The Solicitor - The FindLaw UK Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Drugs law: UK Drug Policy Commission poll finds no consensus on new drugs law

The UK's drug laws have come under the spotlight in recent days and this looks set to continue after a poll suggested that as many as 75% of MPs believe that current drug policy is not working, reports The Guardian.

Last week British businessman Richard Branson stepped in to promote the legalisation of cannabis in the United States as Colorado, Washington and Oregon conduct ballots on the regulation of the sale of the drug.

Writing for the online news site The Huffington Post, Mr Branson said that there was currently a change in public opinion across the Atlantic.

"We have reached a watershed moment for drug reform in the U.S. as attitudes and opinions across the country have dramatically shifted," he wrote.

The UK Drug Policy Commission (UKDPC) is currently consulting on a report that assesses support for continuing the UK's current prohibition policy on drugs. It commissioned ComRes to poll 150 MPs at Westminster to find out their position on current UK drug laws.

Only 18% of MPs polled believe the current policy on drugs in the UK is working.

The UKDPC will report on the state of UK drug policy this autumn. It is thought their recommendations will include a greater role for evidence and scientific research in the formulation of drug policy.

At present, possession and supply of classified substances is prohibited and carries significant penalties for those who are caught infringing the law. Opponents argue that much of the law is not based on evidence and that the current legislation promotes organised crime and incurs significant policing costs.

In July Conservative Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke admitted that the UK had made little progress in drug policy in 30 years; however, he went on the record to oppose the decriminalisation of illegal substances, arguing that it would encourage children to experiment.

Sources:

Drugs policies are not working, believe 75% of MPs (The Guardian)

Ken Clarke: Britain plainly losing war on drugs (The Telegraph)

Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson says U.S. drug policy outdated and calls on states to vote for legalisation (The Daily Mail)