The best Christmas presents are the ones that keep the kids quiet. You know: Lego, a train set, a jigsaw or some sort of puzzle.
Well this year I've got an individual pressie for every CLEAR member and even those guests who pop in here unexpectedly. It'll provide you with hours of fun and it's good for your mind, body and soul.
I suppose it is a sort of puzzle. There's no right answer though. The whole point is it's up to you.
My present to you is in fact a request. Please, over the Christmas period take a few minutes, or as long as you can spare, to write to the Home Affairs select committee. This is your opportunity to contribute to its inquiry on drug policy.
If there is to be a change in policy on cannabis, this is the way it will happen, so this is a big chance and big opportunity. Don't miss it!
Below I've listed the terms of reference. The only advice I'm going to offer you is to structure your response exactly in line with these. You don't have to address them all but put what you want to say as a response to these points.
Other than that, make it your own. You are entitled to have your say, so say what you want to. Don't be self conscious about your opinion, just give it!
Hundreds of individual, personal submissions will have a big impact on the committee. I shall be responding as the leader of CLEAR so I shall only be addressing the issue of cannabis.
So, some present eh? I'm giving you work to do! Please do it though. Even if you only take ten minutes with a few brief sentences. This is your chance to make a real difference!
Merry Christmas. Mine's a very large Irish whiskey and a neat spliff.
Terms of Reference
The committee will consider:
The extent to which the Government's 2010 drug strategy is a 'fiscally responsible policy with strategies grounded in science, health, security and human rights' in line with the recent recommendation by the Global Commission on Drug Policy
The criteria used by the Government to measure the efficacy of its drug policies
The independence and quality of expert advice which is being given to the government
Whether drug-related policing and expenditure is likely to decrease in line with police budgets and what impact this may have
The cost effectiveness of different policies to reduce drug usage
The extent to which public health considerations should play a leading role in developing drugs policy
The relationship between drug and alcohol abuse
The comparative harm and cost of legal and illegal drugs
The impact of the transfer of functions of the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse to Public Health England and how this will affect the provision of treatment
The availability of 'legal highs' and the challenges associated with adapting the legal framework to deal with new substances
The links between drugs, organised crime and terrorism
Whether the UK is supporting its global partners effectively and what changes may occur with the introduction of the national crime agency
Whether detailed consideration ought to be given to alternative ways of tackling the drugs dilemma, as recommended by the Select Committee in 2002 (The Government's Drugs Policy: Is It Working?, HC 318, 2001-02) and the Justice Committee's 2010 Report on justice reinvestment (Cutting crime: the case for justice reinvestment, HC 94, 2009-10)."
How to Respond
Organisations and individuals interested in making written submissions are invited to do so by Tuesday 10 January 2012. Submissions should be no longer than 2,500 words.
Written evidence should if possible be in Word or rich text format—not PDF format—and sent by e-mail to email@example.com. The use of colour and expensive-to-print material, e.g. photographs, should be avoided. The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.
Submissions must address the terms of reference. They should be in the format of a self-contained memorandum. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document must include an executive summary. Further guidance on the submission of evidence.