Dealing with Drug Dealing
Drug offences give rise to arguments for greater police powers and resources, alteration of police ethics (because of the use of agents provocateurs and various surveillance techniques) and greater internationalisation of criminal law. In seeking descriptions of what actually is wrong with any particular offence, and how to make differentiations in gravity between differing ways of committing it, one place to start is with the cases on sentencing. The leading ‘guideline’ case on sentencing for drugs offences is Aramah, in which the judgment discloses three major reasons for criminalisation: profits, consequential crime (both by users and distributors), and harm to the user. Any satisfactory explanation of what is wrong with drug dealing must account for legal regulation of tobacco and alcohol. This chapter seeks to identify the wrong in drug dealing by drawing attention to certain analytical similarities with blackmail. It also examines drug dealing as a form of exploitation and the reasons for decriminalisation of drug dealing.
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