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  1. Are the three drug conventions still the cornerstone of the world drug control system?

    Katherine Irene Pettus
    20 January 2014
    Other news

    UN member states are currently in the process of hammering out a ‘Joint Ministerial Statement’ for the upcoming High Level Review of the world drug response – at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in March. At the most recent ‘inter-sessional meeting’, exasperated delegates of all ideological persuasions repeated variations of the refrain “we’ve already done this…this language is in the Political Declaration…we debated this last year…this paragraph was already settled by consensus.”

  2. 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.

  3. Going to pot: legalised cannabis edges nearer in west after US states end ban

    22 May 2014
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    Legalisation of cannabis is making slow but unstoppable progress across much of the developed world, many experts believe, following the end of prohibition in two US states. In Amsterdam, long famous for its coffee shops, international experts gathering to discuss cannabis regulation said the international conventions, once so heavily policed by the US, would now be increasingly flouted. Already many countries, most notably the Netherlands and Spain, have bypassed the rules.

  4. coca-manifestacion

    Bolivia formally renounces UN narcotics convention because it penalizes coca-leaf chewing

    30 June 2011
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    Bolivia's government has informed the United Nations it is renouncing the world body's anti-drug convention because it classifies coca leaf as an illegal drug, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday. Bolivia's decision comes after a proposal by President Evo Morales to remove language obliging countries that have signed the convention to ban the chewing of coca leaves was rejected following U.S. objections.

  5. La Bolivia sotto Inquisizione

    20 July 2011
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    Martin Jelsma (Transnational Institute, Amsterdam) racconta per la rubrica di Fuoriluogo sul Manifesto del 20 luglio 2011 la crociata contro la Bolivia avviata dall'INCB dell'ONU. L’articolo in versione integrale su www.fuoriluogo.it.

  6. 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.

  7. The Guardian view on overdue overhauling of US and global drug laws

    Icaria Editorial
    27 July 2014
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    The war on drugs has been a losing fight for 40 years.

  8. Uruguay not a ‘pirate’

    17 April 2014
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    The Uruguayan government has made a controversial move to regulate the production and sale of cannabis, believing that this will help in the fight against drug-related crime and in dealing with public health issues. The move has been condemned by the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), whose president Raymond Yans accused the government of having a "pirate attitude" for going against the UN’s conventions on drugs. Diego Cánepa, secretary of the office of Uruguayan President, believes a regulated marijuana market was the right decision.

  9. 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.

  10. 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)

  11. U.S. states' pot legalization not in line with international law: U.N. agency

    12 November 2014
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    Moves by some U.S. states to legalize marijuana are not in line with international drugs conventions, the U.N. anti-narcotics chief said, adding he would discuss the issue in Washington next week. 

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. UN drugs body warns US states and Uruguay over cannabis legalisation

    03 March 2015
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    The United Nations has renewed its warnings to Uruguay and the US states of Colorado and Washington that their cannabis legalisation policies fail to comply with the international drug treaties.

  15. Global drug policy is still deadly and ineffective

    Samuel Oakford
    02 June 2014
    Other news

     If you actually read the treaties, while they do set firm limitations on the legal, "non-medical" or "non-scientific" sale of schedule drugs — limits that Uruguay, Colorado and Washington ignored when legalizing cannabis — they don’t otherwise obligate countries to penalize drug use. Even the 1988 convention, the harshest of the three, which instructs countries to criminalize use, still provides an out for states, allowing such laws only as they are "subject to its constitutional principles and the basic concepts of its legal system." This loophole has been used by the Dutch to argue legally for their coffee shops.

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

    Martin Jelsma
    27 June 2014
    Other news

    The extent to which the ongoing drug-control reforms across the Americas are pushing the boundaries of the global legal framework laid down in three UN drug-control conventions has become a delicate issue. The decriminalization of possession for personal use in several Latin American countries and the establishment of a supervised injection room in Vancouver, Canada have already triggered protracted legal disputes with the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the quasi-judicial organ for the conventions’ implementation.

  17. The new drug warriors

    01 May 2015
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    The war on drugs is edging towards a truce. Half of Americans want to lift the ban on cannabis. America’s change of heart has led many to wonder if the UN conventions might be reformed to legalise some drugs and treat the use of others as a problem requiring health measures, not criminal or military ones. But as America has drawn back from prohibition, new drug warriors are stepping up to defend it. Russia is foremost among them. “The Russians have taken over the hard-line role that the US used to play,” says Martin Jelsma of the Transnational Institute.

  18. human-rights-day

    Human rights and drug control: an irreconcilable contradiction?

    Ernestien Jensema
    15 October 2013
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    This week both the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna and the UN General Assembly 3rd Committee in New York discuss new drug control resolutions related to upcoming reviews of global drug policy. The high-level CND review in March 2014 and the Special Session of the General Assembly (UNGASS) on drugs in 2016 provide opportunities to change course and to ensure drug policy fully respects human rights.

  19. perez-molina-insulza

    Guatemala proposes "alternative strategies for combating drugs"

    24 February 2013
    Other news

    The Secretary General of the OAS highlighted the assignment received during the Sixth Summit of the Americas in 2012, which urged the OAS to analyze the results of drug policies in the Americas and to explore new approaches to strengthen these efforts and make them more effective. The Foreign Minister of Guatemala emphasized that, 50 years after signing the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, "the world starts the task of reflection and evaluation of what we have been doing and how we can achieve more effective results."

  20. Guatemala, Colombia, Mexico Urge UN to Review Global Drug Policy

    03 October 2012
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    Colombia, Mexico and Guatemala delivered a landmark declaration to the United Nations Secretary General calling on the organization to lead a debate on alternative approaches to the current war on drugs, though it is likely to fall on deaf ears. The statement, issued to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on October 1, contains 11 points outlining the three countries’ views on the current state of organized crime and counternarcotics policy in the Americas (see declaration in English here, and in Spanish here).

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