Transform prepares for regulated drug market

The Transform Drug Policy Foundation is to outline its vision of a workable regulated market for recreational drugs this week.

In direct contrast to government policy and shadow Home Secretary David Davis's speech last week that the UK's drugs epidemic could only be tackled by additional random drug testing in schools and more prison terms, the foundation argues that legalisation and regulation is inevitable because the current law is "counter-productive".

Transform unveiled its report After the war on drugs - options for control at an event in London today. The report explores "the practicalities of how a regulated market will operate and how we can achieve it," said spokesman Steve Rolles.

The foundation believes a regulated drugs market may be a reality within 20 years and the report proposes models. Production could be licensed to companies in the same way as medical-grade opiates, which are regulated by health and international legislation. Alternatively, drugs could be produced and imported under licence like alcohol and tobacco, taxed by Customs and Excise and regulated by trading standards.

It suggests that drugs could be sold on prescription by licensed pharmacists, at off-licences, at premises licensed for sale and consumption, and unlicensed sales governed by trading-standards.

Two untested methods it cites are specialist pharmacists and the licensing of users, who can use on membership-based premises.

Speakers at today's event, chaired by Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, included Labour MPs Paul Flynn and Oona King, former editor of The Times Simon Jenkins and Chris White, former inspector and drugs co-ordinator at Tayside Police.

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