Charlotte Walsh – Untapped Possibilities of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971

Photo of the psychedelic drug 2C-C on blotting...

Blotting paper tabs of psychedelics (God, where do you get those these days??!)

A really interesting presentation on the untapped possibilities of using the misuse of drugs act 1971., focussing on the story of Casey Cardison, arrested for the production of psychedelic drugs in his home laboratory. In court, Casey stood up for ‘cognative liberty’ the right to alter ones mental functioning as one see fit – and tried to to hang a human rights based argument on this, based around Article 9 of the Human rights act which protects freedom of thought. Although the Judge would refuse to allow him to mount this type of defense, Casey proceeded to focus on what it means to be truely free in our society. And Although Casey received 20 years, he pursued his right to appeal framing a really interesting defence. However, his appeal was denied but he continued to delve then into the Misuse of Drugs Act’s ‘incorrect interpretation’ to fight for further justice.. Charlotte Walsh goes on to state that the home secretary‘s role continually misinterprets the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. She asks ‘Does the act Mandate prohibition? Or is the home secretary confusing control with prohibition? She believes so, citing the recent reclassifications of the harms drugs cause ( a paper in the Lancet by Professor Nutt and colleagues) which put alcohol and tobacco at the top of the list of harms caused by drugs used in society today..In this case, Alcohol and tobacco could be brought under the control of the misuse of drugs act, indeed it is within its jurisdiction. If so, Charlotte tells us that the Misuse of Drugs Act could act to regulate and control these substances, giving us real hope that regulation of less harmful drugs (as Professor Nutts reclassification states) is the next obvious move, and could be made possible by joining together to call for the correct interpretation of the Act -(in particular section 7, 22 and 31)which in effect allows the public to get an accurate idea of the harms caused by drugs, alcohol and tobacco whilst allowing for their continued use. If alcohol and tobacco were brought under the acts and subsequently ‘regulated’ then it would pave the way for other, less harmful drugs to be regulated also. A fascinating discussion and legal argument on the need for a closer look into what we have got as part of our legal system that could create adequate reform rather than wasting additional energy reinventing, or indeed hoping society will accept, a new regulatory system. Well worth a watch!
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