This comes very close to acknowledging that potentially harmful legal highs are a byproduct of prohibition.
Existing drug policies are generally rooted in the false assumption that if you make something illegal, people won't use it and hence they will be protected from its harms. In the end, the exact opposite tends to be true because once something is illegal, the standard policy levers of government are out of reach.
As the All-Party group writes, "A useful feature of New Zealand's planned policy is to assess both the harms arising from a particular substance and the harms arising from controlling it."
Might we the UK also be better served by begin regulatory processes to understand the drugs that people are taking and developing policies that address their relative risks?
That is precisely what New Zealand has started doing. It's worth a closer look.
Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch is the director of Open Society Foundations Global Drug Policy Program
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