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  1. The Obama Administration’s drug control policy on auto-pilot

    • Coletta Youngers
    29 April 2011
    Policy briefing

    In a widely watched You Tube video, U.S. President Barack Obama is asked whether or not the drug war may in fact be counterproductive. Instead of the resounding NO that would have come from any of his recent predecessors, Obama responded: “I think this is an entirely legitimate topic for debate.” He then qualified his remarks by adding, “I am not in favor of legalization.” Nonetheless, even acknowledging the legitimacy of debate on U.S. drug policy is a significant shift from the past, when successive administrations stifled discussion and routinely labeled anyone promoting alternative approaches to the socalled U.S. “war on drugs” as dangerous and surreptitiously promoting massive drug use and poisoning America’s youth.

  2. brookings-paper

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.)

  6. Just how “new” is the 2012 National Drug Control Strategy?

    John Walsh
    07 May 2012
    Article

    Some have hailed the Obama administration’s 2012 National Drug Control Strategy as a revolutionary shift toward a public health approach to the nation’s drug problems. Others have panned it as nothing new. There are actually advances to applaud in the new strategy and budget, in terms of both rhetoric and substance. Those positive steps should be acknowledged. But the extent to which the 2012 strategy represents a break from the past should not overstated.

     

  7. 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.

  8. Love is what transforms ...

    17 June 2011
    Article

    The Wire has been described by many critics as the greatest television series ever made and it has been praised for its realistic portrayal of urban life - especially the war on drugs. The HCLU video advocacy team are definiteley great fans of the show - just as the TNI team. One of our favourite characters was Detective Kima Greggs. Sonja Sohn - the actress who played Kima - attended the 8th National Harm Reduction Conference in Austin, Texas organized by the Harm Reduction Coalition, where she was so kind to give an interview to HCLU.

  9. European Union discussion on response to Bolivia's denunciation of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs

    28 November 2012
    Article

    The following notes are summaries of the EU Horizontal Working Party on Drugs discussions about Bolivia’s coca amendment and denunciation of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, taken from the reports of their meetings since September 2010.

  10. Biggest blow to Mexico drug cartels? It could be on your state ballot

    Sara Miller Llana
    05 November 2012
    Article

    Over the past year, the world has eyed Latin America as it has forged forward, in both policy and politics, with a rethink of the “war on drugs.” (See our recent cover story on “Latin America reinventing the war on drugs” here.) But tomorrow, the world will be watching the United States, the birthplace of the “war on drugs,” as three states vote on legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

  11. Taking the initiative on legal marijuana

    John Walsh
    05 November 2012
    Article

    Two years ago, California’s bid to legalize marijuana—Proposition 19—achieved great notoriety in Latin America, but ultimately fell short at the ballot box. Next Tuesday, voters in the state of Washington appear ready to do what Prop 19’s supporters could not quite achieve—an Election Day victory.

  12. Drug courts: Equivocal evidence on a popular intervention

    Joanne Csete, Denise Tomasini-Joshi
    24 March 2015
    Article

    Some countries have adopted drug treatment courts as a way to reduce drug-related incarceration. Drug treatment courts, also called “drug courts,” are meant to offer court-supervised treatment for drug dependence for some persons who would otherwise go to prison for a drug-related offense.

    Download the briefing (PDF - outside link)

  13. The U.S. Moves to Block Bolivia’s Request to Eliminate U.N. Ban on Coca Leaf Chewing

    18 January 2011
    Press release

    The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Transnational Institute (TNI) have learned that the United States is moving to oppose, as soon as this week, Bolivia’s formal request to remove the obligation to ban the chewing of coca leaves— an indigenous practice dating back more than 2,000 years. TNI and WOLA strongly encourage countries to support Bolivia’s proposal, which is a legitimate request based on scientific evidence and respect for cultural and indigenous rights.  

  14. Thumbnail

    Geo-political and cultural constraints on international drug control treaties

    • Craig Reinarman
    01 April 2003

    publicationIt is a noble and worthy step to attempt to change the drug control treaties, but this is likely to take a long time and it may not be the essential starting place of reform. The amount of flexibility in the treaties is only partly a function of treaty language, for this language is always interpreted, and interpretations can vary depending upon how many states actively argue for more flexibility.

    application-pdfDownload the publication (PDF)

  15. Diplomatic games to oppose lifting unjust ban on coca chewing

    Tom Blickman
    16 January 2011
    Article

    According to the government of Bolivia, the only three countries that did file a formal objection to the amendment of Bolivia to abolish the ban on coca leaf chewing in the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, withdrew their objections.

  16. Drug Policy in the Andes

    • Coletta Youngers, Socorro Ramírez
    15 December 2011

    Fifty years after signing the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and 40 years after the U.S. government declared a "war on drugs," many obstacles remain despite the partial successes of efforts to counter the problem. The Andean-United States Dialogue Forum, noted with concern how drug policy has monopolized the diplomatic and economic agenda between the Andean countries, contributing to tensions among the governments and impeding cooperation on other crucial priorities, such as safeguarding democratic processes from criminal networks.

     

  17. The International Drug Control Treaties

    • Heather J. Haase, Nicolas Edward Eyle, Sebastian Scholl , Joshua Raymond Schrimpf
    31 July 2012
    Paper

    The way the world looks at drug control is changing. There has been a growing awareness of the issue for the past decade, as well as increasing public outcry over what many see as a failure of the once popular "war on drugs." Nowhere is this battle more pronounced than in the so-called "marijuana wars," which are slowly growing into an old-fashioned standoff between the states and the federal government.

     

  18. Drug-law reform genie freed from bottle at Summit of the Americas

    Coletta Youngers
    19 April 2012
    Article

    Present international drug control policies are deeply-rooted and change will no doubt come slowly. However, as a result of the Cartagena summit, for the first time a meaningful debate on developing and implementing drug control policies that are more humane and effective is underway. The genie is out and will be very hard to put back in the bottle, as much as U.S. officials might try.

  19. To The Next Level: Marijuana Regulation in the US

    Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU)
    22 December 2011
    Article

    The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) traveled to California and attended the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in LA to find out what are the latest development of the battle for legal marijuana in the US. We interviewed activists from several organizations, asked questions about the chances of state level ballot initiatives, we even saw how people will use cannabis in the 21st Century. Welcome to the future of US marijuana regulation - please watch and share HCLU's new movie.

  20. Addicted to Courts

    • Nastassia Walsh
    22 March 2011

    America’s growing reliance on drug courts is an ineffective allocation of scarce state resources. Drug courts can needlessly widen the net of criminal justice involvement, and cannot replace the need for improved treatment services in the community. Of the nearly 8 million people in the U.S. reporting needing treatment for drug use, less than one fourth of people classified with substance abuse or a dependence on drugs and/or alcohol receives treatment, and for those who do receive treatment, over 37 percent are referred by the criminal justice system.

     

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