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  1. Improving global drug policy: Comparative perspectives and UNGASS 2016

    • Vanda Felbab-Brown, Harold Trinkunas (eds)
    28 Abril 2015

    As the world prepares for the 2016 Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS 2016), an increasing number of countries around the world now find the regime’s emphasis on punitive approaches to illicit drugs to be problematic and are asking for reform. In this moment of global disagreement, the Brookings project on Improving Global Drug Policy provides a unique comparative evaluation of the effectiveness and costs of international counternarcotics policies and best approaches to reform.

  2. Drug courts: Equivocal evidence on a popular intervention

    Joanne Csete, Denise Tomasini-Joshi
    24 Marzo 2015

    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.

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  3. The United States rethinks draconian drug sentencing policies

    • Elizabeth Lincoln
    27 Enero 2015

    Across the Americas, an unprecedented debate on drug policy reform is underway. While a regional consensus on what form those reforms should take remains elusive, there are at least two issues where consensus is growing: the need to address drug use as a public health, rather than criminal, issue and the need to promote alternatives to incarceration for low-level, nonviolent drug offenders and ensure proportionality in sentencing for drug-related crimes. Draconian drug laws were often adopted in Latin American countries with the encouragement – if not outright diplomatic, political and economic pressure – from the U.S. government.

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    Los EE.UU. reconsideran políticas severas para la determinación de sentencias por delitos de drogas

    Elizabeth Lincoln
    13 Enero 2015

    jail2En todo el continente americano se viene produciendo un debate sin precedentes sobre la reforma de las políticas sobre drogas. Aunque al presente no existe un consenso regional sobre la forma en que se adoptarían las reformas, existen al menos dos temas alrededor de los cuales se da un consenso cada vez mayor: la necesidad de abordar el consumo de drogas como un tema de salud pública, antes que como un problema penal; y la necesidad de promover alternativas al encarcelamiento para quienes cometen delitos no violentos de poca monta, y de garantizar la proporcionalidad en las sentencias impuestas por delitos relacionados a drogas.

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  5. Has the US just called for unilateral interpretation of multilateral obligations?

    Rick Lines, Damon Barrett
    17 Diciembre 2014

    These are interesting times for drug law reform, which, as it gathers pace, is asking important questions of international law. A UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs is set for 2016 just as national reforms are challenging international treaties that form the bedrock of a global prohibition regime that has dominated since the turn of the twentieth century. States parties to the three UN drug control conventions must now confront the legal and political dilemmas this creates. This is the situation in which the US now finds itself following cannabis reforms in various states that are at odds with these treaties.

  6. Selling cannabis regulation

    • Emily Crick, Mark Cooke, David Bewley-Taylor
    29 Noviembre 2014
    Policy briefing

    In 2012, voters in the US states of Washington, Colorado and Oregon were given the opportunity to vote in ballot initiatives for the creation of legally regulated cannabis markets. Washington’s Initiative 502 and Colorado’s Amendment 64 both passed with 55.7% and 55.3% of the vote respectively. Oregon’s Measure 80 failed with 53.4% of those voting rejecting the measure. As calls for and legal processes towards the initiation of cannabis policy reform become more common within US states, it is a timely and useful exercise to reflect upon the campaigns for reform in Washington (WA), Colorado (CO) and Oregon (OR) and examine why the public supported cannabis policy reform in some instances and not others.

  7. Into the breach: Drugs, control, and violating bad laws in good ways

    Rick Lines
    27 Noviembre 2014

    An October statement on drug control from the US State Department has prompted much comment and speculation at home and abroad. Delivered by Ambassador William Brownfield, the ‘Brownfield Doctrine’, as it has been named by some commentators, lays out a four pillar approach the United States will follow in matters of international drug control.

  8. Du Río de la Plata au Lac Léman

    • Frank Zobel, Marc Marthaler
    19 Noviembre 2014
    Policy briefing

    La politique vis-à-vis du cannabis est en rapide évolution. Ainsi, les citoyens de l'Alaska et de l'Oregon, comme ceux de Washington DC, la capitale des Etats-Unis, viennent à leur tour de légaliser la possession de cannabis et, pour les deux premiers, d'autoriser un marché régulé pour cette substance. Des expériences de ce type sont depuis peu en cours ailleurs aux Etats-Unis et dans le monde. Quelles leçons peut-on déjà en tirer? Addiction Suisse propose une vue d'ensemble des développements les plus récents dans les Amériques, en Europe et en Suisse.


  9. Du Río de la Plata au Lac Léman

    • Frank Zobel, Marc Marthaler
    19 Noviembre 2014

    La politique vis-à-vis du cannabis est en rapide évolution. Ainsi, les citoyens de l'Alaska et de l'Oregon, comme ceux de Washington DC, la capitale des Etats-Unis, viennent à leur tour de légaliser la possession de cannabis et, pour les deux premiers, d'autoriser un marché régulé pour cette substance. Des expériences de ce type sont depuis peu en cours ailleurs aux Etats-Unis et dans le monde. Quelles leçons peut-on déjà en tirer? Addiction Suisse propose une vue d'ensemble des développements les plus récents dans les Amériques, en Europe et en Suisse.


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    Atracción fatal: la doctrina de la flexibilidad de Brownfield y la reforma global de las políticas de drogas

    Martin Jelsma, Damon Barrett
    19 Noviembre 2014

    Las reformas estatales sobre el cannabis, que han cobrado impulso este mes, han puesto al descubierto la incapacidad de los Estados Unidos para atenerse a las disposiciones del fundamento jurídico del sistema global de control de drogas: la Convención Única de 1961 sobre Estupefacientes. Esto es algo que debería propiciar un diálogo muy necesario sobre la reforma de unos acuerdos internacionales que tienen ya muchos años. Pero aunque aparentemente ‘acoge con satisfacción’ el debate sobre la reforma de las políticas de drogas a escala internacional, se trata de un diálogo que el Gobierno federal estadounidense de hecho desea evitar.

  11. Fatal attraction: Brownfield's flexibility doctrine and global drug policy reform

    Martin Jelsma, David Bewley-Taylor, Damon Barrett
    18 Noviembre 2014

    State-level cannabis reforms, which gathered steam this month, have exposed the inability of the United States to abide by the terms of the legal bedrock of the global drug control system; the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This is something that should force a much-needed conversation about reform to long- standing international agreements. But while ostensibly 'welcoming' the international drug policy reform debate, it is a conversation the US federal government actually wishes to avoid.

  12. Pushing treaty limits?

    Wells C. Bennett
    19 Octubre 2014

    Suppose the United States government helps to negotiate, and subsequently champions, certain framework treaties – ones justly viewed as imposing significant constraints on all signatories. Down the road, the United States occasionally even calls out counterparties for their looser policy innovations, when the latter push the outer boundaries of what’s permitted under the treaties; a treaty-created monitoring body does likewise in its annual reporting. This pattern essentially holds year in and year out and from one presidential administration to the next.

  13. International Impacts of the U.S. Trend towards Legal Marijuana

    17 Octubre 2014

    For decades, the United States has been a champion of the global drug control treaty system, which limits the use of marijuana exclusively to medical and scientific purposes, and obligates governments to punish and even criminalize recreational marijuana activity. But American attitudes toward marijuana policy are shifting: voters in Colorado and Washington approved ballot initiatives to legalize regulated recreational marijuana in 2012, and recent polls suggest that the majority of Americans think marijuana use should be legalized.

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    Marijuana legalization is an opportunity to modernize international drug treaties

    • Wells Bennett, John Walsh
    14 Octubre 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.

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    Martin Jelsma: "En Washington saben que la legalización del cannabis es irreversible"

    Raquel Mateos
    24 Julio 2014

    Martin_Jelsma_Barcelona230714b-smallMartin Jelsma, politólogo especializado en políticas internacionales de droga, ha asesorado al gobierno de Uruguay y augura ahora un efecto dominó que ni las restrictivas convenciones internacionales ni los Estados Unidos no podrán parar. "A nivel internacional, después de décadas con políticas alternativas, por primera vez un país y dos estados de Estados Unidos empiezan con la regulación de toda la cadena del cannabis. Nunca había pasado antes, ni siquiera en los Países Bajos, con los coffee shops, donde la producción sigue prohibida. Son los primeros escenarios con una legalización controlada y estoy convencido que es el inicio de cambios que otros países van a seguir."

  16. Summary of Drugs & Democracy Activities, April - June 2014

    15 Julio 2014

    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.

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    El control de drogas visto desde Washington

    Martin Jelsma
    09 Julio 2014

    william-brownfieldLa reforma al control de drogas que se está emprendiendo en las Américas, y que presiona los límites del marco jurídico mundial establecido en tres convenciones de la ONU, se ha convertido en un tema delicado. La despenalización de la tenencia para consumo personal en varios países de América Latina y el establecimiento de una sala supervisada para inyección en Vancouver, Canadá, han provocado disputas legales prolongadas con la Junta Internacional de Fiscalización de Estupefacientes (JIFE), el órgano cuasi-judicial para la aplicación de los convenios.

  18. Reimagining Drug Policy in the Americas

    27 Junio 2014

    Latin America is now at the vanguard of international efforts to promote drug policy reform: Bolivia has rewritten its constitution to recognize the right to use the coca leaf for traditional and legal purposes, Uruguay has become the first nation in the world to adopt a legal, regulated Cannabis market, and Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, and Ecuador are openly critiquing the prevailing international drug control paradigm at the UN. And now with the United States itself relaxing its marijuana laws state by state, the U.S. prohibitionist drug war strategies are losing credibility in the region.


  19. Moving Away from Drug Courts

    • Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)
    30 Abril 2014

    Drug courts have spread across the country, yet available research does not support their continued expansion. Most drug courts do not reduce imprisonment, do not save money or improve public safety, and fail to help those struggling with drug problems. The drug court model must be corrected to play a more effective role in improving the wellbeing of people involved in the criminal justice system who suffer substance misuse problems – while preserving scarce public safety resources.

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    Marijuana legalization: Does Congress need to act?

    • Graham Boyd, Sarah Trumble, Lanae Erickson Hatalsky
    11 Abril 2014

    Despite a federal prohibition on marijuana possession, sale, and use, Colorado and Washington recently became the first states to enact laws legalizing the recreational use of this drug. Although the Obama Administration has taken steps to attempt to deal with this evolving situation, we believe the status quo is untenable and Congress must act to provide certainty and a framework for these states moving forward. This report explains the problem and offers a solution.