News

High Court grants the Government automatic refusal of all legal applications by Casey Hardison concerning the alleged unlawful administration of drug laws

Drug Equality Alliance
(22nd September 2011)

Treasury Solicitors acting for the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs requested the High Court grant them an "Extended Civil Restraining Order" stopping Casey Hardison's judicial reviews. The Court accepted the Government's blatant misrepresentations of Casey's claims and granted their request, effectively stopping him from mentioning the subject of alcohol and tobacco in Court for two years, by which time he will have been deported to the US following completion of his 20-year sentence for production of psychedelic-type drugs.

No Court has yet unpacked Casey's claims: they seem all too willing to accept that he is asking the Courts to impose "prohibition" on alcohol and tobacco, as repeatedly suggested by Government lawyers. Casey is doing no such thing; rather, quite the opposite, Casey is asking that those who produce, commerce and possess alcohol and tobacco be regulated in their activities by the same legislation that regulates the activities of other drug producers, suppliers and possessors: the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 ("the Act").

The Act does not require "prohibition", though that is a policy option. The Act requires evidence based and proportionate regulation of such activities only!

The Extended Civil Restraint Order is made with respect to all current and any future legal proceedings that concern the administration of the Act. This means that, for example, should he wish to seek permission for a Judicial Review, he would have to apply to a judge to determine if the application for permission for Judicial Review could go ahead, that is to say, applying for permission to apply for permission to be heard.

The Order now in place supersedes all previous promises for a hearing, in particular the 18 November 2011 hearing the Court promised and we announced in July.

We are currently assessing our options, as this claim should go ahead. It would seem that the personality of Casey Hardison and the protected status of alcohol and tobacco in our society continues to trump the Rule of Law. Instead of placing principle before personality or special interest, in acceding to the Government lawyers' requests, the Courts have got it back assward!
 

Oral Hearing Granted for Permission to Judicially Review SSHD Regarding Alcohol and Tobacco Policy

Drug Equality Alliance
(25th July 2011)

The High Court has granted Casey Hardison an Oral Hearing on 18th November 2011 for permission to judicially review the decisions by the Home Secretary to abdicate her power and duty under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 with regards to alcohol and tobacco control.

It is assumed at this time that Hardison's application for permission to judicially review the decision by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to abdicate their powers and duties under the 1971 Act with regards to alcohol and tobacco control will similarly be granted an Oral Hearing as the legal argument is substantially similar.

Permission to proceed to full judicial review is still in the hands of the law as applied by the High Court judges. The decision is entirely for them.

The cases, brought by the imprisoned 'cognitive liberty' advocate and entheogenic chemist, US citizen Casey William Hardison, set out how the Home Secretary has failed in her legal duty to actively consult the ACMD on the possibility of bringing drinkers and smokers under the protection and control of the Act and how the ACMD have failed in their legal duty to actively recommend to the Home Secretary that possibility.

Currently, drinkers and smokers are accorded special status by government and the ACMD through the mistaken belief that alcohol and tobacco are exempted from the operation of the Act. This error of law leads the Home Secretary to another false notion: that the Act is 'not a suitable mechanism for regulating alcohol and tobacco [users]', and the ACMD to a similar false notion: that 'the Misuse of Drugs framework is not appropriate for the regulation of alcohol and tobacco [users]'. These false notions are themselves provided for by a pernicious public belief that the Act mandates the 'prohibition' of non-medical and non- scientific commerce and use of controlled drugs. This belief couldn't be further from legal truth. But it is a belief the Government does not want undermined.

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 requires the Home Secretary and the ACMD apply relevant criteria and disregard irrelevant criteria concerning drugs misuse and social harm to their decision making process; yet the Home Secretary and the ACMD have allowed irrelevant criteria to impact their respective decisions not to speak directly to each other about controlling alcohol and tobacco under the Act.

This 'hear no, see no, speak no' control policy has lead to a collective decision to exclude alcohol and tobacco from the Act's protections on the grounds of 'historic and cultural [factors/precedents] that lack a consistent and objective basis'. And even though both the ACMD and the Home Secretary recognise 'that alcohol and tobacco do pose health risks and may have anti-social effects' when misused, they accord these dangerous drugs special status because 'their use is embedded in society and their responsible use is possible and commonplace'. These irrelevant factors have led the ACMD to acquiesce in, and the government to institute, a separate system for regulating the commerce and use of the drugs alcohol and tobacco.

This 'artificial divide' between drugs defined as 'controlled' under the Act, and the so- called 'legal' drugs is arbitrary and unreasonable. It favours the non-medical and non-scientific misuse of alcohol and tobacco relative to any non-medical or non- scientific use of any controlled drug – a poisoned chalice not provided for by the Act. This policy is biased in favour of producers and consumers of these socially- problematic products, and ignorant of statutory duty.

Again, the control and classification of alcohol and tobacco alongside other dangerous drugs 'controlled' under the Act would not of necessity equate to prohibition; a full range of regulatory options are available under the Act for a lawful and rational commerce of any controlled drug for peaceful use purposes. Said another way, the Act is not a blunt instrument intended to 'prohibit' drugs, rather it is a beautifully nuanced 'mechanism' or 'framework' for the 'suitable' or 'appropriate' regulation of the import, export, production, supply and possession of dangerous or otherwise harmful drugs so as to reduce harm from their potential misuse.

Hardison shows that the Act is a well- crafted and intricate tool that can easily regulate the lawful, responsible commerce and use of alcohol and tobacco.

The decisions under challenge are the Home Secretary's refusal to consult the ACMD on the 'possibility' of bringing alcohol and tobacco users under the Act's control, and the ACMD's refusal to recommend that possibility. This refusal is based on overly-rigid policies that have prevented the ACMD and the Home Secretary from considering even the merits of the possibility. Hardison finds this unacceptable; will the Court?

DOWNLOADS:

R(Hardison) v ACMD   R(Hardison) v SSHD
R(Hardison) v ACMD 2010 - Reply to ACMD's Summary Grounds of Resistance, 26, December 2010 (PDF)
 

R(Hardison) v ACMD 2010 - ACMD's Summary Grounds of Resistance, 20 December 2010 (PDF)

R(Hardison) v ACMD 2010 - Draft Statement of Facts, 15 November 2010 (PDF)

R(Hardison) v ACMD 2010 - Draft Statement of Grounds, 1 November 2010 (PDF)

ACMD's letter of response expressing their intention to defend against a judicial review of its refusal to advise the Home Secretary on the possibility of controlling alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 , 4 October 2010 (PDF)

Casey Hardison's letter to the ACMD, 25 August 2010 expressing his intention to judicially review the decision not to advise the Home Secretary on the possible control of alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 25 August 2010 (PDF)

ACMD letter confirming their decision not to advise the Home Secretary on the possibility of controllingalcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 16 August 2010 (PDF)

Hardison's request of the ACMD to advise the Home Secretary on the possibility of controlling alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 9 July 2010 (PDF)

  R(Hardison) v SSHD 2010 - Reply to SSHD's Summary Grounds of Resistance, 16 December 2010 (PDF)
 

R(Hardison) v SSHD 2010 - SSHD's Summary Grounds of Resistance, 9 December 2010 (PDF)

R(Hardison) v SSHD 2010 - Statement of Facts, 1 November 2010 (PDF)

R(Hardison) v SSHD 2010 - Draft Statement of Grounds, 1 November 2010 (PDF)

Home Secretary's letter of response concerning the government's intention to defend a judicial review of its refusal to seek advice on the possible control of alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 24 September 2010 (PDF)

Casey Hardison's letter before claim to the Home Secretary, expressing his intention to judicially review her decision not to consult the ACMD on the possible control of alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 25 August 2010 (PDF)

Home Secretary's letter of response deciding not to consult the ACMD on the possible control of alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 10 August 2010 (PDF)

Hardison's request that Home Secretary consult the ACMD on the possibility of controlling alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 1 July 2010 (PDF)

Please Note: The Home Secretary and the Advisory Council refer to an Order of the Appeal Court dated 3 December 2007 in their decision letters. This Order was about the then Home Secretary's decision not to follow through on the promised consultation on a review of the drug classification system as stated in paragraph 12 of Cm 6941. (Casey secured the release of this consultation document in July 2010 after three year battle). The u-turn on the consultation and the review was said to be a purely political decision beyond the reach of the court: a policy choice within the bounds of discretion as opposed to a decision made by either surrendering or abdicating discretionary statutory power or assuming power that one does not possess. In the current cases both the Home Secretary and the Advisory Council assume they can abdicate their respective powers and duties under the Misuse of Drugs Act respecting alcohol and tobacco. This is a legal question for the court as to their powers and duties. It has nothing to do with the merits of the policy as stated in the Treasury Solicitor's 24 September response on behalf of the Home Secretary, which recycles the policy stated in paragraph 10 of the 2007 judgment Casey was appealing and which resulted in the Order. At the time, this policy statement was not the issue and it was not understood that this policy shows errors of law on its face, ignores legally relevant criteria: 'health risks' and 'anti-social effects', and considers legally irrelevant criteria: 'embedded in society', 'responsible use possible', etc. And as the Appeal Court Judge was not asked to determine whether the policy statement accords with the law, this opportunity was missed. The repetition of this policy by the Treasury Solicitor at this late stage is a boost to the claim against the Home Secretary. This time, the policy will be properly tested for its legality not its merits.
 

Home Secretary and the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs set for embarrassment over alcohol and tobacco policy

Drug Equality Alliance
(15th November 2010)

Separate proceedings have been initiated at the High Court against both the Home Secretary and the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) for their respective abdication of power and duty under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (the Act) with regards to alcohol and tobacco control. The cases, brought by the imprisoned 'cognitive liberty' advocate and entheogenic chemist, US citizen Casey William Hardison, set out how the Home Secretary has failed in her legal duty to actively consult the ACMD on the possibility of bringing drinkers and smokers under the protection and control of the Act and how the ACMD have failed in their legal duty to actively recommend to the Home Secretary that possibility. Currently, drinkers and smokers are accorded special status by government and the ACMD through the mistaken belief that alcohol and tobacco are exempted from the operation of the Act. This error of law then leads the Home Secretary to another false notion: that the Act is 'not a suitable mechanism for regulating alcohol and tobacco [users]', and the ACMD to a similar false notion: that 'the Misuse of Drugs framework is not appropriate for the regulation of alcohol and tobacco [users]'. These false notions are themselves provided for by a pernicious public belief that the Act mandates the 'prohibition' of non-medical and non-scientific commerce and use of controlled drugs. This belief couldn't be further from legal truth. But it is a belief the Government does not want undermined.

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 requires the Home Secretary and the ACMD to apply relevant criteria and disregard irrelevant criteria concerning drugs misuse and social harm to their decision making process; yet the Home Secretary and the ACMD have allowed irrelevant criteria to impact their respective decisions not to speak directly to each other about alcohol and tobacco control. This 'hear no, see no, speak no' control policy has led to a collective decision to exclude alcohol and tobacco from the Act's protections on the grounds of 'historic and cultural [factors/precedents] that lack a consistent and objective basis'. And even though both the ACMD and the Home Secretary recognise 'that alcohol and tobacco do pose health risks and may have anti-social effects', they accord these dangerous drugs special status because 'their use is embedded in society and their responsible use is possible and commonplace'. These irrelevant factors have led the ACMD to acquiesce in, and the government to institute, a separate system for regulating the commerce and use of the drugs alcohol and tobacco. However the artificial divide between drugs defined as 'controlled' under the Act, and the so-called 'legal' drugs is arbitrary and unreasonable. It favours the non-medical and non-scientific misuse of alcohol and tobacco relative to any non-medical or non-scientific use of any controlled drug – a poisoned chalice not provided for by the Act. This policy is biased in favour of producers and consumers of these socially-problematic products, and ignorant of statutory duty.

Again, the control and classification of alcohol and tobacco alongside other dangerous drugs controlled by the Act would not necessarily equate to prohibition; a full range of regulatory options are available under the Act for a lawful and rational commerce of any controlled drug for peaceful use purposes. Said another way, the Act is not a blunt instrument intended to 'prohibit' drugs, rather it is a beautifully nuanced 'mechanism' or 'framework' for the 'suitable' or 'appropriate' regulation of the import, export, production, supply and possession of dangerous or otherwise harmful drugs so as to reduce harm from their potential misuse. Hardison shows that the Act is a well- crafted and intricate tool that can easily regulate the lawful, responsible commerce and use of alcohol and tobacco.

The decisions under challenge are the Home Secretary's refusal to consult the ACMD on the 'possibility' of bringing alcohol and tobacco users under the Act's control, and the ACMD's refusal to recommend that possibility. This refusal is based on overly-rigid policies that have prevented the ACMD and the Home Secretary from considering even the merits of the possibility. Hardison finds this unacceptable; will the Court?
 

Government set for embarrassment over alcohol and tobacco control

Drug Equality Alliance
(1st November 2010)

Today at the High Court proceedings were initiated against the Home Secretary for her abdication of power under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 with respect to alcohol and tobacco control. The case, brought by the imprisoned 'cognitive liberty' advocate, US citizen Casey William Hardison, sets out the Home Secretary's legal duty to consult the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs on the possibility of bringing drinkers and smokers under the protection and control of the Act.

Currently, drinkers and smokers are accorded special status by government through the mistaken belief that alcohol and tobacco are 'legal drugs' exempted from the operation of the Act. This error of law then leads the Home Secretary to another false notion: that the Act is 'not a suitable mechanism for regulating alcohol and tobacco [users]'.

The Misuse of Drugs Act says government must apply relevant criteria concerning social harm to their decision making process; yet the Home Secretary has allowed irrelevant criteria to impact her decision not to consult the Advisory Council and the policy that excludes alcohol and tobacco from the Act, citing 'historic and cultural precedents' whilst asserting that 'alcohol and tobacco are embedded in society and their responsible use is possible and commonplace'. This has led the government to instead institute a separate system for regulating users of the drugs alcohol and tobacco.

However the artificial divide between drugs defined as 'controlled' under the Act, and so-called 'legal' drugs is arbitrary and alleged to be illegal. It favours the misuse of alcohol and tobacco relative to any use of any controlled drug – a poisoned chalice not provided for by the Act. The current policy is biased in favour of consumers of these socially-problematic products, and ignorant of statutory duty.

The classification of alcohol and tobacco alongside other dangerous drugs does not equate to prohibition; concerns about this are grounded in the Home Secretary's mistaken belief that the Act is a blunt instrument intended to 'prohibit' drugs rather than regulate people so as to reduce harm from the misuse of drugs. But It can be shown that the law is a well-crafted and intricate tool for the regulation of persons likely to misuse any dangerous drug, and can easily provide a framework to permit the responsible production, supply and use of alcohol and tobacco from within the Act itself, exactly as intended by the parliamentarians who drafted it.

The decision under challenge is the Home Secretary's refusal to consult the ACMD on the 'possibility' of bringing alcohol and tobacco users under the Act's control. This refusal is based on persistent misunderstandings of the Act, its structure, function and purpose; and also on taking irrelevant factors into account and disregarding relevant factors. The Home Secretary's overly rigid policy has prevented the consideration of even the merits of the possibility.


Continued exclusion of alcohol and tobacco from misuse of drugs legislation to be judicially reviewed

Drug Equality Alliance
(13th October 2010)

On the 1st and 15th of November 2010 separate applications will be submitted to the High Court seeking permission to judicially review the Home Secretary's and the Advisory Council's continued exclusion of alcohol and tobacco from the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Drug Equality Alliance co-founder Casey Hardison has taken it upon himself to challenge the Home Secretary and the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs in the Administrative Court for what he asserts is their unlawful exclusion of alcohol and tobacco, and thus persons concerned with these dangerous drugs, from control under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (MDA).

Casey has worked tirelessly over the last 6 years to establish the evidence and apply the legal principles to it to show that the exclusion of alcohol and tobacco from the MDA is based on persistent misunderstandings about the MDA's structure, function and purpose, above all an erroneous belief that the the MDA "is not a suitable mechanism" for regulating the production, commerce and possession of alcohol and tobacco.

These persistent misunderstandings have led the Home Secretary and the Advisory Council to take into account legally irrelevant matters and disregard legally relevant matters when making decisions under the MDA regarding alcohol and tobacco, in particular that the public would find it "unacceptable" if alcohol and tobacco were put in the same ABC classification system as other controlled drugs. Perhaps this is because the decision-makers and the public generally believe to do so would be to apply so-called "prohibition" to alcohol and tobacco.

But as prohibition is a policy option under the Act, not mandated by it, this presents a moral and a legal problem: Government acknowledges that alcohol and tobacco cause more deaths and harm than all other known drugs combined, so why is it acceptable to apply a "policy of prohibition" to LSD, MDMA and cannabis but not to alcohol and tobacco? The Government believes that this is acceptable on the grounds of "historical and cultural precedents". This shows that decisions regarding alcohol and tobacco are arbitrary and not based on rational and objective factors, it just happens to be the way it is because the Home Secretary and the Advisory Council shirk their powers under the MDA to please the "vast majority". This is unreasonable and ultimately unfair to persons whose conduct is regulated by the MDA.

The Rule of Law principle of Equal Treatment suggests that either the Home Secretary and ACMD must implement "prohibitive controls" on those concerned with alcohol and tobacco for non-medical or non-scientific use purposes, or they must fully implement a rational, evidence-based system of regulation, via the MDA, similar to that suggested by Transform Drug Policy Foundation's "After the War on Drugs - Blueprint for Regulation", for all controlled drugs.

On the 25th of August Casey submitted to the Home Secretary and the ACMD letters before claim for judicial review of their decision. In the last two weeks both have responded, repeating the policy line:

"Government's policy is to regulate controlled drugs - more commonly referred to as 'illegal drugs' - through the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and the availability of alcohol and tobacco separately. This stance recognises that whilst alcohol and tobacco pose health risks and may have anti-social effects, their use is embedded in society, and responsible use of alcohol and tobacco is possible and commonplace."

Hardison will be filing papers at the Administrative Court on the 1st of November. See below for the exchanged letters.

DOWNLOADS:

ACMD's letter of response expressing their intention to defend against a judicial review of its refusal to advise the Home Secretary on the possibility of controlling alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 , 4 October 2010 (PDF)

Home Secretary's letter of response concerning the government's intention to defend a judicial review of its refusal to seek advice on the possible control of alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 24 September 2010 (PDF)

Casey Hardison's letter to the ACMD, 25 August 2010 expressing his intention to judicially review the decision not to advise the Home Secretary on the possible control of alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 25 August 2010 (PDF)

Casey Hardison's letter before claim to the Home Secretary, expressing his intention to judicially review her decision not to consult the ACMD on the possible control of alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 25 August 2010 (PDF)

ACMD letter confirming their decision not to advise the Home Secretary on the possibility of controllingalcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 16 August 2010 (PDF)

Home Secretary's letter of response deciding not to consult the ACMD on the possible control of alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 10 August 2010 (PDF)

Hardison's request of the ACMD to advise the Home Secretary on the possibility of controlling alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 9 July 2010 (PDF)

Hardison's request that Home Secretary consult the ACMD on the possibility of controlling alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 1 July 2010 (PDF)

Please Note: The Home Secretary and the Advisory Council refer to an Order of the Appeal Court dated 3 December 2007 in their decision letters. This Order was about the then Home Secretary's decision not to follow through on the promised consultation on a review of the drug classification system as stated in paragraph 12 of Cm 6941. (Casey secured the release of this consultation document in July 2010 after three year battle). The u-turn on the consultation and the review was said to be a purely political decision beyond the reach of the court: a policy choice within the bounds of discretion as opposed to a decision made by either surrendering or abdicating discretionary statutory power or assuming power that one does not possess. In the current cases both the Home Secretary and the Advisory Council assume they can abdicate their respective powers and duties under the Misuse of Drugs Act respecting alcohol and tobacco. This is a legal question for the court as to their powers and duties. It has nothing to do with the merits of the policy as stated in the Treasury Solicitor's 24 September response on behalf of the Home Secretary, which recycles the policy stated in paragraph 10 of the 2007 judgment Casey was appealing and which resulted in the Order. At the time, this policy statement was not the issue and it was not understood that this policy shows errors of law on its face, ignores legally relevant criteria: 'health risks' and 'anti-social effects', and considers legally irrelevant criteria: 'embedded in society', 'responsible use possible', etc. And as the Appeal Court Judge was not asked to determine whether the policy statement accords with the law, this opportunity was missed. The repetition of this policy by the Treasury Solicitor at this late stage is a boost to the claim against the Home Secretary. This time, the policy will be properly tested for its legality not its merits.

 

DOWNLOADS:

R(Hardison) v ACMD 2010 - Reply to ACMD's Summary Grounds of Resistance, 26, December 2010 (PDF)

R(Hardison) v ACMD 2010 - ACMD's Summary Grounds of Resistance, 20 December 2010 (PDF)

R(Hardison) v SSHD 2010 - Reply to SSHD's Summary Grounds of Resistance, 16 December 2010 (PDF)

R(Hardison) v SSHD 2010 - SSHD's Summary Grounds of Resistance (PDF)

R(Hardison) v ACMD 2010 - Draft Statement of Facts, 15 November 2010 (PDF)

R(Hardison) v ACMD 2010 - Draft Statement of Grounds, 1 November 2010 (PDF)

R(Hardison) v SSHD 2010 - Statement of Facts, 1 November 2010 (PDF)

R(Hardison) v SSHD 2010 - Draft Statement of Grounds, 1 November 2010 (PDF)

ACMD's letter of response expressing their intention to defend against a judicial review of its refusal to advise the Home Secretary on the possibility of controlling alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 , 4 October 2010 (PDF)

Home Secretary's letter of response concerning the government's intention to defend a judicial review of its refusal to seek advice on the possible control of alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 24 September 2010 (PDF)

Casey Hardison's letter to the ACMD, 25 August 2010 expressing his intention to judicially review the decision not to advise the Home Secretary on the possible control of alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 25 August 2010 (PDF)

Casey Hardison's letter before claim to the Home Secretary, expressing his intention to judicially review her decision not to consult the ACMD on the possible control of alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 25 August 2010 (PDF)

ACMD letter confirming their decision not to advise the Home Secretary on the possibility of controllingalcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 16 August 2010 (PDF)

Home Secretary's letter of response deciding not to consult the ACMD on the possible control of alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 10 August 2010 (PDF)

Hardison's request of the ACMD to advise the Home Secretary on the possibility of controlling alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 9 July 2010 (PDF)

Hardison's request that Home Secretary consult the ACMD on the possibility of controlling alcohol and tobacco under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, 1 July 2010 (PDF)


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