David Cameron: UK Drug Laws Are "Just Fine"

By McCarton Ackerman 12/10/12

The British Prime Minister rejects lawmakers' plea to consider radical drug policy reform.

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David Cameron "just says no" to
drug policy reform.
Photo via

Prime Minister David Cameron has rejected a request from British lawmakers who—taking a cue from Latin America—want to set up a committee exploring drug legalization and decriminalization. Parliament's Home Affairs Committee stated that current policy isn't working, and called for a "fundamental review of all UK drugs policy," to involve a close examination of Portugal's current approach of decriminalizing all drugs. "Although it is not certain that the Portuguese experience could be replicated in the UK, given societal differences, we believe this is a model that merits significantly closer consideration," said the committee. They also requested studies into the effectiveness of the recent legalization in Washington and Colorado, as well as into Uruguay's proposed state monopoly of cannabis production and sale. Illegal drug use in Britain is at its lowest since measurements began in 1996—though an estimated 300,000 Brits are reported to be addicted to heroin or crack. The committee also argued that dealers continue to thrive in the UK, while too many addicts are unable either to receive treatment or to shake their addictions. The committee has no power other than to make recommendations, and drug-law liberalization will remain a tough sell with the current government. Cameron's statement denying the request is uncompromising: "I don't support decriminalization. We have a policy which actually is working in Britain. Drugs use is coming down, the emphasis on treatment is absolutely right, and we need to continue with that to make sure we can really make a difference."

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.