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’50 years of failure’: Campaign to rip up Misuse of Drugs Act wins broad political support

A campaign to overhaul the Misuse of Drugs Act ahead of the 50th anniversary of its passage into law is winning cross party support.

The controversial act was passed on May 21, 1971 and still serves as the cornerstone of British drugs legislation.

After half a century, the Transform Drug Policy Foundation says it is time for a rethink – and there is plenty of backing in both Houses of Parliament.

More than 40 MPs and peers of all political persuasions are supporting the campaign’s calls to overhaul domestic drug laws.

In recent days, former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas and Conservative MP Dan Poulter – who previously worked as a doctor – have thrown their weight behind the campaign.

They join Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey, chair of the all-party parliamentary group for drug reform and Tory MP Crispin Blunt and Labour peer and high-profile barrister Lord Hendy.

Crispin Blunt MP is among politicians calling for reform to drugs laws

Working under the banner ’50 years of failure’, the campaign argues the 1971 act has ‘has damaged people and communities, undermined science and entrenched social injustice’.

A private members’ bill sponsored by SNP Tommy Sheppard MP is working its way through the House of Commons.

It calls for an overhaul of the Misuse of Drugs Act, decriminalisation for possession of small quantities of drugs, transfer of responsibility from the Home Office to the Department for Health and Social Care and better provision of safe consumption sites and other support.

The Bill – which was introduced on March 21 – is awaiting its second reading.

In related news, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has revealed he’ll consider changing how drug use in the capital is policed should he be re-elected in May.


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