By Alfa · Apr 25, 2004 ·
  1. Alfa

    A visiting former Scotland Yard drugs boss is calling for all drugs,
    from marijuana and methamphetamines to cocaine and opiates, to be legalised.

    And the retired detective chief superintendent is going further,
    calling for state-sponsored hard drugs for addicts.

    Eddie Ellison said he believes prohibition on drugs is costing a
    fortune and helping no one but criminals involved with drug dealing.

    Mr Ellison, who left for Melbourne today, was visiting New Zealand
    with the American-based Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (Leap)
    group, which campaigns for drug regulation over prohibition.

    Mr Ellison said in Britain, police are moving away from prosecutions
    of small-time marijuana users, instead issuing verbal warnings.

    In Britain, it costs about $25,000 to arrest and prosecute a person on
    a minor drugs charge but the financial penalty to the offender is only
    about $100.

    "Prohibition isn't achieving anything. It's making it worse," he said.

    Heroin and other hard-drug users could be given subsidised drug doses,
    which would stop forcing them to commit crimes to finance their habits.

    Once the users had a guaranteed low-cost supply of the drug, they
    could get on with their lives, he said.

    Mr Ellison said a British heroin addict must steal about $5000 worth
    of goods a day to finance a $500-a-day habit - a habit the Government
    could supplement for about $1.25.

    Prior to his involvement with Leap, the retired detective spent most
    of his 30 years on the force with the criminal investigation
    department of London Metropolitan Police.

    Mr Ellison, who admitted to being astonished by the lack of discussion
    about drug legalisation in New Zealand, has met government officials
    in Wellington.

    "There's no doubt there's a discussion going on about policies, but
    that's not being held in the public arena."

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