). My point is around the specific emphasis on the argument that laws regulate people not drugs - and the line that flows form this that there is no such thing as an illegal drug. I dont disagree with it by definition, but I do disagree it is a useful political tool or campaign platform for the reasons given. The difference between the way the government and its agencies deal with users of certain drugs(cannabsi ecstasy etc) and others (alcohol and tobacco) is very clear and points to a fundamental injustice. Highlighting that disjuncture is useful, as is exploring and promoting alternatives.

Endlessly repeating something obvious as if it is the key to ending that injustice isnt useful - it is counterproductive and a waste of energy.

Amanda said...

I can only speak for myself but I value my freedom of thought as the precursor to all civil liberties and for that reason I cannot consider a complete understanding of both rhetoric as it relates to the law "counter productive and a waste of energy." And I absolutely object to having this decision made for me by someone else.

Steve Rolles said...

Im disagreeing with the focus of political energy, not the actual idea. Please dont misunderstand me. I think their work is important - I think the focus on that specific line of argument is misguided - not because its 'wrong', but because its not useful in the way they think it is - and its endless repetition in myriad forums has become actively counterproductive. IMHO ofcourse.

Amanda said...

Scouring the internet I see no endless repetition of the phrase "drugs are not illegal" rather I see in the Supreme Court records the misconception "illegal drugs" is often cited. To uproot any misconception so entrenched more than one repetition is necessary. To censor the repetition of such a foundational truth is unfair. It is on this misconception "illegal drugs" that they have built the entire propaganda of the war against some people who use some drugs. That's why we have to repeat it to shake their tower of lies. Whose energy is being wasted? Why block people from knowing the truth? You're making out that our intellectual capacity is so limited that people can't conceptualize a deeper understanding which may result from unpacking the phrase. This phrase "drugs are not illegal" means that policy is enacted as though drugs themselves were illegal and results in inequality of persons before the law. This phrase means that the law governs people (not drugs) and must distinguish between people who are acting peacefully and people who are causing harm with respect to their drug property. Also, it is the Minister that makes policy as though drugs themselves are illegal but this is not law. It is a misunderstanding and misapplication of the Act based on not understanding this very point that you say is being repeated too often so that we are all what...bored? Wasting energy? Tell that to those imprisoned based on the misunderstanding.

Steve Rolles said...

Im not censoring anything - your writing this on a forum I moderate for gods sake.

Like you, Im stating an opinion. For the last time - Im NOT disagreeing with the argument or anlysis. I get it. Im disagreeing with the prioritisation of it as the focus of a political strategy or campaign for leveraging change. I dont think its useful and I think its a distraction from more important wotrk the DEA could be doing. thats all. dont misread what im saying.

Amanda said...

What you call a distraction, my pointing out that "illegal drugs" is a misconception, that in fact their thinking drugs themselves are illegal is the problem is to me the point of greatest concern and worth the energy and effort. It's a small thing to change this reference. I find the mistaken idea that persons can be rendered objects deeply offensive along the lines of calling someone a racial slur. We have all learned over time not to use such loaded references in our language this is no different. With each use of the mistaken term "illegal drugs" you are helping to entrench it.

Steve Rolles said...

you seem determined to both misconstrue what Ive said and have the last word - so you can.

Amanda said...

Then I will take your invitation to have the last word, it is not that I misconstrue you there is nothing you have actually said that is there to misconstrue. Your responses are dismissive without reason. You lack depth. To say "illegal drugs" is to say something not true that misleads people about what the law says. To speak this truth, particularly if one faces the wrath of the courts, takes courage and all of those qualities that your vacuous responses indicate you are lacking.

Damon Barrett said...

@Amanda
A rather unfair appraisal of the discussion above. And you're attacking the wrong person - one of the few who will engage in this line of argument. And he has done for some years now. Speaking from experience it’s also one he has raised outside of this forum genuinely seeking people’s input.

Amanda said...

Pssssst. Damon, this is a dialogue. Not a popularity contest. Please use precise language when addressing my points regarding users rights.

Anonymous said...

@Amanda
Maybe you need to read what Steve has posted again?
I cannot see how you could possibly misunderstand him. He has a perfect understanding of your point and that of Sunshine Band's, he has said he understands the point many times here.
Some people seem to just want an argument instead of a debate....
Steve and the whole Transform team are doing really excellent work.

Amanda said...

I disagree. There is a misapplication of the Act that violates people's rights on the one hand and a lot of overblown rhetoric on the other. This is the problem, the misunderstanding of "illegal drugs" which underpins the misapplication of the Act. The entire problem is created by misapplication of the law and its solution is in a correct application of the law. To misdirect the focus is to repeat the errors we've made to this point in time.

Bud Oracle said...

Amanda is correct. The trouble with your perception is that you fail to understand that you are repeating unsuccessful history. I have been an activist since the mid sixties. This is old hat that the transform policy guys are talking about and has been proven to fail because it is a political avenue which requires a majority consensus. This is not a solution to people being denied equal rights under the law and will create further problems of misdirection as one group inserts its moral interests over another over the years. There can be no moral/personal values inserted into policy if it is to be effective. The solution must hang on something that doesn't shift with the vagaries of public opinion. See how effectively our rights are denied with present policy in the law? We must enshrine the solution IN LAW too. You haven't learned much about this decades long oppression if you can't see that. They are USING THE LAW to oppress us, we must turn that on its head.

Yes of course we must convince people of our cause politically, that we are no different than any of the legal drug users, but this will come about like a bolt of lightning after a few weeks / months of seeing that control and regulation will produce peaceful use that benefits everyone and doesn't cause the sky to fall.

The only achievable solution, IMO, is in a court of law showing them that they are breaking the law based on a false premise - illegal drugs - it's people's actions which should be the subject of criminal law nothing else.

Anonymous said...

Amanda, you are on repeat. Steve has told you that he understands the point.
I think he came to the correct position, to just let you get on with it.
Until everyone agrees with your point you will not be happy and just keep posting ad nauseum ... "I disagree", why do I get the impression you say that a lot?
Maybe push it along in your own country 'eh? ...

Anonymous said...

@ Bud Oracle, this is really funny, even you fall into the 'legal' / 'illegal' thing.
They are using cultural and historical precedent to maladminister the MDAct.

Amanda said...

Anonymous, the POINT is that they have painted on an "illegal/legal drug" thing to the Act when this concept does not actually exist in law. They are misusing the Act as an Act of prohibition. It is an Act to protect health. They leave the majority using the most harmful drugs out and jail the rest using a fictive notion that objects (regardless of people's actions) can be made illegal under an Act that does not mandate prohibition. Transform ignores this very very important fact and we are aware of it. They can't rightfully, according to what the law actually says, make an object illegal. Steve Rolles is dismissing this as not worthy of a basis of a political platform. That is the topic here. And this oppression does not stop at borders it is all over the world based on the UN templates. The problem is rightfully expressed as the treatment of people unequally before the law not this fetish on drugs or any other object. So we have to stop making a fetish of drugs and start to understand what the real issue is (inequality before the law..the treatment of people before the law) and make that the issue. This should be the platform. Steve Rolles is disagreeing. So now I have clarified the topic dismissing versus not dismissing as subject of a campaign..Must all conversations end at the point that Steve Rolles decides should end?

Steve Rolles said...

talk all you like - but try listening aswell.

Amanda said...

Correction anonymous. Culture and historic reasons may give rise to the thinking that creates a maladministration but that is a separate issue and there is no exemption in the law for this misconstruction.

Bud Oracle said...

It would be better listening if we were hearing something other than what has been repeated for the last 40 years, imo.

Bath Bepot said...

If a lot of the drugs were legalised it would solve a lot of issues the world over!!