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Ending Prohibition Without a Hangover

RUN2016 SA Drug Policy Week
by

Julian Buchanan

on 18 October 2016

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Transcript of Ending Prohibition Without a Hangover

Prohibition - A social experiment that has gone badly wrong.

A system of bifurcation not rooted in science but in propaganda, fear and ideology
USA President Nixon declares war
between
drugs
https://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/media/drug-law-enforcement-discriminates
The present classification of drugs in the MDA should be reviewed to take account of
modern developments in medical, sociological and scientific knowledge.
Ecstasy should be transferred from Class A to Class B.

LSD should be transferred from Class A to Class B

All forms of Cannabis possession should become Class C
In the case of non trafficking offences for Class B & C drugs, the present
custodial penalties should be removed
1999
2000
‘current classification system is
not fit for purpose
and should be replaced with a more
scientifically based
scale of harm, decoupled from penalties for possession and trafficking’ (HoCS&T, 2006: 3);
"
The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and 40 years after President Nixon launched the US government’s war on drugs
,
fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed.
"
2011
2011
there is room within the conventions for taking a more flexible approach to small-scale dealing and personal possession and use, particularly where these activities are linked to addiction p.9
We have concluded that a mandatory cautioning scheme is the most appropriate response to personal possession and use offences that come to the attention of the police. This option provides a formal opportunity, at the earliest stages of the criminal justice process, to consider the drug treatment needs of low-level drug offenders. It is also consistent with the direction of the Government’s 2009 Methamphetamine Action Plan, which notes that “sending users to prison rather than diverting users to [alcohol and other drug treatment] can make the problem worse” and includes proposals to divert users from the criminal justice system at an early stage.

The key objectives of the proposed cautioning scheme are twofold: ·· to remove minor drug offences from the criminal justice system; and ·· to provide greater opportunities for those in need of treatment to access it. (p.14)
what can we learn from international drug policy reform?
following advice of the ACMD and the findings of the Runciman Report, the UK Government in 2001 decided to reclassify cannabis from Class B to C and thereby lower penalties for possession
However, the implementation was delayed until 2004 while the government introduced stiffer penalties for the supply of Class C drugs to ensure they matched those of supply of Class B drugs.

When cannabis became a Class C drug the maximum penalty for supply of any Class C drug was increased from five years in prison to 14 years.
Worldwide there are no cases of fatal cannabis overdose and rarely does the drug lead to problems in respect of intoxication or drug-driven crime but it occupied considerable police and court time with 93,500 seizure recorded in 2001 accounting for 71 per cent of all drug seizures
United Kingdom
Buchanan, J (2010) Drug policy under New Labour, 1997-2010: Prolonging the war on drugs, Probation Journal Special Edition, Vol. 57 No.3, pp250-262
contrary to advice from the ACMD the Government later reversed its decision on cannabis and the drug was reclassified as Class B in January 2009. This u-turn illustrated the government’s struggle to support a scientifically evidenced drug policy
Announced
USA vc Netherlands: Cannabis Use

• The mean age at onset of use was 16.95 years in Amsterdam and 16.43 years in San Francisco
http://ar2003.emcdda.europa.eu/en/page018-en.html
The Netherlands effectively decriminalized cannabis use in 1976, and it is available for purchase in small quantities by adults in licensed coffee shops; in the United States, marijuana use carries stiff criminal penalties
May 2004, Vol 94, No. 5 | American Journal of Public Health, Reinarman et al. | Peer Reviewed | Research and Practice
• In both cities, users began their periods of maximum use about 2 years after they began regular use: 21.46 years in Amsterdam and 21.98 years in San Francisco.
• About 75 percent in both cities had used cannabis less than once per week or not at all in the year before the interview.
• Majorities of experienced users in both cities never used marijuana daily or in large amounts even during their periods of peak use, and use declined after those peak periods.
• The mean age at which respondents began using marijuana more than once per month was 19.11 years in Amsterdam and 18.81 years in San Francisco.
Proponents of criminalization attribute to
their preferred drug-control regime a special
power to affect user behavior. Our findings
cast doubt on such attributions.
"Despite widespread lawful availability of cannabis in Amsterdam, there were no differences between the 2 cities in age at onset of use, age at first regular use, or age at the start of maximum use."

The Netherlands
The Portuguese experience cannot provide a definitive guide to the effects of decriminalization of drugs, but only indications of the results of decriminalization in the specific Portuguese context. (p.9)
Key stakeholders in Portugal were in general agreement that there has been
small to moderate increases in overall reported drug use among adults. Yet, there were differences as opinion regarding three issues, namely whether the reported increase is: real, significant/concerning and attributable to the reform. (p.1005)
Portuguese trends largely mimicked the trends observed in neighbouring Spain and Italy (see Tables 3 and 4). All three nations reported increases in lifetime prevalence of hashish, amphetamines and cocaine as well as increases in the last year prevalence of cannabis and cocaine use.
Thus, while general population trends in Portugal suggest slight increases in lifetimeand recent illicit drug use, studies of young and problematic drug users suggest that usehas declined. P.1008
Portugal is the only of these nations to have exhibited declines in PDU provides strong evidence that the Portuguese decriminalization has not increased the most harmful forms of drug use. P.1008
Lifetime prevalence of illicit drug use amongst school students in Portugal, Italy and the European Union, aged 15–16, 1995–2007
by drug type and country. Source: Hibell et al. (2009).
the reform provides important evidence for the debate on the impacts of decriminalization. It demonstrates that—contrary to some predictions —decriminalization does not inevitably lead to rises in drug use. It can reduce the burden upon the criminal justice system. It can further contribute to social and health benefits. Moreover, such affects can be observed when decriminalizing all illicit drugs. P.1016
small increases in reported illicit drug use amongst adults;
reduced illicit drug use among problematic drug users and adolescents, at least since 2003;
reduced burden of drug offenders on the criminal justice system;
increased uptake of drug treatment;
reduction in opiate-related deaths and infectious diseases; increases in the amounts of drugs seized by the authorities;
reductions in the retail prices of drugs. P.1017
Portugal
Switzerland
The Platzspitz or Needle Park, Zurich 1987-1992
Key stakeholders in Portugal were in general agreement that there has been
small to moderate increases in overall reported drug use among adults. Yet, there were differences as opinion regarding three issues, namely whether the reported increase is: real, significant/concerning and attributable to the reform. (p.1005)
Portuguese trends largely mimicked the trends observed in neighbouring Spain and Italy (see Tables 3 and 4). All three nations reported increases in lifetime prevalence of hashish, amphetamines and cocaine as well as increases in the last year prevalence of cannabis and cocaine use.
Thus, while general population trends in Portugal suggest slight increases in lifetime and recent illicit drug use, studies of young and problematic drug users suggest that use has declined. P.1008
Portugal is the only of these nations to have exhibited declines in PDU provides strong evidence that the Portuguese decriminalization has not increased the most harmful forms of drug use. P.1
008
Lifetime prevalence of illicit drug use amongst school students in Portugal, Italy and the European Union, aged 15–16, 1995–2007
by drug type and country. Source: Hibell et al. (2009).
the reform provides important evidence for the debate on the impacts of decriminalization. It demonstrates that—contrary to some predictions —decriminalization does not inevitably lead to rises in drug use. It can reduce the burden upon the criminal justice system. It can further contribute to social and health benefits. Moreover, such affects can be observed when decriminalizing all illicit drugs. P.1016
small increases in reported illicit drug use amongst adults;

reduced illicit drug use among problematic drug users and adolescents, at least since 2003;

reduced burden of drug offenders on the criminal justice system;

increased uptake of drug treatment;

reduction in opiate-related deaths and infectious diseases; increases in the amounts of drugs seized by the authorities;

reductions in the retail prices of drugs.
p.1017
there are no signs of mass expansion of the drug market in Portugal ... The Portuguese evidence suggests that combining the removal of criminal penalties with the use of alternative therapeutic responses to dependent drug users offers several advantages. It can reduce the burden of drug law enforcement on the criminal justice system, while also reducing problematic drug use. ...
holds numerous benefits, principally of increased opportunity to integrate drug users and to address the causes and damages of [problematic] drug use. p.1018
http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/heroin_maintenance#sthash.HHGLK5pm.dpbs
Recent Changes
RECLASSIFY
Privileging and promoting societal use of particular drugs while

policing and severely punishing
societal use of other drugs
1 in 20 recorded crimes
are drug defined crimes
http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/snapshots-of-nz/yearbook/society/crime/drug-crime.aspx

1 in 10 people in prison were sentenced for drug defined crimes
decriminalised personal possession of all drugs in 2001
Extracted from:
Buchanan J (2009) Understanding and misunderstanding problem drug use: working together, in R Carnwell & J Buchanan (eds) Effective Practice in Health, Social Care & Criminal Justice: A partnership approach, Open University Press, Maidenhead.
Extracted from:
Buchanan J (2009) Understanding and misunderstanding problem drug use: working together, in R Carnwell & J Buchanan (eds) Effective Practice in Health, Social Care & Criminal Justice: A partnership approach, Open University Press, Maidenhead.
Extracted from:
Buchanan J (2009) Understanding and misunderstanding problem drug use: working together, in R Carnwell & J Buchanan (eds) Effective Practice in Health, Social Care & Criminal Justice: A partnership approach, Open University Press, Maidenhead.
Extracted from:
Buchanan J (2009) Understanding and misunderstanding problem drug use: working together, in R Carnwell & J Buchanan (eds) Effective Practice in Health, Social Care & Criminal Justice: A partnership approach, Open University Press, Maidenhead.
Extracted from:
Buchanan J (2009) Understanding and misunderstanding problem drug use: working together, in R Carnwell & J Buchanan (eds) Effective Practice in Health, Social Care & Criminal Justice: A partnership approach, Open University Press, Maidenhead.
Extracted from:
Buchanan J (2009) Understanding and misunderstanding problem drug use: working together, in R Carnwell & J Buchanan (eds) Effective Practice in Health, Social Care & Criminal Justice: A partnership approach, Open University Press, Maidenhead.
Extracted from:
Buchanan J (2009) Understanding and misunderstanding problem drug use: working together, in R Carnwell & J Buchanan (eds) Effective Practice in Health, Social Care & Criminal Justice: A partnership approach, Open University Press, Maidenhead.
Extracted from:
Buchanan, J. (2009) Understanding and misunderstanding problem drug use: working together, in R Carnwell & J Buchanan (eds) Effective Practice in Health, Social Care & Criminal Justice: A partnership approach, Open University Press, Maidenhead.
Prohibition/Punishment makes drug use more harmful to the user


Prohibition and punishment:

1. Has little or no impact on
drug demand or use

2. Has little or no impact on
drug supply

3. Makes
drug use more harmful
and dangerous

4.
Limits knowledge
of production, distribition, sale and use

5. Increases
drug markets violence

6. Has resulted in
racially biased arrests & punishments

7. Places
enormous cost
the CJS

8. Fuels a highly lucrative
underground business

Decriminalisation

1. Gives criminal justice agencies
more time and money
2. Appears to
reduce levels of problematic drug use
3.
Doesn't
result in any significant increases in drug use
4. Increases
rehabilitation and reintegration
5.
Reduces
social and health related issues
6.
Might
reduce volume of racially biased apprehensions
7.
Avoids the lifelong harm
of a drug conviction


1961
UN
Single Convention Narcotic Drugs
1971
US
President Nixon declares War on Drugs
1971
UK
Misuse of Drugs Act
1975
NZ
Misuse of Drugs Act
1992
RSA
Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act
Who is arguing for a rethink?
16 years ago ...still waiting
the New Jim Crow?
Māori
14% population
51% prison pop.
Class A
"The evidence from other countries show that levels of drug use are influenced by factors more complex and nuanced than legislation and enforcement alone."

p.6
Between 162-324 million people,
3.5 -7% of the world population aged 15-64, had used an illicit drug in the previous year.

Problem drug use remains stable at between 16 million and 39 million people

(UNODC 2014)



http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=48138#.VGAgPb7YZC4
https://www.globaldrugsurvey.com
http://www.tdpf.org.uk/blog/its-true-drug-use-declining-uk-–-isn’t-argument-against-decriminalisation
NPS regulation
PSA 2013
but punish ALL unapproved NPS
Possession $300 fine (s.71)
Supply 2yrs prison (s.70)
Is this reform...

extending punishment to NPS?
privileging cannabis?
perpetuating a failed model?
SYSTEM OF POWER & PRIVILEGE vs PROHIBITION & PUNISHMENT

Causes harmful
patterns
of use of licit drugs

and

Causes harmful drug
policy
damage from illicit drugs
The cultural accommodation and promotion of
legal drugs
as expressions of celebration, pleasure, leisure and socialisation at almost every occaison
'drug laws disproportionately impact upon 'people of color', ethnic minority groups, poor and indigenous people'
Email:
julianbuchanan@gmail.com
Web
:
https://julianbuchanan.wordpress.com
Twitter
:
julianbuchanan

Institute of Criminology
School of Social and Cultural Studies
Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand
Te Whare Wananga o te Upoko o te Ika a Maui


Associate Professor Julian Buchanan

Cape Town, 1-4 February 2016
Southern Sun, Newlands

Ending Prohibition without a hangover:
Global perspectives

Ending prohibition without a hangover - Global perspectives
Alcohol
CLASS A
LEGAL
“The Drug War is an effort to stimulate
fear
of dangerous people from who we have to protect ourselves. It is also, a
direct form of control
- of what are called "dangerous classes," those superfluous people who don't really have a function contributing to profit-making and wealth.”

“When you call for a War on Drugs,
you know exactly who you're going to pick up
: poor black people. You're not going to pick up rich white people: you don't go after them anyway. In the upper-middle class suburb where I live, if somebody goes home and sniffs cocaine, police don't break into their house.”


Noam Chomsky “The Drug War Industrial Complex" interviewed by John Veit High Times, April, 1998
http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/199804--.htm
“In the context of international drug control,
"drug"
means any of the substances
listed
in Schedule I and II of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, whether natural or synthetic.”

http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/illicit-drugs/definitions/

Taylor, S., Buchanan, J., & Ayres, T. (forthcoming 2016) ‘Prohibition, Privilege and the Drug Apartheid: The failure of drug policy reform to address the underlying fallacies of drug prohibition’ Criminology and Criminal Justice, An International Journal. Sage.
In an open letter on 21st January 2016 the
International Centre for Science in Drug Policy
(ICSDP) argue for drug policy change:

"the unacceptably high levels of drug-related [
policy
] harms experienced in many settings – including epidemics of HIV and hepatitis C, widespread and increasing levels of fatal overdoses, epidemics of drug-related violence, social and human rights violations, and major economic consequences (e.g., tax burden) related to the incarceration of drug users, – will continue, with grave implications for communities affected by illicit drugs across the globe."
Tobacco
Back in the 1960s......
AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND
in 1998 the UN aimed for a drug free world by 2008......
http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/history/negro_cocaine_fiends.htm


"Once the negro has formed the habit he is irreclaimable. The only method to keep him away from taking the drug is by imprisoning him."

Bifurcation process based more on who uses the drug, rather than the nature of the drug. Decisions rooted in preserving popularity, power and privilege.
Full transcript