Panel urges governments to consider decriminalizing some illegal drugs

Panel urges governments to consider decriminalizing some illegal drugs

A recent report released by the Global Commission on Drug Policy urges
governments around the world, especially the United States and Mexico,
to step back and rethink their approach to drug policy. The group says
that the drug war has not worked and wants governments to stop criminalizing
personal drug use.

The group says that by making illegal certain drugs, such as
marijuana and cocaine, and enforcing this policy through the war on drugs, too many
non-violent people have gone to jail. Additionally, the approach has not
lessened the use of illegal drugs, but has spawned a violent drug trade.
Since 2006, when Mexican President Felipe Calderon began an intensified
crackdown on organized crime (with support from the U.S.), 38,000 people
have died in Mexico’s drug war.

The Obama Administration said they disagree with the panel’s recommendations.
They have been supportive, however, of instituting more drug courts. These
special courts seek to address underlying addictions rather than simply
put someone arrested on drug charges in jail.

According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times that discusses the
panel’s recommendations and some reactions to the report, the Obama
Administration believes in taking a “public health” approach
to drug policy, but it is adamantly against legalizing drugs like marijuana
and cocaine.

The global drug policy panel includes former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, writers
Mario Vargas Llosa and Carlos Fuentes, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson,
former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and former Colombian
President Cesar Gaviria.


High-profile panel urges non-criminal approach to world drug policy (Los Angeles Times)