By Roland Sebestyén
Former police officers, judges and other law enforcement officials have urged the devolved Scottish government to reform its drug policy. The campaigners form the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP).
Campaigners at LEAP propose a legal cannabis market, similar to that in some US states, in which the drug would be regulated and sold through licensed shops and cafes.
The National reports that the group, which has been advocating for criminal justice and drug policy reforms since 2002, has just launched its office in Scotland in order to push the government to change a number of its drug policies.
The publication cites data recently published by the National Records of Scotland showing that nearly 1,300 people died a drug-related death in Scotland in 2019.
LEAP, the group organised and run by former law enforcement officials, aims to end this trend. They say that a strict drug market regulated by the government could help to save lives.
Simon McLean, a retired Crime Squad detective and undercover vice officer, told The National: “It’s time to take the lucrative and very dangerous market away from criminals.
“Organised Crime Groups only care about their ill-gotten gains, and we have no control over the drugs they supply, often targeting our children and those who are most vulnerable. It’s time to treat drugs and addiction as a health issue.”
“I spent my career infiltrating and arresting major drug rings thinking I was making a positive impact on our society.
“I now know for a fact that through our many successes I was actually making the situation more dangerous, creating a marketplace where there is no rule of law, one in which anything goes in the pursuit of profit and power. Organised crime has flourished.”
According to the numbers, the drug-related deaths in Scotland put the country atop the list in Europe – moreover, reportedly Scotland’s drug-related death rate was over three times that of the UK as a whole.
However, as the paper says, the campaign group will be unlikely to succeed in making Scotland a cannabis haven as reforming the Misuse of Drugs Act is the responsibility of Westminster.
While recreational use is still prohibited in every part of the UK, Scotland included, medical use has been legal since 2018.