Is good sense gathering momentum in the drugs debate? There are some encouraging developments.
Tomorrow I will be making the case on LBC. The interview is based on the splendid article in today's Observer (Extracts below). This week there will be a conference in the House of Lords organised by Lords and MPs who are convinced that prohibition has been 40 years of abject lethal failure.
Last week, LibDem Tom Brake has tabled this EDM which I was very happy to second.
That this House notes the serious harm caused by drugs; recognises the need for evidence-based policy making with a clear focus on prevention and harm-reduction; and calls on the Government to establish an independent panel tasked with carrying out an impact assessment of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, reviewing the approach adopted by other countries, and making recommendations for reform.
'Columbian President Santos is an increasingly influential figure in Latin American politics. The former Brazilian president, Lula da Silva, said recently that Santos, who comes to Britain in two weeks, was assuming the mantle of a continental leader.
Da Silva's compliment is true in at least one respect, since Santos has emerged as the leading voice on the international political stage calling for a major rethink on the war on drugs. Santos's call for a new debate about drug regulation is heavily symbolic, since Colombia has suffered more than any other country at the hands of narcotics traffickers.
Santos has drawn attention to the damage suffered by the producing nations in Latin America as they continue to serve the growing demand for drugs in the consuming nations of the west. His voice is becoming the key one in trying to set the terms for a new international discussion about the war.
Santos, an urbane, affable 60-year-old, who was elected last year, is well placed to lead the global debate. He is a keen internationalist and was educated at Harvard and the London School of Economics. One colleague described London as his "dream city". His visit to Britain will be part of his attempt to rebrand his country – from the failed state of 10 years ago to an emerging economic powerhouse in Latin America.'