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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Australia21 report on drug regulation is worth reading

This report from the high-profile Australia21 group, dramatically, yet factually, entitled "The prohibition of illicit drugs is killing and criminalising our children and we are all letting it happen", tells it straight. I recommend downloading the full report, reading that whole thing (which won't take more than hour ... probably a fair bit less), and drawing other people's attention to it.

Even if you're not based in Australia, the report probably applies to the situation in your country (Portugal is one glaring exception).

Sample quote:
A substantial proportion of Australia’s street and household
crime is a direct consequence of the trade in illicit drugs and the
need for dependent users to find money to acquire drugs. Large
numbers of young people who experiment with these drugs
are criminalised by the enforcement of prohibition laws – even
though those thus criminalised are only a minority of the huge
numbers of experimenters. The current policy of prohibition
discredits the law, which cannot possibly stop a growing
trade that positively thrives on its illegality and black market
status. Our prisons are crowded with people whose lives have
been ruined by dependence on these drugs. Like the failure
of the prohibition of alcohol in the USA from 1920 to 1933,
the current prohibition of illegal drugs is creating more harms
than benefits and needs to be reconsidered by the Australian
community. Many other countries are starting to review this
area. A decade ago, and with excellent results, Portugal
decriminalised the possession of small quantities of all illicit
drugs consistent with personal consumption. A number of other
countries have adopted versions of this approach. In December
2011, the current Presidents of 12 Central and South American
countries called for the use of ‘market mechanisms’ in response
to illegal drugs. In a 2011 US Gallup poll, 50% supported the
legalisation of marijuana with 46% opposed.

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