"Parties must discuss drug legalisation and regulation", says Parliamentary Candidate
Danny Kushlick is standing as an independent prospective parliamentary candidate for Bristol West because the major parties will not engage on one of the most important issues of our time - the failure of the war on drugs. As a representative of the People's Manifesto he will stand on the single issue of the need to legalise and regulate drugs.
In 2002 David Cameron sat on a key Parliamentary Select Committee and backed a call for the UK Government to discuss legalisation and regulation of drugs, but he refuses to discuss this now. In 2003 the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit produced a report showing that supply side enforcement was the major driver of global harms related to heroin and cocaine. It was buried, forgotten and denied.
Danny Kushlick said: Our major party leaders are effectively duping voters into supporting a policy of drug criminalisation that claims to protect when it actually makes things worse the world over, including in my home constituency of Bristol West. Drug prohibition is based on the fantasy of ending the production, supply and use of illicit drugs, when in fact it does precisely the opposite. By gifting the trade to organised criminals and unregulated dealers, all that we have done is create the largest untaxed commodity trade on earth. The UK crime costs alone of operating the policy of prohibition amount to between £15 billion and £20 billion a year. We have thrown away £100 billion over the last ten years and will throw away closer to £200 billion if we continue it for another ten.
As shown by the report published yesterday by the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy, it is the enforcement of prohibition that has spawned extreme violence worldwide. Successive Conservative and Labour administrations have supported a policy that has failed to protect children, has fuelled property crime and recreated the gang wars that US Alcohol Prohibition did in the 1920s and 30s right here in the UK. Meanwhile both parties have even gone so far as to ridicule the debate.
All the major parties are in full possession of the facts that show that prohibition is the significant cause of what is commonly known as 'the drug problem'. The Conservatives and Labour have succumbed to populist fear mongering and have actively kept the debate out of sight of the UK electorate. Even the Lib Dems and Greens have kept their more anti-prohibitionist positions out of public view, and failed to give the debate the prominence it deserves. I am standing in Bristol West to give a voice to those voters who want to see this issue firmly on the political agenda and to challenge the major parties to take this on as a serious policy issue during the next term of Government.
We cannot forget that the crack and heroin used in Bristol West originates as opium and coca in Afghanistan and Colombia. It is the UK's support for global drug prohibition that is fuelling conflict in Afghanistan, Colombia, Mexico and West Africa and providing cover for unnecessary military intervention by the United States.
Fifty years of failed prohibition shows that we cannot stop the residents of Bristol West, or anywhere else, using drugs and this demand will be met by illicit production and supply. The simple solution to the failure of prohibition is to end it; to take over the illicit trade, by legally regulating drugs through doctors, pharmacists and licensed retailers. It is precisely because drugs are dangerous, not because they're safe, that today I call on all the candidates in Bristol West, and the parties they represent, to raise the issue of drug law reform up the political agenda. To join with me in encouraging an open and healthy discussion on alternatives to prohibition, to end the war on drugs and replace it with a system of tax, control and regulation that is effective, just and humane. The people demand a genuine debate on drugs.
Danny Kushlick is a former drugs counsellor in the criminal justice system. He founded the Transform Drug policy Foundation as a result of his experience.
Three weeks ago he was selected by Mark Thomas to stand as prospective parliamentary candidate for the People's Manifesto. The policies in the Manifesto range from the sublime to the hilarious:
Friday, April 30, 2010
Danny Speaks! "Lets Talks Drugs"
Candidate Danny Kushlick has a press release out. Danny is the officially supported candidate of the Anarchist606 2010 Election Scrutiny Committee (i.e. me.):