Monday, 18 January 2010

The question is "how?" not "whether?" on cannabis legalisation

This is a copy of a contribution I have just made to a discussion on the LDDPR group on Lib Dem Act. I'm not sure if I have properly set out my stall on this before so thought it important to put it out there to give an impression on the kind of thing I think LDDPR and eventually the Lib Dems should be advocating.

Original source here:

"My position on this issue is very much one of "better safe than sorry". It is glaringly obvious that the classification of cannabis at Class B or Class C does nothing to increase public safety. The economics and practicalities of the illegal trade in cannabis incentivises the distribution of stronger "skunk" varieties at the expense of the milder, more traditional varieties. This phenomenon arises for the same reason as the expansion of hard liquor in America under alcohol prohibition. It might be debated by some in the drug policy reform movement, but I believe it quite reasonable to assume from the evidence available that skunk brings a higher risk of mental illness than traditional strains (remember it is better to be safe than sorry). Ensuring milder strains are available for sale, and ensuring professional advice is available to guide choices made, should reduce consumption of "skunk" and reduce mental health risks.

More important evidence to consider is the evidence suggesting that there is a sensitive period of brain development in which risk of later psychosis is dramatically increased by cannabis use. If risk of psychosis is massively increased if you are exposed to cannabis regularly before you are 15 and only slightly increased if you smoke before 18, then surely we need to identify ways of restricting cannabis consumption in young teenagers. Currently cannabis use is totally unregulated and rife in teenage culture. Under a controlled and regulated market it would be possible to restrict access to cannabis to those over 18 (or other specified age), and to introduce licensing and taggant technology to improve our ability to deter provision of drugs to children and prosecute those who defy the law.

I have serious concerns about the lack of awareness about the links between cannabis and mental illness in America and other countries where legalisation is being considered. I am keen for any moves in this direction in the UK to reject the Dutch coffee-shop model in favour of strictly regulated sales from pharmacists. I am also hopeful that a licensing scheme could be adopted that would necessitate customers receive drug-specific education on mental health, general health, financial, behavioural and other issues that may arise as a result of drug use. Education on the early warning signs of psychosis in particular would not only allow early intervention in cannabis-induced psychosis, but would increase public knowledge of the condition and allow early intervention in cases of psychosis not related to drug use. Schizophrenia is a cause of not only massive suffering for patients and families, but massive economic costs to the country as a whole. Properly controlling illegal drugs presents an excellent opportunity to alleviate future suffering and reduce these costs.

The great danger in the use of any drug is ignorance, and I hope that a commitment to tackle ignorance will reduce both use of drugs and the harms that drug use and the prohibition of that use currently causes."

Thursday, 14 January 2010

paraphrasing Gordon Brown "Evidence. Pah! We will never follow evidence!"

So the second of the open goals for the Liberal Democrats provided yesterday was contained within a letter Gordon Brown wrote to the Transform Drug Policy Foundation (reproduced in full here: )

The key paragraph is this:

"We do not intend to undertake an impact assessment comparing the costs and benefits of different legislative options for domestic drug policy. We see no merit in embarking upon such an undertaking in view of our longstanding position that we do not accept that legalisation and regulation are now, or will be in the future, an acceptable response to the presence of drugs."

Meanwhile, the people of Scotland are dying drug-related deaths at twice the rate of a decade ago and the people of Switzerland and Portugal are dying drug-related deaths at around half the rate they were before the countries addressed their drug problems and enacted progressive reforms in response.

Along with 10 other elected reps, I submitted a policy motion yesterday calling for government to control and regulate psychoactive drugs. While I would love the conference committee to accept the motion for debate, this is not necessary for the lib dems to establish clear water between themselves and Labour on the issue. All we need to do is state a commitment to evidence-based drugs policy. The voters were rightly enthusiastic about our response to the sacking of David Nutt. We should now stand up and announce that we will examine all options for drug policy. Rather than commit ourselves to everlasting head-in-the-sand dogmatism, we should say that drugs are a massive problem in our nation's communities. Current policies have failed to address these problems. The Lib Dems want to explore how we can keep drugs out of the hands of children and vulnerable young people, how to reduce the crime committed by drug addicts, how to turn around the lives of street prostitutes and how to tackle the vicious organised criminals that run this nation's drugs trade. If the evidence points to tougher policing, that is the path we should take. If the evidence suggests international conventions are the source of much of the suffering associated with drugs, then we should challenge them.

Drugs policy, like all policy, should follow the evidence. This is not so much to ask.

Labour gave the Lib Dems two open goals yesterday. Did you miss them?

There were two news stories yesterday that were absolutely vital to the future of our country. Both granted the Lib Dems the opportunity to make considerable political capital at Labour's expense. And it appears both opportunities have yet to be seized. I shall come to Gordon Brown's dogmatic, blinkered position on drug policy later. I do go on about drug policy a bit so felt I should first raise the Labour party's inner turmoil on the AV referendum (as highlighted by Michael Crick

The Liberal Democrats have remained stubbornly silent on this issue for many months now despite the fact that we are the most passionate supporters of electoral reform. Below is a letter I wrote to Chris Huhne on the subject in September. The phrase "We want democracy now! Labour won't give it to you, the Tories never will!" can still be employed in pressuring Labour to go through with their plans.

"28th September 2009

Dear Mr. Huhne.

I spoke to you briefly at the Vote for Change electoral reform rally last Sunday lunchtime on the subject of a concurrent referendum (for immediate application) on the alternative vote electoral system. I would now like to lay out in greater detail why I believe the Liberal Democrats should pursue this possibility.

“We want democracy now. Labour won't give it to you. The Conservatives never will.”

It's a fine soundbite, and one I believe we should employ. STV is not on the table. AV is. It is a vast improvement on our current system and we should give it our whole-hearted support. Even if there is only a very minimal chance of an immediately applied concurrent referendum being technically or legally achievable, we should definitely push for it for the political reasons I shall now lay out.

An end to tactical voting.

How could constituents not support a system that allows them to vote for who they want to win rather than compromise and support the more acceptable of the two front-runners? Gone will be the days when people only vote for us when they think we can win. For this reason our vote share should rise significantly.

Increased engagement in politics.

This proposal should increase engagement in politics, as people seek to learn more about the different parties that would make up their list order, rather than just vote for the party they have always backed. I believe anything that increases the chances of people finding out what the liberal democrats stand for should also increase our vote share.

Putting Labour on the back foot

Labour have been umming and ahing on this issue for months now. Some polls suggest more people would vote for them if they put forward an electoral reform referendum. If we get in there first saying “put up or shut up”, then we can be seen as the party taking the initiative on the issue. If they chicken out, fearing massive losses under an AV system applied to this coming election, we can gain considerable political capital from this. If they plump for an AV referendum at the next election, but which can only be applied to subsequent elections, we can say that we demanded democracy now and the Labour party abandoned their principles for political gain.
If we do manage to achieve the concurrent, immediately applied referendum, we can take all the credit for the idea, achieve a massive increase in seats, hopefully prevent a tory majority, be seen to be crediting the electorate with the intelligence to cope with a rapid change in electoral system, and can use AV as a stepping stone to STV if we so wish. I personally think we are more likely to achieve power on our own under AV than under STV, but am happy to listen to other views on the matter.

In my opinion there would be very little damage to our chances of taking labour target seats. While Labour might get a small boost from promoting a referendum, I believe this effect would be massively swamped by the support we would gain for the reasons I have presented above. There would also be little need to campaign “alongside” labour for the AV system. A simple consideration of the fact that people only marking one preference risk being disenfranchised if AV is favoured, should persuade them to support AV and vote using the system. Given the choice of voting for who they genuinely would like to win and voting tactically for a less preferable candidate, they would be massively foolish not to support reform.

I beg you to take this proposal seriously. I am terrified of what another tory government will do to our country and am deeply concerned about the possibility of Scottish independence becoming a reality if the tories win power.

I truly believe this is one of the rare times in politics when you are presented with a win-win-win situation. I read a poll today that had the Liberal Democrats and Labour neck and neck on 23%. Upon inputting the poll numbers into UK Polling Report's Swing Calculator I found this result projected to produce 200 Labour seats and only 70 Liberal Democrat seats at the next election. We must act to prevent such laughably undemocratic projections becoming reality. Despite our political position being far from clearly central between the other two parties anymore, it is still fairly clear that supporters of Labour and the Conservatives will back the Liberal Democrats against the other main party at least 6 times more often than they would back Labour or the Tories against the Lib Dems (see pages 8&9). The Liberal Democrats would gather honest, non-tactical votes; votes from people newly aware of our policies; and the vast majority of second preferences from the other main parties under AV. The party should be pulling out all the stops to make it happen as soon as possible.


Ewan Hoyle.

For those of you about to argue "But AV can be less proportional". AV is only less proportional because that is the way the voters wish it. It reflects the nuances of public opinion rather than forcing people to take sides. If 45% of people in a constituency want a Tory MP, they would not get one under AV if 51% of the voters wanted someone else and voted accordingly. That is good democracy. We'd also get strong governments and retain the constituency link. Some people have strong views on whether these are good things. I take the view that AV is on offer, and it's a hell of a lot better than FPTP.

A new blog post for the Gordon Brown drugs position I think.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Why should environmentally minded Lib Dems support control and regulation of drugs?

The “War on Drugs” as it is being currently fought has massive unintended consequences for the environment. As over 40% of the estimated global cocaine trade is being intercepted, with little effect on prices to the consumer, it can therefore be logically argued that 67% more coca bush is being cultivated than is necessary to meet demand. Coca is being cultivated in some of the most biodiverse countries in the world. Colombia especially is concerned about the loss of valuable rainforest habitat. The policy of burning intercepted drugs only drives this destruction further, as does the US policy: Plan Colombia. This policy involves the aerial spraying of coca plantations with herbicide, a policy that requires farmers move elsewhere and destroy more rainforest if they are to make a living, and has the obvious environmental implications of widespread herbicide administration to a remarkably biodiverse rainforest.

Further reading:

The fact that the coca trade is illegal creates other serious consequences. Cocaine factories in the rainforest use many toxic chemicals that they are not bound by environmental law to dispose of responsibly. As with cultivation, the destruction of these factories by law enforcement requires that they move elsewhere and affect yet another ecosystem.

In the short term, I would suggest that intercepted drugs shipments should not be burnt, driving the need to grow more coca and manufacture more cocaine. Rather these seizures should be used in treatment programmes in the UK. Not so long ago, general practitioners were routinely prescribing heroin and cocaine to the addicts who needed it. We should return to this model, or something similar, undercutting the criminal market with the very drugs they planned to sell in our country. Not only would this course of action reduce the environmental impacts of the drugs trade in the South American rainforest, it would represent a serious economic blow to the drugs cartels and reduce the viability of Britain as a market for their criminal activity, while also engaging addicts in treatment services in the hope that they can reduce or even terminate their consumption.

The cocaine trade effects are the most obvious example of the impacts prohibition is having on the environment. The vast amounts of energy consumed by illegal cannabis factories are a concern, as are any organisation's activities when using chemicals in a manufacturing process untouched by the concerns of environmental regulations.

The “War on Drugs” is having massive unintended (but to be expected) consequences upon the environment. If Britain could lead the way in reducing these consequences by growing and manufacturing our own drugs, then hopefully the rest of the world will recognise the success of our policy in vastly improving the lives of many of our citizens, and will move towards more sensible drugs policies that safeguard our environment for the enjoyment of subsequent generations.

The motion can be found here along with instructions on how to add your support:

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Why should Lib Dem MPs and PPCs support the motion to control and regulate drugs?

Why might Liberal Democrat PPCs and MPs be interested in supporting a motion to control and regulate the manufacture, distribution and sale of drugs?

In 2005 we had the Iraq War to distinguish us from the other political parties. The population respected our taking a stand. We risk going into the next general election with no stand-up-and-take-notice policy that will attract attention to our existing policies which deserve to be taken seriously by the voters.

This is an excerpt from the speech I gave to the LDDPR fringe event at Autumn conference:

“I truly believe we can win this argument. This is what politicians are for: Presenting policies that will improve people's lives and persuading people to vote in their best interests. In a time when faith in politics is all but lost, this is a policy that could certainly not be described as cynical populism. It appeals to the best in people. It asks them to think and to empathise with the people whose lives prohibition is ruining. Yes, some will be scared by it, but others will be so enthused by it that they will join the party and enthusiastically campaign on our behalf. So long as we get our message straight, this policy can reinvigorate interest in all of our policies and allow us that chance of a genuine breakthrough.

I'd like you to imagine standing on a constituent's doorstep presenting a policy that is likely to do the following:

Reduce acquisitive crime by over 50% and domestic burglaries by around 80%. Constituents will like the nice reduction in their insurance premiums that should result.

Allow around two thirds of street prostitutes to leave prostitution, free of the need to fund their drug habit. I should point out that prostitutes suffer post-traumatic stress disorder at 5 times the rate of soldiers returning from Iraq. We can and should save them from their horrific routine.

Reduce overcrowding in existing prisons and save the £2-3bn planned to be spent on building new ones.

Free up tens of thousands of police for community policing and other priorities.

Substantially increase the respect for the police among our nation's youth.

Remove a major criminal career path as an option for these youth's future.

Deprive organised criminals of over £5bn in income.

Increase stability in Latin America and Afghanistan by cutting a considerable source of income from organised criminal gangs and the Taliban.

Allow us to ensure that all people thinking about taking drugs are aware of all the potential health, social and economic consequences of their use.

And virtually eliminate the chances of our young people encountering pushers of hard drugs.

If the constituent's response is “Wow, but how are you paying for all this.” you can say. “Well actually, this policy is projected to save at least £10bn each year.”

I'd now like to present some arguments for the media debate I hope will occur:

Every time a drug trafficking operation is disrupted there may be a temporary reduction in purity and increase in price. This increases the health risks and the criminal activity needed to maintain a habit. Every time a sex trafficking operation is disrupted, you are freeing women from sex slavery. I'd like to ask the moral absolutist prohibitionists where they'd rather their taxes were spent.

While the tories/labour/the daily mail may not intentionally be representing the interests of organised crime and the Taleban, they should understand that the gangsters and terrorists of the world will be hoping and praying that it is the tories/labour/the daily mail and not us that win the argument.

David Cameron has expressed strongly pro-reform views as a backbencher based on the evidence he heard on the Home Affairs Select Committee. Will he now support a policy he believes will effectively tackle many of society's problems, or will he accept the advice of his political advisers and let the people of this nation continue to suffer in the interests of gaining power?

We have the evidence.

We have the weapons and skills to win the arguments.

But does this party have the courage and confidence to stand up and lead?

If, like me, you fear where a conservative government will take our country, I'd suggest we find that courage and find it fast.

There is no great ideological chasm to cross. Rather, the voters are divided into the well-informed, the yet to be well-informed and Melanie Phillips.”

Since I delivered this speech in September, Transform Drug Policy Foundation have released “After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation”, which, in addition to their earlier publication “After the War on Drugs: Tools for the Debate” gives the party a wide array of arguments with which to defend a policy of strictly regulated control, and many tools that will be useful in actively promoting this course of action to the voters.

Chris Huhne recently argued that there are massive problems with reform because of the UN conventions. The Liberal Democrats are famously internationalist. We are firm friends of the EU and the UN. Sometimes a friend has to say “I'm sorry but you are wrong. You're hurting people. We're not going to go along with this anymore.”

With dramatic recent rises in youth unemployment, it is vital that we act soon to prevent another generation getting caught up in the misery of prohibited addiction. Important allies are experiencing similar economic hardship and are being led by relatively liberal governments, a situation that may not be present at an election 5 years from now. There are no other policies that could reduce spending while improving public health, reducing crime, creating jobs, increasing freedom and undermining international criminal gangs and terrorists.

We don't have to fear a political backlash on this issue. Any argument against us would be founded on ignorance or prejudice, and the politician or commentator could be quickly made to look foolish. What we do have to fear is the act of going into a general election campaign with no one policy that neatly sums up our guiding principles. We need to draw a line in the sand. The old politics of Labour and the Conservatives with their focus groups and grasping populism, or the new politics of a Liberal Democrat party having the courage to lead the world in standing up against the criminals sucking the life out of our communities. If we do the right thing, and pronounce this policy with confidence with the supporting evidence presented clearly for all to see, we will gain considerable admiration amongst the population here and abroad, and (perhaps most importantly) we will gain a considerable number of seats.

The motion can be found here along with instructions on how to add your support:

Friday, 8 January 2010

Why should Women Liberal Democrats support a motion calling for control and regulation of drugs?

The stories of how prohibition affects women give the drug policy reform movement the strongest arguments we have. The one experience more than any other that motivated me to campaign for drug policy reform was watching the documentary film: "Killer in a Small Town" The film tackled the story of the 5 young women who were murdered by Steve Wright in Ipswich in 2006. The film-maker spoke to their families and friends and attracted attention to the fact that these young women were seemingly ordinary girls from ordinary families who had apparently just made a few bad decisions in their life and found themselves addicted to heroin and selling sex on the streets. It struck me at the time that any unhappy or rebellious girl making a few mistakes could quickly find themselves in a similar situation, a thought that sickened me.

One of the most distressing scenes of the film was the playing of footage from the ITV news showing a journalist talking to a young woman after it was apparent a serial killer was preying on prostitutes in the town. The interviewer asked "Despite the dangers, why have you chosen to come out tonight?" to which she replied "Because I need the money. I need the money." The young woman interviewed was Paula Clennell, who was to become Wright's fifth victim.

Around 95% of street prostitutes in the UK are considered to be problem drug addicts according to Home Office estimates, and nearly two thirds cite funding drug use as their primary motivation, suggesting that the vast majority could leave prostitution if they could obtain their drug of addiction at an affordable price. Having recently met some former prostitutes at a conference and witnessed them struggle to confront their past and the effect it has had on their lives, I would say that our humanity compels us to do everything we can to ensure few others have to go through similar experiences. I certainly don't want to hear anyone else standing in front of me saying "I was lucky... I was only raped once."

Were the majority of street prostitutes to leave sex work, basic economics dictate that conditions for remaining prostitutes should improve. Sex workers should be able to increase prices, work less hours and be more choosy about the clients they take business from if "supply" of sex workers doesn't meet "demand" from punters. Some of the tens of thousands of police freed up by the massive reduction in acquisitive crime rates that should accompany controlled, regulated drug supply could be diverted into shutting down exploitative brothels, and ensuring demand is not met by trafficking from overseas.

The sad truth is that there are male heroin and crack addicts out there who are identifying vulnerable teenagers, seducing them, offering them drugs and sending them out on the streets to raise money to fund both their habits. I would much prefer any decision to take hard drugs to be based upon education provided by a trained pharmacist or counsellor rather than the extent of your education being contained in the phrase "Try some of this, it's awesome." spoken by the first man you think you love.

It is also true that many of the currently illegal drugs have the potential to cause great distress to families. They can bring about changes in personality and values that create awful dilemmas in mothers and other family members, torn between the pain of holding a drug-affected family member close and the pain of pushing them away. A system combining licensing and drug tagging might be very effective in restricting provision of drugs to children in the first place and the absence of criminal sanctions for use should make it much easier to seek and receive help, as has been the case in Portugal, where drugs have been decriminalised since 2001. In Portugal prevalence rates of use of all the major drugs by 13-18 year olds reduced between 2001 and 2006.

Another tragic feature of the relationship between women and drugs is the routine removal of the children of drug addicts. There are around 10,000 children of heroin addicts in care in the UK and addicted mothers who are having serious problems are resisting seeking treatment in the fear that their children will be taken from them. Current prohibitionist policy just increases harms for both the mother and the child. Removing the chaos from addicts lives by ensuring they don't have to be constantly chasing money to fund their habit can allow them to hold their children as their number one priority. What chance does a woman have of escaping the spiral of despair and addiction if she is living in constant fear of losing her kids?

The passage below is taken from a piece written in 1995 by Mike Gray about the closure of a clinic in Widnes. Heroin prescription used to be widespread in the UK, but had been scaled back under diplomatic pressure from the US.

"In March of last year I visited the Chapel Street Clinic and met with several of the patients. I sat in on a group session where eight heroin users discussed their lives and problems with a counselor before picking up their weekly prescriptions for pharmaceutical heroin. Unlike the junkies we are used to seeing, this group was virtually indistinguishable from any other bunch of young adults on the streets of Liverpool. They were well dressed, talkative, energetic -- they had jobs -- and they used heroin daily.
One of the most attractive was a young woman named Juliette who had been an addict for 13 years. She came from a middle-class background, married a rich kid who got her into heroin, then left her with two kids and no money. She tried desperately to kick but couldn't make it. Somehow for ten years she managed to stay afloat through petty theft and prostitution, with the authorities breathing down her neck. Finally, terrified that they were about to take her kids away, she happened to find the right doctor and he sent her to John Marks. Marks gave her a check-up, satisfied himself that she was indeed a heroin addict, and wrote her a prescription for a week's supply.
"For the first time in ten years," she said, "I had spare time. I didn't have to worry that my dealer wouldn't show -- I didn't have to worry about the price or where to steal the money. So for the first time in ten years, I had a minute to look in the mirror. I looked and I said, `Oh, my God.' Then I looked at the kids, and I said, `What have I done?' All these middle-class values came flooding back in on me.
" Today Juliette has a job, a house, and a mortgage. The kids are in school and doing well. Everybody's in excellent health. And once a week she comes to Chapel Street for her prescription. I asked John Marks what will happen to Juliette on April 1 (when the clinic closes). He said, "Well, she'll go down the tubes."

Many of the young women who get involved with drugs have had difficult lives and can only find comfort in drugs, despite what their addiction makes them do. We have turned our backs on their plight for too long. Regulating and controlling drugs sensibly can take the chaos from these young women's lives and allow us to offer them comfort that will not damage them. Careful pricing has the potential to put drug dealers out of business, removing the pushers that try to recruit children as customers. Control and regulation is not throwing in the towel in the "War on Drugs", it is moving the war onto ground that we understand and can control in order to limit the damage drugs can do to our society. Supporting the Liberal Democrats for Drug Policy Reform motion for Spring conference could help the Liberal Democrats take a massive step forward in tackling the terrible effects of prohibition in the UK and beyond.

If you are a rep for your local party and would like to support the motion (found at please get in touch with me at

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Prohibition is a cowardly, immoral idiocy that we can not afford

It's motion submission season for the Spring conferences and this year the conference committee will have the opportunity to allow conference to debate drug policy reform for the first time since 2002.

In the last decade the drug-related death rate has doubled in Scotland, while in countries like Switzerland and Portugal death rates have fallen by half since they had the bravery to adopt heroin prescription and decriminalisation policies respectively. It is perfectly reasonable to conclude that British reluctance to engage with drug policy has caused hundreds of the most vulnerable, desperate Scots to die.

A great many more Britons will have encountered illegal crack and heroin dealers, developed a habit, and descended into shameful lives of theft, prostitution or be dealing drugs themselves, creating more desperate addicts to steal from us and fill our prisons.

We can stop these people piling misery upon our communities. Were the government to control and regulate the production, distribution and sale of drugs, existing addicts could be managed in such a way that theft, prostitution and dealing would be entirely unnecessary. If problem drug users were treated medically rather than abandoned to wreak havoc, we could potentially reduce domestic burglary by 80% and virtually eliminate street prostitution. A well controlled market could come close to eliminating the illegal market for all drugs, greatly diminishing the chances of children and teenagers encountering anyone who might seek to profit from luring them into that lifestyle.

Far from "people who have kids going "Oh God no, anything but that" " (an assumption of Anita Anand on the daily politics), they should recognise that control and regulation is the best way to keep drugs out of the hands of children. Illegal dealers don't ask for proof of age. Control and regulation might require everyone buying drugs to have a licence to buy that drug and might allow systems to be put in place that allow drugs found in the possession of children to be traced back to their purchaser to aid in prosecution. In Switzerland heroin prescription has been credited with giving heroin the status of "loser drug". Controlling and regulating drugs should not be seen as consumption being approved. Rather legalising should hopefully remove the rebellion from drug use and establish it as a behaviour that responds to medical treatment, a behaviour which occurs as a result of unhappiness and is a symptom of failure.

It is true that control and regulation cannot happen until reform or rejection of the UN drugs conventions. This should not mean that we should not hold it as our aspiration. Decriminalisation may encourage people to seek treatment and may vastly reduce unsafe drug use and drug-related death in Portugal, but in Mexico, Colombia, the Caribbean and many other regions people are dying in their thousands because of the billions of pounds to be made from trafficking from and through these countries to meet Western demand. The only way to eliminate the illegal market is for states to control and regulate legal markets. Britain can be the first to announce this as their intention, and the Liberal Democrats can be the first party to gain considerable electoral success from holding it as policy.

If we do nothing to hasten reform, we are morally responsible for all the crimes and the prostitution that drug users engage in to fund their habits and all the distress that criminality causes in our communities. We need to take responsibility for the millions of pounds the Taliban are raising from the opium trade, money they are spending on the bullets and bombs that murder our troops and the innocent civilians of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Britain can grow our own poppies. We don't need to allow our addicts to be funding Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. We don't need our "recreational drug users" to be funding the criminal drug gangs that terrorise our own streets either.

There are no other policies that will reduce spending while improving public health, reducing crime, creating jobs, increasing freedom and undermining international criminal gangs and terrorists.

This is a stunningly beautiful policy flower breaking through the snow, patiently waiting for the party smart enough to pick it and present it to the people.

The nearly final draft of the motion can be found on the Liberal Democrats for Drug Policy Reform blog: If you are an elected rep and wish to support the motion's submission or you wish to propose the motion to your local party or SAO, please e-mail me at