It is a basic human right for cannabis enthusiasts to consume the herb without any interference from the law, says a new report from the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform.
In an official publication of Parliament entitled “Guidance on Drug Policy: Interpreting the UN Drug Conventions,” the group argues that the drug war has been a complete failure and that there needs to be some significant changes made, including the legalization of a test cannabis market, in order to develop drug policies rooted in human rights as opposed the current “blanket prohibition” model.
Citing the success of Portugal’s decriminalization efforts, the report goes on to explain that individuals who use marijuana — even hard drugs — should not be criminalized as long as their lifestyle choice does not bring harm to others in the community. This is an argument, the group suggests, that is supported by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
According to the parliamentarians, “For European countries the European Convention on Human Rights, in particular Article 8, could be invoked in support of the argument that possession or purchase or cultivation of drugs for personal use, particularly in small quantities, do not injure other people's rights either directly or indirectly and therefore should not be criminalised.”
Although the group’s interpretation is being called “novel as far as decriminalization is concerned,” many lawmakers are not buying into the concept of drug regulations reflecting the “supremacy” of human rights conventions. Some of these naysayers argue that drug use does, in fact, come with third party harms, including consequences for the users children and the public.
“Human rights legislation is not designed to be used in this way,” Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, told The Independent.
The parliamentary figures responsible for the report carry a substantial amount of influence. They are recommending the ministers introduce an “experimental ethos” with “less focus upon prohibition and punitive measures, and greater emphasis upon human rights, public health and social welfare.”
However, the British Government maintains that they have no intention of decriminalizing or legalizing drugs.
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