Leading scientists, police officers, academics and experts has concluded it is time to decriminalize drug use after a six-year study of Britain's drug laws.
The report by the UK Drug Policy Commission (UKDPC), an independent advisory body, said that possession of small amounts of controlled drugs should no longer be a criminal offence and concluded the move will not lead to a significant increase in use.
AdvertisementThe experts said that criminal sanctions imposed on nearly 42,000 people for possession of any form of drugs, and nearly 160,000 who have been given cannabis warnings, should be replaced with simple civil penalties such as a fine, attendance at a drug awareness session or a referral to a drug treatment programme.
According to the Guardian, the report however rejected any more radical moves to legalisation, saying that allowing the legal sale of drugs such as heroin or cocaine could cause more damage than the existing drugs trade.
The report said that although levels of illicit drug use in Britain have declined in recent years, they are still much higher than in many other countries.
The UK has 2,000 drug-related deaths each year and more than 380,000 problem drug users.
"Taking drugs does not always cause problems, but this is rarely acknowledged by policymakers. In fact, most users do not experience significant problems, and there is some evidence that drug use can have benefits in some circumstances," the 173-page report concluded.