I’ve seen these before, but never in the news:
From the Coventry Evening Telegram:
Drug users will be able to dump their illegal stashes without getting in trouble before they enter a massive dance festival near Stratford this weekend. Warwickshire Police will again have an amnesty zone just before the entrance of Global Gathering at Long Marston airfield.
But why would anyone do that?
"Passive drugs dogs will be walked along the queue to detect any traces of drugs on visitors and anyone found with illegal drugs either at the site entrance or during the two day festival will be arrested and taken into custody.
So the idea is that, upon noticing drug dogs, concertgoers will promptly surrender any contraband they may have. And the article is perhaps intended to warn folks that dogs will be present, so that they might consider not bringing drugs in the first place.
Afterall it would be pretty silly to sneak drugs into South Warwickshire from all over Europe, only to deposit them into the amnesty box at the first sight of police.
But a more astute reader will see that only 22 out of 45,000 attendees were arrested last year. Those are great odds, especially since some of the arrests weren’t even drug related. I’m guessing most drug users attending this event will take their chances, especially since you can always make a break for the “amnesty zone” in an emergency.
Ultimately, the amnesty box will be viewed by many as an “idiot test” commonly deployed in situations where the police can’t possibly enforce drug laws by other means. Such folks may find it amusing to put funny notes and other non-drug items into the box. But the amnesty box isn’t racist or violent like most drug war tactics, so we shouldn’t make fun of it. Maybe someday we can even replace trigger-happy SWAT teams with them.
In the meantime, look for the official Stop the Drug War Amnesty Box, which we’ll be featuring as part of our table display at future drug policy conferences.