|9th July 2010 - The previously suppressed consultation paper with suggestions for a review of the drug classification system has today been released! Click here to read the Drug Equality Alliance Press Release|
|Download the documents below:
Cover letter (PDF)
Review of the UK’s Drugs Classification System - a Public Consultation (PDF)
Government forced to publish suppressed consultation paper
concerning recommendations for a review of the drug
(9th March 2010)
In response to a Freedom of Information request process submitted by Casey Hardison, acting with the Drug Equality Alliance, the Information Commissioner's Office has today ordered the Home Office to disclose a suppressed "draft" consultation paper detailing suggestions for a review of the drug classification system. The document was referred to as a "draft" by Vernon Coaker MP in his evidence to the Select Committee on Science and Technology Fifth Report, but we note that the Information Commissioner's Office indicated that it appears to be a completed document as the word "draft" does not appear on it anywhere.
In January 2006 the then Home Secretary Charles Clarke declared "… I will in the next few weeks publish a consultation paper with suggestions for a review of the drug classification system, on the basis of which I will make proposals in due course… one needs to proceed on the basis of evidence… I want to emphasise to the House the importance of evidence and research on this subject". However shortly after this announcement Clarke was replaced by John Reid and the promised consultation paper was suppressed. In October 2006 Reid announced that the Government would not be proceeding with the review.
Casey Hardison has been working to get the paper which was penned by officials as well as civil servants disclosed on the grounds of public interest for 3 years, but the Home Office have persistently tried to keep it out of the public domain claiming various overriding justifications for not releasing it. Subsequently Casey lodged a complaint with the Information Commissioner's Office and an investigation ensued. On the 9th of March 2010 the Information Commissioner's Office ruled in favour of the complainant and ordered the Home Office to disclose the consultation paper.
We believe the contents of this paper, when it is eventually disclosed, will be of immense public interest. It may well provide further damning evidence demonstrating that the Government is administering the Misuse of Drugs Act arbitrarily - and this ought to assist the legal battles which the Drug Equality Alliance is currently undertaking.
For more information please download the document below:
(14th April 2010)
The Home Office has appealed against this decision at the last minute, so the consultation paper will not be released for the time being, pending the result of the appeal.
(7th May 2010)
The information in the suppressed consultation paper was originally withheld under sections 21 (information accessible by other means) and section 35(1)(a) (formulation or development of government policy) of the Freedom of Information Act. However the appeal is only in respect of section 35(1)(a), therefore the Home Office has released part of the suppressed consultation paper originally withheld under section 21. You can download the Home Office's cover letter to Casey Hardison and the partial consultation paper using the links below:
(6th July 2010)
The Home Office have today withdrawn their appeal, the previously suppressed consultation paper will shortly be released.
Please watch this space, we will publish the consultation paper here as soon as it becomes available!
(9th July 2010)
The previously suppressed consultation paper with suggestions for a review of the drug classification system has today been released!
Download the document below: