Writing for the Huffington Post, Home Affairs Spokesperson Brian Paddick has pulled apart the Psychoactive Substances Bill, highlighting the problems with the current legislation and the ways in which the Lib Dems are seeking to fix it.
Liberal Democrats in the Lords are trying to rescue something from the car crash that is the government’s Psychoactive Substances Bill by tabling a series of amendments.
The Bill seeks to make it illegal to produce or supply any substance that affects someone’s mental functioning or emotional state, unless the government specifically exempts it.
This takes the “my substances of choice, like alcohol and tobacco, are OK but yours aren’t” approach to a new level.
On Tuesday we tried and failed to press the pause button while an independent, evidence-based review (posh phrase for ‘what works in practice?’) of existing laws was carried out.
The UK Bill is based on a similar Act in force in the Republic of Ireland for the past four years that has been so disastrous, the Irish are thinking of repealing it.
At the moment ‘head shops’ sell so-called ‘legal highs’ with impunity. The government has been trying to play catch-up, banning harmful new substances as they are developed, and losing.
They have now lurched, with Labour Party support, to banning everything.
Speaking in the Queen’s Speech debate on home affairs in the House of Lords this week, Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat spokesman for home affairs, paid tribute to Charles Kennedy and went on to warn that upcoming legislation showed that “the Government have all the hallmarks of an authoritarian, anti-libertarian, inward-looking Administration ”