Thursday, September 04, 2008

BBC Radio 4's Today programme tackles drug legalisation/regulation

This is very well worth a listen (the Today programme segment here); less for the debate, (which sadly gets very little air time) than for Mark Easton's excellent editorial (now written up and expanded on Easton's blog, which has a lively comments section), pointing up some key moments in the last few years of UK drug policy scrutiny, including David Cameron's support a for a debate on legalisation at the UN.

Easton suggests that the issue of legalisation is moving from the maverick fringes toward the centre of the political agenda (a point that makes sense in the light of what we are calling policy climate change). Easton also suggests that the UK Drug Policy Commission's analysis is pointing toward the legalisation /regulation debate in its recent review on the failure of enforcement to reduce availability, particularly noting a quote from Mike Hough and Tiggey May in the final paragraph of the report that is more than a nod towards the inevitability such a debate:

“markets continue to prove highly resilient in the face of enforcement efforts, then over time, the pressure to re-examine the current legislative structure for controlling drugs will be overwhelming”.

What follows is a brief debate between Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Ian Oliver, former Chief Constable and now outspoken critic of the drug law reform position.

It was a shame the segment was so brief as neither of the protagonists really got to flex their rhetorical muscles.

Transform blog on recent Ian Oliver comment piece in the Independent (addressing the points he makes on the Today program that Cole did not have the time to respond to)

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