Martin Jelsma

Martin Jelsma

TNI Drugs and Democracy Programme Coordinator

Martin Jelsma is a political scientist who has specialised in Latin America and international drugs policy.  In 2005, he received the Alfred R. Lindesmith Award for Achievement in the Field of Scholarship, which stated that Jelsma "is increasingly recognized as one of, if not the, outstanding strategists in terms of how international institutions deal with drugs and drug policy."

In 1995 he initiated and has since co-oordinated TNI's Drugs & Democracy Programme which focuses on drugs and conflict studies with a focus on the Andean/Amazon region, Burma/Myanmar and Afghanistan, and on the analysis and dialogues around international drug policy making processes (with a special focus on the UN drug control system). Martin is a regular speaker at international policy conferences and advises various NGOs and government officials on developments in the drugs field. He is co-editor of the TNI Drugs & Conflict debate papers and the Drug Policy Briefing series.

Areas of expertise:

Illicit Drugs Trafficking & the War on Drugs in Latin America; Drugs and Conflict; Democratisation & Demilitarisation in Latin America; Chemical and Biological War on Drugs; Alternative Harm Reduction Policies; Afghanistan, Burma, Andes

Honours/Awards:

Alfred R. Lindesmith Award for Achievement in the Field of Scholarship

Media experience:

Martin is an experienced interviewee and publishes in several Dutch newspapers including Vrij Nederland and NRC Handelsblad.

 

Contact

Contact details:

Email: mjelsma [at] tni.org

Languages spoken:

English, Dutch, Spanish

Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Recent content by Martin Jelsma

International Impacts of the U.S. Trend toward Legal Marijuana

October 2014
American attitudes toward marijuana policy are shifting. Recent polls suggest that the majority of Americans think marijuana use should be legalized. How might a shift in American marijuana policies affect the prohibitionist drug treaty system?

Reforming the global drug-control system: The stakes for Washington

July 2014
Washington's new narrative defends the integrity of the UN drug control conventions, while allowing more flexible interpretations

Cannabis regulation and UN treaty reform

July 2014
2nd European Harm Reduction Conference 2014 in Basel; "Cannabis regulation and UN treaty reform", speech by Martin Jelsma, Transnational Institute, Amsterdam

Scheduling in the international drug control system

June 2014
Scheduling is mostly priotised in it's repressive pole, though present debates are increasingly highlighting the need to modify the balance of the system in order to affirm the importance of the principle of health.

Repressive policies only stoking Asean's drug problem

June 2014
The strategy of Asean's 10 member countries to become "drug free" by 2015 is failing dramatically. In the last decade, opium cultivation in the region has doubled, drug use -- especially of methamphetamines, a powerful synthetic stimulant -- has increased significantly, and there remain strong links between drugs, conflict, crime and corruption.

Bouncing Back

May 2014
TNI's indepth examination of the illegal drug market in the Golden Triangle, which has witnessed a doubling of opium production, growing prison populations and repression of small-scale farmers. This report details the failure of ASEAN's 'drug free' strategy and the need for a new approach.

The Rise and Decline of Cannabis Prohibition

March 2014
Cannabis was condemned by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as a psychoactive drug with “particularly dangerous properties” and hardly any therapeutic value. Ever since, an increasing number of countries have shown discomfort with the treaty regime’s strictures through soft defections, stretching its legal flexibility to sometimes questionable limits.

INCB vs Uruguay: the art of diplomacy

December 2013
INCB President Yans disqualifies himself by accusing Uruguay of negligence with regard to public health concerns, deliberately blocking dialogue attempts and having a "pirate attitude" towards the UN conventions, and should consider stepping down.  

De wankelende ‘Weense consensus’ over drugsbeleid

April 2013
Nederland is met zijn drugsbeleid in de achterhoede terecht gekomen. Zo zijn Uruguay en de Amerikaanse staten Washington en Colorado, met hun besluit de cannabismarkt van teelt tot gebruik te legaliseren, Nederland voorbijgestreefd.

Cannabis regulation in Uruguay

July 2012
Uruguay may be poised to become the first country to opt for a state controlled and legally regulated cannabis market for medical as well as recreational purposes, including cultivation and distribution.