Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mo Mowlam: "Better drugs laws will cut gun crime"

Mo Mowlam (1949-2005) former MP and cabinet minister from 1997-2001, responsible for the Government's drugs policy from 1999-2001, was a long time supporter of drug policy and law reform. After she left the Government she went public with her views, as well as her support for Transform. In the quote below her comments seem particularly relevant to current discussions about gun crime.

“The film Some Like It Hot has a scene when one Chicago gang is gunned down by another. The film is a comedy, drawing humour from the absurdity of the years of prohibition in the US, when alcohol was made illegal. Of course this did not stop drinking, it merely pushed it underground. The bar was replaced with the speakeasy. The legitimate supplier of booze was replaced by the gangster. A whole new criminal element was added to society that not only corroded the drink business, but also brought intimidation, violence and corruption into previously clean activities, for example in the rise of protection rackets. Today we laugh at films that portray that era, while ignoring the reality of such a situation existing and growing within our own society.

Drugs in this country are almost more freely available than alcohol: their supply is not constrained by licensing laws, large numbers of people smoke marijuana, particularly teenagers and young people, and a lot also take ecstasy and cocaine. They are not criminals; they are people you know. They are people who are likely to be sitting next to you at work, or living in your homes. But all these people are being brought into almost daily contact with organised crime. Isn't this a most foolish situation?

Please can we begin to hear some good sense from No 10 and the Home Office, and let's start looking at how drugs can be legalised and our society can be decriminalised. Let's recognise reality and start to reduce the numbers who are cluttering up our prisons. Let's start selling drugs through outlets such as off-licences, where the likelihood of dealing with someone holding a gun is virtually zero, unlike the street traders of today. Let's admit that we are getting it wrong, by allowing our fear and prejudice against certain drugs to drive us to pursue wrongheaded policies which only produce damaging social results. “

from “Better drugs laws will cut gun crime -
Let's recognise reality and start selling the stuff at off-licences”

The Guardian 09.01.03

For more quotes from politicians and public figures on drug law reform visit the Transform reform quotes archive

No comments: