"I will , if asked to serve on a jury deliberating a violation of the law regarding the supply, intent to supply, import, export, production or possession of cannabis or ecstacy, while giving a fair hearing to both the crown and the defense, vote to acquit where I feel the law is unjust. but only if 10 other potential UK jurors will do the same."
— Alex McCabe, UK resident
Deadline to sign up by: 5th March 2010
15 people signed up (5 over target)
Country: United Kingdom
The maximum penalty for cannabis possession is five years in prison or an unlimited fine. Or both.
The maximum penalty for ecstasy possession is seven years in prison or an unlimited fine. Or both.
In the UK, Jury Equity "enables a jury to reach a decision in direct contradiction with the law if they feel the law is unjust. This can create a persuasive precedent for future cases, or render prosecutors reluctant to bring a charge – thus a jury has the power to influence the law."
The problem of drugs is drug addiction. It is an old, sad problem. Almost no-one is untouched by it. However, it is also well understood and largely manageable by society.
The problems of drug prohibition are -
1. Billions of pounds are ring fenced for criminal enterprise. This creates violence and other crime as criminals try to protect their interests.
2. Relatively safe drugs are made much more dangerous by contamination.
3. Huge financial costs are incurred in policing, imprisonment and the courts.
4. Resources are diverted away from dealing with more harmful drugs.
5. Supply networks servicing the large demand for soft drugs are used to supply the smaller demand for harder drugs.
6. Harder forms of softer drugs proliferate. (Skunk's popularity is similar to the popularity of moonshine during alcohol prohibition. Its popularity quickly waned with the end of prohibition.)
During the US alcohol prohibition era of the 1930s, many juries refused to convict in prosecutions brought against individuals accused of violating alcohol control laws. This resistance helped bring an end to alcohol prohibition with all the benefits that ensued. Something similar can help bring an end to drug prohibition.