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Casey William Hardison's
Recorded Speech Given to the 2008 World Psychedelic Forum
in Basel, Switzerland
by Casey Hardison
Mar 2008
From To support Casey, you can donate through the website.

Listen to his speech: or download the mp3 file.

Transcript of Recorded Message Played at the World Psychedelic Forum, Basel on the 24th of March 2008

Good Evening, I am Casey William Hardison and I am very grateful for the opportunity to address this forum. I am four years into serving a 20 year sentence in the United Kingdom for the manufacture of LSD, DMT, and 2C-B.

It is easy to forget that the majority of those present in this forum, who have tasted Albert's Problem Child and Wonder Drug, LSD, probably did so via the flask of a chemist who was risking severe restrictions on his or her liberty simply to bring the blessed entity, LSD, into existence. 

Indeed, I speak as an individual who has had his physical liberty removed for doing just that. Yet, in contrast to Leonard Pickard who is serving life in a United States prison for his alleged alchemical manipulations, I have got off very lightly. Thus, I also speak today to presence the millions of men and women incarcerated worldwide for non-violent drug offences, particularly those peacefully involved with entheogens and other psychedelic-type drugs.

Governments world wide have signed up to the three United Nations drug Conventions as a model for dealing with a select group of substances but these international agreements are framed by the West in terms of an irrational distinction between familiar drugs and unfamiliar drugs. This inevitably leads to unequal treatment under law and this is where a legal rather than political case can be made. 

This past December the UN General Assembly in their resolution entitled 'International cooperation against the World drug problem' stated that "drug control activities must be carried out in full conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and with full respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms". Yet, by direct experience, I know they are not. 

And so, as a prisoner, it is to the Rule of Law that I turn. Drug Policy is the implementation or administration of Drug Law by the Executive branch of Government and accordingly, the law dictates available policy and not the other way around. Laws and the principles they embody are to be generally applied by Governments in a neutral manner.

In the case of drug policy, the principle aim is the reduction of harms to individuals and society from the consumption of dangerous or otherwise harmful drugs. And since drugs are property, drug laws in both the international and the domestic arena follow the property rights of commerce. These are: cultivation, production, manufacture, packaging, transportation, trade, possession, and use. 

Significantly, drug laws do not regulate drugs, drug laws regulate people. Thus, it is wrong to speak of legal and/or illegal drugs as no drug on the planet is in fact legal or illegal rather it is the exercise of property rights by human beings with respect to drugs which may be made unlawful. It is a very simple concept but by convention we have become so accustomed to speaking of legal and illegal drugs that we forget it is the person who is being regulated and thus drug laws affect the liberties of people. 

And so we come to the crux of my argument. Drug Laws regulate the property rights of people yet they do so in an arbitrary, unfair and irrational manner. This is contrary to the rule of law. On one hand, we have a group of drugs which it is legal to exercise property rights in, such as alcohol and tobacco, and on the other we have another group of drugs which it is currently not lawful to exercise property rights in. So, the question must therefore be asked: "Is there a rational and objective reason to distinguish between the two groups of drugs?”.

The short answer is no. It is "historical and cultural precedents” rather than "pharmacology, economic or risk benefit analysis” which provides for the distinction. This has an uncanny resemblance to racism, sexism and homophobia for it was historical and cultural precedents which kept the unequal treatment of these individuals in place for so long.

Crucially, basing a drug policy, that is the administration of drug law, on subjective and ultimately arbitrary historical and cultural precedents results in the under-regulation of the conduct of the electoral majority who prefer to exercise property rights in drugs property such as alcohol and tobacco whilst over-regulating the conduct of cultural minorities who prefer to exercise property rights in other drugs property with substantially similar or even less potential to cause harm to individuals and/or society when misused, i.e., psychedelic drugs. 

This unequal treatment is contrary to the Rule of Law principle of equal applicability of neutral laws. As such, I believe this unequal treatment denies equal rights and equal protection to all people whilst contributing to tens-of-thousands of unnecessary deaths and imprisonments each year on both sides of the legal distinction and neither the people nor our legislatures intended these consequences. 

I call this unequal treatment, this denial of equal rights and equal protection, drug discrimination. Drug Discrimination is based on a false distinction between familiar drugs traditionally used by the majority and unfamiliar drugs traditionally used by minorities. This distinction lies at the heart of our Governments' failure to reduce harm from the consumption of and commerce in dangerous or otherwise harmful drugs. And it is this distinction which cannot withstand legal scrutiny. And so it is to this distinction that I take aim. 

When it is understood that democratic Governments worldwide are implementing their drug laws unlawfully based on this false distinction then the current paradigm of drug law administration will transform from a predominantly polarized and punitive approach rooted in a subjective historical and cultural distinction to an evidence based approach committed to reducing potential harm whilst maximizing the benefits of drug consumption and commerce. 

The solution is simple: using best policy guidance on risk management and policy modernizing principles, distinguish the objective risk potential, to individuals and society, presented by different drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, when consumed by humans and then regulate proportionately. 

When sanity returns to the administration of drug law, harm will reduce, the five types of crime directly associated with prohibition will be immediately eliminated, human rights will be respected and millions of drug war prisoners like me will be released from prison. 

On the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, there has never been a better time to bring human rights and drug policy together. We can make this transformation now. These legal principles can be adapted and applied in all Western democracies. 
Ultimately, these legal principles have the power to end the global "War on some people who use some Drugs”. 

More information can be found at  and donations can be made to my legal fund at or at the MAPS or Erowid tables outside in the foyer. 

Thank you for listening. I deeply appreciate this opportunity. Let there be light!