Select Committee on Home Affairs Memoranda


Submitted by the Green Party


  1.1  Throughout history, psychoactive substances have been used by societies the world over and are likely to continue to be used in one form or another, therefore this use should be made as safe as possible.

  1.2  Drug use—whether experimental, recreational or dependent—can have a damaging effect not only on the user but also on the user's family and society. Our policy would seek to minimise this harm.

  1.3  Therefore the aim of the Green Party drugs policy is to create an environment where drug use causes the minimum harm, both to the user and to society at large. Specifically, it rejects the goal of a drug free society, as being unachievable and unrealistic.

  1.4  We realise that drugs are not a single issue and that the matter is complex, covering a range of legal and illegal substances with differing hazards and benefits resulting from their use. The blunt instrument of prohibition is therefore inappropriate as it simply creates an illegal and unregulated market.

  1.5  In order to achieve our aims of harm reduction, we believe it has to be accepted that drug information should be targeted at the users and the best place to do this is where they gather. This information should be presented in a way that is sympathetic to, and supportive of, the culture, otherwise it will be ignored as much of today's information has been.

  1.6  To remove the large-scale commercial exploitation of drugs, advertising should be limited to the point of sale.

  1.7  To deny organised crime, terrorism and rogue government departments a massive and unaccountable source of income.


2.1  Cannabis

  2.1.1  It is our view that this substance is so widespread in society, its use so utterly normalised and the problems it causes are so few that we propose cannabis be legalised under a regulated regime. People would be allowed to grow and sell their own, high street availability would be via Dutch style "cannabis cafes" with age limits similar to those for alcohol.

  2.1.2  The aim of controls would be to ensure people don't get ripped off.

  2.1.3  We recognise tobacco as the "hard drug" associated with cannabis use. As a part of the harm reduction approach we would encourage the use of cannabis without tobacco a "Safer Smoking" campaign.

2.2  Dance drugs

  2.2.1  Present policy is simply to suppress the market and the culture that surrounds it. The results of this policy are:

    (i)  To push drugs into the dark corners and into the hands of irresponsible distributors.

    (ii)  To make it difficult to have any idea of the composition, purity or strength of drugs, hence encouraging irresponsible patterns of use.

    (iii)  To encourage secretive behaviour and ignorance amongst users, in particular the "take enough in advance" attitude.

    (iv)  To damage a vibrant and creative musical/artistic culture, which is an integral part of Britain's economy.

  2.2.2  Green Party policy therefore aims to:

  2.2.3  Create a regime based on education and honest information, which by its nature would accept that there are perceived positive benefits from using these substances and which would relate in a meaningful way to the culture. In short, harm reduction, fun maximisation.

  2.2.4  Aim to bring the drug use out of the dark corners and thus to create an informed attitude to drug use amongst users.

  2.2.5  Monitor the purity and strength of drugs by a regime of lab testing, backed up by Marquis or similar pill testing, in clubs. This information should be made available to users.

  2.2.6  To nurture an awareness of dose levels amongst users.

  2.2.7  To discourage poly-drug use.

  2.2.8  To encourage a sense of community whereby users are aware of the need to provide support to other users who may be having problems.

  2.2.9  The ultimate aim would be to bring the whole dance drugs trade into a legally regulated system, the details of which would be decided by a drugs commission.


3.1  Heroin

  3.1.1  In accordance with the principles of harm minimisation the principal aims of policy should be to safeguard the health of the user and the wellbeing of society.

  3.1.2  We therefore support a regime of heroin maintenance for existing addicts. Heroin would be prescribed under hygienic, supervised conditions that allow the addict to stabilise their habit.

  3.1.3  The aim of policy should also be to close down street dealers and thus to reduce the rate of uptake amongst new recruits. Offering addicts heroin maintenance would achieve this aim. We note the large drop in crime rate amongst addicts on heroin maintenance schemes around the world.

  3.1.4  Addicts should be offered a range of consensual treatments and support when they wish to quit.

  3.2  Cocaine/Crack

  3.2.1  Again the principles of harm reduction form the basis of our approach, however we accept that long-term maintenance is not an option.


  4.1  We recognise that in many—if not most—cases of drug addiction the best solution is to persuade the user to stop. This can, in our opinion, only be truly successful if the addict wants to quit.

  4.2  The Green Party supports the establishment of detox units and residential rehabilitation units for those who want to quit.

  4.3  We note the effectiveness of Ibogaine in breaking addiction and support further use and research.


  5.1  We recognise many producer areas of the world are dependent on the drugs trade.

  5.2  We would grant importation licences only to products that were fairly traded.

September 2001

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