This short briefing paper was prepared by UKDPC for a Question for Short Debate: Lord Norton of Louth to ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration they have given to establishing a Royal Commission on the law governing drug use and possession.
The MDA is not the only way in which psychoactive substances are controlled, but in recent years it has come to be seen as the main tool for preventing drug use. It is now 40 years old and, in view of the changing landscape of substance use, is ripe for review.
Any review of the law governing drug use and possession should consider a number of issues, including those around enforceability. Given the quantity and wide range of substances controlled under the MDA, enforcement is becoming more and more difficult, and this risks bringing the law into disrepute. Enforcement agencies inevitably make choices about which substances to prioritise, but ‘turning a blind eye’ to some drugs may appear discriminatory.
However, beyond enforcement, there are a number of broader issues that need to be considered.