Select Committee on Home Affairs Third Report



265.  The United Kingdom is one of many signatories to several international treaties on drugs, which constitute a fairly restrictive cradle around our own legislative regime. Significant changes, such as the legalisation of some or all drugs, could not be pursued unilaterally without transgressing the treaties, and could therefore only follow their renegotiation.

266.  Having said this, the treaties do not lay down specific control mechanisms within the basic premise of criminality of drug possession and supply. With this in mind, there is actually substantial "room for manoeuvre" within the treaties for change to the UK's regime. In fact, all of our recommendations could be implemented without breaching the treaties or requiring their renegotiation. In the long term, however, we believe the time has come for the international treaties to be reconsidered. The Commission on Narcotic Drugs is the central policy-making body within the United Nations system dealing with drug-related matters. It compiles biannual reports on the global drug situation and develops proposals to strengthen the international drug control system.

267.  We recommend that the Government initiates a discussion within the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of alternative ways—including the possibility of legalisation and regulation—to tackle the global drugs dilemma.

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