“A regulated market for illicit drugs would be the best way and we could reduce alcohol consumption by as much as 25% if we had the Dutch model of cannabis cafes,” said Nutt, who added that he believed the police would rather deal with people who were ‘stoned’ than drunk.
“The drugs trade is the second biggest international trade in the world, after oil, and it is completely unregulated … It is impossible to win the war on drugs.”
Prof David Nutt is a psychiatrist and neuropsychopharmacologist who was a former government minister appointed as chairmen of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) in 2008. However, he clashed with MPs due to his views on drug harm and classification. This came to a head in 2009 when Nutt published an editorial in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in which he stated that horse riding held more risk than taking ecstasy. He vocally stated his beliefs that illicit drugs should be classified according to actual evidence of harm rather than as a result of politics.
Prof David Nutt recently gave his views regarding the Dutch-style cannabis cafe model to the Commons home affairs select committee’s inquiry into drugs policy. Both Nutt and Prof Lesley King, a second former government drug advisor, were invited to give evidence. Nutt told the committee that he still stands by his claim that horse-riding is more dangerous than taking ecstasy, and offered his views regarding the introduction of “cannabis cafes”. As the Guardian reports:
“Nutt told MPs the cost of policing cannabis use was only £500m a year, mainly for issuing possession warning notices, compared with the £6bn a year bill for policing the use of alcohol, including dealing with people who were drunk and disorderly.”
Nutt instead of scientific evidence, politics had influenced drug policy in Britain over the 40 years since the Misuse of Drugs Act was passed in 1971. Only one drug – cannabis – had ever been downgraded and that was quickly reversed against the advice of the ACMD.
Nutt said the decision by the home secretary to classify magic mushrooms as a class A drug alongside heroin and crack cocaine was “the final nail in the rationality of the 1971 Drugs Act”.
- Criminalising drugs is harming medical research (newscientist.com)
- David Nutt: alcohol consumption would fall 25% if cannabis cafes were allowed (guardian.co.uk)
- Theresa May rejects drugs adviser’s call for more non-criminal penalties (guardian.co.uk)
- Class A drugs ‘should be decriminalised,’ says former drug advisor Professor David Nutt (independent.co.uk)