There is no one size fits all legislation that could be introduced for legalization, however a sliding scale of regulated supply will reduce drug use, drug related crime and change the unhealthy ‘drugs culture’ in the UK.
The legalisation of dangerous class-A drugs such as Heroin and Crack Cocaine, and there free distribution through controlled health care outlets would introduce valuable safeguards that would protect the young and vulnerable from these dangerous drugs. In the first instance an age limit, such as 25+, could be introduced in a way that could never be enforced under prohibition or decriminalisation; secondly health records could be checked to make sure that those with mental health problems or other medically vulnerable people do not have access to these drugs. A knock on effect of this would be that organised criminal gangs who smuggle drugs into this country would leave in their droves, because what kind of heroin addict would pay for dirty heroin administered in an unsafe way when it is available for free. When the demand for illegal drugs go, so will the supply and it would be much less likely that young or vulnerable people would be pushed into hard drugs from dealers also selling soft drugs. In one generation we could wipe out the vast majority of street crime, burglaries and prostitution that are related to drugs.
The same safeguards would be in place (such as age restrictions) for people using softer drugs such as Cannabis but these softer drugs could be sold and highly taxed, providing money for education about the risks of drugs and better law enforcement against those who try to sell it on the streets. With controlled and regulated outlets selling recreational drugs there will be no financial incentive, as there is now, for the seller to push people on to heavier and more addictive drugs. This would also allow adults to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle without interference from the state.
One of the things that most concern me about Britons current drug laws is the unregulated, untaxed and potentially unsafe ‘legal highs’ market. Common (illegal) drugs have been used for thousands of years and researched for tens of years and there side effects are known over the long term; however as they are illegal people are potentially putting their long term health at risk by using chemically altered ‘designer drugs’ and this is as a direct result of prohibition. People taking Mephedrone before it became illegal would have been unaware of its effects when mixed with alcohol and opiates, and as a tragic result some people lost their lives. Would this have been the case if ecstasy was available legally? And now people are opting for legal un-researched chemical hallucinogens because possession of Psilocybin mescaline or LSD could land you 7 years in prison and an unlimited fine.
No drugs law is ever going to be completely fool-proof but we have seen over and over again how prohibition doesn’t work. In the interest of protecting children from drugs and allowing adults the freedom to chose how to live their lives I think drug prohibition should be scraped. Let’s have a government who can think outside of the box and is not afraid to lead from the front.