A group made up of police chiefs, figures from the criminal justice system and members of the intelligence service and military are calling for Scotland to adopt a “legally regulated cannabis model”.
On the 19th January 2020, the Scottish Branch of LEAP (Law Enforcement Action Partnership) was formally launched. It is now calling for Scotland to adopt a North American style model that would allow legally regulated cannabis to be sold in shops and cafes.
LEAP Scotland is made up of a team of criminal justice professionals from current and former police, judges and prosecutors. The main goal of LEAP is to educate the public, the media and policymakers to the failure of current drug policy by presenting a true picture of the history, causes and effects of drug abuse and the crimes related to drug prohibition. Together they have used their combined knowledge and expertise to campaign globally for nearly 20 years to advance drug policy and criminal justice solutions that enhance public safety.
In 2019, 1264 people in Scotland died from a drug-related death, up 6% from the previous year. Scotland’s drug-death rate was higher than those reported for all the EU countries and was approximately three and a half times that of the UK as a whole. The group hopes to take unregulated drug supply out of the hands of criminals. Simon McLean, a retired crime squad detective said “I spent my career infiltrating and arresting major drug rings thinking I was making a positive impact on our society. I now know for a fact that through our many ‘successes’ I was actually making the situation more dangerous, creating a marketplace where there is no rule of law, one in which anything goes in the pursuit of profit and power. Organized crime has flourished.”
As well as calling for a change in laws on cannabis, LEAP is calling for the creation of Drug Consumption Rooms (DCRs), widespread distribution of the anti-overdose Naloxone, Heroin Assisted Treatment (HAT) on prescription, and drug testing facilities at nightspots and universities to allow safety among drug users. This new approach to drug management is still in its early days, but it’s a ‘LEAP’ in the right direction!