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  1. Mexico decriminalizes small amounts of drugs

    27 August 2009
    Article

    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.

  2. Argentina’s supreme court “Arriola” ruling on the possession of drugs for personal consumption

    Intercambios
    01 September 2009
    Article

    Intercambios Asociación Civil applauds the attempt of the Supreme Court Judges to distance the criminal law from drug users, but warns that attention will have to be paid to how judges in the lower courts and police apply these criteria.

  3. The "Arriola" Ruling of the Supreme Court of Argentina on the Possession of Drugs for Personal Consumption

    Intercambios Asociacion Civil
    01 September 2009
    Article

    On August 25, 2009, Argentina’s Supreme Court of Justice of Argentina unanimously declared to be unconstitutional the second paragraph of Article 14 of the country’s drug control legislation (Law Number 23,737), which punishes the possession of drugs for personal consumption with prison sentences ranging from one month to two years (although education or treatment measures can be substitute penalties). According to the Court, the unconstitutionality of the article is applicable to cases of drug possession for personal consumption that does not affect others.

  4. Stepping away from the darkness

    Martin Jelsma
    01 September 2009
    Article

    The experiences of countries that have decriminalised drugs show that fears of explosions in drugs use are unfounded.

  5. Drug Decriminalization: A Trend Takes Shape

    Coletta Youngers, John Walsh
    21 September 2009
    Article

    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.

  6. Latin America breaks ranks in US war on drugs

    Sara Miller Llana
    24 September 2009
    Article

    Many countries in the region – most recently Mexico – have decriminalized small amounts of drugs for personal use. The moves have followed decisions by left-leaning governments to limit cooperation with the US in recent years.

  7. Latin America distances itself from U.S. on drug war

    Jose Luis Varela
    09 February 2010
    Article

    Latin America is shifting focus in counter-drug strategies, moving away from a U.S. strategy of a "war on drugs" that is widely seen as having failed, experts here said.

  8. In drug war, failed old ideas never die

    Bernd Debusmann
    26 February 2010
    Article

    WASHINGTON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Here's a stern warning to the U.S. states of Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. A United Nations body is displeased with your liberal medical marijuana laws. Very displeased.

  9. Argentina and Mexico clash with the INCB

    Tom Blickman
    31 March 2010
    Article

    The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna in March 2010 was a rather uneventful event. One of the most controversial issues were the comments of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) in its 2009 Annual Report on the trend to decriminalize possession for personal use in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. Both Argentina and Mexico voiced strong objections on the INCB remarks.

  10. parlamento-portugal

    Ten years of decriminalization in Portugal

    Tom Blickman
    29 July 2010
    Article

    Ten years ago, in July 2001, Portugal decriminalized the use and possession of all illicit 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.

  11. The drug legalization debate

    Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes
    17 October 2010
    Article

    Foreign minister Maria Angela Holguín’s statement of last Sunday 10 October is of great importance. According to this statement, Colombia should take the discussion about the drugs policy to a global level and to the UN’s Security Council. According to her criteria it doesn’t make sense that whilst certain developed countries decriminalize and legalize certain use, we continue to “imprison peasants who own half a hectare of coca leaf cultivation”.

  12. Image of UN Flag

    UN expert calls for a fundamental shift in global drug control policy

    26 October 2010
    Article

    At a press conference in New York on Tuesday 26 October, 2010, at the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly, one of the UN’s key human rights experts will call for a fundamental rethink of international drug policy. Anand Grover, from India, is the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health, whose mandate is derived from the UN Human Rights Council.

  13. Proposition 19 Is a Vote Heard 'Round the World'

    Coletta Youngers
    01 November 2010
    Article

    The world will be watching as Californians go to the polls on Tuesday and vote on Proposition 19, which would legalize and regulate marijuana in that state.  Regardless of the outcome of the vote, however, it has already sparked an intense international debate, particularly in Latin America where the U.S. has long waged its “war on drugs.” Drug war critics and even some who have supported the U.S. approach to date are asking how the U.S. government can continue to call on Latin American governments to implement harsh drug control policies when at least some of those policies are being called into question in the United States itself.

  14. Towards a new drug policy

    25 January 2011
    Article

    What are the benefits and risks of eliminating criminal penalties for marijuana possession for personal use?
    What are the risks and benefits of distinguishing international narco-trafficking from small-scale dealing?
    The war on drugs has failed. What are the alternatives?

    These and other questions will be discussed by the new Global Commission on Drug Policy, to be launched on the 24th and 25th of January, 2011, in Geneva. The Commission will include eminent personalities such as Mario Vargas Llosa, Javier Solana, Ernesto Zedillo, Ruth Dreifuss, Michel Kazatchkine, Cesar Gaviria, Carlos Fuentes and Thorvald Stoltenberg, among others. The Global Commission will be chaired by Fernando Henrique Cardoso, (former president of Brazil).

  15. Latin American statesmen question drugs war strategy

    Tom Hennigan
    27 January 2011
    Article

    Three former Latin American presidents have declared the US-led “war on drugs” a failure and called for new strategies focusing on treatment to replace a repressive approach they say is discredited. The former presidents of Colombia, Mexico and Brazil made their call at the launch of the Global Commission on Drugs Policies in Geneva this week. The three statesmen hope the new body will develop proposals that will move the global drugs debate away from prohibition and towards treating the issue as a public health problem.

  16. Obama: Drugs Should Be Treated as "Public Health Problem"

    Kathleen Kingsbury
    28 January 2011
    Article

    In an online town hall session yesterday, U.S. President Barack Obama suggested that, while he is not in favor of drug legalization, he does believe drugs ought to be treated as “more of a public health problem.” Obama went on to add: “On drugs, I think a lot of times we’ve been so focused on arrests, incarceration, interdiction, that we don’t spend as much time thinking about how do we shrink demand.” (See the video clip below for the president’s full remarks.)

  17. Victor Everhardt

    The future of Dutch cannabis policy

    Tom Blickman
    14 March 2011
    Article

    The municipality of the Dutch city of Utrecht recently announced two scientific experiments on cannabis policy. One experiment will be to set up a closed club model for adult recreational cannabis users. Cannabis smokers will grow their own marijuana in a cooperative, a move which would go against the government's drive to discourage coffee shops. The other experiment concerns treatment for people who are vulnerable to psychotic disorders.

  18. It's Time for Drug Policy Reform in Poland!

    Peter Sarosi
    21 April 2011
    Article

    In the year 2000, Poland amended its criminal legislation on drug possession. As a result, any person possessing even the smallest amount of an illegal substance was liable to be prosecuted. Since the amendment in 2000, the number of drug-related offences has been increasing steadily.

  19. The Global Commission: breaking the Vienna Consensus

    Martin Jelsma
    07 June 2011
    Article

    TNI has been closely involved with the Global Commission on Drug Policy which presented its report in New York on June 2. Some years ago we published a report, entitled Cracks in the Vienna Consensus in which we argued that cracks were appearing in the supposedly universal model under the UN treaty system. In reality, the global system is based on a highly fragile consensus of Vienna, where the UN drug control system is headquartered, and the painstaking negotiations every year to keep up the appearance of unity have become the symbol of paralysis and frustration.

  20. Colombia Takes Step Towards Drug Decriminalization

    Elyssa Pachico
    25 August 2011
    Article

    Colombia's Supreme Court ruled against harsh punishments for small-time drug offenders, in a move towards easing up Colombia's zero-tolerance drug laws, which have achieved little in the fight against organized crime.

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