Top lawyer Chris Daw QC calls for the legalisation of drugs
“It is absolute insanity.”
One of the country’s most senior lawyers has called for the legalisation of drugs in the UK.
Chris Daw QC has served as a criminal barrister for almost 30 years, working on a number of high-profile cases involving “bankers, international footballers, murderers, rapists, and members of organised crime groups”.
He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2013, making him one of the UK’s most senior lawyers.
He was discussing his career history on Ross Kemp’s Kempcast when the conversation made its way onto the issue of drugs.
— Chris Daw QC (@crimlawuk) March 27, 2021
The second chapter of Daw’s book, Justice on Trial: Radical Solutions for a System at Breaking Point, advocates for the legalisation of drugs.
He said: “Legalisation of drugs to me is the most obvious easy win in terms of reducing harm from drugs, but also crime generally in our society.”
The decision to outlaw drugs in the first instance was a catastrophic error, according to Daw.
“Before the Misuse of Drugs Act in 1971, we had around 1,000 habitual heroin users in Britain. They got their heroin from a doctor who prescribed the dosage they took.
“By the early 1980s, that’s just a decade later, we had 300,000 heroin users. Addicted heroin users.”
This has only contributed to a rise in violent crime, Daw said, as heroin users began “buying their heroin from dealers, all fuelling a massive increase in organised crime, the likes of which had never been seen in this country”.
Elsewhere in the interview, Daw described the UK's drug policy as “absolute insanity.”
He believes the situation is indistinguishable across the pond, too.
In America, they introduced similar legislation around the same time and Daw said “organised crime reached levels the country hadn’t seen since prohibition”.
Daw is by no means the only high-profile figure in the world of law enforcement to call for the legalisation of drugs.
Neil Woods worked as an undercover police officer for 13 years, and previously told JOE that his work actually contributed to a rise in organised crime when it should have curtailed it.
“When the penny finally dropped, I realised that with every passing year I did this work, the streets got more and more violent.
“I realised a lot of that was down to me, or people like me, using the tactics that I'm using. I had to face up to the fact that there was no benefit to what I was doing.
"They changed the name of cannabis to marijuana in the United States - to make it sound more foreign."
Drug laws are deeply rooted in racism, according to this former undercover police officer. pic.twitter.com/9WtT5Ixdi2
— JOE (@JOE_co_uk) January 25, 2021
Woods recently described why major drug busts don’t work in the fight against organised crime gangs.
“When police or the National Crime Agency parade their latest cocaine seizure around, the public are trained to think it's a success. But the size of the drug market has still not been reduced.”
Some of the most senior police officials in the country are also beginning to question the effectiveness of current drug legislation.
Arfon Jones is the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales, and he advocates introducing free cannabis into prisons in a bid to reduce harm and drug deaths.
In an interview with The Guardian, Jones said: "The aim of the game is to make prisons safer.
“If they're serious about reducing violence in prisons they should be addressing the causes and that's psychoactive substances. Plus, there's a whole range of issues that cannabis would be geared to reduce the risk of."