Fifty years after the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was signed in 1961, we are witnessing global failure of the war on drugs. Production of illicit drugs and subsequent trade represent one of the world's largest industries. The illicit drug market generates around $320 billion a year1) and is fully controlled by criminals. The current situation, where the criminals profit from selling banned drugs while the users are punished by expensive legal system, is not beneficial for the society and requires reassessment.
The Pirate Party believes it is essential to throw away the prejudices and to start regulating individual types of drugs on the basis of their scientifically proved harmfulness. Laws should take into consideration; an informed decision of a free person, on one hand including treatment of addicts whose free will is restricted, and on the other hand a system of prevention, regulation and treatment which prevents dangerous behaviour and mitigates its consequences.
We advocate an effective drug policy which can be summarized in three points:
- Reform. Laws must take the function of a society into account – that's the only way for them to earn respect. We must allow use of cannabis salves and other healing drugs which are prohibited today. Adult citizens can not be penalized for possession of drugs or growing them at home for personal use. Licensed subjects will be able to sell drugs to the citizens if they meet the requirements of the state. The requirements will reflect the drug's harmfulness.
- Regulation. Regulation will monitor drugs' harmfulness and users' risk awareness. Children's access to drugs, advertising, smoking at bus stops, driving under influence – must continue to be regulated as they are now.
- Taxation. Cannabis trade and drug trade generally will be subject to excise tax duty, as is alcohol and tobacco. Money from this tax will be used to finance public health, education and leisure activities programs in order to prevent drug-related risks.
Portugal is a fine example of what happens when the prohibition of drugs is lifted: drug usage doesn't increase, while street dealing, children's access to drugs, occurrence of drug-related diseases and the number of police actions even decrease.2)
It is essential to inform the public about the negative effects that drug usage can have on people with different dispositions. However, we can not overlook the medical, relaxing and other beneficial effects that drugs taken in reasonable amount can have, neither we can overlook the traditional role the drugs play in our culture. Only unbiased information can enable children and adults to evaluate risks and to form a responsible approach to drugs. Let's break the taboo which prevents reasonable discussion and reforms.