The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform or AAPG has said that possession and use of all illegal drugs should be legalised and the least harmful of these drugs should be regulated and sold in licensed chemists.
The idea behind this about face on drug policy comes after the peers concluded that the current anti-drug laws were ineffective and only served to push addicts further towards the fringes of society.
The home office has already responded to the recommendations saying they will be considered. A similar request for decriminalisation by MPS has already been rejected by the Prime Minister who claims current policy is effective.
In this latest recommendation by the AAPG, supplying the more dangerous drugs would remain illegal. The difference is that users who are caught with small amounts of these dangerous drugs would not be prosecuted. This is similar to new laws in the US designed to combat drug use and prison overcrowding. Currently in the US there are around 94,600 prisoners serving time for drug offenses. This accounts for nearly half of all federal inmates. The new laws are designed to stop punishing small time users and combat prison overcrowding.
The new recommendations fly in the face of The Misuse of Drugs Act from 1971. "The Misuse of Drugs Act is counter-productive in attempting to reduce drug addiction and other drug harms to young people," said AAPG chairwoman Baroness Meacher.
The group claims the 1971 act is out of date and needs to be reformed.
In an interview with BBC radio 4, Baroness Meacher explained the groups stance, "What we're saying is there are drugs a great deal safer than alcohol and tobacco."
She claimed that many people are buying legal highs as replacements for things like ecstasy. These legal highs can contain any number of terrible substances and it would be safer to simply sell the ecstasy in a chemists.
"At the moment 60 million ecstasy tablets are sold every year to young people, all through criminal gangs and the illegal dealers.
"What we're saying is if young people are going to buy these things, is it not better that they know exactly what is in them? They will not be contaminated because they will be provided through legal channels. And the young people will in fact be relatively safe."
By taking the supply away from illegal drug dealers, the group believes there will be less pressure on addicts to graduate to harder drugs. This should also lessen the stigma around addiction which could encourage more people to seek help.