As a purpose-driven, public facing organisation operating with full transparency, the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group’s (CDPRG) mission is to evaluate professional and expert evidence drawn from across the spectrum of medicine, law-enforcement, economics, ethics, criminology and human rights.
We have three initial policy objectives:
1) Gain earliest safe access for people who can benefit from cannabis based medical products;
2) Secure HMG assessment of international models of regulated adult-use cannabis markets alongside the current British experience, particularly in respect of child protection and crime reduction, giving Parliament the evidence on which to decide if the UK should take a similar or adapted approach;
3) Seek an appropriate vehicle, such as a Royal or Parliamentary Commission on wider UK drug policy and the evaluation of the costs and benefits of the prohibition of narcotic drugs and the alternatives.
Shifting attitudes towards drugs and concerns about the efficacy of our current approach mean that there is clear public appetite for a review of UK drug policy. We believe it is the responsibility of those on the centre-right to promote a drugs policy which is evidence-based, credible with the electorate, compatible with our core values and reduces harm.
Our background and context
The CDPRG was launched in June 2019 under the chairmanship of Conservative MP for Reigate, Crispin Blunt and the leadership of CEO Rob Wilson, former Conservative MP and Minister for Civil Society. Our starting point is to connect with the growing public appetite for a clear and comprehensive review of drugs policy. In doing so, we seek to foster a political debate currently hindered by the entrenched reluctance of many politicians to re-evaluate the status quo on the basis of all available evidence.
As Conservatives, we have always been leaders in social reform. From Disraeli’s slum clearances to the introduction this century of gay marriage, we have never shied away from disrupting conventional wisdom, outdated morals and complacent attitudes. An evidence-based debate around future drugs policy is now as urgent as these matters were in their day.
In order to ensure that our policy forum reaches into all corners of the evidence and debate, the CDPRG has been established as a company limited by guarantee. We operate as a not-for-profit entity. Parliamentarians associated with the Group and its supervision receive no remuneration for their roles within the CDPRG.
The company’s directors are Chairman Crispin Blunt, MP and CEO Rob Wilson with non-executive directors drawn from donors or their appointees. These include representatives of companies involved in the legal supply of cannabis in territories where its sale is licensed and regulated. They are appointed, and their donations accepted, on the basis of the expertise of their organisations in working with law enforcement and regulators to deliver safe products within a legalised framework.
Below the Board, the CDPRG has a Policy Advisory Council comprising Members of the House of Commons and House of Lords: representatives of devolved administrations and local authorities; leading figures from the medical, health and law enforcement sectors; leaders and opinion formers from supporting think tanks and charities.
The Group maintains close links with a wide range of charities, umbrella and campaigning organisations as well as with Government, Conservative Party and Civil Service.