David Lammy could consider a more progressive approach in his fight against drug violence

David Lammy
Support us and go ad-free

David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, appeared on BBC Radio 4 Today and criticised the current government’s failure to tackle drug-related violent crime. However, to really improve the situation, Lammy might want to consider the benefits of legalising and regulating cocaine. This is an effective way to crack down on organised crime.

An effective alternative

Lammy points out the worrying trend of the UK’s illegal cocaine market:

What drives the gangs and the turf wars is an £11bn cocaine drugs market. We are the drugs market of Europe, and I think the police and our country has lost control of that drugs market. And I’m hearing nothing about what we’re going to do about that rising drugs market. Drugs are prolific. It’s like Deliveroo you know? They’re as prolific as ordering a pizza. You can get them on Snapchat, Whatsapp. That in the end is driving the turf war and it’s driving the culture of violence.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

And he’s right to go after the government for not doing anything about it. But what is Lammy suggesting as an alternative? Reversing Tory austerity measures and increasing the funding and presence of police might make a difference. But it won’t fix the problem. As many Twitter users argue, changing drug policy – rather than chasing criminals – is a more effective solution.

All of the problems that Lammy refers to – lack of control of the drugs market, turf wars, easy accessibility of drugs – have to do with prohibition.

How should we regulate a legal cocaine market?

At face value, the idea of legalising cocaine may seem irresponsible. But it’s the only way to regulate the drug properly and stop the killings and violence associated with it. Regulation will also make the drug safer. Jhon Jairo Velásquez Vásquez, the former top hitman of infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar, called on Theresa May to make pure, clean cocaine available in small doses at pharmacies. One Twitter user says this kind of system is the future:

As The Canary previously reported, one of the dangers of cocaine relates to the fact that it’s unregulated and cut with adulterants. However, as Prof David Nutt emphasises, pure cocaine carries a higher risk of cardiac issues and overdose. Rather than adulterants, he says “cocaine dosing is the main issue here”. A regulated trade through pharmacies could control both purity and dosage, making the drug much safer.

Realistically, the demand for the drug is not going to disappear. So the responsible thing to do is to take this cocaine out of the hands of the criminal gangs which are at war with each other in order to profit from it. We don’t have to argue for people’s right to use drugs (although that is a valid position). We can make the case for legalisation purely on the basis of harm reduction.

Get Involved!

– Support Transform and Release.

– Read more articles from The Canary on drug policy.

Join us, so we can keep bringing you the news that matters.

Featured image via Wikimedia

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed