It has been revealed that the Liberal Democrats have got drugs back on the political agenda. They are asking that all drugs that are meant for personal use should be decriminilised. This has appeared on the pre-manifesto at its recent launch and shows the priorities that it will be taking into the next parliament.
While this may seem that there is little that will be done regarding drugs, there is also listed the need to carry out further work and carry out measure to send users “into treatment or other civil penalties which do not attract a criminal record”.
The headlines that have been received are a little misleading as the word decriminalisation is not actually used, but was an attempt to bring in a system that is already in use in Portugal as they decriminalised personal possession back in 2000.
In a statement, party leader Nick Clegg has said that his party would also stop the punishment for drug use being prison and insisted they would come under treatment from the Department of Health rather than prosecution from the Home Office. In addition there will be research carried out regarding how effective the current laws are and alternative actions will be considered.
If this were to become law, it would be up to the police to decide if the amount of drugs present would be personal use or if there was so much that they would need to be sold on. If it was personal use then they would be ushered towards treatment rather than court.
This is being seen a step forward from the previous pledge where there would just not be a jail sentence imposed.
The party appears to be moving back to its Liberal roots as the time spent in Government and they are stopping just short of requesting a total overhaul of the drugs laws in Britain. The ideas have come about after two of the MPs Norman Baker and Jeremy Brown had been on fact finding tours to see what other countries do to deal with the issue.
The next request Mr Clegg is making is that there is a Royal Commission set up and there can be a Europe wide policy in place for the 2016 special session that the UN will be holding regarding drug law.
There is not going to be an easy road ahead as it is believed that neither the Conservatives or Labour are brave enough to look at dealing with drugs legislation.