Progress Update on the Scottish Constitutional, Legal and Institutional Development Platform › forums › Constitution of the Scottish State › Article II Section B › Recognising Fundamental Civil Liberties Re: personal drug use
March 16, 2019 at 3:42 pm #1364
“§ 12. The CSL shall not criminalize drug and alcohol use and/or possession by individuals, which shall be treated uniquely within the sphere of public health”
(Partly) in repsonse to previous comments/amendments regarding this section:
I don’t think the proposals regarding drug use go far enough to recognise the fundamental civil liberty/human rights of everyone to possess/use any quantity of drugs, without limit. There is no limit on how much alcohol or tobacco we can possess, and this doesn’t seem to cause any issues; No further issues that aren’t already issues with alcohol and tobacco already. It might not be possible to set arbitrary limits on possession without impinging on civil liberties, and inadvertently introducing (more) harm. Like the alcohol/tobacco industry full legal regulation is the only way to minimise harm. If so then quantity of possession will be a non-issue, as it is with alcohol and tobacco.
Of course, there are some black markets that illegally sell alcohol and tobacco, but they tend to be rare and the product of high taxation, which is in itself a form of drug prohibition since ultimately the aim of imposing high taxes is to deter people from using them, or using them to excess (a tactic which clearly does not work, or results in people often seeking other harder drugs as a substitute)
The fact is there is little or no difference in the harms caused by alcohol or tobacco between legal and illegal markets, and placing arbitrary limits on an individual’s possession of either would have little effect in detering anyone from supplying these unlicensed; in fact it even may result in production/supply falling in to the hands of less trustworthy, and more dangerous criminals.
The risk of placing arbitrary limits on possession is that it potentially grants power to governments to enforce possession, and how do you decide what limits to impose? This also introduces the risk of some sort of Prohibition 2.0 such as in the case of cannabis, where the current mantra seems to be to discourage any form of cannabis that is high in THC.
Where there is a demand, there will always be a market. And if we impose limits on how much of a certain drug can be produce we also risk handing production over to smaller, more amateur set-ups as opposed to parger scale productions.
Placing limits on posession, in order to deter supply will not deter suppliers. It does not deter them now, so why would a more relaxed approach to drugs policy deter anyone by placing a restriction on possession?
The only way to reduce potential harm from drugs and protect the rights of everyone is to remove all prohibitive legislation. There cannot be rules that say it is OK for citizens to possess an unlimited supply of one drug, and not the other; especially when it is the case now that there are no limits on the possession certain drugs that are known to cause a great deal of harm, and no evidence to suggest that placing limits on possession would have any effect whatsoever to reduce the harm from them.
A system which distinguishes between drugs, and what rights citizens can have regarding those drugs based (to an extent) on societal norms and what drug use is considered acceptable is a form of drugs apartheid, which is a fundamental breach of human rights.
The only truly sensible and progressive approach to drugs policy is to recognise the fundamental human right to use/possess any quantity of any drug, and allow there to be regulatory processes involved in the production of any drug that there is a demand for. This includes cannabis, LSD, MDMA, heroin and cocaine (to name but a few)
This may not be a popular strategy among some, but the fact of the matter is prohibition has consistently failed to make any sort of impact on the use and supply of any drug anyway, and the only way to approach the problem is to allow the production and supply of any drug to be regulated so that it is at least safe, or as safe as it can be made to be.
The incentive for people to progress onto other drugs will be taken away instantly in the event of a strategy that ceases to limit the supply of all drugs. It will make all drugs safer. Legally restricting the possession of any drug potentially will deter some people from supplying it (and no law will be effective in stopping every drug supplier) and subsequently risks placing the production and supply into the hands of criminals who may be more willing to take the risk, and often care little about the quality of the product that they are supplying.
There can be nothing gained from appeasing archaic logic and discrimination based on societal prejudice when it comes to drugs.
I understand there are issues with many drugs, however any form of prohibition has never been a winning strategy in dealing with those issues and has only ever served to exacerbate the problem. Spice, for example, would not even exist, nor all the dangers posed by it if it weren’t for cannabis pohibition.
I’m not arguing in favour of all drugs here; I simply make the point that 1. it is (regardless of any issues) a fundamental right of every citizen to use any drug they choose 2. it is a citizen’s right to possess as much of a certain drug as they choose 3. any restriction on possession/drugs will only serve to introduce danger, regardless of whether it is in relation to a drug that may already be somewhat dangerous and 4. an unrestricted, and indeally regulated drugs market is the only way to succesfully reduce harm and discourage use of other, potentially more harmful drugs in order to substitute for lack of access to drugs or poor quality of drugs available.
I know from my own behaviour, as a cannabis user that I have used alcohol and tobacco many times in my life as a substitute for cannabis which it was either not available to me or poor quality. I have also on occasion used harder drugs, which I would not have done if good quality cannabis had been available.
March 18, 2019 at 8:11 am #1454
Ah there it is!
I was looking for this earlier. I’m struggling with this site a bit.
Anyway, I (think) I submitted a proposed amendment, or something better anyway.
I’ll copy it here too:
I think the wording of B-12 needs to be more precise, and inclusive:
– “drugs and alcohol” should just be refered to as “drugs”, since alcohol is a drug. I see no need to make a distinction there.
– there needs to be more clarity than simply stating that “drug and alcohol use shall not be criminalised” since there are plenty of instances whereby alcohol use (for instance) must be controlled (eg. if it leads to violence or drunk driving etc.) so I have included a caveat in the wording which I hope deals with this issue in a general sense.
How about this for B-12?
Personal, self-administration of any drug shall not be criminalised by the state where:
– the drug is used for medicinal purposes
– the drug is used for recreational purposes
– the drug is used for religious worship or spiritual or intellectual or artistic development
– the drug may potentially cause harm to the individual
– use of the drug does NOT impact the life, or threaten the well-being of a third person
It’s difficult to get the wording right on that last point, since it’s a caveat which I feel has to be there but at the same time could potentially be used to restrict civil liberties unnecessarily, eg. the cannabis psychosis debate: founded upon consensus more than scientific fact. The situation we are in today with cannabis prohibition is largely founded upon certain popular myths surrounding it, eg. the misconception that it impairs the ability of individuals to perform certain functions. So how this caveat is used could be open to misinterpretation and abuse I feel. Nonetheless, I propose the above amendment for now, with a view to opening a discussion.
And I think there should be a further section, or sub section that protects the rights of citizens to produce their own drugs (specifically, but not restricted to cannabis). Of course, there are a number of issues surrounding the general wording of this which need to be considered, such as dangers posed from production facilities and how to legislate to prevent someone producing a batch of dodgy pills and flooding the market. Ideally, a fully liberalised, regulated drugs market is the best way forward for this since there will always be a demand for certain drugs, and it’s better they are produced safely and controlled, and this also reduces the potential for individuals to seek alternative, potentially more harmful substitutes for a drug they may be unable to source on the black market. I understand this is a controversial area for many people, however I think it is better there is something written in to the constitution which protects certains rights, otherwise the alternative is no rights at all and we end up in the situation/mess we are in today.
March 18, 2019 at 8:12 am #1455
I’m clicking “save changes” on the relevant page but I’m not sure if it’s going though..
April 1, 2019 at 10:23 am #1461
Obviously this is a complete waste of time. Thanks for listening (or not) I’ll just continue to derive my right to consume whatever I want (which only at present includes cannabis illegally, when I can get it) from my own anarchist principles and to damn with this nonsense.
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