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Parliamentary Conference to Tackle Failing UK Drug Laws


A high-profile parliamentary conference exploring alternative solutions to Britain's failing drug laws is to be held next month. The conference will be in preparation for the 2016 UN general assembly session on global drug issues.

The conference, to be hosted by the UK parliament's Commons home affairs committee will included representatives from Mexico's foreign ministry, legalization campaigners and health experts.

The main aim of the conference is to "consider how the government could reduce the various types of harm that are done by the consumption of drugs to users, to the society in which they live, and at the global level"

It was expected that Nick Clegg would attend and speak at the conference but the Liberal Democrat Home Office Minister, Lynne Featherstone, will take his place.

Nick Clegg is still expected to make a speech on drugs policy next month to reinforce his party's dedication and commitment to radically reform Britain's drug laws.

Two years ago the home affairs committee called for a royal commission to consider other alternatives to the current UK drug laws and called for a review of all drug policies.

A commons vote backed calls from the Green MP, Caroline Lucas, to assess the current drug laws and the benefits of other cost-effective alternatives.

The conference, to be held in Cambridge on 12 March, is expected to build a case on the Home Office International Study, published last year by Lib Dem minister Norman Baker. The report showed that there is no direct link to the severity of a countries drug laws and the levels of illicit use.

The programme of speakers at the conference will include Andy Bliss, a chief constable and an advocate of the Association of Chief Police Officers national lead on drugs. Tom Lloyd, the former Cambridgeshire chief constable, who has publicly said that 40yrs of drug prohibition has failed, will also be attending.

The last drugs report recommended that there should be a national study on the future drug policy, Julian Huppert, the Lib Dem MP for Cambridge and a member of the home affairs committee, said. This national drug study has now been endorsed by Theresa May.

He also said it would be useful to hear from a range of speakers who can contribute to the debate, and hear from long-term campaigners for alternative approaches to the current drug laws.

Source: Alan Travis, Home Affairs Editor - The Guardian 

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