TNI’s Drugs & Democracy programme analyses drug policies and trends in the illicit drugs market. TNI examines the underlying causes of drug production and consumption and the impacts of current drug policies on conflict, development,and democracy. The programme facilitates dialogue and advocates evidence-based policies, guided by principles of harm reduction and human rights for users and producers.
Since 1996, the TNI Drugs & Democracy programme has been analysing the trends in the illegal drugs market and in drug policies globally. The programme has gained a reputation worldwide as one of the leading international drug policy research institutes and as a serious critical watchdog of UN drug control institutions, in particular the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).
In 1995 the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) announced in a press release the publication of the results of the largest global study on cocaine use ever undertaken.
TNI's work on Burma began in 2003 as part of our Drugs and Democracy programme, through an investigation of opium farming in the country, but has since extended through our partnership with the Burma Center Netherlands to analysis more exclusively focused on the country's long-standing ethnic conflict.
The main highlight in this 2nd quarter of 2013 was the release of the Organization of American States (OAS) reports analysing the current drugs situation in the hemisphere and outlining different scenarios for policy developments over the coming decade. The OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza presented the documents on May 17, 2013 in Bogotá to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in a ceremony at the Casa de Nariño, the Presidential palace. TNI was represented in the OAS team mandated to elaborate the policy scenarios and was invited to the launch ceremony.
The most remarkable event of the first quarter of 2013 on drug policy and drug law reforms was definitely the readmission of Bolivia in the UN Single Convention of 1961. On January 11, 2013, most Parties to the Convention chose not to object to the reservation requested by Bolivia over its traditional uses of coca leaf. Of the 183 countries, only 15 objected to the reservation.
The last quarter of 2012 saw major steps in the direction of drug policy reform: In October, in a joint statement to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Latin America presidents reiterated their challenge to the "war on drugs"...
The statement presents the main findings of the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy. Prohibitionist policies based on the eradication of production and on the disruption of drug flows as well as on the criminalization of consumption have not yielded the desired results, concludes . We are further than ever from the announced goal of eradicating drugs. Breaking the taboo, acknowledging the failure of current policies and their consequences is the inescapable prerequisite for the discussion of a new paradigm leading to safer, more efficient and humane drug policies.
TNI’s Drugs and Democracy programme has been working since 1995 to push for evidence-based reform of drug policy. working simultaneously at national levels and in relation to the global legal framework, TNI starts by looking at the human rights of all actors in the illegal drugs market, and advocates an approach based on harm reduction.
The dynamics of reform in the Americas continues. This time, the momentum comes from the Caribbean region. Jamaica and other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states are now moving to change their marijuana laws. Among the proposed changes discussed in Jamaica were the decriminalisation of possession of small amounts of ganja for recreational and religious use and cultivating it for medicinal purposes.
In December 2013 we had undoubtedly the biggest news of the last few decades concerning drug policy: Uruguay became the first country in the world to adopt a law regulating the production, sale and consumption of cannabis throughout the national territory. Amidst heated debate, the project was approved on July 31, 2013 by the Chamber of Deputies, and on December 10, 2013 by the Senate. A few days later President José Mujica formally enacted the law that will regulate the cannabis market.