Bob Ainsworth, MP thinks it is time to ‘legalise and regulate drugs’. He was both a Home Office drugs minister and Secretary of State for Defence under Labour, so he knows a fair bit about both drugs and wars. Now that he is on the backbenches he has come out strongly against the current approach to illegal drugs.
As drugs minister in the Home Office I saw how prohibition fails to reduce the harm that drugs cause in the UK, fuelling burglaries, gifting the trade to gangsters and increasing HIV infections. My experience as Defence Secretary, with specific responsibilities inAfghanistan, showed to me that the war on drugs creates the very conditions that perpetuate the illegal trade, while undermining international development and security.
Mr Ainsworth will be calling for an end to the current prohibition era during a debate in Westminster Hall on Thursday, 16th Dec 2010. Like almost everyone else, he is strongly critical of the governments latest Drugs Strategy document and believes that a better approach would be to follow the lead of the 2002 Home Affairs select committee that examined the possibility of legal regulation of the drugs trade. (One member of that committee was a certain David Cameron). Ainsworth thinks the government should not think of legalisation as a ‘defeat’.
The re-legalisation of alcohol in the US after thirteen years of Prohibition was not surrender. It was a pragmatic move based on the government’s need to retake control of the illegal trade from violent gangsters. After 50 years of global drug prohibition it is time for governments throughout the world to repeat this shift with currently illegal drugs.”
Whilst Cameron has clearly turned his back on his former calls for more liberal drugs laws (or in fact more liberal laws of any kind), Ainsworth maintains his own hipocracy whilst in office is now at an end.
My departure from the front benches gives me the freedom to express my long held view that, whilst it was put in place with the best of intentions, the war on drugs has been nothing short of a disaster.
But while Mr. Ainsworth himself might not be the world’s most reliable witness on the subject, he has the backing of the widely respected Transform Drugs Policy Foundation (www.tdpf.org.uk). Moreover, his intervention is well timed and could be a rally point for those many, many people who think the Con-Dem government’s new drug policy is highly regressive.
It’s too early to tell if this will lead to this.
- Bob Ainsworth & TDPF Press Release (markhaden.blogspot.net)
- Peter Reynolds doesn’t like it either (yourbrainondrugs.net)
- Synchronium – Legal Highs & UK 2010 Drug Strategy (yourbrainondrugs.net)
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