Drug Law Reform
16 February 2010
In the media

Media coverage of the Drug Law Reform Project

Drug Decriminalization: A Trend Takes Shape
Coletta Youngers and John Walsh
Americas Quarterly, Fall 2009
The trend of "drug decriminalization" is quickly taking shape in Latin America. Increasingly, many countries are leaning toward decriminalization as an alternative approach, hoping that it will be effective both in reducing consumption and dealing with associated health problems.

Latin America breaks ranks in US war on drugs
Christian Science Monitor, 23 September 2009
According to The Netherlands-based Transnational Institute, which culls data on national drug legislation, Uruguay, for decades, has left it to judges to determine whether intention is for personal use (which is legal) or sale (which is not), while as far back as 1998, Paraguay passed a law exempting punishment for those caught with 2 grams or less of cocaine or heroin and 10 grams or less of marijuana for personal consumption.

Mexico decriminalizes small amounts of drugs

Worldfocus, August 27, 2009
Last week, the Mexican government announced that it will no longer jail users of small amounts of marijuana, cocaine and heroin. Other countries in the region have taken similar steps. John Walsh, a senior associate on drug policy for the Washington Office on Latin America, discusses the new law, U.S. concerns and the larger drug war in Mexico.

Argentina’s Supreme Court Rules Sanctions for the Possession of Marijuana Unconstitutional
One More Step Toward a New Paradigm

Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), the Research Center Drugs and Human Rights (CIDDH), and the Transnational Institute (TNI) Press Release, August 26, 2009
The ruling that declares unconstitutional the imposition of criminal sanctions for the possession of small quantities of marijuana for personal use represents an important step toward distinguishing between drug use and drug trafficking. This decision adds to the recent changes emerging throughout the continent (Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil) to improve current drug policies, which have been disproportionately aimed at combating the supply of drugs

Stepping away from the darkness
Martin Jelsma, Newsweek Argentina, August 19, 2009
The Drug War has failed. After more than 20 years of tirelessly pushing for the same policy, the efforts have not been able to bring the expanding illicit drug markets under control and instead have led to an unmanageable crisis in the judicial and penitentiary systems, human rights violations, the consolidation of criminal networks and the marginalization of drug users who are pushed out of reach of health care services. For these reasons, some Latin American countries are starting to explore a more effective and honest drug policy.

The law against small time trafficking (narcomenudeo) represents certain advances but also important risks for drug policy in Mexico Collective for an Integrated Drug Policy
(CUPIHD), May 1, 2009
The law represents certain advances, since in theory it decriminalizes the possession of illegal drugs and establishes two different legal categories, one for consumers and one for traffickers. Yet we consider it is important to share a brief and immediate analysis of the law, since being that it does not implicate an integral policy with, above all, a public health and human rights perspective, it could have very negative consequences for the country.