Roar Mikalson – AROD: New civil disobedience to resolve the rights of drug users

New civil disobedience to resolve the rights of drug users

As more and more nations regulate the cannabis market to protect public health, no state can take for granted that the prohibition fulfils a legitimate purpose. Instead, a human rights analysis is needed to look at the rights of drug law violators, and several times the Alliance for rights-oriented drug policy (AROD) has brought cannabis to the authorities to have the issue resolved by the justice system.

Even so, all attempts to challenge the law have been met by a wall of silence. For more than a decade, even the European Court of Human Rights has shied away from its duty to deliver a verdict on this issue, and the right of 700 million citizens to a fair trial and an effective remedy has yet to be recognized.

Therefore, on the 16th of November, with five letters, AROD launched a new campaign of civil disobedience to assist the rule of law. Inside these letters, there is sufficient cannabis to bring a case before the courts, and time will tell how the Norwegian state responds.

Will AROD be allowed five days in court to show a connection between drug policy and the arbitrary persecution of the past, or will the Norwegian state continue to ignore the evidence of human rights violations?

This is the great question. If AROD is allowed to challenge the law, the Minister of Justice and others will be called to testify on the merits of the prohibition and 500.000 drug convictions hangs in the balance. Needless to say, much depends on the Norwegian justice system, but even more depends on the European Court of Human Rights. 

Since 2012, 700 million citizens under the European Court’s jurisdiction have been without human rights protection because justices at the Court have stopped the necessary legal development for drug policy. The documentary Moving a Nation Forward exposes how constitutional challenges to the drug law have been rejected on flawed grounds, but the trend towards increased regulation of drug markets is a sign that the European Court must make amends.

To the extent that a regulated drug market is better for the protection of public health, the prohibition cannot be necessary in a modern society. Instead, the prohibition is exposed as an evil to be deposed, and AROD is breaking the law to advance the rule of law. 

It shall be interesting to see how the justice system responds. In times of moral panic, it is the duty of the law to provide guidance, and the failure to protect rights is not only a European problem. As shown by the report Constitutional Challenges to the Drug Law, more than 100 constitutional challenges have failed because of a corrupt US justice system, and friends of liberty should ensure that punishment is brought to a halt.

For more on AROD’s work for human rights in drug policy, visit ARODs website

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