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  1. US official cautions Jamaica on ganja legalisation

    29 January 2015
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    The U.S. Government has signalled discomfort with Jamaica's move to decriminalise marijuana for specific uses.

  2. Pro-ganja lobby endorses changes on eve of Senate debate

    28 January 2015
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    Professor Archibald McDonald called on the Jamaican Government to continue with the reforms and disregard apparent threats from US Government official William Brownfield cautioning the Government against breaching international drug treaties to which it is a signatory. "He is saying that Colorado, Washington DC and so on can go ahead and legalise ganja, but Jamaica signed those treaties and therefore cannot do the same. What a ridiculous argument," McDonald commented.

  3. The year in drug policy: Movement at a crossroads

    26 December 2014
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    The 43-year-old war on drugs had never seen such a barrage of opposition as it did in 2014, with successful marijuana legalization initiatives in several U.S. states, California’s historic approval of sentencing reform for low level drug offenders and world leaders calling for the legal regulation of all drugs — all of which cement the mainstream appeal of drug policy alternatives and offer unprecedented momentum going into 2015.

  4. Has the US just called for unilateral interpretation of multilateral obligations?

    Rick Lines, Damon Barrett
    17 December 2014

    These are interesting times for drug law reform, which, as it gathers pace, is asking important questions of international law. A UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs is set for 2016 just as national reforms are challenging international treaties that form the bedrock of a global prohibition regime that has dominated since the turn of the twentieth century. States parties to the three UN drug control conventions must now confront the legal and political dilemmas this creates. This is the situation in which the US now finds itself following cannabis reforms in various states that are at odds with these treaties.

  5. Drug control body concerned by pot legalization in some U.S. states

    03 December 2014
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    The head of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) monitoring compliance with international drug control conventions expressed concern about the moves by U.S. states to legalize marijuana.

  6. Into the breach: Drugs, control, and violating bad laws in good ways

    Rick Lines
    27 November 2014

    An October statement on drug control from the US State Department has prompted much comment and speculation at home and abroad. Delivered by Ambassador William Brownfield, the ‘Brownfield Doctrine’, as it has been named by some commentators, lays out a four pillar approach the United States will follow in matters of international drug control.

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    Atracción fatal: la doctrina de la flexibilidad de Brownfield y la reforma global de las políticas de drogas

    Martin Jelsma, Damon Barrett
    19 November 2014

    Las reformas estatales sobre el cannabis, que han cobrado impulso este mes, han puesto al descubierto la incapacidad de los Estados Unidos para atenerse a las disposiciones del fundamento jurídico del sistema global de control de drogas: la Convención Única de 1961 sobre Estupefacientes. Esto es algo que debería propiciar un diálogo muy necesario sobre la reforma de unos acuerdos internacionales que tienen ya muchos años. Pero aunque aparentemente ‘acoge con satisfacción’ el debate sobre la reforma de las políticas de drogas a escala internacional, se trata de un diálogo que el Gobierno federal estadounidense de hecho desea evitar.

  8. Fatal attraction: Brownfield's flexibility doctrine and global drug policy reform

    Martin Jelsma, David Bewley-Taylor, Damon Barrett
    18 November 2014

    State-level cannabis reforms, which gathered steam this month, have exposed the inability of the United States to abide by the terms of the legal bedrock of the global drug control system; the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This is something that should force a much-needed conversation about reform to long- standing international agreements. But while ostensibly 'welcoming' the international drug policy reform debate, it is a conversation the US federal government actually wishes to avoid.

  9. The UN really wishes that voters in Alaska and Oregon hadn’t legalized weed

    13 November 2014
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    The director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov, said that state-level marijuana legalization initiatives in the U.S. are violations of longstanding international drug treaties. "I don't see how [state-level marijuana legalization] can be compatible with existing conventions," he said according to Reuters. Fedotov's remarks are coming less than a month after Assistant Secretary of State Brownfield outlined an official policy of "flexibility" in the U.S.'s interpretation of existing U.N. drug control conventions, which require countries to outlaw the sale and use of cannabis. (See also: Fatal attraction: Brownfield's flexibility doctrine and global drug policy reform)

  10. A top UN official is not happy about US states legalizing weed

    13 November 2014
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    The UN's top narcotics official said on Wednesday that recent votes by US states to legalize marijuana have put America in deeper violation of the international conventions that guide drug policy around the world. Earlier this month, voters in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington DC legalized the recreational use and sale of marijuana. Similar ballot initiatives have already passed and taken effect in Colorado and Washington.

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    Critica ONU legalización de mariguana en estados de EU

    11 November 2014
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    La semana pasada, los ciudadanos de Alaska y Oregón aprobaron en un referendo la posesión, el cultivo y la venta de mariguana sumándose a Washington y Colorado. La decisión de legalizar la mariguana para uso recreativo "no está en línea con las convenciones internacionales" sobre drogas, declaró el máximo responsable de las Naciones Unidas en la lucha contra los narcóticos, Yuri Fedótov. "No veo cómo (el uso recreativo de esa droga) puede ser compatible con las convenciones existentes", declaró Fedótov, director ejecutivo de la Oficina de la ONU contra la Droga y el Delito (ONUDD). (Véase también: El control de drogas visto desde Washington)

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    Brookings: EE.UU. deberá replantear adhesión a tratados internacionales sobre drogas

    19 October 2014
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    La legalización de la marihuana en Washington y Colorado presenta desafíos para el Gobierno federal. Un informe del Instituto Brookings plantea que la legalización ponen a EE.UU. en conflicto con los tratados internacionales antidrogas que “comprometen a castigar y hasta criminalizar actividad relacionada con el uso recreativo de la marihuana”. El informe destaca que el Gobierno federal ha señalado que los tratados le facultan a los firmantes “flexibilidad y discrecionalidad” a la hora de implementar políticas relacionadas con la marihuana.

  13. Pushing treaty limits?

    Wells C. Bennett
    19 October 2014

    Suppose the United States government helps to negotiate, and subsequently champions, certain framework treaties – ones justly viewed as imposing significant constraints on all signatories. Down the road, the United States occasionally even calls out counterparties for their looser policy innovations, when the latter push the outer boundaries of what’s permitted under the treaties; a treaty-created monitoring body does likewise in its annual reporting. This pattern essentially holds year in and year out and from one presidential administration to the next.

  14. How marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington is making the world a better place

    16 October 2014
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    No pressure, Colorado and Washington, but the world is scrutinizing your every move. That was the take-home message of an event today at the Brookings Institution, discussing the international impact of the move toward marijuana legalization at the state-level in the U.S. Laws passed in Colorado and Washington, with other states presumably to come, create a tension with the U.S. obligations toward three major international treaties governing drug control.

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    Marijuana legalization is an opportunity to modernize international drug treaties

    • Wells Bennett, John Walsh
    14 October 2014

    Two U.S. states have legalized recreational marijuana, and more may follow; the Obama administration has conditionally accepted these experiments. Such actions are in obvious tension with three international treaties that together commit the United States to punish and even criminalize activity related to recreational marijuana. The administration asserts that its policy complies with the treaties because they leave room for flexibility and prosecutorial discretion.

  16. State Department official calls for 'flexibility' on drug control treaties

    13 October 2014
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    Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield called for "flexible" interpretations of international drug control treaties at the United Nations in New York City, citing marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington.

  17. US signals shift in international drug policy

    12 October 2014
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    In a press conference at the United Nations in New York on October 9, US official William Brownfield laid the groundwork for a new US approach to international drug policy, pointing to the changing political landscape on drug regulation in the Americas.

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    EE UU reafirma su "tolerancia" hacia la despenalización de las drogas

    10 October 2014
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    brownfieldWilliam R. Brownfield, zar antidroga de Estados Unidos desde su puesto de subsecretario de Estado para Narcóticos enfatizó ante la Asamblea General de Naciones Unidas la “tolerancia” de Washington hacia las políticas despenalizadoras emprendidas por países como Uruguay o Estados como Washington y Colorado. Por "tolerancia", Washington entiende el compromiso de todos los países con las convenciones de Naciones Unidas y la necesidad de respetar la autonomía de cada país para abordar el problema de la droga en función de sus particulares circunstancias. (Véase también: El control de drogas visto desde Washington y Drogas: giro de EE.UU. en medio del debate sobre la despenalización)

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    EEUU estudiará legalización de las drogas sin ser simplista

    17 September 2014
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    El subsecretario estadounidense de Estado para Antinarcóticos y Seguridad, William Brownfield, reconoció hoy que su país estudiará "el impacto de la legalización de las drogas" de una forma "científica y objetiva", pero que considera "simplista" pensar que con la despenalización "se resuelve el problema". Subrayó que "si legalizamos (las drogas) tendremos un problema aún mayor de salud pública". (Véase también: El control de drogas visto desde Washington)

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    El control de drogas visto desde Washington

    Martin Jelsma
    09 July 2014

    william-brownfieldLa reforma al control de drogas que se está emprendiendo en las Américas, y que presiona los límites del marco jurídico mundial establecido en tres convenciones de la ONU, se ha convertido en un tema delicado. La despenalización de la tenencia para consumo personal en varios países de América Latina y el establecimiento de una sala supervisada para inyección en Vancouver, Canadá, han provocado disputas legales prolongadas con la Junta Internacional de Fiscalización de Estupefacientes (JIFE), el órgano cuasi-judicial para la aplicación de los convenios.