Celebrities push for enlightened drug reform

| 26/06/2014

(CNS): Someof world's most famous actors, singers and entrepreneurs are calling on the UK government to end the pointless war on drugs and decriminalize drug consumption. In a letter to the British prime minister, over 90 celebrities such as Sting, Sir Richard Branson and Russell Brand, have condemned the criminalisation of drugs in the UK stating that the law punishing people for possession of drugs has led to the "unnecessary criminalisation" of 1.5m people in the past 15 years. Alongside the famous personalities the letter is back by organisations such as the Prison Governors Association and the National Black Police Association.

The letter which was drafted by the drug charity, Release, points out that in Portugal Australia and the Czech Republic where those suffering drug related problems are given medical treatment rather than a prison sentence the misuse of drugs falls.

In line with a switching mood around the world about the prevailing attitude towards drug use the celebrities are calling on David Cameron to introduce a more enlightened approach to drug law reform. The appeal to the UK leader is part of a wider action day against the war on drugs with protests scheduled for 100 cities across the world. In the UK, protesters made their voices heard in Parliament Square.

"The global day of action is a public show of force for drug policy reform", said Ann Fordham, who is executive director of the International Drug Policy Consortium, which focuses on issues related to drug production, trafficking and use. The tide is turning and governments need to urgently fix their drug policies and repair the damage that has been done," she added.

Back in February, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg urged the UK to end "the conspiracy of silence surrounding the failure of prohibition", telling the BBC "If you are anti-drugs you should be pro-reform."
Clegg said the war on drugs had caused "terrible conflict" in Colombia and that the Liberal Democrats would publish an alternative strategy for reform.

Over the last twenty years the price of drugs has dramatically declined and purity has increased, despite greater levels of interdiction than at any point in history, according to a report released last year by the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP). The ICSDP cites the price declines in Europe of 51 per cent for cocaine and 74 per cent for heroin between the years 1990 and 2010, as evidence of the failure of law enforcement officials to restrict the supply of drugs.

 

Category: World News

Comments (16)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ok Lets lock up the following so they never have a chance,

    genuine medical patients for whom no approved drug or therapy has worked but yet marijuana, while not curing them outright, has dramtically improved the quality of unsure and uncertain lives. 

    Cancer patients on chemo

    AIDS patients

    Epileptic patients

    thousands of other patients

    and the millions of recreational users who are gainfully employed and contributing to society on many many levels.

    Lock them all up, the disabled children, the desperate parents, the doctors who advise them and the growers who supply them. That should make the bible thumpers happy to see all the above suffer so greatly so you can claim to have won the "war".

    For every 1 burnout weedhead you see, trust me, there are 3 sucessfull men and/or women using marijuana recreationally and that is a lowball estimate. I am talking about people with jobs, mortgages, bills. families and other responsibilities, not only the ones working the low end jobs. lawyers, accountants, managers, VP's and entreprenuers. Government and private sector. You name it and trust me, I can say yes I know one who partakes.

    From Crystal Harbor to Dog City, down South Sound to up Northside and everywhere in between. From every economic background and nationality. Athiests and christian, young men to old woman. I have seen it all.

  2. Just Say NO says:

    Most of the celebrities who are pushing for this are either dopeheads themselves, or opportunists, seeking to invest in drug distribution if it's made legal.

    How could they possibly think that this is a good idea? Can you imagine the anarchy if heroin and crystal meth were legal? We'd have nothing but walking zombies. Entire industries would collapse and there would be rioting in the streets because those with drug habits would be selling off and giving away everything they own to support their habits and they would eventually starve to death or commit crimes to feed themselves.

    Celebrities love to abuse their fame in order to push their cockamamey agendas and this is clearly one of them.

    Let's just hope the lawmakers aren't weedheads and cokeheads themselves because then we are really done.

    • Open your Eyes says:

      Following the logical conclusion to your argument, is everyone addicted to tobacco and/or an alcoholic? Suggesting that legalising something instantly means everyone will get it is not logical.  

      The point is that drugs are easy and cheap to obtain… DESPITE the "War" on Drugs… whatever your position on this, that is irrefutable.  We are already paying for the negative side-effects… whether it is state funded medical bills for overdose, or the crime committed by addicts to pay for their addiction.

      Legalising it does not make it that much more obtainable, but if it is taxed as tobacco and alcohol are, then it starts to fund thetreatments we are already paying for, monitors quality, and takes an entire criminal culture away.  I'd suggest the size of it illegally would go a LONG way to filling those budget gaps…

      Turn the DEA (and equivalent) into taxing and monitoring bodies… clearly identified side-effects, dosage etc, dedicated places to rehab that are FUNDED, etc etc…

      I generally have a dim view of most 'celebrities' but in this case I think they are on the right track.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Clearly the "Drug War" is not working! And hasn't been for a long time.

    Of course it keeps lots of influential persons employed….but when alcohol and cigarettes are legal, while marijuana is criminalized….never mind that alcohol and cigarettes cost us all much, much more in social ills and crimes than marijuana ever has….or ever will!

    It's time for the crimilization of small amounts of marijuana to be a thing of the past!

  4. Frank says:

    They are partly correct. A line as to be drawn somewhere however. I am a local business owner who is reasonably successful and I enjoy smoking marijuana on occasion. Now if, for example, I was to be arrested for this, the stigma surrounding this 'plant' could result if my name being tarnished and a criminal record for possession of drugs. Keep in mind that the person handing this sentence down to me is probably a drug user themself, being alcohol. Comparing the destructive effects on the body of both substances, you will soon see that alcohol is far worse and far more responsible for domestic abuse, auto accidents, street fight, stabbings etc. 

    in the long term, decriminalization of certain drugs could result in lowered taxes and less crime. People who are not necessarily well education who are arrested for possession of marijuana then have no chance of obtaining a job in some parts of the world, mainly due to their criminal record. In turn they revert to crime as a way to get by. Also the tax money spent on keeping prisoners locked up for offenses pertainingto marijuana is astronomical. A majority of prisoners are being held for minor drug offenses, costing countries billions of dollars, far more than the cost of educational reform. 

    The only reason alcohol and cigarettes are still legal is because they are huge tax benefits to governments. Don't let them BS you with any other reasons. Look at tax revenues (higher) and crime rates (lower) in Colorado since marijuana was legalized. Numbers don't lie. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Very well said!

       

    • Anonymous says:

      And take a look at the emergency room admissions for pot related incidents since legalisation.

      Get real, you are already making non sensical claims, and you say you're an occasional user!

      Take a look at the losers on Northside, they spend their days smoking and drinking away their welfare payments, they will never be employable whether you decriminalise or not.

      No, introducing more drugs into society is not the answer, education and addiction treatment is. The cost to society would be massive, businesses wouldn't be able to function and tax revenues would definitely fall to unsustainable levels. 

      Branson is an self serving, self publicist who will be looking to exploit any legalised market in drugs. The other moron isn't even worth commenting on.

       

  5. MEM says:

    They'll soon be protesting to decrease the alcohol consumption age to 10 years old, what a mess.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is called the slippery slope argument and there is absolutely no evidence to support what you just claimed. 

      It is a logical fallacy to suggest this and completely irrelevant to the conversation. 

  6. Anonymous says:

    bunch of dopies. who cares about celebrities anymore?  Soon hear about another drug overdose.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Celebrities are an interesting breed. Just because they have a pretty face or good body they believe that means they know something more about political science or in this case drug reform than anyone else and are used to push forward an agenda.

    I don't know what needs to be done but Sean Penn or Russell Brand certainly won't convince me.

    • Anonymous says:

      So what you are saying is that just because they are celebrities doesn't mean that they know what they are talking about. But then you say that just because they are celebrities you won't listen to what they have to say. 

      If you actually listened to what Russell Brand has to say on the topic you would realize that he isn't contributing his knowledge based on being a celebrity but based on being a former drug addict. In other words, he has quite a lot of relevent experience on the matter. 

      Pay attention to the message, regardless of the messenger and judge the content of the message and not who is delivering it. 

       

      • Anonymous says:

        Russell Brand is an idiot whose brain cells have long been fried by drug taking. Simply put, why would a former addict, who has apparently been through hell, want others to go through the same trauma?

        Branson, Brand, the PGA and the BPOA, what a shower!

        An self serving opportunist, an anti establishment freak, a bunch of liberal pen pushers and an organisation that can't shrug off its victimisation complex. Just the kind of people that society needs to be lectured by.

    • Anonymous says:

      Leave it to the politicians I suppose.  We all know they aren't corrupt in the slightest. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    No thanks.