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Drugs Jun 07

The lead story in today’s theguardian reports that the Government is planning to introduce relatively low limits defining what is considered “possession” of illegal drugs and what is “intent to supply”.

I’m not a lawyer so was a little confused when the article said

When the ACMD’s technical committee considered the issue in April, it was pointed out that even Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan police commissioner, had misunderstood the proposals: “Many people still think that the provisions are about setting levels that are reasonable for personal us,e and that if they are caught with amounts below the thresholds they will not be arrested for possession with intent to supply. The reality is contrary to this.”

but didn’t clarify the matter. I’m not sure whether the courts will be required to find someone guilty of dealing if the drugs they are caught with are more than the limit or whether it is simply a guideline to prosecutors, although it sounds like the latter.

Either way, it’s a recipe for wasting police time, CPS time and judicial time prosecuting for dealing people who have drugs for personal use – time that could be spent pursuing, you know, actual drug dealers. It sounds like a backdoor route to banging up more people for possession, by treating them as dealers even if they’re not. In an ideal world, sentencing guidelines shouldn’t depend on the prison population, but joined-up government means this has to be taken into account to: sending more people to prison for drug posession isn’t going to help the overcrowding crisis.

I don’t know about this sort of thing, of course, but a limit of “enough cannabis for 10-20 joints” sounds rather small; is anyone with a couple of packets of fags automatically selling on the black market? This doesn’t tally with the view of the Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs who know a thing or two about this issue.

The proposed thresholds are so low that the advisory committee, which discussed the issue on May 25, is believed to have warned the Home Office that they would cause policing problems. The committee suggested the cannabis threshold should be set at 28g, or 1oz. The experts also told ministers that the five tablet limit for ecstasy was low – given that they can be bought for 50p each in some areas, and some users take up to 10 in one session.

In other drugs news, the police have smashed a cocaine ring in Kent – and, unlike the Forest Gate raid, it seems they actually found something. Good for them. What caught my eye was that the bust was called Operation Alpington and is a spin-off from Operation Anuric. I’ve often idly wondered where such operations get their names. Alpington appears to be a village in Norfolk; anuric means unable to urinate. Is that a side effect of cocaine then?

One Response

  1. I would have thought if anything cocaine was a diuretic. But there are lots of articles about how administering a diuretic might help cocaine addicts.

    The cannabis levels proposed are a joke. I reckon the only people who buy eighth or sixteenth size bits are the very ones we don’t want to be buying it, kids with their pocket money.

    I suppose Dr Reid thinks that the 85 pence worth piece of blim found in his guest bedroom is a sort of usual amount to have.

    It would certainly not be unusual, for example, to get through a quarter ounce a week of cannabis resin, which is already over the “dealing” limits suggested.

    Bonkers. But then all of drug law is. Tightening durgs laws will kill people. KILL people. The law should not be responsible for that. It’s immoral.