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  1. Yes, legalizing marijuana breaks treaties. We can deal with that.

    John Walsh, Tom Blickman, Martin Jelsma, David Bewley-Taylor
    10 January 2018
    Opinion

    Buzzing in the background of Canada’s debate on cannabis legalization is the issue of the three UN drug control treaties, and what to do with them.

  2. Weed all about it

    11 December 2013
    In the media

    “A CRITICAL turning point in the failed war against drugs,” is the verdict of Martin Jelsma of the Drugs and Democracy Programme at the Transnational Institute, an Amsterdam-based think-tank.

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    How can Reform be Achieved?

    • Martin Jelsma
    27 March 2002

    hans_brinkerAllow countries and regions more space for policy reform using and stretching the margins of the conventions. Strengthen alliances of like-minded nations to support one another and effectively coordinate efforts at the UN level through informal consultations and strategy meetings. Any crack in the global prohibition regime would not plunge the world into chaos immediately. We should not press for a new global straitjacket but for a model that respects cultural differences. We have to open up the debate about the wisdom of the conventions as they stand.

     

  4. Far but near: Marijuana reform in Mexico?

    Jorge Hernández Tinajero
    19 August 2012
    Article

    The world-wide debate over cannabis reform appears to be gaining uncommon speed and unexpectedly it is in Latin America that the winds of change have greatest force. So where is Mexico in this panorama? There are currently eight Bills on the question of marihuana gathering dust in the annals of various parliamentary commissions.

  5. At summit, drug talk likely to be hot but hidden

    13 April 2012
    Article

    As the hemisphere’s leaders gather in Colombia this week for the VI Summit of the Americas, their on-camera discussions will be dominated by perennial convention topics: poverty, cooperation, the need for roads. But behind closed doors, they are expected to tackle a more contentious issue: the narcotics trade.

  6. What can we learn from the Dutch cannabis coffeeshop system?

    • Robert J. MacCoun
    31 October 2011

    In 1976 the Netherlands adopted a formal written policy of non-enforcement for violations involving possession or sale of up to 30 g of cannabis. The ‘gateway theory’ has long been seen as an argument for being tough on cannabis, but interestingly, the Dutch saw that concept as a rationale for allowing retail outlets to sell small quantities. Rather than seeing an inexorable psychopharmacological link between marijuana and hard drugs, the Dutch hypothesized that the gateway mechanism reflected social and economic networks, so that separating the markets would keep cannabis users out of contact with hard-drug users and sellers.

     

  7. At Summit, Drug Talk likely to be Hot but Hidden

    Jim Wyss
    17 April 2012
    In the media

    The Summit of the Americas is focused on roads and ports. But behind closed doors, leaders will discuss drug policies. 

  8. Modernising the global drug control system – Can Europe lead?

    28 May 2012
    Report

    The seminar entitled “Modernising the global drug control system – Can Europe lead?” was organised in the European Parliament by the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), and the Global Commission on Drug Policy, and co-hosted by the Member of European Parliament (MEP) Nikos Chrysogelos. The event aimed to present the recommendations of the Global Commission and discuss the role that the European Union (EU) could play in current drug policy reform debates taking place within Europe and around the world. The seminar also comes at a time when the EU is working on drafting a new Drug Strategy to replace the one that will expire at the end of 2012.

  9. What the World Can Learn from Switzerland’s Drug Policy Shift

    25 October 2010
    Article

    This short film by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU), a grantee of the Open Society Global Drug Policy Program, outlines how the country successfully resolved these problems through the introduction of an innovative national drug policy based on scientifically proven methods, not rhetoric.

  10. real-california-cannabis

    California's Proposition 19 Falls Short, but Moves the Marijuana Policy Debate Forward

    John Walsh
    03 November 2010
    Article

    say_yes_prop19The California ballot initiative that would have legalized marijuana under state law was defeated at the polls Tuesday, garnering about 46 percent of the vote.  Over the course of the campaign, the measure achieved notoriety in Latin America , and provoked anxiety on the part of the Colombian and Mexican governments in particular.  WOLA has long promoted more effective and humane drug policies in the Americas, and in recent years we have seen the debate begin to open, not least in response to Prop 19.  So what does Prop 19's defeat foretell for the debate over alternatives to marijuana prohibition?

  11. Bolivia Breaks with U.S. Policy, But Not the War on Drugs

    Charles Davis
    21 October 2010
    In the media

    Bolivia needs to do much more to establish a progressive dialogue on its harsh judicial and sentencing drug law; report from TNI on the countrie's drug-related prison overload.

  12. First Battle May be Lost, But the Drug War is Not Over

    Marcela Sanchez
    18 May 2010
    In the media

    Despite decades of a U.S.-financed drug war in the region, drug trafficking and drug use are on the rise throughout Latin America.

  13. If Supply-Oriented Drug Policy is Broken, Can Harm Reduction Help Fix It?

    • Victoria Greenfield, Letizia Paoli
    01 August 2010

    Critics of the international drug control regime contend that supply-oriented policy interventions are not just ineffective, but they also produce unintended adverse consequences. Research suggests their claims have merit. Lasting local reductions in opium production are possible, albeit rare; but, unless global demand shrinks, production will shift elsewhere, with little or no effect on the aggregate supply of heroin and, potentially, at some expense to exiting and newly emerging suppliers.

     

  14. What Can We Learn From The Portuguese Decriminalization of Illicit Drugs?

    • Caitlin Elizabeth Hughes, Alex Stevens
    30 November 2010

    The issue of decriminalizing illicit drugs is hotly debated, but is rarely subject to evidence-based analysis. This paper examines the case of Portugal, a nation that decriminalized the use and possession of all illicit drugs on 1 July 2001. Drawing upon independent evaluations and interviews conducted with 13 key stakeholders in 2007 and 2009, it critically analyses the criminal justice and health impacts against trends from neighbouring Spain and Italy. It concludes that contrary to predictions, the Portuguese decriminalization did not lead to major increases in drug use. Indeed, evidence indicates reductions in problematic use, drug-related harms and criminal justice overcrowding. The article discusses these developments in the context of drug law debates and criminological discussions on late modern governance.

     

  15. The U.S. Can Still Correct its Position on Bolivia's UN Coca Chewing Amendment

    28 January 2011
    Press release

    The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), the Andean Information Network (AIN), and more than 200 other concerned organizations and individuals yesterday sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling for the Obama administration to immediately withdraw its objection to Bolivia’s proposed amendment to the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

  16. Drug Control Policy: What the United States Can Learn from Latin America

    • Coletta Youngers
    21 June 2011

    Since the 1912 signing of the Hague Opium Convention—the agreement that formally established narcotics control within international law—the United States has established itself as the dominant actor in determining drug control policies around the world. A chief architect of the international drug control regime, Washington has done its best to ensure that all subsequent international conventions obligate countries to adapt their domestic legislation to criminalize virtually all acts related to the illicit market in controlled substances, with the important exception of drug consumption. The predominant focus on prohibition and criminalization has been exported to Latin America, where the vast majority of the cocaine and heroin consumed in the United States originates.

     

  17. opstelten-doof

    The Netherlands is ready to regulate cannabis

    Tom Blickman, Martin Jelsma
    19 December 2013
    Article

    Barely a week after an opinion poll showed that 65% of the Dutch are in favour of regulating cannabis production just as in Uruguay, the minister of Justice and Security of The Netherlands, Ivo Opstelten, told parliament that he will not allow regulated cannabis cultivation to supply the coffeeshops in the country. Two in three large municipal councils back regulated cannabis cultivation, but the minister will probably not allow a single one of the 25 proposals to experiment with regulated cultivation that have been submitted.

  18. Uruguay postpones vote on 'state as dealer' approach to drug regulation - but not for long?

    Sara Miller Llana
    02 January 2013
    In the media

    Uruguay has been on the vanguard of drug policy reform in the Americas, proposing a state regulatory market for the cultivation and consumption of marijuana. President Mujica always said he wouldn't push the proposal if a majority of Uruguayans didn't accept it. But few think this postponement means the project is forever shelved.

  19. publication

    The Dutch example shows that liberal drug laws can be beneficial

    • Craig Reinarman
    01 February 2000

    U.S. drug control officials have denounced Dutch drug policy as if it were the devil himself. One former U.S. Drug Czar said "you can't walk down the street in Amsterdam without tripping over junkies." In the Summer of 1998, however, one such denouncement turned into a small scandal. The first part of this chapter examines this incident as a window on the politics of drug policy. The second part offers a more general analysis of why U.S. drug control officials seem to be so threatened by the Dutch example.

  20. Legal cannabis in Basque Country?

    Tom Blickman
    16 December 2011
    Article

    Health officials of the Basque Country, an autonomous region of Spain, announced that they will introduce a bill to regulate the "cultivation, sale and consumption" of hashish and marijuana. The bill, which will be presented to the regional parliament next year, was put forward on December 12, 2011, by regional health officials during the presentation of the regional addictions plan. Several media outlets broke the news as an intent to legalise cannabis use, while in fact the proposed legislation only aims to regulate cannabis user associations that cultivate for personal use.

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