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  1. 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.

     

  2. 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.

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

    Martin Jelsma
    11 July 2014
    Article

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

  4. The Dutch election result and the coffeeshops

    Tom Blickman
    04 October 2012
    Article

    The Dutch elections were hailed as decisive for the future of the coffeeshops. The result however is inconclusive given that a coalition government has to be formed.

  5. Colombia Takes Step Towards Drug Decriminalization

    Elyssa Pachico
    01 September 2011
    In the media

    The rate of overcrowding in Colombia's prisons reached nearly 39 percent in 2009, much of it due to the excess number of small-time drug offenders, according to the WOLA and TNI report.

  6. Portugal: Ten years after decriminalization

    Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU)
    26 November 2012
    Article

    In 2001, a small European country, Portugal, took a brave step, changing its drug policies and refocussing its efforts away from arresting and criminalising drug users, towards smart public health interventions. How did the political establishment of a Catholic-Conservative country come to such an agreement about decriminalization? How does the system work? Is it effective?

  7. TNI-EMCDDA Expert Seminar on Threshold Quantities

    20 January 2011

    A wider trend for drug law reform is arising out of a felt need to make legislation more effective and more humane. Within this trend, a number of countries have considered decriminalisation or depenalisation models and many have, at least initially, considered threshold quantities as a good way to distinguish between what is possession and what is supply or trafficking and as a means to ensure that the sentences imposed are proportionate to the harmfulness of the offence.

     

  8. Time to decriminalise drugs?

    • J P de V van Niekerk
    01 February 2011

    The drug trade has increased globally in intensity and reach, and substance abuse in South Africa has escalated rapidly. Drug misuse is a major social, legal and public health challenge despite the war on drugs, in which the USA has a disproportionate influence. Why this lack of progress and what can be done about it?

     

  9. Marijuana activists push legalization of medical cannabis in Costa Rica

    Robert Isenberg
    25 February 2015
    In the media

    When you hear the phrase “cannabis advocate,” you might picture someone with wild hair and a Bob Marley T-shirt. But Gerald Murray is nothing like that. At a news conference on Tuesday morning, he was smartly groomed and wore a blazer.

  10. cannabis-smoker

    Cannabis policy in the Czech Republic

    Tereza Filipková
    28 September 2015
    Article

    The Czech drug-related legislation is quite extensive and includes laws as well as various by-laws. The most important feature of the Czech legislative system is that criminal law does not consider drug use to be a criminal offence. The new Czech Criminal Code introduced a brand-new sig­nificant feature into the Czech legal system – the differentiation between cannabis and other nar­cotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

  11. Drug Decriminalization in Portugal

    • Glenn Greenwald
    01 April 2009

    On July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Under the new legal framework, all drugs were “decriminalized,” not “legalized.” Drug possession for personal use and drug usage itself are still legally prohibited, but violations of those prohibitions are deemed to be exclusively administrative violations and are removed completely from the criminal realm.

     

  12. Drug Decriminalization in Portugal

    • Glenn Greenwald
    01 April 2009

    On July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Under the new legal framework, all drugs were “decriminalized,” not “legalized.” Drug possession for personal use and drug usage itself are still legally prohibited, but violations of those prohibitions are deemed to be exclusively administrative violations and are removed completely from the criminal realm.

  13. parlamento-portugal

    Drug Policy in Portugal

    • Artur Domoslawski
    31 August 2011

    In 2000, the Portuguese government responded to widespread public concern over drugs by rejecting a "war on drugs" approach and instead decriminalized drug possession and use. It further rebuffed convention by placing the responsibility for decreasing drug demand as well as managing dependence under the Ministry of Health, rather than the Ministry of Justice. With this, the official response toward drug dependent persons shifted from viewing them as criminals, to treating them as patients.

     

     

  14. Drugs and violence in the Northern Triangle

    Pien Metaal, Liza ten Velde
    08 July 2014
    Article

    The upsurge in violence in Central America’s Northern Triangle is often named in one breath with the drugs market. While violence clearly thrives from an illegal trade met with exclusively repressive state responses, assumptions on cause and effect are frequently flawed or blurred.

  15. Cannabis policy reform in Europe

    • Tom Blickman
    21 December 2014
    Policy briefing

    While in the Americas cannabis policy reform is taking off, Europe seems to be lagging behind. At the level of national governments denial of the changing policy landscape and inertia to act upon calls for change reigns. At the local level, however, disenchantment with the current cannabis regime gives rise to new idea.

  16. Indonesia and the New War on Drugs

    Dania Putri
    24 September 2015
    Article

    Following the dramatic executions of drug traffickers in April 2015, the Indonesian government decided to step up its anti-narcotics efforts, reinforcing public condemnation of drugs while slashing activists' hopes for progressive reforms.

  17. parlamento-portugal

    Dug Policy Profile Portugal

    • Maria Moreira, Brendan Hughes, Claudia Costa Storti, Frank Zobel
    23 June 2011

    This profile describes the national drug policy of Portugal, a policy that has attracted significant attention recently in the media and in policy debates. It considers national strategies and action plans, the legal context within which they operate and the public funds spent, or committed, to resource them. It also describes the political bodies and mechanisms set up to coordinate the response to the multi-faceted problem and the systems of evaluation that may help to improve future policy. The profile puts this information in context by outlining the size, wealth and economic situation of the country as a whole, as well as the historical development of the current policy.

     

  18. Review of methodologies of evaluating effects of drug-related legal changes

    01 April 2010

    This paper analyses scientific and grey literature that examines the consequences of drug law changes, and describes their approach and methodologies. A multi-part search strategy identified 36 primary studies coming from Europe, North America and Australia, which were then categorised by the type of legal change they examined; changes to laws addressing illegal use and possession, changes in laws regulating legal use and possession, and enforcement strategies of existing laws such as police crackdowns and employee drug testing.

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  19. The 9th Asian Informal Drug Policy Dialogue

    31 May 2018
    Report

    In December 2017, the Transnational Institute (TNI) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany (BMZ), in collaboration with the Thai Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) and the Mae Fah Luang Foundation under Royal Patronage (MFLF), jointly organised the 9th Asian Informal Drug Policy Dialogue (IDPD) in Chiang Rai, Thailand. 

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