Misuse of Drugs Act 1971
The MDA1971 denies citizens equal property rights for certain people who use certain drugs.
The aim of the MDA1971 is to ameliorate the harms of certain drugs on individuals and society. An impact assessment of this Act has never been carried out. The Act remains rooted in historical and cultural precedents which bear no resemblance to the scientific reality. No law should ever be based upon such precedents.
The Act has caused untold damage to millions of individual's lives, communities and society as a whole. It has criminalised millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens for choosing to use certain drugs in a peaceful manner.
Drug users are afforded property rights over alcohol, tobacco, tea and coffee; yet these very same rights are denied to users of other drugs, purely for historical and cultural reasons. The current situation is one where 'legal' implies that a drug is 'OK', but 'illegal' equates to 'not OK'; within the context of comparing cannabis with alcohol the implication is extremely damaging. It undermines any important public health messages that need to be made. The prohibition of certain drugs places a blanket of silence over them, preventing any meaningful discussion or debate about the health implications of using these drugs either alone or in combination with others.
It also dilutes the most important message of all: that we must distinguish between drug use and drug misuse.
Why does this idea matter?
Prohibition does not equate to control, but the exact opposite of this. It relinquishes control of a huge, lucrative and dangerous market to criminal entities whose sole interest is profit, with no concern for the user. The impact of this adopting this approach is both hugely costly, but immensely damaging to society and individuals in a whole myriad of ways.
- Social justice: restoration of human rights and dignity to the marginalised and disadvantaged, and regeneration of deprived neighbourhoods.
- Reduced social costs: an end to the largest cause of acquisitive crime and street prostitution, and consequent falls in the non-violent prison population.
- Reduced serious crime: dramatic curtailment of opportunities and incentives for organised and violent crime.
- Public finances: the financial benefits of discontinued drug enforcement expenditure and the taxation of regulated drugs.
- Public health: creation of an environment in which drug use can be managed and drug users can lead healthier lives.
- Ethics: adherence to ethical standards and principles, including fair trade, in the manufacture, supply and distribution of drugs.
- Reduced war and conflict: an end to the illegal drug trade’s contribution to conflict and political instability in producer and transit countries