|Posted on December 7, 2004 at 3:16 PM|
Portugal decriminalizes drugs, crime falls.
(Repost of previous 2002 LIO advisory)
Portugal, EC--The paradigm is voluntary drug use is hopeless. Think again.
In 1999 a contact group led by LIO advisor Dr. J. Figueres Gomes de Lemos successfully implemented a plan for decriminalization of all drugs in Portugal. This goes beyond the de facto decriminalization in Spain, and is a "major step of transition" according to LIO advisor nobelist Dr. Milton Friedman, who expressed the hope that it will be neutrally monitored by agencies around the world.
The LIO group worked to create a non-partisan commission there that studied the issue and made recommendations that were adopted. Over 100 persons were involved in the network which met with officials, academics, and political leaders. A major point was that Portugal did not want to repeat the disaster created in the US with the Drug War and forced drug use promoted by Pharmaceutical companies such as Ritalin in schoolchildren. Large drug dealing continues under ban.
The plan levies only administrative fines for non-recreational and potentially noxious use use and develops community mentoring groups to assist those unable to handle recreational drugs responsibly. The plan seems to be working well in the second year, with initial reports of decreased drug use, police corruption,and taxpayer cost.
In due course general use with a Doctor's supervision is proposed. Simultaneously, a Liberal-Libertarian group to continue discussion is under way, Causa Liberal.(Update)
UPDATE RESOURCE: C ATO has now published a preliminary study.