Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Challenge the Narcotics convention

Richard Branson is in favor of drug law reform
I don't much like tattoos and men wearing their undies above their jeans. Other people dislike grunge, heavy metal and the Kardashians. All of these offences against taste are personal choices, with no impact on others. There have been suggestions that each should be banned or restricted, but such claims are regarded as frivolous.

There are many personal choices with no impact on others that are restricted or prohibited

Although those examples of behavior are allowed, almost every society restricts some behavior that is a personal choice. In every case, it is argued that allowing the behavior is harmful to society. Generally, it's a false claim. Blasphemy, homosexuality and topless bathing are all examples that have been banned in Australia and are still banned in some parts of the world.

Alcohol, gambling and drugs are other examples. Each has positive and negative consequences for the user, and yes, when misused, they have negative consequences for society. Yet drugs are prohibited while gambling and alcohol are not.

Prohibition does not work

Prohibition of alcohol failed terribly in the 1920s
Prohibition of gambling in Australia failed
Prohibition of drugs has failed

Like many countries, Australia is a signatory to the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961) which covers drugs with morphine-like, cocaine-like, and cannabis-like effects.  As a result, we are bound to abide by its restrictive principles.  Perhaps the Convention was appropriate 50 years ago.  It is no longer the right approach.

Australia should cease being a signatory to the Single Convention

A new approach to drugs is required in the 21st century.  For Australia to have the flexibility to pursue such an approach, we can longer be bound by the Single Convention. We have shown that by legalising gambling, and regulating it; by legalising alcohol and regulating it; by legalising tobacco and regulating it - that our society benefits.

We should take the same approach to drugs with morphine-like, cocaine-like, and cannabis-like effects, as well as other psychotropic drugs.

I would like to see a new approach to drug management globally.  The place to start is to dismantle the existing structures as they are causing more harm than good.

Let me know what you think

Mark S

No comments:

Post a Comment