Time to legalise drugs? — January 24, 2012

Time to legalise drugs?

Is it time to legalise drugs? Yes, and I mean all drugs. Not just cannabis or other “soft drugs”, all drugs.

Today Sir Richard Branson told the Home Affairs Select Committee that he believed cannabis should be legalised, regulated and taxed. He described the idea as a “win-win” scenario. The police would spend less time dealing with the issue of cannabis and the government would collect a tax revenue from its sale.

As a Liberal I completely agree with the idea, and I’d extend it to all drugs. What a person chooses to consume is their own choice. David Laws hit the nail on the head in the Orange Book:

If freedom means anything it must surely include the freedom to engage in activities which others may consider unwise. This includes smoking, overeating, not exercising, driving “off road” cars in cities, even winning goldfish. A Liberal society is one where people should be free to make their own mistakes.

As a Liberal I don’t think its anybody’s right to define what is good or bad for somebody to put in their body. The Conservatives and Labour have been too afraid to even discuss such a radical proposal and always will be it seems. It’s time that we stop paying lip-service liberalism and embrace it fully.

It isn’t just personal choice that I feel is important. The quality of drugs would be regulated, meaning that those who opt to use drugs wouldn’t have to worry about bad mixes or cuts. I’m talking about safer drugs. Meaning that there would likely be less deaths.

Another positive side of legalising drugs would be the effect on crime. Now of course there will always be drug related crime, such as theft etc. But legalising drugs would partly eliminate small time drug dealers and smuggling within the UK. There would be less profit in it and therefore less incentives.

Just because you legalise something doesn’t mean that everybody will suddenly start doing it either. Portugal are pioneers in drug legalisation in Europe and there has been no staggering increase in the percentage of people using drugs. And for teenagers the number has in fact fallen.

So, active liberalism, a reduction in crime, an increase in active policing, safer drugs and an extra economic benefit for the Government. What exactly are we waiting for?