South West Euro-MP Sir Graham Watson will call for an independent panel to carry out the biggest investigation into reforming drug enforcement for 40 years in a speech to the Lib Dem autumn conference, on Sunday, September 18.
As part of a motion entitled Protecting Individuals and Communities from Drug Harms, Graham Watson will call for the panel to assess the reforms carried out in countries such as Portugal where personal use of a controlled drug is prohibited, but does not constitute a criminal offence. Possession would result in police officers referring drug users to appear before panels that would work with the user find a solution to kicking their habit.
Ahead of conference, Sir Graham said: ‘It is important to remember that this motion is calling for a panel to be set up, not for legislation to be proposed. On a topic as sensitive as drug reform, we must ensure a full and thorough study is carried out to assess if the reforms made in many European states can work in the UK.
‘However, it is clear that the criminal justice system is not working and a culture of regular hard drug use within certain parts of our society continues to be a critical problem. What we call for is an evidence based, empirical approach on scientific advice, not political opportunism. The last Labour government’s policy of reclassifying drugs for short-term headlines is not a long-term solution.’
The motion will be debated at conference on Sunday (September 18) afternoon.