According to recent statements made by Liberal Democrat spokesperson Brian Paddick, all drugs should be decriminalised for personal use and cannabis should be fully legalised for medical treatment - which puts a whole new slant on their 'liberal' moniker.
The party has spoken out following the tabling of amendments to the current UK Psychoactive Substances Bill which aims to ban most legal drugs.
Paddick, himself a former crime fighter, referred to the Conservative’s approach to drugs as a “doomed failure” in his statement, drawing on his previous experiences of fighting drugs on the front line, saying:
“When I was a police officer, I realised that locking up drug users is simply not the answer. We have to learn the lessons of why our current approach is failing before we make the same mistakes with new psychoactive substances as we have done with other illegal drugs.
Decriminalising personal possession will free up vital police resources to after drug dealers, ensure addicts get treatment and social users get the education they need to keep them safe."
The changes suggested by the Liberal Democrat party would mean that, while drugs themselves would still be illegal, members of the public would not be punished for possessing the drugs. Provided it could be proven that they didn’t have an intent to deal the substances – depending on the specifics of the individual drugs.
The more lenient approach is similar to the one used in Portugal which has seen positive but mixed results in that, serious drug use in the country is down but casual usage has in fact increased. Notably, however, there has been a reduction in the amount of drug related deaths since and an increase in drug treatment.
Let us know your own thoughts on the prospect of decriminalising drugs below.